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Scots and Scots Descendant in America
Part II - Contributions by Noted American Scotsmen
Scots in American Engineering by John Findley Wallace

IN treating of American engineers of Scottish birth and descent, it is a difficult matter to mention specific names without omitting men of probably as much if not more prominence than those mentioned, on account of the large number of Scots who have acquired prominence in the engineering profession, and the exceedingly high average quality of their attainments. I have, therefore, mentioned only those whom I consider typical, from personal acquaintance or knowledge.

I presume that American engineers are willing to let Andrew Carnegie head the list as, while he was not a technical engineer, his extraordinary success has depended upon the development of engineering processes with which he has been directly in touch, and his interest in the engineering profession, which has so ably assisted in bringing about that success, has led to his taking the lead as a patron of the engineering profession, as exemplified by his donation to the buildings used by the associated engineering societies of the United States and the Engineers’ Club of New York City.

I presume that engineers are willing also to acknowledge Alexander Graham Bell, an Edinburgh Scot, as possibly a leader of engineering development, the inventor of the telephone and an investigator of the highest order.

Among civil engineers who have acquired prominence, I might mention Alexander C. Shand, a graduate of Anderson University, Glasgow, who has spent his professional life in the service, and in developing the physical improvements of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and who at the present time is Chief Engineer of the corporation.

David Sloan, Consulting Engineer for MacArthur Bros. Co., has had a successful engineering experience; his earlier work was connected with the L. S. & M. S. Ry., then with the C. M. & St. P. Ry. and for many years he was the Principal Assistant Engineer, and later Chief Engineer of the I. C. R. R.

Charles Pettigrew, a native of the village of New Lanark, near the falls of the Clyde, the moving spirit in the development of modern steel rail rolling processes, started as a machinist in the plant of the Joliet Steel Company in 1870, and twenty-six years later resigned as Manager.

William Gibson, as the culmination of his railroad engineering work, finally turned his attention to transportation matters and made an enviable record on the Alabama Great Southern R. R., the Q. & C., the C. H. & D., the C. C. C. & St. L. and Hocking Valley, and as General Superintendent of Transportation of the B. & O. R. R.

In Canada, Donald Smith, Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal, engineer, promoter, capitalist and Canadian Commissioner, constructed the Canadian Pacific Railroad from Winnipeg, Man., to Seattle, Wash.

Morley Donaldson occupies a high official position on the Grand Trunk Railway, having served as General Superintendent of the Canada Atlantic Ry., graduating into the operating class as a result of his successful engineering experience.

Malcolm Hugh MacLeod, Chief Engineer and General Manager of the Canadian Northern Ry., achieved this position as the result of a successful career in railway engineering on various Canadian railways.

I might also mention Duncan MacPherson, assistant to the Chairman of the Board of the National Transcontinental Railway.

As an example of the class whose field has been entirely civil engineering and who have made a specialty of bridge work, a leader in this branch of the profession, is Charles Macdonald. Born in Canada in 1837, of Scottish descent, he is a graduate of Queen’s University, Canada, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N. Y. He has been Engineer of Construction, Grand Trunk Ry. in Michigan, and P. & R. Ry., Engineer of the Poughkeepsie Bridge; Merchants’ Bridge, St. Louis; Leavenworth (Kansas) Bridge; and the Great Hawksburg Bridge, Australia.

I presume that engineers will be glad to yield to John Hays Hammond the position of peer of the mining branch of engineering. He was born in San Francisco, in 1855, of Scottish descent, and was educated at Yale and also at Freiberg, Saxony. At one time he was engaged in the United States Geological Survey service; later with the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, and the Central and Southern Pacific Railways, and Consulting Engineer for Barnato Brothers. For a number of years he was associated with Cecil Rhodes, of whom he was a strong supporter, and was at one time in jeopardy of his life as one of the leaders of the Reform Movement in South Africa. He has been consulting mining engineer in almost every part of the world, and was Special Ambassador, appointed by President Taft, at the Coronation of George V. As a lecturer and writer on scientific and economic subjects, he has rendered most valuable contributions to the profession and to the world.

Among other mining engineers of Scottish descent I might mention the late Frank McMillan Stanton and John Robert Stanton, brothers, who acquired prominence and reputation in the development of low-grade copper areas and particularly in the Lake Superior copper region.

Other engineers of Scottish descent who have acquired reputation in the mining field are: Philip Argall, Consulting Mining Engineer of Denver, Colo., a member of various scientific societies and the author of books on metallurgy, mining, etc.; William Nivan, mineralogist, who has a record of having discovered three new minerals and two prehistoric cities. He is a member of scientific societies and contributor to valuable scientific publications; James Douglas, metallurgist and mining engineer, developer of the Phelps-Dodge properties in Arizona and Mexico, inventor of processes for the wet-extraction of copper and the first to extract copper electrolytically on a commercial basis.

Among the architects, I might mention John M. Donaldson, of Detroit, Mich., designer of many important buildings and a member of numerous scientific societies.

In the electrical field is Wm. Chas. Lawson Eglin, Chief Engineer of the Philadelphia Electric Co., who has designed many important electrical installations and power houses throughout the eastern portion of the United States.

In the field of research, authorship, and instruction are quite a number of Scots by birth, or descent, who have rendered valuable service in the development of the engineering profession.

Richard C. Maclaurin, a native of Lindean, Scotland, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has held many professorships, has been honored by various degrees, and is the author of a number of valuable books.

Alexander C. Humphreys, a native of Edinburgh, President of Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, is a pioneer in the development of the modern gas industry and one of thc leading illuminating engineers.

Herbert Michael Wilson, Engineer United States Bureau of Mines, is a member of numerous societies and author of books and reports on coal, fires, and mines.

T. Brailsford Robertson, Professor of Chemistry, University of California, has made a specialty of fertilization and is the author of valuable hooks.

Alexander Wilmar Duff, Professor of Physics in Worcester Polytechnic Institute, is a holder of numerous degrees, and the author of books on mechanics, measurements, etc.

George Robert McDermott has made a specialty of naval architecture, is a professor in Cornell University, previous to which he held responsible positions in the engineering world, a member of scientific bodies, and the author of valuable books on engineering, etc.

Angus Sinclair, a native of Forfarshire, is an authority on fuel economy in locomotive service, author of handbooks published in many languages, and publisher of Locomotive Engineering, New York.

Edward Provan Carthcart, Professor at Carnegie Institute, has made organic chemistry his specialty.

William Francis Gray Swann, Professor at Carnegie Institute, whose specialty has been magnetism, is the author of valuable books thereon.

Anthony McGill, Professor of Chemistry, Toronto University, has been the recipient of various degrees and is a member of numerous societies.

Among the hydraulic engineers is William Mulholland, consulting hydraulic engineer, who constructed the Los Angeles Aqueduct, has been chief engineer of various water works, and is an engineer who has acquired prominence on the Pacific Coast.

I desire also to especially mention John Thomson, who worthily prides himself on being a Scot, who has rendered great service not only to America but to the civilized world through numerous mechanical inventions and developments, among others the first practical commercial water meter; he has assisted in carrying improvements of the printing press to the present high standards, and has rendered valuable service as an expert in the adjustment of admiralty cases.

I could burden this article with a continuation of many names of similar character, but the number is so numerous it is impossible to do so in the space assigned to me. I could also amplify on the individual attainments of these gentlemen, but additional data in regard thereto will doubtless be found in the text of this publication.

New York City.

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