Worsdell dynasty including Smith's
Steamindex home page
Robert W. Worsdell
Atkins, Philip. Some reflections on locomotive engineers of the North Eastern Railway. Br. Rly. J. North Eastern Rly Spec. Issue, 2005?, 8-21.
Includes all associated with NER plus Smith
Hill, Geoffrey: The Worsdells: a Quaker engineering dynasty Glossop, 1991.
Thomas Clarke Worsdell
Thomas Clarke Worsdell (1788-1862), joined the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, as a young man. This action would have had a profound effect on the way of life of himself and his descendants and to a great extent on their choice of careers, as many occupations in the 19th Century still being closed to members of that community. (Hill)
Thomas Clarke Worsdell "was a coachmaker who, after moving from London to Lancashire, set up in business on his own account and was later to assist George Stephenson to construct carriages for the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway from 1827 onwards. He also built the wooden tender for the Rocket.
Thomas Clarke Worsdell's eldest son, Nathaniel (1809-1886), assisted his father as a coachmaker in the early days of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and was to give no less than 52 years service to that company and its successors, the Grand Junction Railway and the London and North Western Railway, mainly at Crewe. Born in London 0n 10 October 1809 and died in Birkenhead on 24 July 1886 (Marshall). He is notable for having invented (Patent 7528 granted 4 January 1838 Apparatus to facilitate the conveyance of mail-bags and other parcels on railways or roads) the device for the automatic pick up and setting down of mail to and from trains at speed.
Son of Thomas Clarke Worsdell and brother of Nathaniel. Born in Preston on 21 May 1821. Died Lancaster on 1 December 1912 (Marshall). In 1836-8 he accompanied his father to Germany to assist with carriage construction for the Leipzig & Dresden Railway. After his return he worked briefy for the London & Birmingham, London & Croydon and Great Western Railways. In 1841 he joined his f ather at the works of the Hull & Selby Railway at Hull and while there, in addition to railway work, he repaired the engines of the Sirius, the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. In 1845 he started on his own at the Dallam Forge at Warrington. Here he produced the first rolled bar iron in Lancashire. At the 1851 Exhibition he won a gold medal for the excellence of his iron and railway plant. Later he took a partner and this brought trouble to the works which was forced to close in 1858. It later became Pearson & Knowles, associated with the Wigan Coal & Iron Co. Following a breakdown in health, in 1858 he went to Workington for a two year rest and in May 1860 he joined Ashburys Carriage & Plant Works, Manchester, where he became general manager. His health broke down again in 1863 and he went to join his elder brother Thomas at Birmingham until 1866 when he took over management of the Lancaster Wagon Co. He retired in 1872 and spent his last 30 years in Lancaster.
Worsdell, Thomas William
Born in Liverpool on 14 January 1838 to Nathaniel Worsdell, who had designed the first true railway passenger vehicle for Stephenson, the Quaker Thomas Worsdell worked under Ramsbottom at Crewe but left England in 1865 to join the Pennsylvania Railroad. Rutherford (Backtrack, 2007, 21, 497) notes that he was known as Billy within the Worsdell family. He soon became master mechanic at Altoona, but in 1871 was invited by Webb to become works manager at Crewe, where Worsdell became interested in compounding, although opting for the von Bories rather than the Mallet system adopted by Webb.
In 1881 Worsdell became locomotive superintendent of the Great Eastern Railway. For this Company he designed some unexceptional tender engines (the RCTS (Locomotives of the LNER, Vol. 1 which is normally cautious called them "not particularly successful"). But his 0-6-0 tender and inside cylinder 2-4-2 tank laid down standards, which with his autereness of external fittings, became the basic outline of many GER and NER locomtives fo several decades. The GER Y14 (LNER J15 0-6-0), a member of which is in the National Collection epitomises this rugged simplicity. The radial 2-4-2Ts were popular for commuter service. He also built his first two-cylinder compounds, on the von Borries system. During this period he seems to have set the fashion of decorating passenger compartment interiors with scenic photographs.
