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The Legacy, Vision and


                  Innovations of an Inventor:


          A Lifetime Tribute to a Brilliant Engineer and
               Testing Machine Builder, L. James Chant


                                       by Christi G. Chambers & Laura F. Chant

         Born in December 1927, Leonard James “Jim” Chant, was destined to be a leader. Jim
         grew up as an only child in the quaint little Borough of Lewisham located in Southeast
         London, England along with his mother and father, Sidney and Doris (Barnes) Chant.

                                L. James Chant Dec. 7, 1927-Jun. 15, 2017
                                   Founder of Chant Engineering Co. Inc.




               ack in 1937, homes in                                                  trical Engineering in 1949. He
               Lewisham were being                                                    was the first in his family to at-
         Bwired  for  electricity.                                                    tend a university. Jim became
         When  Jim was  just  a  young                                                a Chartered Professional En-
         lad at age 10 he observed sev-                                               gineer and later the founder of
         eral electricians at work, and                                               Chant Engineering Co. Inc.
         when  all the work  was com-                                                   While  working  for  London
         pleted and the lights switched                                               Transport, he was in charge
         on, Jim knew at that very mo-                                                of hosting the social club for
         ment exactly what he wanted                                                  the  staff.  He  found  out  there
         to do with his life. When Jim                                                was a young woman, named
         was  only  11 years  old,  he                                                Barbara, in a different de-
         earned a merit scholarship                                                   partment who should join the
         to attend  Bancroft’s School,                                                social club. Jim went over to
         a boarding school  for  boys                                                 her office to invite her to join
         which was originally founded                                                 the club in person. It was the
         in 1737.                                                                     first time the two laid eyes on
           At  the  onset  of  World  War                                             each  other.  While  Barbara
         II  and  upon  his  graduation                                               knew  instantly  that Jim was
         at age 17, Jim had planned to                                                the one for her, it wasn’t un-
         join the Royal Airforce to help                                              til two co-workers intervened
         fight  for  his  country.  WWII                                              the following Valentine’s Day
         began after Adolf Hitler’s sol-                                              by sending both of them an
         diers  invaded  Poland  in Sep-                                              anonymous Valentine to each
         tember 1939 and following                                                    other,  that they found true
         that invasion Great Britain and France   60 million lives were claimed. Hiltler’s   love. They just needed a little encour-
         declared war with Germany. WWII was   plan of “World Domination” caused the   agement from their friends.
         one of the deadliest wars in our history,   Nazi soldiers to exterminate nearly 6   In 1959, as a young British engineer,
         lasting over six years. An estimated 45-  million Jews who were also held in his   Jim was recruited to be part of the na-
                                            horrific  concentration  camps  during   scent US space program. In October of
                                            what was known as the “Holocaust”.   1959, Jim and his wife Barbara, along
                                            Thankfully,  WWII  ended  before  Jim’s   with their three sons,  Steven, Peter
                                            graduation, so he was able to continue   and Michael, immigrated to the Unit-
                                            his education vs. joining the war efforts.  ed State on the ocean liner Hanseatic.
                                              While  Jim  definitely  had  a  passion   The Hanseatic was a luxury ship that
                                            for all things engineering, he also loved   could carry up to 1,350 passengers in
                                            photography  and  loved  to  photograph   style from Hamburg to New York and
                                            architecture,  landscapes  and  anything   is best known for the ship’s fire in New
                                            that was interesting to look at or slightly   York Harbor in 1966 which destroyed
                                            unique. He was even a member of a local   its  engine  room  and  five  of  its  decks.
                                            photography club. (see photo on page 22).   The  family  first  settled  in  New  Jer-
                                              Jim  was  a  very  driven  young  man   sey before moving a few years later to
         Jim and Barbara Chant’s Romance started in
         1949 and lasted until his passing. They were   who attended the University of London   Pennsylvania.  After settling down in
         married for 56 years.              where he earned a B.Sc. degree in Elec-             continued on page 18
         16     Wire Rope News & Sling Technology   August 2017
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