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Transactions of the Newcomen Society

  • 1 Arkwright, Sir Richard

    SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
    [br]
    b. 23 December 1732 Preston, England
    d. 3 August 1792 Cromford, England
    [br]
    English inventor of a machine for spinning cotton.
    [br]
    Arkwright was the youngest of thirteen children and was apprenticed to a barber; when he was about 18, he followed this trade in Bol ton. In 1755 he married Patients Holt, who bore him a son before she died, and he remarried in 1761, to Margaret Biggins. He prospered until he took a public house as well as his barber shop and began to lose money. After this failure, he travelled around buying women's hair for wigs.
    In the late 1760s he began spinning experiments at Preston. It is not clear how much Arkwright copied earlier inventions or was helped by Thomas Highs and John Kay but in 1768 he left Preston for Nottingham, where, with John Smalley and David Thornley as partners, he took out his first patent. They set up a mill worked by a horse where machine-spun yarn was produced successfully. The essential part of this process lay in drawing out the cotton by rollers before it was twisted by a flyer and wound onto the bobbin. The partners' resources were not sufficient for developing their patent so Arkwright found new partners in Samuel Need and Jedediah Strutt, hosiers of Nottingham and Derby. Much experiment was necessary before they produced satisfactory yarn, and in 1771 a water-driven mill was built at Cromford, where the spinning process was perfected (hence the name "waterframe" was given to his spinning machine); some of this first yarn was used in the hosiery trade. Sales of all-cotton cloth were initially limited because of the high tax on calicoes, but the tax was lowered in 1774 by Act of Parliament, marking the beginning of the phenomenal growth of the cotton industry. In the evidence for this Act, Arkwright claimed that he had spent £12,000 on his machine. Once Arkwright had solved the problem of mechanical spinning, a bottleneck in the preliminary stages would have formed but for another patent taken out in 1775. This covered all preparatory processing, including some ideas not invented by Arkwright, with the result that it was disputed in 1783 and finally annulled in 1785. It contained the "crank and comb" for removing the cotton web off carding engines which was developed at Cromford and solved the difficulty in carding. By this patent, Arkwright had mechanized all the preparatory and spinning processes, and he began to establish water-powered cotton mills even as far away as Scotland. His success encouraged many others to copy him, so he had great difficulty in enforcing his patent Need died in 1781 and the partnership with Strutt ended soon after. Arkwright became very rich and financed other spinning ventures beyond his immediate control, such as that with Samuel Oldknow. It was estimated that 30,000 people were employed in 1785 in establishments using Arkwright's patents. In 1786 he received a knighthood for delivering an address of thanks when an attempt to assassinate George III failed, and the following year he became High Sheriff of Derbyshire. He purchased the manor of Cromford, where he died in 1792.
    [br]
    Principal Honours and Distinctions
    Knighted 1786.
    Bibliography
    1769, British patent no. 931.
    1775, British patent no. 1,111.
    Further Reading
    R.S.Fitton, 1989, The Arkwrights, Spinners of Fortune, Manchester (a thorough scholarly work which is likely to remain unchallenged for many years).
    R.L.Hills, 1973, Richard Arkwright and Cotton Spinning, London (written for use in schools and concentrates on Arkwright's technical achievements).
    R.S.Fitton and A.P.Wadsworth, 1958, The Strutts and the Arkwrights, Manchester (concentrates on the work of Arkwright and Strutt).
    A.P.Wadsworth and J.de L.Mann, 1931, The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire, Manchester (covers the period leading up to the Industrial Revolution).
    F.Nasmith, 1932, "Richard Arkwright", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 13 (looks at the actual spinning invention).
    R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester (discusses the technical problems of Arkwright's invention).
    RLH

    Biographical history of technology > Arkwright, Sir Richard

  • 2 Behr, Fritz Bernhard

    [br]
    b. 9 October 1842 Berlin, Germany
    d. 25 February 1927
    [br]
    German (naturalized British in 1876) engineer, promoter of the Lartigue monorail system.
    [br]
    Behr trained as an engineer in Britain and had several railway engineering appointments before becoming associated with C.F.M.-T. Lartigue in promoting the Lartigue monorail system in the British Isles. In Lartigue's system, a single rail was supported on trestles; vehicles ran on the rail, their bodies suspended pannier-fashion, stabilized by horizontal rollers running against light guide rails fixed to the sides of the trestles. Behr became Managing Director of the Listowel \& Ballybunion Railway Company, which in 1888 opened its Lartigue system line between those two places in the south-west of Ireland. Three locomotives designed by J.T.A. Mallet were built for the line by Hunslet Engine Company, each with two horizontal boilers, one either side of the track. Coaches and wagons likewise were in two parts. Technically the railway was successful, but lack of traffic caused the company to go bankrupt in 1897: the railway continued to operate until 1924.
    Meanwhile Behr had been thinking in terms far more ambitious than a country branch line. Railway speeds of 150mph (240km/h) or more then lay far in the future: engineers were uncertain whether normal railway vehicles would even be stable at such speeds. Behr was convinced that a high-speed electric vehicle on a substantial Lartigue monorail track would be stable. In 1897 he demonstrated such a vehicle on a 3mile (4.8km) test track at the Brussels International Exhibition. By keeping the weight of the motors low, he was able to place the seats above rail level. Although the generating station provided by the Exhibition authorities never operated at full power, speeds over 75mph (120 km/h) were achieved.
    Behr then promoted the Manchester-Liverpool Express Railway, on which monorail trains of this type running at speeds up to 110mph (177km/h) were to link the two cities in twenty minutes. Despite strong opposition from established railway companies, an Act of Parliament authorizing it was made in 1901. The Act also contained provision for the Board of Trade to require experiments to prove the system's safety. In practice this meant that seven miles of line, and a complete generating station to enable trains to travel at full speed, must be built before it was known whether the Board would give its approval for the railway or not. Such a condition was too severe for the scheme to attract investors and it remained stillborn.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    H.Fayle, 1946, The Narrow Gauge Railways of Ireland, Greenlake Publications, Part 2, ch. 2 (describes the Listowel \& Ballybunion Railway and Behr's work there).
    D.G.Tucker, 1984, "F.B.Behr's development of the Lartigue monorail", Transactions of
    the Newcomen Society 55 (covers mainly the high speed lines).
    See also: Brennan, Louis
    PJGR

