Sir Samuel Bentham

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Sir Samuel Bentham  (1847) 
by Mary Sophia Bentham
Wikisource editorial note: Published London 1847, John Weale, Architectural Press, London

PAPER ON THE FIRST INTRODUCTION OF STEAM ENGINES INTO NAVAL ARSENALS AND MACHINERY SET IN MOTION THEREBY.[edit]

MARY SOPHIA BENTHAM, Widow of SIR SAMUEL BENTHAM.


MACHINERY, set in motion by inanimate force, being now so very extensively used in the royal dockyards, a history of its first introduction to them may not be without interest. This important service originated with, and was effected by, Brigadier General Sir Samuel Bentham, K.S.G.: part of an official letter of his, in 1813, to the Secretary of the Admiralty, will best relate the first introduction of the steam engine to a naval arsenal. It was as follows:–

Fully established (he was not fully established) as the use of steam engines is seen to be at present in his Majesty's naval arsenals, and great as are the advantages which are now seen to be the result, the value of the service rendered in effecting this improvement is not likely at this time to be duly appreciated unless the state of things previously to, and during the introduction of this improvement be taken into account, and borne in mind.
When, in the year 1791, I made a tour, visiting the principal manufactories, I found, it is true, steam engines extensively employed for giving motion to pumps for raising water from mines, to machinery for working cotton, and to mills for rolling, and for some other works in metal; but in regard to the working in wood, steam engines had not been applied to this purpose, as no machinery or engines, other than turning lathes had, so far as I learnt, as yet been introduced for the working of this material, excepting that some circular and reciprocating saws, and boring tools had been applied to the purpose of block-making, by the contractors who supplied blocks to the navy -- even saw-mills for slitting timber, though in very extensive use abroad, were not to be found in this country. An attempt, indeed, had been made to introduce a saw-mill in the neighbourhood of London, but the destruction of it by the machination of sawyers seemed to have prevented any further attempts at innovations of this nature.
For my part, I had, whilst in Russia, made some progress in contriving such machinery for shaping wood as should insure accuracy, and save manual labour; which contrivance, soon after my return to this country, I had occasion to carry to a much greater extent, with a view to the affording beneficial employment to some thousands of untaught hands in a public establishment; with this view, I analysed the several operations requisite for working in various materials, more particularly in wood; and finding the artificial, but common classification of works according to the trades or handicrafts for which they are used, was productive of a variety of inconveniences, and even mischiefs, I classed the several operations that have place in the working materials of every description, according to the nature of the operations themselves: and in regard to wood particularly, I contrived machines or engines for performing most of those operations, whereby the need of skill and dexterity in the workman was done away. These machines or engines, being capable of being brought into action by the simple process of turning an axis, were consequently capable of being worked by a steam engine, or any other inanimate force. In regard to the application of this machinery for working in wood, besides the general operations of planing, rebating, morticing., sawing in curved, winding, and transverse directions, I had completed, in the way of example, an apparatus for preparing all the parts of a highly finished window-sash ; another for every part of the more complicated article, an ornamented carriage wheel; so as that no dexterity or skill remaining necessary in the cutting out, shaping or smoothing the several parts completely, the whole of those operations were capable of being performed as well by a steam engine, as by manual labour; and nothing remained for finishing the work of the joiner or the wheelwright, but the putting the several component parts together. In the year 1794, it having become generally known that I had at my brother's residence in Queen Square Place these and other machines in a working state, several members of his Majesty's then administration having been pleased to express a wish