Alleyne, Sir John Gay Newton

SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
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b. 8 September 1820 Barbados
d. 20 February 1912 Falmouth, Cornwall, England
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English iron and steel manufacturer, inventor of the reversing rolling mill.
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Alleyne was the heir to a baronetcy created in 1769, which he succeeded to on the death of his father in 1870. He was educated at Harrow and at Bonn University, and from 1843 to 1851 he was Warden at Dulwich College, to the founder of which the family claimed to be related.
Alleyne's business career began with a short spell in the sugar industry at Barbados, but he returned to England to enter Butterley Iron Works Company, where he remained for many years. He was at first concerned with the production of rolled-iron girders for floors, especially for fireproof flooring, and deck beams for iron ships. The demand for large sections exceeded the capacity of the small mills then in use at Butterley, so Alleyne introduced the welding of T-sections to form the required H-sections.
In 1861 Alleyne patented a mechanical traverser for moving ingots in front of and behind a rolling mill, enabling one person to manipulate large pieces. In 1870 he introduced his major innovation, the two-high reversing mill, which enabled the metal to be passed back and forth between the rolls until it assumed the required size and shape. The mill had two steam engines, which supplied the motion in opposite directions. These two inventions produced considerable economies in time and effort in handling the metal and enabled much heavier pieces to be processed.
During Alleyne's regime, the Butterley Company secured some notable contracts, such as the roof of St Paneras Station, London, in 1868, with the then-unparalleled span of 240 ft (73 m). The manufacture and erection of this awe-inspiring structure was a tribute to Alleyne's abilities. In 1872 he masterminded the design and construction of the large railway bridge over the Old Maas at Dordrecht, Holland. Alleyne also devised a method of determining small quantities of phosphorus in iron and steel by means of the spectroscope. In his spare time he was a skilled astronomical observer and metalworker in his private workshop.
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Bibliography
1875, "The estimation of small quantities of phosphorus in iron and steel by spectrum analysis", Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute : 62.
Further Reading
Obituary, 1912, Journal of the Iron and Steel Institute : 406–8.
LRD

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

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