    Biographical history of technology > Behr, Fritz Bernhard

  • 3 Bevan, Edward John

    [br]
    b. 11 December 1856 Birkenhead, England
    d. 17 October 1921 London, England
    [br]
    English co-inventor of the " viscose rayon " process for making artificial silk.
    [br]
    Bevan began his working life as a chemist in a soap works at Runcorn, but later studied chemistry at Owens College, Manchester. It was there that he met and formed a friendship with C.F. Cross, with whom he started to work on cellulose. Bevan moved to a paper mill in Scotland but then went south to London, where he and Cross set up a partnership in 1885 as consulting and analytical chemists. Their work was mainly concerned with the industrial utilization of cellulose, and with the problems of the paper and jute industries. Their joint publication, A Text-book of Paper-making, which first appeared in 1888 and went into several editions, became the standard reference and textbook on the subject. The book has a long introductory chapter on cellulose.
    In 1892 Cross, Bevan and Clayton Beadle discovered viscose, or sodium cellulose xanthate, and took out the patent which was to be the foundation of the "viscose rayon" industry. They had their own laboratory at Station Avenue, Kew Gardens, where they carried out much work that eventually resulted in viscose: cellulose, usually in the form of wood pulp, was treated first with caustic soda and then with carbon disulphide to form the xanthate, which was then dissolved in a solution of dilute caustic soda to produce a viscous liquid. After being aged, the viscose was extruded through fine holes in a spinneret and coagulated in a dilute acid to regenerate the cellulose as spinnable fibres. At first there was no suggestion of spinning it into fibre, but the hope was to use it for filaments in incandescent electric light bulbs. The sheen on the fibres suggested their possible use in textiles and the term "artificial silk" was later introduced. Cross and Bevan also discovered the acetate "Celanese", which was cellulose triacetate dissolved in acetone and spun in air, but both inventions needed much development before they could be produced commercially.
    In 1892 Bevan turned from cellulose to food and drugs and left the partnership to become Public Analyst to Middlesex County Council, a post he held until his death, although in 1895 he and Cross published their important work Cellulose. He was prominent in the affairs of the Society of Public Analysts and became one of its officials.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1888, with C.F.Cross, A Text-book of Papermaking.
    1892, with C.F.Cross and C.Beadle, British patent no. 8,700 (viscose). 1895, with C.F.Cross, Cellulose.
    Further Reading
    Obituary, 1921, Journal of the Chemical Society.
    Obituary, 1921, Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry.
    Edwin J.Beer, 1962–3, "The birth of viscose rayon", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 35 (an account of the problems of developing viscose rayon; Beer worked under Cross in the Kew laboratories).
    RLH

    Biographical history of technology > Bevan, Edward John

  • 4 Beyer, Charles Frederick

    [br]
    b. 14 May 1813 Plauen, Saxony, Germany
    d. 2 June 1876 Llantysilio, Denbighshire, Wales
    [br]
    German (naturalized British in 1852) engineer, founder of locomotive builders Beyer, Peacock \& Co.
    [br]
    Beyer came from a family of poor weavers, but showed talent as an artist and draftsman and was educated at Dresden Polytechnic School. He was sent to England in 1834 to report on improvements in cotton spinning machinery and settled in Manchester, working for the machinery manufacturers Sharp Roberts \& Co., initially as a draftsman. When the firm started to build locomotives he moved to this side of the business. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was founded at his house in 1847. In 1853 Beyer entered into a partnership with Richard Peacock, Locomotive Engineer to the Manchester, Sheffield \& Lincolnshire Railway, and Henry Robertson to establish Beyer, Peacock \& Co. The company soon established a reputation for soundly designed, elegant locomotives: it exported worldwide, and survived until the 1960s.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    Obituary, 1877, Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 47. R.L.Hills, 1967–8 "Some contributions to locomotive development by Beyer, Peacock \& Co.", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 40 (a good description of Beyer, Peacock \& Co's locomotive work).
    PJGR

    Biographical history of technology > Beyer, Charles Frederick

  • 5 Bodmer, Johann Georg

    [br]
    b. 9 December 1786 Zurich, Switzerland
    d. 30 May 1864 Zurich, Switzerland
    [br]
    Swiss mechanical engineer and inventor.
    [br]
    John George Bodmer (as he was known in England) showed signs of great inventive ability even as a child. Soon after completing his apprenticeship to a local millwright, he set up his own work-shop at Zussnacht. One of his first inventions, in 1805, was a shell which exploded on impact. Soon after this he went into partnership with Baron d'Eichthal to establish a cotton mill at St Blaise in the Black Forest. Bodmer designed the water-wheels and all the machinery. A few years later they established a factory for firearms and Bodmer designed special machine tools and developed a system of interchangeable manufacture comparable with American developments at that time. More inventions followed, including a detachable bayonet for breech-loading rifles and a rifled, breech-loading cannon for 12 lb (5.4 kg) shells.
    Bodmer was appointed by the Grand Duke of Baden to the posts of Director General of the Government Iron Works and Inspector of Artillery. He left St Blaise in 1816 and entered completely into the service of the Grand Duke, but before taking up his duties he visited Britain for the first time and made an intensive five-month tour of textile mills, iron works, workshops and similar establishments.
    In 1821 he returned to Switzerland and was engaged in setting up cotton mills and other engineering works. In 1824 he went back to England, where he obtained a patent for his improvements in cotton machinery and set up a mill near Bolton incorporating his ideas. His health failing, he was obliged to return to Switzerland in 1828, but he was soon busy with engineering works there and in France. In 1833 he went to England again, first to Bolton and four years later to Manchester in partnership with H.H.Birley. In the next ten years he patented many more inventions in the fields of textile machinery, steam engines and machine tools. These included a balanced steam engine, a mechanical stoker, steam engine valve gear, gear-cutting machines and a circular planer or vertical lathe, anticipating machines of this type later developed in America by E.P. Bullard. The metric system was used in his workshops and in gearing calculations he introduced the concept of diametral pitch, which then became known as "Manchester Pitch". The balanced engine was built in stationary form and in two locomotives, but although their running was remarkably smooth the additional complication prevented their wider use.
    After the death of H.H.Birley in 1846, Bodmer removed to London until 1848, when he went to Austria. About 1860 he returned to his native town of Zurich. He remained actively engaged in all kinds of inventions up to the end of his life. He obtained fourteen British patents, each of which describes many inventions; two of these patents were extended beyond the normal duration of fourteen years. Two others were obtained on his behalf, one by his brother James in 1813 for his cannon and one relating to railways by Charles Fox in 1847. Many of his inventions had little direct influence but anticipated much later developments. His ideas were sound and some of his engines and machine tools were in use for over sixty years. He was elected a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers in 1835.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1845, "The advantages of working stationary and marine engines with high-pressure steam, expansively and at great velocities; and of the compensating, or double crank system", Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 4:372–99.
    1846, "On the combustion of fuel in furnaces and steam-boilers, with a description of Bodmer's fire-grate", Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 5:362–8.
    Further Reading
    H.W.Dickinson, 1929–30, "Diary of John George Bodmer, 1816–17", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 10:102–14.
    D.Brownlie, 1925–6, John George Bodmer, his life and work, particularly in relation to the evolution of mechanical stoking', Transactions of the Newcomen Society 6:86–110.
    W.O.Henderson (ed.), 1968, Industrial Britain Under the Regency: The Diaries of Escher, Bodmer, May and de Gallois 1814–1818, London: Frank Cass (a more complete account of his visit to Britain).
    RTS