to see them, honoured me with repeated visits ; and were, in consequence, so well satisfied of the national advantages that would be derived from the use of the system of machinery then shown to them, that it became a subject of public notice in the House of Commons, where the late Lord Viscount Melville, in particular, bestowed great encomiums on it. Having thus brought a system of machinery to a state of considerable perfection, and many parts of it being applicable to the execution of works which at the time were performed by hand in the several dockyards, I accordingly communicated upon the subject with the naval part of his Majesty's administration, who were so fully convinced of the justness of the representations I made to them, of the advantages that could not fail to result from the introduction into his Majesty's naval arsenals of such engines, as well as from the use of steam engines as a primum mobile, that the authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty was given me early in the year 1795 to visit his Majesty's dockyards, for the express purpose (amongst others) of suggesting in what cases, in my opinion, my system of machinery might with advantage be introduced. The authority which was given to me, and the prospects that naturally flowed from it, led to the relinquishing my intentions both of returning to Russia, and of deriving profit from the machinery in private undertakings. From thenceforward I devoted myself entirely to his Majesty's service, and directed my attention exclusively to the mode of accomplishing the several objects I had presented to their lordships' notice.
To the introduction of steam engines, however, notwithstanding the determination of the, Board of Admiralty, a variety of objections were started, such as apprehensions of the derangement of established practice; doubts of the efficacy or economy of machinery as applied to naval purposes; dread of danger of fire from the use of steam engines, and of risings of the artificers at the introduction of machinery to diminish the need of their skill as well as of their labour: of these objections, and a variety of others equally groundless that were at the same time started, subsequent experience has proved the futility. They did not, however, fail at that time to make the sort of impression they were designed to produce; and their lordships, although anxious to carry this and other similar improvements into effect, were unwilling to hazard the immediate introduction of a steam engine into a royal dockyard. The project, however, was not abandoned; it was, on the contrary, arranged that, as a preliminary step, I should order a steam engine to be erected at Redbridge, for the purpose of working some of the machines I had invented, and put up at that Place, for performing various operations requisite in building some vessels for his Majesty's service, spoken of under the head of services relative to the improvement of ships of war. But this plan was not carried into effect, as the engine was not completed in time for this use. Shortly afterwards, however, on the occasion of a set of new pumps, with additional powers, being requisite for pumping the docks in Portsmouth dockyard, I availed myself of this favourable opportunity, and proposed the giving motion to these pumps by a steam engine; a purpose for employing that engine in regard to which danger from fire was least apprehended, and by which the interest of the artificers was not implicated. The power of this engine not being constantly required for working the above mentioned pumps, presented also an occasion of which I did not fail to avail myself, for proposing the introduction of machinery for other uses, to be worked by this same engine, and which was accordingly, at my suggestion, established. The same engine that had been prepared for Redbridge, was erected in Portsmouth dockyard.
By degrees the advantages of this primum mobile, in pumping up water, were seen and acknowledged; by degrees other and larger steam engines have been introduced, and their use has been by my means extended gradually to other purposes, as prejudices could be removed, till now at length I have the satisfaction of seeing the objection to the use of steam engines and machinery in his Majesty's naval arsenals entirely done away.
Having effected this valuable improvement without any derangement of the business of the dockyards ; without having occasioned any single instance of opposition on the part of the artificers, &c.