Ellis (Twenty locomotive men) quoting from Reminiscences of Stratford (Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev, 1936) noted that 'Mr T. W. Worsdell. . . developed a rather nasty habit of going into the shops at about five o'clock p.m. The machine on which we were working was just inside the north door, and tools had been put away soon after 5.15 p.m.; some of us saw the great man enter, and immediately hammers, spanners and any loose articles were picked up to commence a noisy belabouring of the bedplate and faceplate of the machine. So violently was this attack developed that Mr Worsdell stopped in astonishment to see what really was being done. At this moment the Works Manager Mr G. Macallan appeared, and I distinctly heard Mr Worsdell say to him: "Whatever are they doing, Mac?" That gentleman, in his falsetto voice, said: "Well, sir, we are converting a surplus wheel-lathe into a cylinder-boring machine," proceeding to give an outline as to how it was to work. Mr Worsdell stood in a somewhat bewildered attitude, and called out: "Stop the work!", turning on his heels and walking away with Mr Macallan following him. The heavy blows and rattling of tools soon ceased after their departure, and we stood more or less dumbfounded as to what the next move would be. Just as the bell rang the foreman came up hurriedly to say that no more work was to be done on the conversion, as Mr Worsdell considered the result would never be a good one.'
From 1885 to 1890 he was locomotive superintendent of the North Eastern Railway, building mainly 2-4-0 and 0-6-0 types, and later some 4-4-0 and 4-2-2 machines. This reversion to singles coincided with a fresh crop of two-cylinder compounds, with the result that he built Britain's only compound single-drivers. The Worsdell automatic intercepting valve enabled steam to move directly from the boiler to the low-pressure cylinder on starting, with automatic changeover to compound working when the first exhaust from the high-pressure cylinder raised pressure in the receiver. To ensure that both cylinders would do equal work, the Joy valve gear was arranged to give always a later cut-off in the low-pressure cylinder when in forward gear. Rutherford (Backtrack, 2007, 21, 497) considers this activity in depth..
George Heppell's North Eastern locomotives: a draughtsman's life adds considerably to our understanding of the design process at Gateshead.
Van Riemsdijk records how a J class single developed 1069 indicated horsepower at 86 mph on level track hauling eighteen four-wheel carriages. The indicator diagrams indicated that the work between the two cylinders was evenly divided. His F class 4-4-0 compounds did well in the 1888 railway 'race', one of them averaging almost 60 mile/h. from Newcastle to Edinburgh with eighty-four tons. Van Riemsdijk notes that 270 two-cylinder compounds were in service before Worsdell retired, due to ill health in September 1890. Despite their good performance, his compounds fell from favour after he had been succeeded by his brother Wilson. He died in Arnside on 28 June 1916. His grave is at the Friends Meeting House at Yealand Conyers in Lancashire (Humm J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2015, 38, 252).
T.W. Worsdell's most striking mark on North Eastern locomotive design was the side-window cab he applied to all new locomotives with tenders. Such a cab was nothing new on the North Eastern; fifteen years earlier enginemen had protested against even more commodious cabs mounted by Bouch on 2/4-4-0s. But those cabs induced in the enginemen more grumbling than approbation and so Bouch gave to later engines something more like the current average North Eastern cab in the style of a sawn-off rabbit-hutch. On the other hand, the Worsdell version of the side-window cab was accepted by enginemen without any officially recorded reluctance. It was applied to every subsequent North Eastern tender engine and it lifted the living conditions of North Eastern enginement into the luxury class. To be able to remain warm and dry on the footplate while the engine stood in a cold, rain-laden cross-wind was something outside the most imaginative aspirations of British enginemen of the period.
Patents (Official sources)
16,646 22 June 1871. Spark arresters with Johnson? Smith
999 23 January 1885 Compound steam engines.
