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British Industrial History

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William Huntley

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William Huntley (1798-1880)

1880 Obituary [1]

The death has just been announced of Mr. William Huntley, engineer, Dundee, one of the links connecting the past to the present in railway engineering.

Mr. Huntley was born at Acklington, in 1798, and had consequently reached his 82nd year. He began life as a mechanic, serving his apprenticeship with his father; and in the year 1823 he entered the employment of Messrs. George Stephenson and Co., Newcastle-on-Tyne, with whom he remained for a period of about ten years. He may be said to have been a pupil of the illustrious George Stephenson, for he erected the first locomotive engine to draw a passenger train under Stephenson's personal superintendence, and he had the honour of working it alternately with him on the 27th of September, 1825-the memorable occasion when a train passed over the Stockton and Darlington Railway for the first time.

Mr. Huntley subsequently removed to Dundee, where he acted for a number of years as superintendent of the engines, and permanent way on the Newtyle Railway, which was amongst the earliest of the railways laid down in Scotland.

On the 20th September, 1833, the first locomotive engine built at Ward Foundry was started by Mr. Huntley. Up to that date the line had been worked by horses, and Mr. Huntley, who realised that the curves on the line were too sharp for locomotive engines, was empowered to alter them to his own satisfaction.

In the year 1853 the deceased patented a valve regulator, and he afterwards advocated the introduction of a continuous brake system under the control of locomotive drivers.

Though unfitted for active work for a number of years back, Mr. Huntley continued to take an active interest in all questions of engineering science.

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