By the authority given for the erection of the machinery above alluded to, saws of various descriptions were provided for that dockyard ; amongst them were some of the identical saws which had formed part of the machinery above mentioned as having, been at work at his brother's residence : these identical saws were still up to 1813, at least, in constant use in the wood-mills in Portsmouth Dockyard, for such purposes as slitting and edging deals, for cutting wood in lengths for block-shells, for taking of the angles of those lengths preparatory to their being shaped, &C., &C. By degrees, not only the economy of sawing by machinery was fully established by experience, but likewise the superiority of the work itself; in consequence, additional saws of the same description were introduced, so that in 1812, they were cutting in Portsmouth Dockyard at the rate of 9 and 10,000 feet of work per week, including four and five inch plank.

In connection with these works, Sir Samuel at the same time, 1797, devised and proposed an efficient apparatus for raising and distributing a supply of fresh water, and for the better securing the dockyard from the ravages of fire. This proposal having also been approved of, the details of execution were decided on, and by degrees carried into effect.

This apparatus, as exemplified at Portsmouth, consists of an elevated reservoir, into which water from a well (of Sir Samuel's proposal) is raised during meal hours, and in the evening, by either of the two steam engines, in daily use in the wood-mills subsequently established. From this reservoir the water is distributed throughout the dockyard, by a system of pipes passing by all the principal buildings, and by the sides of the docks and to the jettees; upon these pipes, means are provided at intervals of from 50 to 200 feet, for speedily affixing fire hose, jet and branch pipes. This system of pipes is so arranged as that water flows through them to any given point, by two different courses, so that, though there should happen any temporary interruption, the supply of water at any point would be effected by the other course. In addition to this supply, always ready to be instantaneously applied to the extinguishing fire in any part of the dockyard, and with a force sufficient to throw the water into the first floors of buildings, the steam engines also raise either fresh water from the well, or an immense supply of sea water, forcing this water, fresh or salt, in of fire, into and over all the principal storehouses and buildings, as well as over the ships themselves lying within, or contiguous to, the limits of the dockyard : apparatus to the same effect was afterwards introduced into most of the other dockyards.

Delay in the masonry works going on in Portsmouth Dockyard, consequent on the slow process, hitherto general, of mixing mortar by hand, still worse the frequent imperfection of the mechanical mixture of its component parts, led Sir Samuel, in the year 1796, to invent a mill for this purpose; he proposed it to the Admiralty, January, 1797. This first mortar-mill was, it is true, worked by horses, as there was not yet any steam engine in any dockyard.

This invention was soon adopted by the Ordnance Board, and in use to a great extent in the Ordnance as well as in the naval department; and has been very generally adopted, it is almost needless to say, by private architects and engineers.

The inefficiency of the then existing means of dredging, and the enormous expense attendant on the operation, induced Sir Samuel, towards the end of the last century, to consider whether an apparatus to be worked by a steam engine, might not be devised for this purpose; and in consequence he invented the steam-dredging machine.

This steam-dredging machine he officially proposed in his letter to the Admiralty, 18th April, 1800; and it was shortly afterwards ordered for execution according to that proposal.

The enlarged views which he took from the first of the uses to which this machine would be applicable, as stated in that letter, have proved to have been fully borne out in practice. He stated that by its means,

I am of opinion that at a very moderate expense, not only all shoals formed by a gradual accumulation of soil may be cleared away to the great benefit of rivers and harbours in general, but likewise that deep water may be brought to the wharf walls of the dockyards, and other naval establishments.
A farther use to which a well constructed apparatus of this kind might be made applicable, is that of diminishing very materially the expense of forming new ground on flats now covered by the tide, as in the instance of the great addition that is now making to the gun-wharf here (Portsmouth). By such an apparatus the shingle, or other soil dug out from the harbour, might be deposited so as to raise the new ground above the height of high water-mark, without the assistance of manual labour for any other purpose than that of transporting the vessels loaded with the soil to and fro.

In his letter to the Admiralty, 28th June, 1803, informing their lordships that "the floating engine for digging under water had been found fully to answer its Intended purpose," he added, "that it had become evident that by means of such engines, besides such services as those above mentioned, basins and other excavations for the reception of ships may be dug out at an expense which the advantages to be expected from such works may justify.." In this same letter he proposed a second dredging machine, which was ordered accordingly.

In the Reports of the House of Commons, vol. xiv. p. 634, Report (1801) from Select Committee upon further measures for the Improvement of the Port of London, it appears that General Bentham, Inspector General of Naval Works, had in answer to a request from the committee, given it, amongst other matters, as his opinion, that, "the eligibility of all plans for the improvement of the navigation of it," (the Thames,) "as well as for the making new embankments, seems to depend greatly on the cost and expedition with which the operations can be carried on of digging under water, and of depositing advantageously the soil taken up," &c., &c. ; that in consequence, "I have been induced to contrive an apparatus for digging under water by means of a steam engine;" that such an apparatus was then preparing by order of the Admiralty, and that he supposed when it should have been completed, and its efficacy ascertained, that others would be ordered for the improvement of the navigation of the Thames and Medway in as far as his Majesty's dockyards were concerned. He calculated that his apparatus then constructing would raise 1000 tons of soil a day; sent an estimate of the cost of the apparatus, and of barges for carrying away soil; adapted, some for delivering it through the bottom, others above water : and at the same time furnished drawings of his apparatus.

