S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science




Clark, Mr George Muirhead (electrical engineering)

Born: 20 July 1869, London, United Kingdom.
Died: 29 January 1946, Whitstable, Kent, United Kingdom.

George M. Clark qualified as Master of Arts (MA) at the University of Cambridge and was trained as an engineer at Messrs Crompton & Company in Chelmsford. He became an associate member (later a member) of the (Btitish) Institution of Civil Engineers. In 1894 he was appointed as assistant engineer to the Westminster Electric Supply Corporation and the next year became personal assistant to the chief engineer, Sir Alexander Kennedy. His main interest during his early professional years was in the measurement of temperature based on changes in the electrical resistance of metals. He reported this work in a paper read before the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1894 entitled "On a direct reading form of platinum thermometer". Two other papers soon followed: "Note on the determination of low temperatures by platinum thermometers" (as joint author with E.H. Griffiths, Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 1895) and "The measure of temperature: An application of the measurement of resistance" (Electrician, 1897, in 5 parts),

On 12 August 1899 Clark succeeded A.P. Trotter* as Government Electrical Engineer (also named Government Electrician) in the General Post Office of the Cape Colony, a post he held for about three years. Also in 1899 he became a member of the South African Philosophical Society and was still a member of its successor, the Royal Society of South Africa, in 1917. He resided in Cape Town until 1903, when he moved to Johannesburg upon being appointed resident engineer to the Johannesburg waterworks, a post he held until 1907, when he became chief engineer to the Calcutta Electric Supply Commission.

In 1909 Clark returned to South Africa and acted as consulting engineer to the Victoria Falls and Transvaal Power Company. He was responsible for the company's compressed air system and for power station works. Subsequently he designed and oversaw the construction of power stations for Pretoria, Johannesburg and Bloemfontein. He joined the British Association for the advancement of science in 1902, and the newly founded South African Geographical Society in 1917. In 1917/18 he was president of the South African Institution of Engineers and in the latter year became a member of the South African Association for the Advancement of Science.

In October 1915 G.M. Clark, presumably him, gave an address at Naauwpoort, Cape Province, entitled "What is the Boy Scout movement?" The address was published as a pamphlet in Johannesburg that same year. In 1925 he retired and returned to England, where he served as a member of various committees of the British Standards Institution.


List of sources:
British Association for the Advancement of Science. Report of the seventy-fifth meeting... South Africa, 1905, list of members.

Cape of Good Hope. Civil service list, 1901, 1902.

Cape of Good Hope. Report of the Government Electrical Engineer, 1899.

Draper, J.R. The engineer's contribution: A history of the South African Institution of Mechanical Engineers, 1892-1967 (p. 245). Johannesburg: SAIME, 1967.

General directory of South Africa (Cape Town), 1903.

George Muirhead Clark. In Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History. http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/George_Muirhead_Clark

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS). http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to Clark, G.M.

Royal Society of London. Catalogue of scientific papers [1800-1900]. London: Royal Society, 1867-1925.

Royal Society of South Africa. Transactions, 1908-1910, Vol. 1 and 1917, Vol. 6: Lists of members.

South African Association for the Advancement of Science. Report, 1918, list of members.

South African bibliography to the year 1925. London: Mansell, 1979.

South African Geographical Journal, 1917, Vol. 1(1), list of members.

South African Philosophical Society. Transactions, 1900-1907, Vol. 11, 16 and 17: Lists of members.


Compiled by: C. Plug


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