1,000 23 January 1885 Draught and dust excluders for windows. with others
39 1 January 1886. Starting valve for compound engines
11,857 17 September 1886. Permanent way of railways.
14,151 3 November 1886 Crank shafts
4,661 29 March 1887 Compound engines.
7,647 22 April 1892. Compound engines. with A. von Borries and R.H. Lapage.
6,487/1900 An improvement in starting valves for compound steam engines. with August Von Borries and Richard Herbert Lapage. Applied 6 April 1900. Published 16 February 1901
22,906/1900 Improvements in valves for use in compound locomotives and other compound engines. Applied 14 December 1900. Published 2 November 1901 with August Von Borries and Richard Herbert Lapage
Patent search also showed 10,892 (23 October 1865) which related to apparatus to be attached to and employed in connection with railway carriages. This may be an early patent taken out before his departure to the USA, or relate to his uncle: inspection of the patent is required).
C.M. Jenkin Jones excludes T.W. from his pantheon of great locomotive engineers of the NER: Fletcher, Wilson Worsdell and Raven.
Birse, Ronald M. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
C. H. Ellis, Twenty Locomotive Men (1958).
Nock, O.S. Railway enthusuast's encyclopedia
16,980/1907 Improvements in and connected with blast pipes of locomotives with Walter Reuben Preston. Applied 24 July 1907. Publshed 23 July 1908
Association of Railway Locomotive Engineers
Meeting November 1910: Worsdell used this meeting, his second as President, to air his personal views on superheating, which in later years he may have regretted. 'When the expense of the whole system and the results obtained in the so-called saving of coal were considered', he did not think that 'there would be much in the superheater'. Nevertheless, twelve NER Atlantics were to be fitted with the Schmidt version.
According to Marshall was born in Crewe on 7 September 1850 and died at Ascot on 14 April 1920. His grave is at All Souls Church, South Ascot. (Humm J. Rly Canal Hist. Soc., 2015, 38, 252). Aided and sometimes pushed by his chief draughtsman Walter Smith, and a friend of Churchward, Wilson Worsdell presided over a lively period of North Eastern Railway locomotive history. He followed his brother to the Pennsylvania Railroad, becoming a pupil at the Altoona Works; and back again to England. In England he worked for the London & North Western Railway and then joined the North Eastern Railway in 1883. He succeeded his brother as Locomotive Superintendent in 1890, and until he retired in 1910 (Loco. Rly Carr. Wagon Rev., 1910, 16, 21) he brought out a series of new designs. Among them were his big fast 4-4-0 types, his Atlantics, and his 0-8-0 mineral engines. He agreed to build a few units of Smith's compound designs, but really preferred simples, rebuilding many of his brother's two-cylinder compounds into simples. At the November 1902 meeting of ARLE (as edited Hughes) Worsdell noted that the Americans had gone in strongly for compounds, but were now giving them up (this was in response to enthusiasm for developments in France as expressed by Johnson and by Churchward...
Spoke in Newcastle on return from USA (reported in Loco. Mag. 1903, 8, 217): Wilson Worsdell, Chief Mechanical Engineer of the North Eastern Railway speaking at Newcastle-on-Tyne, on Saturday, the 14 March., attributed the smooth running of American expresses to the mode of laying the track in the USA. He rode on the footplate of the celebrated Black Diamond express, and although travelling faster than 80 miles an hour, the engine ran so smoothly that he could have held a cup of water in his hand without spilling any. The American tracks were much preferable to the system adopted in Great Britain of using chairs to keep the rails in position. With the American roads there is less wear and tear on the locomotives, consequently they would be longer out of the shops between repairs. Worsdell was not at all impressed with the American sleeping cars, and announced that he had recently forwarded plans and drawings of the East Coast sleeping cars to America and he believed that before very long they would be adopted there. Commenting upon the passenger locomotives and a visit paid to the chief locomotive works at Altoona of the Pennsylvania Railroad, Worsdell remarked that he had recently designed, at Gateshead Works, a class ot twenty locomotives of the Atlantic type, the first of which he expected to be running in July. He did not think British mechani:al engineers need be ashamed of their locomotives as the Amencan engineers were allowed 10ft. 6-in. width for engines and cars, the British limit being 9:ft American engineers could build 16-ft. 6-in, the from the rail level to the top of chimney, but in this country they were restricted to 13-ft. The the North Eastern Railway, new engine he was building at Gateshead would have practlcally no chimney at all the only stack being in the smokebox.