In this, as in most others of Sir Samuel's inventions, he had to combat opposition, Mr. Tucker, (the Earl of St. Vincent's secretary and friend,) in July, 1801, wrote to ask, " How does your floating steam engine answer, or promise? as I have its battle to fight now and then."

It appears that, contrary to what is usual in regard to machinery, this first dredging machine answered its intended purpose as well at least as any since constructed ; since in one case recorded, it was raising soil at 1d. only per ton, although out of 3£. 18s, the total of one day's expenses, no less than 1£ 10s. of that amount was set down for wear and tear, and for interest on capital expended; and when raising shingle from a depth of twenty-seven feet, it worked at less than 2d. per ton.

September, 1801, Sir Samuel invented, proposed, and shortly afterwards effected the introduction of moveable steam engines. The first of them, for use at Portsmouth, was upon wheels; its boiler, for convenience and lightness, of wood in the form of a cask. This engine, applicable to the working, of cranes, pumps, &c., afforded the benefit of this advantageous primum mobile to a variety of temporary purposes, such as would not afford compensation for the expense of a fixed steam engine.

Acting upon the general idea he had been led to form, that the prejudice entertained against the use of machinery was most likely to be removed by a gradual introduction of small machinery, rather than by any sudden innovation in the more important works of the dock-yards, he at first attempted only to introduce in addition to saws such as are used in other countries, some sawing apparatus, and other engines, and small machines of his own invention for working in wood; as for instance. for rebating, cutting dove-tails and tenons, boring and cutting mortices, and for forming mouldings. The Lords of the Admiralty, on their visitation to the dockyards, 1802, saw some of these machines in use, but no one had as yet the requisite means or motives to make the most advantageous use of them; the wood working business was divided under different masters, in a great number of distinct shops, which would have required a separate set of machines, a separate steam engine, in each shop. Early in that year, however, when the quantity of machinery provided came to be considerable, a man who had been trained by him to the use of his machinery before he was engaged in the service, was sent to Plymouth to introduce some of it there, and was afterwards employed in managing the machinery then bringing into use at Portsmouth for working wood; this was Mr. Burr, who had, with the approbation of Earl Spencer, been retained in the Inspector-General's Office from the first of its institution, to be ready to be employed in the introduction of Sir Samuel's machinery in the dockyards. Under Mr. Burr's immediate direction, some dockyard labourers were trained to the use of those machines, and were encouraged by some small extra allowances to exert themselves in this employment.

At Plymouth, the employment of inanimate force was delayed, as it was expected that the Plymouth Dock Water Company would have fulfilled their engagement to supply water that would have sufficed to give motion to a considerable amount of machinery; that introduced there this year was worked by man, and was confined to a few articles, such as circular saws, a foot saw-bench, a reciprocating slitting saw-bench, and a tenanting saw-bench.

Simultaneously with the above mentioned business, Sir Samuel was investigating that of the manufacture of the various articles of metal used in his Majesty's navy. His official letters on the subject commenced as early as 1797, but it was not till April, 1800, that he proposed the erection of an apparatus for manufacturing copper sheathing, bolts, &c. This proposal was confined to a manufactory of very limited extent, its object in the first instance having been intended only as an experimental arrangement; but in the course of his proceedings it appeared that the savings on manufacturing metals on government account would be so great, and that the articles furnished might be expected to prove so superior, that it was deemed expedient, in con sequence of his representations, to erect a new separate establishment with its steam engine and machinery in Portsmouth Dockyard for the manufacture of copper sheathing, bolts, and other articles, of copper, sundry articles of iron, and of other metals, pure or mixed.

