S2A3 Biographical Database of Southern African Science

Dalton, Mr George Allen (electrical engineering)

Born: 25 July 1891, Barberton, South Africa.
Died: 18 December 1965, Johannesburg, South Africa.

George Allen Dalton, son of Joseph Charles Dalton and his wife Mary, was educated at the Durban High School and received some technical education at the Durban Technical Institute (later the Durban Technical College) in 1907, the year in which the institute was established. He continued his studies briefly at the City and Guilds Institute, London, and the Transvaal School of Mines and Technology in Johannesburg. In 1908 he joined the Natal Government Railways and completed a seven year practical training course. After World War I (1914-1918) he was appointed (in 1918) on the staff of the chief electrical engineer of the South African Railways and Harbours in Johannesburg. He was a member of the (British) Institution of Electrical Engineers.

During the late nineteen-twenties Dalton worked for the consulting engineers Merz and McLellan for five years, on the Natal main line, the electrification of the Cape Town suburban railway scheme, and the construction of power stations at Colenso, Congella, Witbank and Salt River. Part of this work was described in his paper on "The electrification of the Cape Town suburban railway, with special reference to coaching stocks", which appeared in the Transactions of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers (1929, Vol. 20(1), p. 13).

After returning to the South African Railways and Harbours Dalton was involved in all its electrification work and was appointed its chief electrical engineer in July 1938. He retired from this post in July 1951. In 1946 he was a member of a special South African Railways mission to Europe and North America. Three years later he attended the International Railway Congress held in Lisbon, Portugal, where he presented a paper on electric locomotive design. That same year he, E. Meyer and C.H. Sthioul wrote an article on "Electric locomotives for high-speed trains" for the Railway Gazette.

Dalton became an associate member of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1919, and a full member in 1940. From that year he served on the institute's council and was elected president of the institute for 1946. In his presidential address he described "The work of the Electrical Department of the South African Railways" (Transaction of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1946, Vol. 37(1), p. 10). He also served as chairman of the Constitution and By-Laws Committee of council from its inception to his death. In 1964 he was elected an honorary member of the institute.

After his retirement Dalton was a director of, and consultant to, the Heinemann Electric Company of South Africa. He was married to Kathleen Elizabeth Simpson, with whom he had two sons and a daughter. After her death in 1960 he married his second wife, Susan Dalton.

List of sources:

Google scholar. http://scholar.google.co.za/ Publications by G.A. Dalton.

National Archives Repository (TAB), Source MHG, Vol. 0, Ref. 916/66: Death notice, George Allen Dalton.

National Automated Archival Information Retrieval System (NAAIRS), at http://www.national.archives.gov.za/naairs.htm Documents relating to George Allen Dalton.

Obituary: Mr G.A. Dalton. Transactions of the South African Institute of Electrical Engineers, 1966, Vol. 57, pp. 49-50.

South African Institute of Electrical Engineers. Index of SAIEE Transactions, 1909-2007. Electronic file received from SAIEE.

Compiled by: C. Plug