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LONDON:
PRINTED BY WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED,
STAMFORD STREET AND CHARING CROSS.
_________

 

Ed.—in this online transcription of Smiles's 'Men of Invention', I have added a number of images to illustrate references in Smiles's text.  These are listed separately in the Index at the bottom of this page.  I have added the captions, and the footnotes prefixed "Ed."


 

PREFACE.

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I OFFER this book as a continuation of the memoirs of men of invention and industry published some years ago in the 'Lives of Engineers,' ' Industrial Biography,' and ' Self-Help.'

    The early chapters relate to the history of a very important branch of British industry—that of Shipbuilding.  A later chapter, kindly prepared for me by Mr. Harland of Belfast, relates to the origin and progress of shipbuilding in Ireland.

    Many of the facts set forth in the Life and Inventions of William Murdock have already been published in my 'Lives of Bolton and Watt;' but these are now placed in a continuous narrative, and supplemented by other information, more particularly the correspondence between Watt and Murdock, communicated to me by the present representative of the family, Mr. Murdock, C.E., of Gilwern, near Abergavenny.

    I have also endeavoured to give as accurate an account as possible of the Invention of the Steam-printing Press, and its application to the production of Newspapers and Books,—an invention certainly of great importance to the spread of knowledge, science, and literature, throughout the world.

    The chapter on the "Industry of Ireland" will speak for itself.  It occurred to me, on passing through Ireland last year, that much remained to be said on that subject; and, looking to the increasing means of the country, and the well-known industry of its people, it seems reasonable to expect, that with peace, security, energy, and diligent labour of head and hand, there is really a great future before Ireland.

    The last chapter, on "Astronomers in Humble Life," consists for the most part of a series of Autobiographies.  It may seem, at first sight, to have little to do with the leading object of the book; but it serves to show what a number of active, earnest, and able men are comparatively hidden throughout society, ready to turn their hands and heads to the improvement of their own characters, if not to the advancement of the general community of which they form a part.

    In conclusion, I say to the reader, as Quarles said in the preface to his 'Emblems,' "I wish thee as much pleasure in the reading as I had in the writing."  In fact, the last three chapters were in some measure the cause of the book being published in its present form.


LONDON, November, 1884.

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CONTENTS.

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CHAPTER I.
PHINEAS PETT : Beginnings of English Shipbuilding.

CHAPTER II.
FRANCIS PETTIT SMITH : Practical introducer of the Screw Propeller.

CHAPTER III.
JOHN HARRISON : Inventor of the Marine Chronometer.

CHAPTER IV.
JOHN LOMBE : Introducer of the Silk Industry into England.

CHAPTER V.
WILLIAM MURDOCK : His Life and Inventions.

CHAPTER VI.
FREDERICK KOENIG : Inventor of the Steam-printing Machine.

CHAPTER VII.
THE WALTERS OF 'THE TIMES': Invention of the Walter Press.

CHAPTER VIII.
WILLIAM CLOWES : Book-printing by Steam.

CHAPTER IX.
CHARLES BIANCONI : A lesson of Self-Help in Ireland.

CHAPTER X.
INDUSTRY IN IRELAND : Through Connaught and Ulster to Belfast.

CHAPTER XI.
SHIPBUILDING IN BELFAST : By E. J. Harland, Engineer and Shipbuilder.

CHAPTER XII.
ASTRONOMERS AND STUDENTS IN HUMBLE LIFE : A new Chapter in the 'Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties'.


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ILLUSTRATIONS
ADDED TO THIS ON-LINE EDITION.
 

PAGE

 

3

S. S. Sirius

9

Mary Rose

16

Francis Drake, navigator and privateer

19

Golden Hind

27

Phineas Pett, shipbuilder

41

Prince Royal

47

Peter Pett and the Sovereign of the Seas

50

Sir Francis Pettit Smith, inventor

51

Aaron Manby's iron steamship

56

Charlotte Dundas

57

North River Steamboat (the Clermont)

63

John Ericsson, engineer and inventor

64

Novelty

66

U.S.S. Monitor

68

Archimedes

69

Smith's early propeller designs

70

S.S. Great Britain — Brunel's propeller.

71

HMS Rattler and HMS Alecto

73

John Harrison, clock-maker.

82

Harrison's Gridiron Pendulum

84

Marine sextant.

92

Harrison H1 Chronometer, 1735.

94

Harrison H2 Chronometer, 1741.

96

Harrison H3 Chronometer, 1758.

97

Harrison H4 Chronometer, 1761.

105

Harrison H5 Chronometer, 1772.

107

John Lombe, pioneer of the silk industry

116

Lombe's Silk Mill at Derby

117

Lombe's Silk Mill at Derby

121

William Murdock, engineer and inventor

127

Statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch

130

"Sun and Planet" gears

133

Cugnot's road engine

134

Murdoch's model road engine

138

Murdoch's house, the first to be gas lit

144

Gas lighting, London

143

Victorian Gasometer

155

Plaque to William Murdoch

156

Frederick Koenig, inventor

181

 Koenig-type cylindrical press

183

John Walter II., Editor of The Times

184

'Numb. 1' of The Universal Daily Register

194

Extract, The Times, 29 Nov., 1814

198

John Walter III., Editor of The Times

209

Stanhope Press

220

Charles Bianconi, entrepreneur

231

A Bianconi car

232

Bianconi—6-person car

238

Bianconi—10-person car

239

Bianconi's "Finn MacCoul"

304

The Sicilian, Bibby Line, 1860

305

Gustav Wilhelm Wolff

312

T. H. Ismay, shipowner

313

Oceanic (1)

316

Oceanic (2)

317

Britannic and Germanic

336

James Hall Nasmyth, inventor

338

Thomas Cooke, instrument maker


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