Cumming, Alexander (DNB00)

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CUMMING, ALEXANDER (1733–1814), mathematician and mechanic, was a native of Edinburgh. He was apprenticed to the watchmaking business, which he carried on with great reputation for many years in Bond Street, London. On retiring from trade he settled in Pentonville, where he had several houses. He was appointed a county magistrate, and elected a fellow of the Royal Society. He continued to pursue his mechanical studies with diligence to the time of his death, which occurred on 8 March 1814. He was the father of James Cumming (d. 1827) [q. v.]

Besides some papers in the ‘Communications to the Board of Agriculture,’ he wrote: 1. ‘The Elements of Clock and Watch Work, adapted to practice,’ London, 1766, 4to. 2. ‘Observations on the Effects which Carriage Wheels, with Rims of different Shapes, have on the Roads’ [London, 1797], 8vo, and 1809, 4to. 3. ‘Dissertation on the Influence of Gravitation, considered as a Mechanic Power,’ Edinburgh, 1803, 4to. 4. ‘The Destructive Effects of the Conical Broad Wheels of Carriages controverted; with the improving effects of cylindrical wheels of the same breadth, as they regard the roads, the labour of cattle, &c.,’ 1804, 4to. 5. ‘A Supplement to the Observations on the Contrary Effects of Cylindrical and Conical Carriage Wheels,’ London, 1809, 4to.

[Gent. Mag. lxxxiv. pt. i. p. 414; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors (1816), 83, 425; Cat. of Printed Books in Brit. Mus.; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

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