John Wanklyn McConnel


    A COMBINATION of business ability and legal training with real experience of agriculture as well as of textile engineering, directed fey a passion for constructive organisation, brought the late Mr. J. W. McConnel to occupy an exceptional position as an exponent of industry in relation to science, and his death on May 25 at the age of sixty-seven is more than premature. His grandfather founded the firm of McConnel & Co., fine cotton spinners, whose mills are now the second largest in the world, in 1797, and Mr. McConnel was thus one of the aristocrats of the industry. The purchase by McConnels of the English patent rights of the Heilman Comber gave him, as a young man, an exceptional experience with the one new machine which the industry has evolved during the century; this experience influenced his outlook in later years, and seemed to render him much less convinced of finality than most cotton spinners, and hence more eager for theapplication of scientific methods. Incidentally, it may be mentioned that he was one of the first two students in the then new school of engineering at Cambridge. Thus he was led to advance a scheme for the formation of a special department in Manchester University at the British Association meeting of 1915; but, failing to secure a permanent endowment, he obtained the co-operation of the Fine Cotton Spinners' and Doublers' Association to undertake the proposed scientific work, which has since steadily developed into an experimental department of the combine with workshops and spinning mill as well as laboratories.

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    John Wanklyn McConnel. Nature 109, 821 (1922).

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