Life after the voyage

After completing his trip down the Limpopo and then the N”Komati River to the sea he returned, via Lourenco Marques, to Messina where, then as a fully qualified Engineer he was able to introduce many changes and innovations which improved the efficiency of the mine and reduced the levels of pollution which were extremely high at the time. Some of his innovations were still in use at the 50th anniversary of the mine.

In 1930 he finally married his “on again off again” girl friend of many years, Madge McLachlan, and worked for a while in N’kana, Northern Rhodesia where their first son David was born.

Soon after that the 1930’s world wide recession forced the closure of the mine. He then moved to the Cape where Joan was born. For a short time he worked as construction Engineer on a dam near Cape Town before going back to Messina Copper Mine until towards the end of 1935 when he went down to Johannesburg and worked for a design engineering Firm called John Scott & Co.

When John Scott sold his business in 1949, Brownie and a friend started their own Engineering business called Ramke Blane and Co. They specialised in the design and later manufacture of winches, hoists Blonden lines and tackles and later drag lines, cable cranes and aerial Ropeways.

In 1934 he also invented a self propelled hot air extractor fan. Sadly he sold the patent for the fan shortly after obtaining it as improved but similar versions of these fans are now in common use throughout the world on both industrial and domestic buildings. However on the good side the Royalties he received enabled him to buy the farm of his dreams ---a portion of the original farm Stampblokfontein which he called “Pippin Hill” (After the Cox Pippin Apple which they grew there soon after purchase) at Magoebaskloof, Northern Transvaal (now Limpopo Province)

In 1941 Peter (aka Pep) was born and Neil followed in 1943 thus completing the Ramke family complement.

Brownie’s son David joined him at Ramke Blane once he had qualified as an engineer and the two of them made a good name with their continued designs and construction of mining machinery, drag lines, cable cranes, industrial and passenger carrying cable ways and were one of the few South African companies to design and manufacture the heavy equipment which until then had all been imported.

Brownie continued his work until he retired to Pippin Hill in his late 70’s. He died 1981 on his beloved farm surrounded by his forests, mountains, valleys, rivers and many friends and family

Ramke Family Christmas 1969

Ramke Family Christmas 1969

Brownie, Peter and Robert

Brownie, Peter and Robert

This website is an abbreviation of Brownie’s soon to be published biography written by his son Peter (Pep) Ramke (aka Peter Ramka).
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