OBITUARY:Sam Green

Having started work at the age of 13, in 1920, as an apprentice at Platt Brothers, textile manufacturers, in Oldham, Sam Green by dint of ability and hard work became a noted inventor, a distinguished industrialist and a champion of the disabled.

With a Platt Brothers' scholarship, he attended evening classes and eventually went to Manchester College of Technology. Obtaining Higher National Certificates in mechanical and electrical engineering, he subsequently became a member of the respective institutions and a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

While working, between 1935 and 1939, as a draughtsman and development engineer at the Northrop Loom Company in Blackburn, he invented the box motion of the four-colour Automatic Loom. This was a significant advance in that it eliminated the necessity to change by hand the shuttles carrying the yarn. Before the invention, it had been impossible to deal with three or four colours effectively.

In 1939 Green was appointed chief engineer of Betts & Co whose factories contributed to the war effort by making, amongst other things, foil for anti-aircraft warfare. During the worst of the blitz, in the course of which he was commended for bravery, he transferred some of the manufacturing to Scotland. In 1944 he started a factory near Maidstone which produced laminated plastic boards for the Navy that prevented fire spreading aboard ships attacked by German U-boats.

After the war, in 1945, Green joined the Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation (now "3 i") which the first Lord Piercy created, with the assistance of the joint clearing banks, in order to provide venture capital for industry. Green acted as an industrial adviser and troubleshooter, being put in as chief executive to run companies in which ICFC had invested that had got into difficulties.

In 1952 Sir Walter Monckton appointed him as managing director of Remploy. He transformed their workshops for the disabled into factories using industrial methods, started incentive schemes and a sponsorship scheme by persuading, among others, the car and mining industries to provide work for the company. In 1965 the then Minister of Labour, Barbara Castle, asked him to do similar work for the blind and he became chairman of the Industrial Advisers to the Blind. One of his greatest pleasures was being appointed CBE for work on behalf of the disabled.

Sam Green was proud to be asked to help the Royal British Legion, was the first civilian to become a director of the Poppy Factory and the Royal British Legion Industries, and served on the Benevolent Committee. An inventor himself, he also did voluntary work on behalf of other inventors as chairman and vice-president of the Institute of Patentees and Inventors. He was responsible for taking the institute into the International Federation of Inventors' Associations, of which he became vice-president. His work was recognised in 1984 by the award of the Gold Medal of the World Intellectual Property Organisation of the United Nations, presented at a ceremony in Geneva.

Green was a director and chairman of a number of private and public companies, including Ralli Bros (Industries), Grampian Lighting and Duala UK. Characteristically, he continued working in his electrical business until last October. Not surprisingly for a man of great energy and creative intelligence, Green had a wide range of interests: in particularly, he read widely, was a keen walker, swimmer and cyclist (being a member of Britain's oldest bicycling club, the Pickwick), and, in his younger days, a potholer. Happily married for over 50 years, with a barrister daughter, he utilised his long life to make a substantial and significant contribution to the lives of others and to that of the community.

Allan Levy

Sam Green, businessman and inventor: born Oldham, Lancashire 6 February 1907; designer and development engineer, British Northrop Automatic Loom Co 1934-39; chief engineer, Betts & Co 1939-42; works manager, Morphy- Richards 1942-44; general works manager, Holoplast 1944-47; industrial adviser, Industrial and Commercial Finance Corporation 1947-52; managing director, Remploy 1952-64; CBE 1960; chairman and managing director, Ralli Bros (Industries) 1964-69; chairman, Industrial Advisers to the Blind 1964-74; director, Royal British Legion Poppy Factory, Richmond 1964-96; chairman, Dula (ISMA) 1969-96; chairman, Green & Associates 1970-96; chairman, Spear Bros 1970-96; Chairman, Institute of Patentees and Inventors 1975; Vice-President, International Federation of Inventors' Associations 1984- 96; married 1942 Lilly Pollak (one daughter); died Bromley, Kent 21 January 1996.

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