Biographical Dictionary of Canadian Engineers

Edited by
Rod Millard

WALLIS, Herbert L. , b. 10 March 1844, Derby, England; d. 24 May 1922, Montreal, PQ. Educated at the Moravian School, Ocbrook, England in 1861, Wallis was articled to Matthew Kirtley, locomotive superintendent of the Midland Railway, Bradford, serving as foreman of the locomotive department from 1866 to 1871. Arriving in Canada on 4 May 1871, he became the Grand Trunk Railway's Assistant Mechanical Superintendent in Montreal, PQ, and from 1873 until his retirement in 1896, Chief Mechanical Superintendent. Between 1876 and 1895, he established his engineering reputation by conducting experiments determining that compound locomotive engines using coal, not wood, improved engine efficiency. By 1884, the GTR had adopted the compound principle for its locomotives. A charter member of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers, Wallis served as its treasurer from 1888 to 1893 and was elected vice-president (1894) and president (1896). He was also a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in England and the Institution of Civil Engineers of Great Britain. Married with two children, he participated actively in St. George's Church, Montreal.

Dorotea Gucciardo