In the year 1802, it happened, whilst he was engaged in a duty specially enjoined him by the Earl of St. Vincent to have the preference, (that of Dockyard Regulations,) that a foreigner, at that time wholly unknown to Sir Samuel, presented himself, without word of recommendation or introduction, with drawings of machinery for block-making, but which at that time embraced only some of the operations requisite in forming the shells of blocks. "The drawings," Sir Samuel has said officially, "exhibited great ingenuity and mechanical skill; and finding his ideas on mechanical subjects just and extensive;" that "his time was unengaged, he saw reason to believe that this gentleman, Mr. Brunel," (now Sir Isambard,) "might be made very useful to the public in forwarding the introduction of machinery of the nature of that he offered." "I therefore advised him to address himself to the Admiralty, proposing the introduction of his machinery for the manufacture of blocks in Portsmouth Dockyard." Mr. Brunel accordingly composed such a letter, which having been sent by him to Sir Samuel for revision, on the 20th February, 1802, was submitted to the Admiralty: that Board referred Mr. Brunel's proposal to Sir Samuel for his opinion, who, thereupon, recommended the adoption of the proposal officially, as he had already done privately; mentioning that the making of blocks was one of the purposes to which it was known Sir Samuel had intended to apply the force of the steam engine there. Farther, he advised that Mr. Brunel should be directed to concert with the mechanist in his office, so that this apparatus should be made to combine with. the other machinery already provided for working in wood.

Their lordships having determined in conformity to this report, that Mr. Brunel's machinery should be introduced in the manner suggested, he employed himself in the perfecting his machinery; and, in concert with the mechanist, in contriving details as to putting it up, in arranging machines for various operations in block-making, for which neither Mr. Brunel's, nor such of Sir Samuel's as was already prepared, were suitable. Whilst so employed, an application of Mr. Brunel's soliciting remuneration was referred by the Admiralty to the Inspector-General for his opinion. Sir Samuel recommended the employment of this gentleman at a guinea a day whilst actually occupied respecting his machinery, but that his remuneration should depend on the degree of benefit that might be derived from it to the service; accordingly, that when completed, Mr. Brunel's remuneration should be not less than one year's savings made by his means to the public.

The Admiralty having acceded to this unusual recommendation, Mr. Brunel's interest was thus intimately combined with that of the public: his time was almost exclusively given up to this business; he entered into Sir Samuel's views in regard to general management, of a nature without which no manufacture on public account could to any certainty be advantageous. Sir Samuel on his part, considering that public opinion in favour of machinery was most likely to be obtained by a display of well arranged machines for one particular purpose, and that those for block-making, admitted of a very pleasing assemblage, he determined that other operations in working in wood should for the time give way to that for manufacturing blocks.

It is needless to expatiate on the success that attended this determination: the public have been lavish in commendation of the block-making machinery, so much so, that the multitude who have visited the wood-mills have ascribed to Mr. Brunel the machinery of every kind that had been introduced into Portsmouth Yard.

Another very important manufacture was at the same time under consideration by Sir Samuel, namely, that of cordage, sail-cloth, and of such filamentous substances generally as were required in the, naval service. The Earl of St. Vincent, when in Torbay, towards the end of 1800, spoke to him of dangers to which the fleet had been exposed in consequence of the frequent bad quality of cordage and sail-cloth, and expressed his wish that Sir Samuel should turn his attention to the improvement of these important articles of naval equipment. His lordship shortly afterwards, when at the head of the naval administration, repeated his wishes on the subject; so that as soon as other business which his lordship had desired should have the preference would admit, Sir Samuel entered into investigations as to the manufacture of the stores in question, and in January, 1803, set out on a tour amongst the great manufactories then existing in the north, more particularly to witness the actual practice in respect to the manufacture of iron and other metals, and to examine the establishments for the fabrication of cordage and of sail-cloth ; the result of this investigation was his forming a plan for the manufacture of cordage and sail-cloth in Woolwich dockyard, adopting for cordage the complete system of machinery for this purpose devised by Mr. Grimshaw, and in use at his manufactory near Sunderland. Cordage was here made in a short building without the need of a long rope-house, and altogether this was spoken of by Sir Samuel as being "already one of the most complete and best contrived systems of machinery I had seen employed for any manufacturing, purpose and the adaptation of which to, his Majesty's service, together with some farther improvements, had been pursued and completed under my superintendence as exhibited in my drawings and descriptions," which, including the outline of a manufactory of sail-cloth, he submitted to the Admiralty, January, 1801. He proposed that this manufactory should be established in Woolwich Dockyard, partly in obedience to their lordships' commands, September, 1802; and farther, because the raw material, hemp, was usually brought to the Thames as part lading of vessels with other stores destined for that river. This proposal was forthwith honoured with the approbation of the Lords of the Admiralty, was farther . sanctioned by his Majesty in Council, ordered for immediate execution, and preparations for it actually commenced.