    Biographical history of technology > Bodmer, Johann Georg

  • 6 Bourn, Daniel

    SUBJECT AREA: Textiles
    [br]
    fl. 1744 Lancashire, England
    [br]
    English inventor of a machine with cylinders for carding cotton.
    [br]
    Daniel Bourn may well have been a native of Lancashire. He set up a fourth Paul-Wyatt cotton-spinning mill at Leominster, Herefordshire, possibly in 1744, although the earliest mention of it is in 1748. His only known partner in this mill was Henry Morris, a yarn dealer who in 1743 had bought a grant of spindles from Paul at the low rate of 30 shillings or 40 shillings per spindle when the current price was £3 or £4. When Bourn patented his carding engine in 1748, he asked Wyatt for a grant of spindles, to which Wyatt agreed because £100 was offered immedi-ately. The mill, which was probably the only one outside the control of Paul and his backers, was destroyed by fire in 1754 and was not rebuilt, although Bourn and his partners had considerable hopes for it. Bourn was said to have lost over £1,600 in the venture.
    Daniel Bourn described himself as a wool and cotton dealer of Leominster in his patent of 1748 for his carding engine. The significance of this invention is the use of rotating cylinders covered with wire clothing. The patent drawing shows four cylinders, one following the other to tease out the wool, but Bourn was unable to discover a satisfactory method of removing the fibres from the last cylinder. It is possible that Robert Peel in Lancashire obtained one of these engines through Morris, and that James Hargreaves tried to improve it; if so, then some of the early carding engines in the cotton industry were derived from Bourn's.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1748, British patent no. 628 (carding engine).
    Further Reading
    A.P.Wadsworth and J.de Lacy Mann, 1931, The Cotton Trade and Industrial Lancashire 1600–1780, Manchester (the most significant reference to Bourn).
    R.L.Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester (provides an examination of the carding patent).
    R.S.Fitton, 1989, The Arkwrights, Spinners of Fortune, Manchester (mentions Bourn in his survey of the textile scene before Arkwright).
    R.Jenkins, 1936–7, "Industries of Herefordshire in Bygone Times", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 17 (includes a reference to Bourn's mill).
    C.Singer (ed.), 1957, A History of Technology, Vol. III, Oxford: Clarendon Press; ibid., 1958, Vol, IV (brief mentions of Bourn's work).
    RLH

    Biographical history of technology > Bourn, Daniel

  • 7 Bramah, Joseph

    [br]
    b. 2 April 1749 Stainborough, Yorkshire, England
    d. 9 December 1814 Pimlico, London, England
    [br]
    English inventor of the second patented water-closet, the beer-engine, the Bramah lock and, most important, the hydraulic press.
    [br]
    Bramah was the son of a tenant farmer and was educated at the village school before being apprenticed to a local carpenter, Thomas Allot. He walked to London c.1773 and found work with a Mr Allen that included the repair of some of the comparatively rare water-closets of the period. He invented and patented one of his own, which was followed by a water cock in 1783. His next invention, a greatly improved lock, involved the devising of a number of special machine tools, for it was one of the first devices involving interchangeable components in its manufacture. In this he had the help of Henry Maudslay, then a young and unknown engineer, who became Bramah's foreman before setting up business on his own. In 1784 he moved his premises from Denmark Street, St Giles, to 124 Piccadilly, which was later used as a showroom when he set up a factory in Pimlico. He invented an engine for putting out fires in 1785 and 1793, in effect a reciprocating rotary-vane pump. He undertook the refurbishment and modernization of Norwich waterworks c.1793, but fell out with Robert Mylne, who was acting as Consultant to the Norwich Corporation and had produced a remarkably vague specification. This was Bramah's only venture into the field of civil engineering.
    In 1797 he acted as an expert witness for Hornblower \& Maberley in the patent infringement case brought against them by Boulton and Watt. Having been cut short by the judge, he published his proposed evidence in "Letter to the Rt Hon. Sir James Eyre, Lord Chief Justice of the Common Pleas…etc". In 1795 he was granted his most important patent, based on Pascal's Hydrostatic Paradox, for the hydraulic press which also incorporated the concept of hydraulics for the transmission of both power and motion and was the foundation of the whole subsequent hydraulic industry. There is no truth in the oft-repeated assertion originating from Samuel Smiles's Industrial Biography (1863) that the hydraulic press could not be made to work until Henry Maudslay invented the self-sealing neck leather. Bramah used a single-acting upstroking ram, sealed only at its base with a U-leather. There was no need for a neck leather.
    He also used the concept of the weight-loaded, in this case as a public-house beer-engine. He devised machinery for carbonating soda water. The first banknote-numbering machine was of his design and was bought by the Bank of England. His development of a machine to cut twelve nibs from one goose quill started a patent specification which ended with the invention of the fountain pen, patented in 1809. His coach brakes were an innovation that was followed bv a form of hydropneumatic carriage suspension that was somewhat in advance of its time, as was his patent of 1812. This foresaw the introduction of hydraulic power mains in major cities and included the telescopic ram and the air-loaded accumulator.
    In all Joseph Bramah was granted eighteen patents. On 22 March 1813 he demonstrated a hydraulic machine for pulling up trees by the roots in Hyde Park before a large crowd headed by the Duke of York. Using the same machine in Alice Holt Forest in Hampshire to fell timber for ships for the Navy, he caught a chill and died soon after at his home in Pimlico.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1778, British patent no. 1177 (water-closet). 1784, British patent no. 1430 (Bramah Lock). 1795, British patent no. 2045 (hydraulic press). 1809, British patent no. 3260 (fountain pen). 1812, British patent no. 3611.
    Further Reading
    I.McNeil, 1968, Joseph Bramah, a Century of Invention.
    S.Smiles, 1863, Industrial Biography.
    H.W.Dickinson, 1942, "Joseph Bramah and his inventions", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 22:169–86.
    IMcN

