Francis Heron Rogers: 1939—1941

Francis Heron Rogers: 1939—1941

Francis Heron Rogers was born in Birmingham on 11 November 1877, and entered the Grocers' Company's School in London at the age of 12. In the spirit of the hard old school of British engineering he was apprenticed at the early age of 16 to F M Rogers, passing through the drawing office and workshops in London and Dundee, and whilst in London he continued his studies at the City & Guilds Technical College, Finsbury. 

He qualified as a Patent Agent in 1899 and practised that profession constantly alongside his consulting work, a combination that doubtless did much towards building up the sound logical analytical outlook that characterised his decisions. In 1912 he qualified as an Associate Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and became a Member of the same Institution in 1918. 

His practical experience was mainly British though he worked abroad sufficiently to become well acquainted with Continental and American experience, and opened an office with partners in Paris in 1903. F B Dehn joined him as a partner in England in 1913 (although only for six years) and W R Pettit in 1915.

He enlisted in the 4th Queen's in 1915 but was withdrawn to reserve so that his services could be made available for important food, chemical, and explosives installations necessary to the pursuit of the country's war aims and those of its Allies. 

Throughout his career he designed and carried out nearly 200 complete factory installations including many metallurgical plants particularly for the rarer metals and including installations of first importance for tungsten and molybdenum drawn filament; precision engineering work, taximeters for example; fine chemicals and drugs; vegetable oil plants in every stage from the raw seed to margarine packed for retail; inorganic pigments and organic dyestuffs; protein foods and complete foodstuff factories; compressed gases for commercial distribution; petrol storage and complete refining plants including the first and largest cracking plant in the British Isles. 

Francis Heron Rogers worked with enthusiasm and vigour in the foundation of the Institution during 1922, bringing to the task the experience he had gained with the Chemical Engineering Group of the Society of Chemical Industry of which he was the first Honorary Treasurer. Indeed it was the role of Honorary Treasurer that he took on during the first six years of IChemE's history and then, on resigning from that position, he became Vice President for two years.

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