Mavor, Henry Alexander

Mavor, Henry Alexander
b. 1858 Stranraer, Scotland
d. 16 July 1915 Mauchline, Ayrshire, Scotland
Scottish engineer who pioneered the use of electricity for lighting, power and the propulsion of ships.
Mavor came from a distinguished Scottish family with connections in medicine, industry and the arts. On completion of his education at Glasgow University, he joined R.J.Crompton \& Co.; then in 1883, along with William C.Muir, he established the Glasgow firm which later became well known as Mavor and Coulson. It pioneered the supply of electricity to public undertakings and equipped the first two generating stations in Scotland. Mavor and his fellow directors appreciated the potential demand by industry in Glasgow for electricity. Two industries were especially well served; first, the coal-mines, where electric lighting and power transformed efficiency and safety beyond recognition; and second, marine engineering. Here Mavor recognized the importance of the variable-speed motor in working with marine propellers which have a tighter range of efficient working speeds. In 1911 he built a 50 ft (15 m) motor launch, appropriately named Electric Arc, at Dumbarton and fitted it with an alternating-current motor driven by a petrol engine and dynamo. Within two years British shipyards were building electrically powered ships, and by the beginning of the First World War the United States Navy had a 20,000-ton collier with this new form of propulsion.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Vice-President, Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland 1894–6.
Mavor published several papers on electric power supply, distribution and the use of electricity for marine purposes in the Transactions of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland between the years 1890 and 1912.
Further Reading
Mavor and Coulson Ltd, 1911, Electric Propulsion of Ships, Glasgow.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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