    Biographical history of technology > Bramah, Joseph

  • 8 Brotan, Johann

    [br]
    b. 24 June 1843 Kattau, Bohemia (now in the Czech Republic)
    d. 20 November 1923 Vienna, Austria
    [br]
    Czech engineer, pioneer of the watertube firebox for steam locomotive boilers.
    [br]
    Brotan, who was Chief Engineer of the main workshops of the Royal Austrian State Railways at Gmund, found that locomotive inner fireboxes of the usual type were both expensive, because the copper from which they were made had to be imported, and short-lived, because of corrosion resulting from the use of coal with high sulphur content. He designed a firebox of which the side and rear walls comprised rows of vertical watertubes, expanded at their lower ends into a tubular foundation ring and at the top into a longitudinal water/steam drum. This projected forward above the boiler barrel (which was of the usual firetube type, though of small diameter), to which it was connected. Copper plates were eliminated, as were firebox stays.
    The first boiler to incorporate a Brotan firebox was built at Gmund under the inventor's supervision and replaced the earlier boiler of a 0−6−0 in 1901. The increased radiantly heated surface was found to produce a boiler with very good steaming qualities, while the working pressure too could be increased, with consequent fuel economies. Further locomotives in Austria and, experimentally, elsewhere were equipped with Brotan boilers.
    Disadvantages of the boiler were the necessity of keeping the tubes clear of scale, and a degree of structural weakness. The Swiss engineer E. Deffner improved the latter aspect by eliminating the forward extension of the water/steam drum, replacing it with a large-diameter boiler barrel with the rear section of tapered wagon-top type so that the front of the water/steam drum could be joined directly to the rear tubeplate. The first locomotives to be fitted with this Brotan-Deffner boiler were two 4−6−0s for the Swiss Federal Railways in 1908 and showed very favourable results. However, steam locomotive development ceased in Switzerland a few years later in favour of electrification, but boilers of the Brotan-Deffner type and further developments of it were used in many other European countries, notably Hungary, where more than 1,000 were built. They were also used experimentally in the USA: for instance, Samuel Vauclain, as President of Baldwin Locomotive Works, sent his senior design engineer to study Hungarian experience and then had a high-powered 4−8−0 built with a watertube firebox. On stationary test this produced the very high figure of 4,515 ihp (3,370 kW), but further development work was frustrated by the trade depression commencing in 1929. In France, Gaston du Bousquet had obtained good results from experimental installations of Brotan-Deffner-type boilers, and incorporated one into one of his high-powered 4−6−4s of 1910. Experiments were terminated suddenly by his death, followed by the First World War, but thirty-five years later André Chapelon proposed using a watertube firebox to obtain the high pressure needed for a triple-expansion, high-powered, steam locomotive, development of which was overtaken by electrification.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    G.Szontagh, 1991, "Brotan and Brotan-Deffner type fireboxes and boilers applied to steam locomotives", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 62 (an authoritative account of Brotan boilers).
    PJGR

    Biographical history of technology > Brotan, Johann

  • 9 Budding, Edwin Beard

    [br]
    b. c.1796 Bisley (?), Gloucestershire, England
    d. 1846 Dursley, Gloucestershire, England
    [br]
    English inventor of the lawn mower.
    [br]
    Budding was an engineer who described himself as a mechanic on his first patent papers and as a manager in later applications.
    A rotary machine had been developed at Brimscombe Mill in Stroud for cutting the pile on certain clothes and Budding saw the potential of this principle for a machine for cutting grass on lawns. It is not clear whether Budding worked for the Lewis family, who owned the mill, or whether he saw the machines during their manufacture at the Phoenix Foundry. At the age of 35 Budding entered into partnership with John Ferrabee, who had taken out a lease on Thrupp Mill. They reached an agreement in which Ferrabee would pay to obtain letter patent on the mower and would cover all the development costs, after which they would have an equal share in the profits. The agreement also allowed Ferrabee to license the manufacture of the machine and in 1832 he negotiated with the agricultural manufacturer Ransomes, allowing them to manufacture the mower.
    Budding invented a screw-shifting spanner at a time when he might have been working as a mechanic at Thrupp Mill. He later rented a workshop in which he produced Pepperbox pistols. In the late 1830s he moved to Dursley, where he became Manager for Mr G.Lister, who made clothing machinery. Together they patented an improved method of making cylinders for carding engines, but Budding required police protection from those who saw their jobs threatened by the device. He made no fortune from his inventions and died at the age of 50.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    H.A.Randall, 1965–6 "Some mid-Gloucestershire engineers and inventors", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 38:89–96 (looks at the careers of both Budding and Ferrabee).
    AP

    Biographical history of technology > Budding, Edwin Beard

  • 10 Cartwright, Revd Edmund

    [br]
    b. 24 April 1743 Marnham, Nottingham, England
    d. 30 October 1823 Hastings, Sussex, England
    [br]
    English inventor of the power loom, a combing machine and machines for making ropes, bread and bricks as well as agricultural improvements.
    [br]
    Edmund Cartwright, the fourth son of William Cartwright, was educated at Wakefield Grammar School, and went to University College, Oxford, at the age of 14. By special act of convocation in 1764, he was elected Fellow of Magdalen College. He married Alice Whitaker in 1772 and soon after was given the ecclesiastical living of Brampton in Derbyshire. In 1779 he was presented with the living of Goadby, Marwood, Leicestershire, where he wrote poems, reviewed new works, and began agricultural experiments. A visit to Matlock in the summer of 1784 introduced him to the inventions of Richard Arkwright and he asked why weaving could not be mechanized in a similar manner to spinning. This began a remarkable career of inventions.
    Cartwright returned home and built a loom which required two strong men to operate it. This was the first attempt in England to develop a power loom. It had a vertical warp, the reed fell with the weight of at least half a hundredweight and, to quote Gartwright's own words, "the springs which threw the shuttle were strong enough to throw a Congreive [sic] rocket" (Strickland 19.71:8—for background to the "rocket" comparison, see Congreve, Sir William). Nevertheless, it had the same three basics of weaving that still remain today in modern power looms: shedding or dividing the warp; picking or projecting the shuttle with the weft; and beating that pick of weft into place with a reed. This loom he proudly patented in 1785, and then he went to look at hand looms and was surprised to see how simply they operated. Further improvements to his own loom, covered by two more patents in 1786 and 1787, produced a machine with the more conventional horizontal layout that showed promise; however, the Manchester merchants whom he visited were not interested. He patented more improvements in 1788 as a result of the experience gained in 1786 through establishing a factory at Doncaster with power looms worked by a bull that were the ancestors of modern ones. Twenty-four looms driven by steam-power were installed in Manchester in 1791, but the mill was burned down and no one repeated the experiment. The Doncaster mill was sold in 1793, Cartwright having lost £30,000, However, in 1809 Parliament voted him £10,000 because his looms were then coming into general use.
    In 1789 he began working on a wool-combing machine which he patented in 1790, with further improvements in 1792. This seems to have been the earliest instance of mechanized combing. It used a circular revolving comb from which the long fibres or "top" were. carried off into a can, and a smaller cylinder-comb for teasing out short fibres or "noils", which were taken off by hand. Its output equalled that of twenty hand combers, but it was only relatively successful. It was employed in various Leicestershire and Yorkshire mills, but infringements were frequent and costly to resist. The patent was prolonged for fourteen years after 1801, but even then Cartwright did not make any profit. His 1792 patent also included a machine to make ropes with the outstanding and basic invention of the "cordelier" which he communicated to his friends, including Robert Fulton, but again it brought little financial benefit. As a result of these problems and the lack of remuneration for his inventions, Cartwright moved to London in 1796 and for a time lived in a house built with geometrical bricks of his own design.
    Other inventions followed fast, including a tread-wheel for cranes, metallic packing for pistons in steam-engines, and bread-making and brick-making machines, to mention but a few. He had already returned to agricultural improvements and he put forward suggestions in 1793 for a reaping machine. In 1801 he received a prize from the Board of Agriculture for an essay on husbandry, which was followed in 1803 by a silver medal for the invention of a three-furrow plough and in 1805 by a gold medal for his essay on manures. From 1801 to 1807 he ran an experimental farm on the Duke of Bedford's estates at Woburn.
    From 1786 until his death he was a prebendary of Lincoln. In about 1810 he bought a small farm at Hollanden near Sevenoaks, Kent, where he continued his inventions, both agricultural and general. Inventing to the last, he died at Hastings and was buried in Battle church.
    [br]
    Principal Honours and Distinctions
    Board of Agriculture Prize 1801 (for an essay on agriculture). Society of Arts, Silver Medal 1803 (for his three-furrow plough); Gold Medal 1805 (for an essay on agricultural improvements).
    Bibliography
    1785. British patent no. 1,270 (power loom).
    1786. British patent no. 1,565 (improved power loom). 1787. British patent no. 1,616 (improved power loom).
    1788. British patent no. 1,676 (improved power loom). 1790, British patent no. 1,747 (wool-combing machine).
    1790, British patent no. 1,787 (wool-combing machine).
    1792, British patent no. 1,876 (improved wool-combing machine and rope-making machine with cordelier).
    Further Reading
    M.Strickland, 1843, A Memoir of the Life, Writings and Mechanical Inventions of Edmund Cartwright, D.D., F.R.S., London (remains the fullest biography of Cartwright).
    Dictionary of National Biography (a good summary of Cartwright's life). For discussions of Cartwright's weaving inventions, see: A.Barlow, 1878, The History and Principles of Weaving by Hand and by Power, London; R.L. Hills, 1970, Power in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester. F.Nasmith, 1925–6, "Fathers of machine cotton manufacture", Transactions of the
    Newcomen Society 6.
    H.W.Dickinson, 1942–3, "A condensed history of rope-making", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 23.
    W.English, 1969, The Textile Industry, London (covers both his power loom and his wool -combing machine).
    RLH

