Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology

By Lance Day; Ian McNeil | Go to book overview

W

Walker, Madame C.J.

b. 1867 Louisiana, USA

d. 1919 USA


African-American inventor of hair and cosmetic treatments.

She was born Sarah Breedlove in rural Louisiana, but she moved to St Louis, Mississippi, and settled there, first earning a living as a washerwoman. That occupation did not satisfy her for long, however; she saw a need among black women to smarten their appearance to improve their chances in city life, and by 1905 she had concocted a mixture that could straighten and groom black women's hair. She began to market her product in Denver, Colorado, under her married name, Madame C.J. Walker. After five further years of intensive marketing and persuading black women that they needed this product, she was able to establish her headquarters in Indianapolis for the national distribution of her hair and cosmetic products. She also set up beauty salons, which were especially successful in Harlem, New York.


Further Reading
P.P. James, 1989, The Real McCoy: African-American Invention and Innovation 1619-1930, Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution, pp. 85-6.

LRD


Wallace, Sir William

b. 25 August 1881 Leicester, England

d. 27 May 1963 Edinburgh, Scotland


English engineer; developer of the Denny-Brown fin stabilizer for ships.

Wallace was brought up just outside Glasgow, and educated at Paisley Grammar School and later at the Anderson College in Glasgow. The next few years were typical of the early years in the life of many young engineers: he served an apprenticeship at the Paisley shipyard of Bow, MacLachlan, before joining the British and Burmese Steam Navigation Company (Paddy Henderson's Line) as a junior engineer. After some years on the Glasgow to Rangoon service, he rose to the rank of Chief Engineer early in life and then came ashore in 1911.

He joined the old established Edinburgh engineering company of Brown Brothers as a draughtsman, but by 1917 had been promoted Managing Director. He was appointed Chairman in 1946. During his near thirty years at the helm, he experimented widely and was the engineering force behind the development of the Denny-Brown ship stabilizer which was jointly pursued by Brown Brothers and the Dumbarton shipyard of William Denny & Brothers. The first important installation was on the cross-channel steamer Isle of Sark, built at Dumbarton for the Southern Railway in 1932. Over the years countless thousands of these installations have been fitted on liners, warships and luxury yachts. Brown Brothers produced many other important engineering innovations at this time, including the steam catapult for aircraft carriers.

In later years Sir William (now knighted) took an active part in the cultural life of Edinburgh and of Scotland. From 1952 to 1954 he served as President of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland.


Principal Honours and Distinctions

Knighted 1951. CBE 1944. Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. President, Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland 1952-4; Gold Medal.


Bibliography
1954-5 'Experiences in the stabilization of ships', Transactions of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland 98:197-266.

FMW


Wallingford, Abbot Richard of

See Richard of Wallingford, Abbot.


Wallis, Sir Barnes Neville

b. 26 September 1887 Ripley, Derbyshire, England

d. 30 October 1979 Leatherhead, Surrey, England

-734-

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Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • How to Use the Dictionary xiii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 122
  • D 187
  • E 228
  • F 247
  • G 277
  • H 315
  • German Organic Chemist. 347
  • I 368
  • J 374
  • K 391
  • L 412
  • Bibliography 418
  • M 451
  • N 513
  • O 528
  • P 535
  • Q 582
  • R 583
  • S 619
  • T 689
  • U 721
  • V 722
  • W 734
  • X 778
  • Y 779
  • Z 785
  • Index by Subject Area 790
  • Index of Topics 808
  • Index of Names 823
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