Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

BLACKWELL, Kennet William , b. 16 July 1850, Devizes Wiltshire, England; d. 11 June 1920, Montreal. Arriving in Canada with his father, Thomas E. Blackwell, the first general manager of the Grand Trunk Railway, he was educated at Bishop's College School, Lennoxville, Que. and apprenticed as a mechanical engineer in the GTR shops at Point St. Charles, Montreal. In 1870, he became the GTR's mechanical superintendent of the line between Toronto and Montreal. He occupied the same position for the Canadian Pacific Railway. In 1882, he began to manufacture railway car springs under the company name of K. W. Blackwell. Absorbed by the Canadian Car & Foundry Company in 1911, under the name Canadian Steel Foundries Limited, Blackwell was its vice president until his death. He was also vice president of the Merchant's Bank of Canada. A member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, he served as a councillor (1889-92), treasurer (1894-97), vice president (1898) and president in 1903. Dubbed the "steel man" by the Montreal Star, Blackwell was the most prominent figure in building the steel casting industry in Canada.

Brian D. Rosati