Herbert, Sir Alfred Edward

b. 5 September 1866 Leicester, England
d. 26 May 1957 Kings Somborne, Hampshire, England
English mechanical engineer and machine-tool manufacturer.
Alfred Herbert was educated at Stoneygate School, Leicester, and served an apprenticeship with Joseph Jessop \& Sons, also of Leicester, from 1881 to 1886. In 1887 he was engaged as Manager of a small engineering firm in Coventry, and before the end of that year he purchased the business in partnership with William Hubbard. They commenced the manufacture of machine-tools especially for the cycle industry. Hubbard withdrew from the partnership in 1890 and Herbert continued on his own account, the firm being established as a limited liability company, Alfred Herbert Ltd, in 1894. A steady expansion of the business continued, especially after the introduction of their capstan lathe, and by 1914 it was the largest manufacturer of machine-tools in Britain. In addition to making machine-tools of all types for the home and export market, the firm acted as an agent for the import of specialist machine-tools from abroad. During the First World War Alfred Herbert was in 1915 appointed head of machine-tool production at the War Office and when the Ministry of Munitions was set up he was transferred to that Ministry as Controller of Machine Tools. He was President of the Machine Tools Trades Association from 1919 to 1934. He was elected a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1892 and in 1921 was a founder member of the Institution of Production Engineers. Almost to the end of his long life he continued to take an active part in the direction of his company. He expressed his views on current events affecting industry in the technical press and in his firm's house journal.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
KBE 1917. Officier de la Légion d'honneur 1917. Order of St Stanislas of Russia 1918. Order of Leopold of Belgium 1918. Freeman of the City of Coventry 1933. President, Institution of Production Engineers 1927–9. Honorary Member, Institution of Mechanical Engineers 1941.
1948, Shots at the Truth, Coventry (a selection of his speeches and writings).
Further Reading
D.J.Jeremy (ed.), 1984–6, Dictionary of Business Biography, Vol. 3, London, pp. 174–7 (a useful account).
Obituary, 1957, Engineering, 183:680.

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

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