Wallace, Sir William

SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
b. 25 August 1881 Leicester, England
d. 27 May 1963 Edinburgh, Scotland
English engineer; developer of the Denny-Brown fin stabilizer for ships.
Wallace was brought up just outside Glasgow, and educated at Paisley Grammar School and later at the Anderson College in Glasgow. The next few years were typical of the early years in the life of many young engineers: he served an apprenticeship at the Paisley shipyard of Bow, MacLachlan, before joining the British and Burmese Steam Navigation Company (Paddy Henderson's Line) as a junior engineer. After some years on the Glasgow to Rangoon service, he rose to the rank of Chief Engineer early in life and then came ashore in 1911.
He joined the old established Edinburgh engineering company of Brown Brothers as a draughtsman, but by 1917 had been promoted Managing Director. He was appointed Chairman in 1946. During his near thirty years at the helm, he experimented widely and was the engineering force behind the development of the Denny-Brown ship stabilizer which was jointly pursued by Brown Brothers and the Dumbarton shipyard of William Denny \& Brothers. The first important installation was on the cross-channel steamer Isle of Sark, built at Dumbarton for the Southern Railway in 1932. Over the years countless thousands of these installations have been fitted on liners, warships and luxury yachts. Brown Brothers produced many other important engineering innovations at this time, including the steam catapult for aircraft carriers.
In later years Sir William (now knighted) took an active part in the cultural life of Edinburgh and of Scotland. From 1952 to 1954 he served as President of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Knighted 1951. CBE 1944. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. President, Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland 1952–4; Gold Medal.
1954–5 "Experiences in the stabilization of ships", Transactions of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland 98:197–266.

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

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