    Biographical history of technology > Cartwright, Revd Edmund

  • 11 Chapelon, André

    [br]
    b. 26 October 1892 Saint-Paul-en-Cornillon, Loire, France
    d. 29 June 1978 Paris, France
    [br]
    French locomotive engineer who developed high-performance steam locomotives.
    [br]
    Chapelon's technical education at the Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, Paris, was interrupted by extended military service during the First World War. From experience of observing artillery from the basket of a captive balloon, he developed a method of artillery fire control which was more accurate than that in use and which was adopted by the French army.
    In 1925 he joined the motive-power and rolling-stock department of the Paris-Orléans Railway under Chief Mechanical Engineer Maurice Lacoin and was given the task of improving the performance of its main-line 4–6–2 locomotives, most of them compounds. He had already made an intensive study of steam locomotive design and in 1926 introduced his Kylchap exhaust system, based in part on the earlier work of the Finnish engineer Kyläla. Chapelon improved the entrainment of the hot gases in the smokebox by the exhaust steam and so minimized back pressure in the cylinders, increasing the power of a locomotive substantially. He also greatly increased the cross-sectional area of steam passages, used poppet valves instead of piston valves and increased superheating of steam. PO (Paris-Orléans) 4–6–2s rebuilt on these principles from 1929 onwards proved able to haul 800-ton trains, in place of the previous 500-ton trains, and to do so to accelerated schedules with reduced coal consumption. Commencing in 1932, some were converted, at the time of rebuilding, into 4–8–0s to increase adhesive weight for hauling heavy trains over the steeply graded Paris-Toulouse line.
    Chapelon's principles were quickly adopted on other French railways and elsewhere.
    H.N. Gresley was particularly influenced by them. After formation of the French National Railways (SNCF) in 1938, Chapelon produced in 1941 a prototype rebuilt PO 2–10–0 freight locomotive as a six-cylinder compound, with four low-pressure cylinders to maximize expansive use of steam and with all cylinders steam-jacketed to minimize heat loss by condensation and radiation. War conditions delayed extended testing until 1948–52. Meanwhile Chapelon had, by rebuilding, produced in 1946 a high-powered, three-cylinder, compound 4–8–4 intended as a stage in development of a proposed range of powerful and thermally efficient steam locomotives for the postwar SNCF: a high-speed 4–6–4 in this range was to run at sustained speeds of 125 mph (200 km/h). However, plans for improved steam locomotives were then overtaken in France by electriflcation and dieselization, though the performance of the 4–8–4, which produced 4,000 hp (3,000 kW) at the drawbar for the first time in Europe, prompted modification of electric locomotives, already on order, to increase their power.
    Chapelon retired from the SNCF in 1953, but continued to act as a consultant. His principles were incorporated into steam locomotives built in France for export to South America, and even after the energy crisis of 1973 he was consulted on projects to build improved, high-powered steam locomotives for countries with reserves of cheap coal. The eventual fall in oil prices brought these to an end.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1938, La Locomotive à vapeur, Paris: J.B.Bailière (a comprehensive summary of contemporary knowledge of every function of the locomotive).
    Further Reading
    H.C.B.Rogers, 1972, Chapelon, Genius of French Steam, Shepperton: Ian Allan.
    1986, "André Chapelon, locomotive engineer: a survey of his work", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 58 (a symposium on Chapelon's work).
    Obituary, 1978, Railway Engineer (September/October) (makes reference to the technical significance of Chapelon's work).
    PJGR

    Biographical history of technology > Chapelon, André

  • 12 Churchward, George Jackson

    [br]
    b. 31 January 1857 Stoke Gabriel, Devon, England
    d. 19 December 1933 Swindon, Wiltshire, England
    [br]
    English mechanical engineer who developed for the Great Western Railway a range of steam locomotives of the most advanced design of its time.
    [br]
    Churchward was articled to the Locomotive Superintendent of the South Devon Railway in 1873, and when the South Devon was absorbed by the Great Western Railway in 1876 he moved to the latter's Swindon works. There he rose by successive promotions to become Works Manager in 1896, and in 1897 Chief Assistant to William Dean, who was Locomotive Carriage and Wagon Superintendent, in which capacity Churchward was allowed extensive freedom of action. Churchward eventually succeeded Dean in 1902: his title changed to Chief Mechanical Engineer in 1916.
    In locomotive design, Churchward adopted the flat-topped firebox invented by A.J.Belpaire of the Belgian State Railways and added a tapered barrel to improve circulation of water between the barrel and the firebox legs. He designed valves with a longer stroke and a greater lap than usual, to achieve full opening to exhaust. Passenger-train weights had been increasing rapidly, and Churchward produced his first 4–6– 0 express locomotive in 1902. However, he was still developing the details—he had a flair for selecting good engineering practices—and to aid his development work Churchward installed at Swindon in 1904 a stationary testing plant for locomotives. This was the first of its kind in Britain and was based on the work of Professor W.F.M.Goss, who had installed the first such plant at Purdue University, USA, in 1891. For comparison with his own locomotives Churchward obtained from France three 4–4–2 compound locomotives of the type developed by A. de Glehn and G. du Bousquet. He decided against compounding, but he did perpetuate many of the details of the French locomotives, notably the divided drive between the first and second pairs of driving wheels, when he introduced his four-cylinder 4–6–0 (the Star class) in 1907. He built a lone 4–6–2, the Great Bear, in 1908: the wheel arrangement enabled it to have a wide firebox, but the type was not perpetuated because Welsh coal suited narrow grates and 4–6–0 locomotives were adequate for the traffic. After Churchward retired in 1921 his successor, C.B.Collett, was to enlarge the Star class into the Castle class and then the King class, both 4–6–0s, which lasted almost as long as steam locomotives survived in service. In Church ward's time, however, the Great Western Railway was the first in Britain to adopt six-coupled locomotives on a large scale for passenger trains in place of four-coupled locomotives. The 4–6–0 classes, however, were but the most celebrated of a whole range of standard locomotives of advanced design for all types of traffic and shared between them many standardized components, particularly boilers, cylinders and valve gear.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    H.C.B.Rogers, 1975, G.J.Churchward. A Locomotive Biography, London: George Allen \& Unwin (a full-length account of Churchward and his locomotives, and their influence on subsequent locomotive development).
    C.Hamilton Ellis, 1958, Twenty Locomotive Men, Shepperton: Ian Allan, Ch. 20 (a good brief account).
    Sir William Stanier, 1955, "George Jackson Churchward", Transactions of the Newcomen
    Society 30 (a unique insight into Churchward and his work, from the informed viewpoint of his former subordinate who had risen to become Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland \& Scottish Railway).
    PJGR