Nock succinctly observed that Wilson Worsdell had the good fortune for his period of being in charge of locomotives to coincide with that of George Stegmann Gibb whom is described as being a dynamic and truly great railwayman whose invigorating leadership brought a big programme of improvements including accelerations, new works and internal reforms. Nock also summarises Wilson Worsdell's major overall contributions: the abandonment of the von Bories system of compounding, the replacement of Joy valve gear by the Stephenson link motion, and the introduction of piston valves, to which Geoffrey Williams adds outside cylinders, the Smith system of compounding, sloping firegrates, variable blastpipes, and in the later period, superheating and multiple cyclinders. One express passenger type is selected for particular mention: "the R class excelled in no uncertain terms". The RCTS Locomotives of the LNER Vol. 1 noted that Wilson Worsdell was willing to delegate: Walter Smith was responsible for introducing piston valves and the three-cylinder compound system. It also notes that the visit of a party of senior offices of the NER to the USA in 1901 led to the adoption of 5 ft 6 in diameter boilers. Along with Ivatt on the GNR to the south Worsdell was responsible for developing the ECML big engine policy.
George Heppell's North Eastern locomotives: a draughtsman's life adds considerably to our understanding of the design process at Gateshead and later at Darlington..
According to Tuplin, Wilson Worsdell had seen too much of compounding to like it; he also saw that 'single-drivers' were not going to be of much use for the heavier main line trains that the North Eastern expected to be running in the future. So his first design for such service was the Class M1 4-4-0, helped to look massive by an extended smokebox.
C.M. Jenkin Jones' comments in the centenary pamphlet to commemorate the North Eastern Railway are apposite: In a general survey of this kind. it is impossible to do justice to the design and performance of N.E.R. engines. A few types only can be mentioned, largely by way of example, and it would be easy to add many others. of equal distinction. Three great mechanical engineers were in command for sixty of the sixty-eight years of the N.E.R. Edward Fletcher, Wilson Worsdell and Sir Vincent Raven. Their influence is stamped indelibly on the design of North Eastern locomotives with the beauty of their straight footplating from front to back, which has always appealed to locomotive engineers and laymen alike. A further extract is found with W.M. Smith: the absence of T.W.'s name is significant.
R.Bell's Twenty-five years of the North Eastern Railway questions Wilson Worsdell's management abilities: "The Locomotive Department was managed more cavalierly [than that of the Superintendent of the Line, under Philip Burtt]. Wilson Worsdell, who succeeded T.W. Worsdell as Locomotive Superintendent in 1890, was a first-rate mechanical engineer. At his Gateshead headquarters he designed many useful engines during the next twenty years and kept them in good trim, but he had little bent for administrative work (KPJ's emphasis). That was left largely to his capable assistant, Vincent L. Raven, who supervised locomotive running, docks machinery and other activities. These unorthodox arrangements produced good results and at the same time D. Bain, who was in charge of the carriage and wagon works at York, was evolving a standard type of coach suited to the train services of the. North Eastern area." This probably explains why T.W. Worsdell was brought in. But Bell failed to mention the anomalous Smith.