Notwithstanding this high authority, a stop was put to this establishment for manufacturing filamentous substances. The prevention of it appeared to have been "the effect of implied objections, concealed influence, unfair experiments, and partial statements," the whole of which Sir Samuel was preparing to bring to notice, when he was suddenly sent by government on a mission to Russia.

Attacks of a similar nature had indeed been already made in regard to the wood-mills, and to the metal-mills, and were frequently repeated for many years. In regard to blocks, it was represented, even after the greater part of the machinery or block-making had been erected and at work, that "no saving could result from it; " that "it never would be found competent, to the supply of the navy;" and that, "the assurances that had been given of the competency of that machinery," had been "considered as the sanguine but groundless expectations of a visionary projector." This machinery has, however, been found competent, not only to the supply of the whole of that department in time of war, but also to that of the Ordnance, and would be sufficient to satisfy the demand were the expenditure for both these departments doubled. So in the course of nine years, separate attacks presented officially were made on Sir Samuel's judgement, relating to the expediency of the metal-mills; he was personally charged with having made fallacious promises, but these attacks were open, and some of them, no doubt, proceeding from most honourable motives. The public service, no less than Sir Samuel, has been greatly indebted for the official reference of these allegations to him, since thereby the beneficial results of the introduction of machinery into naval arsenals have been incontestably ascertained ; and although the answering these objections necessarily occupied much of his time, to the prevention of his employing it on other plans, yet, as the consequent investigations ascertained the benefits resulting from this measure, the public have derived convincing evidence, in lieu of vague ideas and assertions, and positive proof of the money savings, and of the superiority of articles manufactured by machinery in the naval arsenals.

It must be evident to persons conversant in private manufactories, that none on government account could beneficially be carried on, otherwise than on the same principles on which individuals manage their own concerns ; and as the regulations necessary for the establishments in question, and the training of people to work the machinery, had been left to him, he proceeded, keeping those principles in view, to commence arrangements preparatory to a fixed establishment of operatives for the working of metals, as well as for work in the wood-mills ; he also took measures for the introduction of that branch of mechanical skill possessed by the description of persons then called millwrights, now engineers ; so that in February, 1805, he recommended the institution of the three distinct establishments, the wood-mills, the metal-mills, and of millwrights in Portsmouth dockyard : he proposed that a master should be appointed for each establishment, specified the number of operatives likely to be required, and gave an estimate of the rates of pay proper for each of the several classes of them.

In respect to the establishment of millwrights, Sir Samuel had, from the first of his intercourse with the Admiralty, represented privately to Earl Spencer and others, the lamentable deficiency in the dockyards of engineering skill, and of the scientific principles of mechanics. When engaged at his lordship's desire, in the year 1798, in drawing up the sketch of a Report to the Lords of his, Majesty's Council, for better conducting the civil business of the navy, by Article 19 of that sketch, he proposed an additional officer for each dockyard, "who should be a man conversant in the principles of mechanics, as well as in the business of a millwright, so as to be capable of assisting the surveyors on all mechanical subjects." This sketch having been printed and referred by the Admiralty to the comptroller of the navy for his observations, he gave it as his opinion that no such officer was necessary ; and in regard to the articles in that sketch relative to naval seminaries, proposed in that sketch to be instituted in four dockyards, for giving appropriate education for the several branches of duty in the naval establishments, the comptroller objected also to them. Sir Samuel's official answer, 1800, to the comptroller's objections was, that independently of the practical knowledge that may be necessary for the management of any article of machinery which might be applied to facilitate the preparatory processes carried on in a dockyard, no well grounded judgement can be formed respecting the need there "may be for improvement in the shape, - in the mode of putting together, or in the fastening of any of the component parts of that very complicated machine, a ship, without a perfect knowledge of the principles of mechanics;" and farther, "As the study of mechanics, as a science, does not necessarily constitute any part of the education of any of the persons who are concerned in the business of a dockyard, it seems highly expedient that some officer chosen particularly on account of, his knowledge of the principles of mechanics, as well as on account of his readiness in applying them to practice, should be established in each dockyard, were it only for the general purpose of affording advice to the superior operative officer, in every case where a demand for improvement may show itself." This reply proved convincing to their lordships; but as a variety of circumstances irrelevant to the subject of this paper delayed the carrying this proposal into effect, he, with their lordships' knowledge and private approbation, ventured to introduce millwrights and young working hands necessary in the three establishments.