    Biographical history of technology > Churchward, George Jackson

  • 13 Clerke, Sir Clement

    SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
    [br]
    d. 1693
    [br]
    English entrepreneur responsible, with others, for attempts to introduce coal-fired smelting of lead and, later, of copper.
    [br]
    Clerke, from Launde Abbey in Leicestershire, was involved in early experiments to smelt lead using coal fuel, which was believed to have been located on the Leicestershire-Derbyshire border. Concurrently, Lord Grandison was financing experiments at Bristol for similar purposes, causing the downfall of an earlier unsuccessful patented method before securing his own patent in 1678. In that same year Clerke took over management of the Bristol works, claiming the ability to secure financial return from Grandison's methods. Financial success proved elusive, although the technical problems of adapting the reverberatory furnace to coal fuel appear to have been solved when Clerke was found to have established another lead works nearby on his own account. He was forced to cease work on lead in 1684 in respect of Grandison's patent rights. Clerke then turned to investigations into the coal-fired smelting of other metals and started to smelt copper in coal-fired reverberatory furnaces. By 1688–9 small supplied of merchantable copper were offered for sale in London in order to pay his workers, possibly because of further financial troubles. The practical success of his smelting innovation is widely acknowledged to have been the responsibility of John Coster and, to a smaller extent, Gabriel Wayne, both of whom left Clerke and set up separate works elsewhere. Clerke's son Talbot took over administration of his father's works, which declined still further and closed c. 1693, at about the time of Sir Clement's death. Both Coster and Wayne continued to develop smelting techniques, establishing a new British industry in the smelting of copper with coal.
    [br]
    Principal Honours and Distinctions
    Created baronet 1661.
    Further Reading
    Rhys Jenkins, 1934, "The reverberatory furnace with coal fuel", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 34:67–81.
    —1943–4, "Copper smelting in England: Revival at the end of the seventeenth century", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 24:78–80.
    J.Morton, 1985, The Rise of the Modern Copper and Brass Industry: 1690 to 1750, unpublished PhD thesis, University of Birmingham, 87–106.
    JD

    Biographical history of technology > Clerke, Sir Clement

  • 14 Corliss, George Henry

    [br]
    b. 2 June 1817 Easton, Washington City, New York, USA
    d. 21 February 1888 USA
    [br]
    American inventor of a cut-off mechanism linked to the governor which revolutionized the operation of steam engines.
    [br]
    Corliss's father was a physician and surgeon. The son was educated at Greenwich, New York, but while he showed an aptitude for mathematics and mechanics he first of all became a storekeeper and then clerk, bookkeeper, salesperson and official measurer and inspector of the cloth produced at W.Mowbray \& Son. He went to the Castleton Academy, Vermont, for three years and at the age of 21 returned to a store of his own in Greenwich. Complaints about stitching in the boots he sold led him to patent a sewing machine. He approached Fairbanks, Bancroft \& Co., Providence, Rhode Island, machine and steam engine builders, about producing his machine, but they agreed to take him on as a draughtsman providing he abandoned it. Corliss moved to Providence with his family and soon revolutionized the design and construction of steam engines. Although he started working out ideas for his engine in 1846 and completed one in 1848 for the Providence Dyeing, Bleaching and Calendering Company, it was not until March 1849 that he obtained a patent. By that time he had joined John Barstow and E.J.Nightingale to form a new company, Corliss Nightingale \& Co., to build his design of steam-engines. He used paired valves, two inlet and two exhaust, placed on opposite sides of the cylinder, which gave good thermal properties in the flow of steam. His wrist-plate operating mechanism gave quick opening and his trip mechanism allowed the governor to regulate the closure of the inlet valve, giving maximum expansion for any load. It has been claimed that Corliss should rank equally with James Watt in the development of the steam-engine. The new company bought land in Providence for a factory which was completed in 1856 when the Corliss Engine Company was incorporated. Corliss directed the business activities as well as technical improvements. He took out further patents modifying his valve gear in 1851, 1852, 1859, 1867, 1875, 1880. The business grew until well over 1,000 workers were employed. The cylindrical oscillating valve normally associated with the Corliss engine did not make its appearance until 1850 and was included in the 1859 patent. The impressive beam engine designed for the 1876 Centennial Exhibition by E. Reynolds was the product of Corliss's works. Corliss also patented gear-cutting machines, boilers, condensing apparatus and a pumping engine for waterworks. While having little interest in politics, he represented North Providence in the General Assembly of Rhode Island between 1868 and 1870.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    Many obituaries appeared in engineering journals at the time of his death. Dictionary of American Biography, 1930, Vol. IV, New York: C.Scribner's Sons. R.L.Hills, 1989, Power from Steam. A History of the Stationary Steam Engine, Cambridge University Press (explains Corliss's development of his valve gear).
    J.L.Wood, 1980–1, "The introduction of the Corliss engine to Britain", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 52 (provides an account of the introduction of his valve gear to Britain).
    W.H.Uhland, 1879, Corliss Engines and Allied Steam-motors, London: E. \& F.N.Spon.
    RLH

