Sad Death of John Brown
Member of the Institute for over 40 years
John Brown was born in 1927 in Darjeeling, India, where his father was serving in the British Army. Returning to England as an infant he was brought up in Shropshire. He won a scholarship to Oxford University where he studied physics at St. John’s college, graduating in 1948.
His first job was with the Imperial Smelting Company at Avonmouth, using X-ray diffraction to study non-ferrous alloys. After 3 years he moved to Wolverhampton to the newly formed GKN Research Laboratory where he worked for 20 years. He became Head of Steelmaking Research, carrying out projects for the 3 steelworks that GKN owned at that time. When GKN lost its steelworks following nationalisation he turned to research into casting processes and joined GKN Castings Ltd, a large group of ferrous and non-ferrous foundries, as Technical Manager.
In the early 1980s he became Technical Director of Fordath Ltd, a company supplying resins and other products to the foundry industry. From there he moved to Foseco International Ltd, an international company supplying technology to casting companies worldwide, where he worked extensively on aluminium casting technologies and the development of the lost foam casting technique.
His work took him all over the world, including Australia, Japan and Russia as well as Europe and the USA, visiting companies to advise them on casting techniques and assisting them in overcoming technical difficulties.
Retiring in 1992, he wrote both the 10th and 11th editions of the Foseco Foundryman’s Handbook, but decided to turn his attention to historical metallurgy. Living just a few miles from the birthplace of industry in the Ironbridge Gorge, he was ideally located to investigate the problems early iron makers would have experienced. He travelled the county locating ancient furnaces and forges, and was a member of the Academic and Curatorial Committee at the Ironbridge Gorge Museum where his technical knowledge was much appreciated.
John Brown was a member of the Historical Metallurgy Society, Fellow of the Institute of Physics, Fellow of the Institute of Metallurgists and a Member of the Institute of British Foundrymen. He died on February 27th 2010 at the Severn Hospice in Shropshire.