A very lengthy obituary appeared in J. Instn Loco. Engrs, 1920,
10, 110-12. Wilson Worsdell, who was Chief Locomotive Engineer to
the North-Eastern Railway for some twenty years, died at South Ascot, on
1 April 1920. He was born in Crewe, and educated at Ackworth in the Society
of Friends School. He was a pupil in the Altoona Works of the Pennsylvania
Railway, but returned to England in 1871 and got an engagement at Crewe Works..
In 1883 he was appointed Assistant Locomotive Superintendent to the NER,
and succeeded his brother as Chief Mechanical Engineer to that Company in
1890. He left a widow and one son..
Mr. A. R. Bennett wrote of this sad event: The death of this prominent and talented Locomotive Engineer causes my recollection to revert to 1890, the year of the opening of the Forth Bridge and of the International Exhibition at Edinburgh, held to celebrate it, when, in my capacity of member of the Exhibition Engineering Committee in charge of the Railway Annexe, I first had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Wilson Worsdell, to whose care was confided the N.E.R. Co.s exhibit. This consisted of one of Mr. T.W. Worsdells single express compounds (No. 1521) , a first-class saloon carriage, and the old Stockton and Darlington Locomotion of 1825. These came to Edinburgh in a special train from Gateshead (the last on a truck), and were arranged on a parallel track alongside Mr. F.W. Webbs three-cylinder compound Jeannie Deans (specially named for the Exhibition) and a 3rd-class corridor lavatory carriage, then somewhat of a startling novelty, from Crewe. A slight accident occurred in marshalling the N.E.R. exhibit. The saloon, already in place, had the engine backed on to it by a N.B.R. pug engine with such superfluous violence that the tender buffers became locked with those of the saloon, with damage to paint and varnish-not to mention tempersbut all was remedied by the opening day. The late Duke of Edinburgh, who performed the inauguration ceremony as deputy to the Queen, took special notice of the N.E. engine, very resplendent in green and polished work, but declined an invitation to ascend the footplate. (He was in full Highland costume and it was a bit of a climb from the level!) The 1521 attracted much attention during the run of the Exhibition, compounding being then very novel and people not being able to understand, until they were shown, how a 20in. and a 28in. cylinder could be got between the frames. Besides the engines mentioned the G.N.R. showed No. 776, one of Mr. P. Stirlings 8-footers (which came under her own steam from Peterborough one Sunday morning and met with divers adventures on the road), and the Caledonian, one of Mr. D. Drummonds 4-4-0 expresses, so that both the East and West Coast routes were adequately represented. The original idea of the Railway Annexe was to have illustrated all three routes, but the Midland refused to lend an engine, to the great chagrin of their admirable Locomotive Engineer (the late Mr. S. W. Johnson), who wanted to transfer the engine then at Paris to Edinburgh. Then there was the G.W.R. broad-gauge Lord of the Isles, dating from 1851 and which had formed an attraction at the great Hyde Park Exhibition of that year ; and the Wylam Dilly, own sister to Puffing Billy, now of South Kensington, as well as a full-sized model of Stephensons Rocket, lent by Mr. F.W. Webb. Thus constituted, the Railway Annexe witnessed many meetings of locomotive engineers and was the scene of many discussions. I recollect one talk between Mr. Wilson Worsdell and a Caledonian official as to the respective merits of blue and green for locomotive ornamentation. Each stood up for his own colour, of course, but green seemed to have the better of the argument as regards durability and economy. The sombre livery of Jeannie Deans was humorously commented upon, Crewe being hailed as the special home of cast-iron and lamp-black. One day during the Exhibition I was present when an old man who had had charge of Stephensons engines on one of the first railways in Scotland was inspecting the Locomotion. He said that he had often driven the type and that modern folk did not realise of what good work it was capable when properly handled. The weakest part lay in the coupling-rods, which were prone to break close to the driving-crank pins, a fault never entirely overcome. With a modern boiler and various working parts strengthened such an engine as Locomotion would, he thought, be capable of heavy duty in proportion to its weight.
