OBITUARY. VITALE DOMENICO DE MICHELE, 1848-1906
Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers
fourth son of the late Mr. Eastland de Michele, for many years British Consul a t St. Petersburg, was born in London on the 11th November, 1848. He was educated at Westminster School, and manifesting a decided bent towards mechanical engineering, he was apprenticed at an early age to Messrs. Robert Stephenson and Company, of Newcastle-on-Tyne. H e took a deep interest in his work and whilst at Newcastle he invented a new form of reversing gear for locomotives and marine engines. Before the
... es. Before the expiration of his pupilage, he was selected to take charge of the extensive exhibit of the firm a.t the Paris Exhibition of 1867. I n 1868 Mr. Eastland de Michele, having retired from the consular service, acquired a large interest in the business of Messrs. Francis and Company, cement manufacturers, of Vauxhall and Cliffe, Kent, and the senior partner dying about this time, Mr. Vitale de Michele took over the entire management of the cement works at Cliffe Creek. Subsequently he became a partner in the firm, and the association with cement manufacture thus begun lasted practically the whole of his life and was productive of many important contributions to the advancement of the industry. During his management of the Cliffe Creek works, which were rebuilt and enlarged by him, he introduced various improvements into the methods and machinery employed in cement manufacture, which he found comparatively crude and uneconomical. To Mr. Michele is due an improved form of wash-mill, special hydraulic pumps, designed in conjunction with the late Mr. Platt, of Gloucester, for pumping the slurry to the drying floors, and a new system of drying the slurry by waste heat from the kilns. These and other improvements effected by him resulted in shortening and cheapening the process of the manufacture of Portland cement, and in rendering the product more uniform and reliable. The cement-testing machine which he invented marked a great improvement on the old system and has been extensively adopted. He also took a great interest in smoke prevention, and designed a special grate which produced good results. Downloaded by  on [12/09/16].