First name(s)
Thomas
Surname
Clarkson
Position(s) held at King's College London
  • Demonstrator in Metallurgy; 1888-1891 
  • Evening Class Lecturer on Metallurgy; 1889-1890

Education & professional details

School, college and/or university attended Refs: *1 *2

Trained as mechanical engineer at the Manchester Technical School (1885); Thomas Clarkson was the 1st Whitworth Scholar in 1885 to be awarded 200; Studied at the Royal College of Science, London for three years.

Qualifications Ref: *1

Associate of the Royal School of Mines. A Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (M.I.M.E) from 1891.

Position(s) held (non King's College London) Ref: *1

Member of the Council of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) 1906; President of the Institution of Automobile Engineers (1920-1921).

Professional activities Ref: *1

Clarkson resigned his position at King's College London in 1891 to develop improvements in milling machinery and in 1893 visited America gaining the highest award at the Chicago World's Fair for his own sampling machine. In 1895 he began adapting steam engines for use in automobiles. Joined by Mr. Capel of Dalston, forming the Clarkson and Capel Steam Car Syndicate at Chelmsford, Essex and by 1903 had established Chelmsford Steam Cars. In 1909 Thomas Clarkson started the National Steam Car Co to run steam buses in London in competition with the London General Omnibus Co. The Clarkson burner, condenser, and automatic lubricator are three well-known specimens of the work of a carefully trained, scientific engineer.

Publications

He was the author of several papers on steam vehicles as well as metallurgical subjects, including Steam as a Motive Power for Public Service Vehicles which he read before the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1906. He attended the Canadian Summer Meeting of the Institution in 1932.

Personal details

Date of birth Ref: *1
1864
Place of birth Ref: *1
Salford, Manchester
Date of death Ref: *1
April 3rd 1933
Place of death
St Leonard's-on-Sea, East Sussex.
Obituary Ref: *1

1932-1933 Institution of Automobile Engineers: Obituaries_.

Family details Ref: *1

Thomas Clarkson was the son of Thomas Clarkson a Retired Cotton Spinner. Married Alice Catherine Wakeford (1868-1910) the daughter of Walter Wakeford on 11th July 1891. Married his second wife Charlotte S. Moore at Westminster in 1911. Lived at Newcomen, Wishing Tree Lane, St Leonard's-on-Sea, East Sussex in 1933.

Notes Ref: *3

Clarkson resigned his position at King's College London in 1891 to develop improvements in milling machinery and in 1893 visited America gaining the highest award at the Chicago World's Fair for his own sampling machine. In 1895 he began adapting steam engines for use in automobiles. Joined by Mr. Capel of Dalston, forming the Clarkson and Capel Steam Car Syndicate at Chelmsford, Essex and by 1903 had established Chelmsford Steam Cars. In 1909 Thomas Clarkson started the National Steam Car Co to run steam buses in London in competition with the London General Omnibus Co. The Clarkson burner, condenser, and automatic lubricator are three well-known specimens of the work of a carefully trained, scientific engineer.

The 2nd AGM of the National Steam Car Company was held on 21st December 1912 which declared a Dividend of 10%. The meeting was addressed by the Managing Director Mr. Thomas Clarkson.

* References

  1. Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History, “Thomas Clarkson”, http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Thomas_Clarkson. [Accessed 6 June 2017].
  2. The North Eastern Daily Gazette 8 August 1885
  3. The Times 21 December 1912, 17

Photograph: Thomas Clarkson, Institution of Automobile Engineers President 1919-20. Courtesy of Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History

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