    Biographical history of technology > Corliss, George Henry

  • 15 Cort, Henry

    SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
    [br]
    b. 1740 Lancaster, England
    d. 1800 Hampstead, near London, England
    [br]
    English ironmaster, inventor of the puddling process and grooved rollers for forming iron into bars.
    [br]
    His father was a mason and brickmaker but, anxious to improve himself, Cort set up in London in 1765 as a navy agent, said to have been a profitable business. He recognized that, at that time, the conversion of pig iron to malleable or wrought iron, which was needed in increasing quantities as developments in industry and mechanical engineering gathered pace, presented a bottleneck in the ironmaking process. The finery hearth was still in use, slow and inefficient and requiring the scarce charcoal as fuel. To tackle this problem, Cort gave up his business and acquired a furnace and slitting mill at Fontley, near Fareham in Hampshire. In 1784 he patented his puddling process, by which molten pig iron on the bed of a reverberatory furnace was stirred with an iron bar and, by the action of the flame and the oxygen in the air, the carbon in the pig iron was oxidized, leaving nearly pure iron, which could be forged to remove slag. In this type of furnace, the fuel and the molten iron were separated, so that the cheaper coal could be used as fuel. It was the stirring action with the iron bar that gave the name "puddling" to the process. Others had realized the problem and reached a similar solution, notably the brothers Thomas and George Cranage, but only Cort succeeded in developing a commercially viable process. The laborious hammering of the ball of iron thus produced was much reduced by an invention of the previous year, 1783. This too was patented. The iron was passed between grooved rollers to form it into bars. Cort entered into an agreement with Samuel Jellico to set up an ironworks at Gosport to exploit his inventions. Samuel's father Adam, Deputy Paymaster of the Navy, advanced capital for this venture, Cort having expended much of his own resources in the experimental work that preceded his inventions. However, it transpired that Jellico senior had, unknown to Cort, used public money to advance the capital; the Admiralty acted to recover the money and Cort lost heavily, including the benefits from his patents. Rival ironmasters were quick to pillage the patents. In 1790, and again the following year, Cort offered unsuccessfully to work for the military. Finally, in 1794, at the instigation of the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, Cort was paid a pension of £200 per year in recognition of the value of his improvements in the technology of ironmaking, although this was reduced by deductions to £160. After his death, the pension to his widow was halved, while some of his children received a pittance. Without the advances made by Cort, however, the iron trade could not have met the rapidly increasing demand for iron during the industrial revolution.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1787, A Brief State of Facts Relative to the New Method of Making Bar Iron with Raw Pit Coal and Grooved Rollers (held in the Science Museum Library archive collection).
    Further Reading
    H.W.Dickinson, 1941, "Henry Cort's bicentary", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 21: 31–47 (there are further references to grooved rollers and the puddling process in Vol. 49 of the same periodical (1978), on pp. 153–8).
    R.A.Mott, 1983, Henry Con, the Great Finery Creator of Puddled Iron, Sheffield: Historical Metallurgy Society.
    LRD

    Biographical history of technology > Cort, Henry

  • 16 Coster, John

    [br]
    b. c. 1647 Gloucestershire, England
    d. 13 October 1718 Bristol, England
    [br]
    English innovator in the mining, smelting and working of copper.
    [br]
    John Coster, son of an iron-forge manager in the Forest of Dean, by the age of 38 was at Bristol, where he was "chief agent and sharer therein" in the new lead-smelting methods using coal fuel. In 1685 the work, under Sir Clement Clerke, was abandoned because of patent rights claimed by Lord Grandison, who financed of earlier attempts. Clerke's business turned to the coal-fired smelting of copper under Coster, later acknowledged as responsible for the subsequent success through using an improved reverberatory furnace which separated coal fume from the ores being smelted. The new technique, applicable also to lead and tin smelting, revitalized copper production and provided a basis for new British industry in both copper and brass manufacture during the following century. Coster went on to manage a copper-smelting works, and by the 1690s was supplying Esher copper-and brass-works in Surrey from his Redbrook, Gloucestershire, works on the River Wye. In the next decade he extended his activities to Cornish copper mining, buying ore and organizing ore sales, and supplying the four major copper and brass companies which by then had become established. He also made copper goods in additional water-powered rolling and hammer mills acquired in the Bristol area. Coster was ably assisted by three sons; of these, John and Robert were mainly active in Cornwall. In 1714 the younger John, with his father, patented an "engine for drawing water out of deep mines". The eldest son, Thomas, was more involved at Redbrook, in South Wales and the Bristol area. A few years after the death of his father, Thomas became partner in the brass company of Bristol and sold them the Redbrook site. He became Member of Parliament for Bristol and, by then the only surviving son, planned a large new smelting works at White Rock, Swansea, South Wales, before his death in 1734. Partners outside the family continued the business under a new name.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1714, British patent 397, with John Coster Jr.
    Further Reading
    Rhys Jenkins, 1942, "Copper works at Redbrook and Bristol", Transactions of the Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society 63.
    Joan Day, 1974–6, "The Costers: copper smelters and manufacturers", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 47:47–58.
    JD

    Biographical history of technology > Coster, John

  • 17 Cowper-Coles, Sherard Osborn

    SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
    [br]
    b. 8 October 1866 East Harting, Sussex, England
    d. 9 September 1936
    [br]
    English inventor of the sherardizing process for metal protection.
    [br]
    He was the son of Captain Cowper- Coles, Royal Navy, the inventor of the swivelling turret for naval guns. He inherited his father's inventive talents and investigated a variety of inventions in his workshop at his home at Sunbury-on-Thames, assisted by a number of scientific workers. He had been educated by governesses, but he lacked a sound scientific background. His inventions, rarely systematically pursued, ranged from electrolytic processes for making copper sheets and parabolic reflectors to a process for inlaying and decorating metallic surfaces. Overall, however, he is best known for the invention of "sherardizing", the process for producing a rustproof coating of zinc on small metallic articles. The discovery came by chance, when he was annealing iron and steel packed in zinc dust to exclude air. The metal was found to be coated with a thin layer of zinc with some surface penetration. The first patent for the process was obtained in 1900, and later the American rights were sold, with a company being formed in 1908 to control them. A small plant was set up in Chelsea, London, to develop the process to the point where it could be carried out on a commercial scale in a plant in Willesden. Sherardizing has not been a general protective finish, but is restricted to articles such as nuts and bolts which are then painted or finished. The process was still in use in 1977, operated by the Zinc Alloy Company (London) Ltd.
    [br]
    Further Reading
    C.A.Smith, 1978, "Sherard Cowper-Coles: a review of the inception of sherardizing", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 49:1–4.
    LRD