Mr. Wilson Worsdell was in feeble health at this time, being still suffering from the effects of a broken limb and other injuries caused by a tool van in which he was asleep being covered in a snow drift and run into by a relief engine with the idea of boosting it out of the road. He had great faith in his brothers engines and wished ardently to pit 1521 against Jeannie Deans in actual practical work. He was also desirous of trying her over the Waverley route with standard N.B.R. trains in competition with the Abbotsford class of Mr. D. Drummonds 4-4-0s which then worked that line. But this did not come to pass. Nor did a proposal to run the N.E.R. engine and saloon, with a number of distinguished guests, over the Forth Bridge to Perth after the close of the Exhibition. There were questions of running powers between the two concerns, and such matters had to be referred to the hautc politiquc.
Mr. Wilson Worsdell, like his brother, had not been convinced by his American experience that American methods were superior to British. They adopted the American cab, but neither bar frames nor outside cylinders commanded their special approval. Nevertheless the Pennsylvania staff and Altoona Works were always referred to with respect. Mr. Wilson Worsdell was invariably genial and usually had a joke in reserve not far below the surface. He was in the happy position of a man whose profession is exactly what he would have chosen for himself, and when he succeeded his brother as Chief Mechanical Engineer he justified the fulfilment of his highest ambition by a devotion to the exacting duties of the position which has not often, I opine, been exceeded.
Birse, Ronald M. entry in. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
W. A. Tuplin, North Eastern Steam (1970).
Hill: The Worsdells: a Quaker engineering dynasty
Nock, O.S. Railway enthusuast's encyclopedia
Rutherford (BackTrack, 13, 38)
Robert W. Worsdell
Robert W. Worsdell, manager of carriage works at Heaton became works manager of wagon dept at Shildon. Locomotive Mag., 1909, 15, 62;
Nephew of Wilson Worsdell. Moved from York Carriage Works of NER to become Robinson's chief assistant in the Carriage & Wagon Department at Gortn in July 1902. See David Jackson J.G. Robinson and Loco. Mag., 1904, 10, 219 for bogie locomotive coal wagon.
Walter Mackersie Smith
According to Marshall Smith was born at Ferryport-on-Craig, Montrose on 25 February 1842. Note Marshall was incorrect in his middle name (MacKenzie). He was educated at Dundee High School and then apprenticed to William Norman & Sons and then at Todd & McGregor in Glasgow and following this worked for Neilson & Co before working for Samuel Johnson on the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway and followed Johnson to Stratford on the GER where according to Hoole he was Chief Draughtsman. He was Locomotive Superintendent of the Japanese government railways from 1874 to 1883, Walter Smith became chief draughtsman at the North Eastern Railway's Gateshead Works in 1883. Hoole (Rly Wld, 1957, 18, 77) notes that his salary was increased to £362 per annum on 1 January 1893). Thanks to his friendship with Johnson of the Midland Railway, and the understanding of his superior, Worsdell, he was able to put several of his ideas into practice, including his segmental piston rings and his three-cylinder compound system. The adoption of the latter by the Midland Railway demonstrated that Smith had succeeded, where many others had failed, in making a really successful British compound. Atkins (below) indicates that Smith's son John became Chief Draughtsman at Derby. after Walter Smith died on 25 October 1906. On page 96 of British locomotives of the 20th century. Volume 1. 1900-1930. Nock states that Smith "did not see eye to eye with the Chief". According to Nock (Great locomotives of the LNER) Smith's middle name was Mackersie, and he was "one of the ablest locomotive engineers ever to serve the North Eastern". Mackersie is indeed the middle name: Illustrated Official Journal (Patents) 1898 (13 July).page 853 and other pages relating to his inventions. The incorrect middle name may stem from the Locomotive Mag., 1906, 12, 220 notice. George Heppell's North Eastern locomotives: a draughtsman's life adds considerably to our understanding of the design process at Gateshead...