    Biographical history of technology > Cowper-Coles, Sherard Osborn

  • 18 Crampton, Thomas Russell

    [br]
    b. 6 August 1816 Broadstairs, Kent, England
    d. 19 April 1888 London, England
    [br]
    English engineer, pioneer of submarine electric telegraphy and inventor of the Crampton locomotive.
    [br]
    After private education and an engineering apprenticeship, Crampton worked under Marc Brunel, Daniel Gooch and the Rennie brothers before setting up as a civil engineer in 1848. His developing ideas on locomotive design were expressed through a series of five patents taken out between 1842 and 1849, each making a multiplicity of claims. The most typical feature of the Crampton locomotive, however, was a single pair of driving wheels set to the rear of the firebox. This meant they could be of large diameter, while the centre of gravity of the locomotive remained low, for the boiler barrel, though large, had only small carrying-wheels beneath it. The cylinders were approximately midway along the boiler and were outside the frames, as was the valve gear. The result was a steady-riding locomotive which neither pitched about a central driving axle nor hunted from side to side, as did other contemporary locomotives, and its working parts were unusually accessible for maintenance. However, adhesive weight was limited and the long wheelbase tended to damage track. Locomotives of this type were soon superseded on British railways, although they lasted much longer in Germany and France. Locomotives built to the later patents incorporated a long, coupled wheelbase with drive through an intermediate crankshaft, but they mostly had only short lives. In 1851 Crampton, with associates, laid the first successful submarine electric telegraph cable. The previous year the brothers Jacob and John Brett had laid a cable, comprising a copper wire insulated with gutta-percha, beneath the English Channel from Dover to Cap Gris Nez: signals were passed but within a few hours the cable failed. Crampton joined the Bretts' company, put up half the capital needed for another attempt, and designed a much stronger cable. Four gutta-percha-insulated copper wires were twisted together, surrounded by tarred hemp and armoured by galvanized iron wires; this cable was successful.
    Crampton was also active in railway civil engineering and in water and gas engineering, and c. 1882 he invented a hydraulic tunnel-boring machine intended for a Channel tunnel.
    [br]
    Principal Honours and Distinctions
    Vice-President, Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Officier de la Légion d'Honneur (France).
    Bibliography
    1842, British patent no. 9,261.
    1845. British patent no. 10,854.
    1846. British patent no. 11,349.
    1847. British patent no. 11,760.
    1849, British patent no. 12,627.
    1885, British patent no. 14,021.
    Further Reading
    M.Sharman, 1933, The Crampton Locomotive, Swindon: M.Sharman; P.C.Dewhurst, 1956–7, "The Crampton locomotive", Parts I and II, Transactions of the Newcomen Society 30:99 (the most important recent publications on Crampton's locomotives).
    C.Hamilton Ellis, 1958, Twenty Locomotive Men, Shepperton: Ian Allen. J.Kieve, 1973, The Electric Telegraph, Newton Abbot: David \& Charles, 102–4.
    R.B.Matkin, 1979, "Thomas Crampton: Man of Kent", Industrial Past 6 (2).
    PJGR

    Biographical history of technology > Crampton, Thomas Russell

  • 19 Craufurd, Henry William

    SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
    [br]
    fl. 1830s
    [br]
    English patentee of the process of coating iron with zinc (galvanized iron).
    [br]
    Although described as Commander of the Royal Navy, other personal details of Craufurd appear to be little known. His process for coating sheet iron with a protective layer of zinc, conveyed as a communication from abroad, was granted a patent in 1837. The details closely resembled, indeed are believed to have been based upon, those developed and patented in France in 1836 by Sorel, who had worked in collaboration with Ledru. There had been French interest in substituting zinc for tin as a coating for iron from 1742 with work by Malouin. Zinc-coated iron saucepans were produced in Rouen in the 1780s, but the work was later abandoned. Craufurd's patent directed that iron objects should be dipped into molten zinc, protected from volatilization by a layer of sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride, NH4Cl which also served as a flux. The quite misleading term "galvanizing" had already been introduced by Sorel for his process. Later its pro-tective properties were discovered to depend for effectiveness on the formation of a thin layer of zinc-iron alloy between the iron sheet and its zinc coating. Craufurd's patent was infringed in England soon after being granted, and was followed by several improvements, particularly those of Edmund Morewood, collaborating with George Rogers in five patents, of which four referred to methods of corrugation. The resulting production of zinc-coated iron implements, together with corrugated iron sheeting quickly adopted for building purposes, developed into an important industry of the West Midlands, Bristol, London and other parts of Britain.
    [br]
    Bibliography
    1837, British patent no. 7,355 (coating sheet iron with zinc).
    Further Reading
    H.W.Dickinson, 1943–4, "A study of galvanised and corrugated sheet metal", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 24:27–36 (the best and most concise account).
    JD

    Biographical history of technology > Craufurd, Henry William

  • 20 Cross, Charles Frederick

    [br]
    b. 11 December 1855 Brentwood, Middlesex, England
    d. 15 April 1935 Hove, England
    [br]
    English chemist who contributed to the development of viscose rayon from cellulose.
    [br]
    Cross was educated at the universities of London, Zurich and Manchester. It was at Owens College, Manchester, that Cross first met E.J. Bevan and where these two first worked together on the nature of cellulose. After gaining some industrial experience, Cross joined Bevan to set up a partnership in London as analytical and consulting chemists, specializing in the chemistry and technology of cellulose and lignin. They were at the Jodrell laboratory, Kew Gardens, for a time and then set up their own laboratory at Station Avenue, Kew Gardens. In 1888, the first edition of their joint publication A Textbook of Paper-making, appeared. It went into several editions and became the standard reference and textbook on the subject. The long introductory chapter is a discourse on cellulose.
    In 1892, Cross, Bevan and Clayton Beadle took out their historic patent on the solution and regeneration of cellulose. The modern artificial-fibre industry stems from this patent. They made their discovery at New Court, Carey Street, London: wood-pulp (or another cheap form of cellulose) was dissolved in a mixture of carbon disulphide and aqueous alkali to produce sodium xanthate. After maturing, it was squirted through fine holes into dilute acid, which set the liquid to give spinnable fibres of "viscose". However, it was many years before the process became a commercial operation, partly because the use of a natural raw material such as wood involved variations in chemical content and each batch might react differently. At first it was thought that viscose might be suitable for incandescent lamp filaments, and C.H.Stearn, a collaborator with Cross, continued to investigate this possibility, but the sheen on the fibres suggested that viscose might be made into artificial silk. The original Viscose Spinning Syndicate was formed in 1894 and a place was rented at Erith in Kent. However, it was not until some skeins of artificial silk (a term to which Cross himself objected) were displayed in Paris that textile manufacturers began to take an interest in it. It was then that Courtaulds decided to investigate this new fibre, although it was not until 1904 that they bought the English patents and developed the first artificial silk that was later called "rayon". Cross was also concerned with the development of viscose films and of cellulose acetate, which became a rival to rayon in the form of "Celanese". He retained his interest in the paper industry and in publishing, in 1895 again collaborating with Bevan and publishing a book on Cellulose and other technical articles. He was a cultured man and a good musician. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1917.
    [br]
    Principal Honours and Distinctions
    FRS 1917.
    Bibliography
    1888, with E.J.Bevan, A Text-book of Papermaking. 1892, British patent no. 8,700 (cellulose).
    Further Reading
    Obituary Notices of the Royal Society, 1935, London. Obituary, 1935, Journal of the Chemical Society 1,337. Chambers Concise Dictionary of Scientists, 1989, Cambridge.
    Edwin J.Beer, 1962–3, "The birth of viscose rayon", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 35 (an account of the problems of developing viscose rayon; Beer worked under Cross in the Kew laboratories).
    C.Singer (ed.), 1978, A History of Technology, Vol. VI, Oxford: Clarendon Press.
    RLH

    Biographical history of technology > Cross, Charles Frederick

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  • Bennie Railplane — The Bennie Railplane was an early form of monorail, invented by George Bennie (1891 ndash;1957), which moved along an overhead rail by way of propellers. A prototype ran over a convert|130|yd|sing=on line at Milngavie near Glasgow in the 1930s,… …   Wikipedia

  • Engerth locomotive — The Engerth locomotive was a type of early articulated steam locomotive designed by Wilhelm Frieherr von Engerth cite web |url=http://www.steamindex.com/people/contengr.htm |title=Continental engineers|accessdate = 2008 03 23] for use on the… …   Wikipedia