Jenkin Jones added: "Another name that will always be associated with N.E.R. locomotives is Walter M. Smith, the Chief Draughtsman at Gateshead for more than 20 years until his death in 1906. His influence on the general design of locomotives was very great and his original work on piston valves and compounding was outstanding."
Results of recent practical experience with express locomotive engines. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs, 1898, 55, 605-69.
The application of cylindrical steam distributing valves to locomotives. Proc. Instn Mech. Engrs, 1902, 63, 515-44.
Most are based on based on Atkins, but an additional one and all post-1895 patents have been verified via Espacenet
1878/1884. Bogie truck Applied 13 April 1884.
4790/1884. Radial axle box Applied 12 March 1884
17833/1888. Piston valves. Applied 6 December 1888
571/1889. Anti-vacuum valve with J.W. Smith. Applied 11 January 1889
20769/1890. Two-cylinder compound locomotive. Applied 19 December 1890
14061/1891. Piston valves. Applied 11 October 1891
22868/1896 Improvements in steam Engines. Applied 15 October 1896. Published 15 October 1897.
Improvements to piston valves/direct drive
6118/1897 Improvements in steam generators. Applied 9 March 1897. Published 1 January 1898
Firebox water tubes
18213/1897 Improvements in steam generators of the locomotive type. Applied 5 August 1897. Published 30 July 1898
Firebox water tubes
14721/1898 Improvements in compound locomotive engines. Applied 4 July 1898. Published 3 September 1898
Three-cylinder compound locomotives
16310/1900 Improvements in steam engines. Applied 4 July 1900. Published 13 September 1900
Four-cylinder compound locomotives
5526/1901 Improvements in steam engines. Applied 15 March 1901. Published 13 February 1902
Four-cylinder compound locomotives
13635/1904 Improvements in compound locomotives. Applied 16 June 1904. Published 27 April 1905
Attachment of cylinders in three-cylinder compound
19351/1904 Improvements in the methods of lubricating locomotive cylinders. Applied 8 September 1904. Published 13 July 1905.
See: O.S. Nock
Locomotives of the North Eastern Railway. 1954.
The Midland Compounds (1964).
The four cylinder compound Atlantics of the North Eastern Railway. Philip Atkins. Backtrack, 11, 424-9.
John William Smith
Son of Walter Mackersie Smith. Born in 1866 whilst
his father was at Stratford and was educated in Dundee and Newcastle: see
David Jackson's J.G. Robinson.
Trained at Gateshead on NER. According
to Radford joined Midland Railway in October 1891. He became Chief Locomotive
Draughtsman following Iveson's retirement
Jackson notes that Smith was sent to the USA to inspect the orders
from Baldwin and Schenectady for 2-6-0s. According to electronic communication
from Phil Atkins he transferred to Derby
in 1889, ostensibly to assist Johnson with piston valves, and was the catalyst
for introducing the Midland compounds on the basis of NER No. 1619. Atkins
firmly states that Smith's transfer to the GCR at Gorton in 1906 where he
became Works Manager was after the four Smith compounds had been built
there.: Atkins notes that in a letter to him from J.F. Harrison it was observed
that Smith was a very mild man whose true forte was locomotive design. Smith
left Derby at time of patenting with Charles Reginald Winn (a Birmingham
manufacturer of safety valves and lubricators). He was a pillar of the Manchester
Centre of the Institution of Locomotive Engineers during the period following
its formation. Smith was sharp in his
comments on C.J. Allen's paper on locomotive performance: "The author
seems to have formed the opinion that locomotive engineers do not possess
data obtained from actual tests to guide them on matters of design. They
have quite a lot of information...". Present in group photograph taken at
Railway Centenary in Darlington: J. Instn
Loco, Engrs, 1925, 15, 576 .
Patent: 11190/1903.Water level indicator for locomotive tanks or tenders (applied 16 May 1903 and published 17 March 1904)..