Sir Samuel's proposal above mentioned, of February, 1805, was referred to the Navy Board: by their answer it appeared that both the dockyard officers and the Navy Board considered themselves as totally unacquainted with the management of such concerns as these establishments, and that they knew of no one but General Bentham competent to this service ; that they "saw no other alternative" but that of confiding to him the management, "relying, upon him to pay the strictest attention to economy, and not to propose an establishment more extensive than is absolutely necessary to ensure the ends for which it was intended."

Their lordships thereupon confided the management of the three establishments entirely to Sir Samuel, who shrank not from the task of (in the words of the committee) "the superintendence of works of so great a magnitude, consequently responsibility attaching to the due performance thereof."

How far the confidence thus reposed in him was justified by the result will subsequently appear. From this time he had the entire management of the wood-mills, metal-mills and millwrights, precisely the same as if they had been private concerns of his own, excepting that he had not the advantage of procuring raw materials at the cheapest markets, and save that, at his own desire, the works, the books, and every transaction relative to the establishments were open to the commissioner, to the dockyard officers, and that accounts of the week for wages were regularly furnished to the accountant officers and to the Navy Board. He shortly went to Portsmouth, passed some time there to set these establishments fairly out a working footing, proceeded then to Plymouth, for, amongst other improvements in view, the introduction of machinery there, but lie was suddenly called from thence by the Ministry for the purpose of inducing him to undertake a mission to Russia.

On his acquiescence with this desire of his superiors, at his request his assistant, Mr. Goodrich, was appointed to do the duty of his office, who being well apprized of his views in regard to these establishments, was also charged with the extra duty of their management, who, Sir Samuel has recorded, "by his steady yet zealous conduct in regard to them, during my absence effected some of the improvements I had in view."

It was during his absence, July 1806, that Mr. Goodrich had occasion officially to observe on a misconception entertained by their then lordships relative to the machinery for working in wood. They had asked Mr. Goodrich whether in the proposed erection of machinery in Plymouth Yard, it was intended to employ Mr. Brunel's circular saws. The, reply was, that the saws in question were General Bentham's improved circular saws, introduced by him, and at work in that dockyard, as well as his machines for making cogues and tree-nails. This is mentioned here in proof that the then Board of Admiralty entertained the erroneous opinion, in common with the public, that the machinery in the wood-mills had been of Mr. Brunel's invention exclusively. Mr. Goodrich added in the same letter in regard to Mr. Brunel's circular saws, that "the first sawing machines used at Portsmouth Dock yard for converting the wood for the shells of blocks, were prepared according to the improved construction of the Inspector-General, by plans and directions furnished from this office."

In March 1807, the first open attack on the metal-mills was referred by the Admiralty for the Inspector-General's opinion, and of course, on account of his absence, replied to by Mr. Goodrich. The paper in question, by Messrs. Grenfell and Williams, demanded accounts of every item of expense incurred in the metal-mills for the manufacture of copper, which he gave in detail down to eleven-pence farthing's worth of emery used in a week, and set down also the large sum of 47£. 8s. 6d., as the week's interest at 12 1/2 per cent. on the capital sunk, as also to cover wear and tear that the number of sheets rolled weekly was 4167, at an average expense of 1 1/2 d. per lb., the contract prices being from 4d. to 4 1 /2 d. per lb.

Those gentlemen in the conclusion of their paper declared that "the object thereof is to show that the establishment formed in Portsmouth Dockyard by Brigadier General Bentham for the melting and manufacture of copper, is both expensive and useless to the public ; and that no one object of public good has hitherto been or is ever likely to be accomplished by it." Mr. Goodrich in reply to this, specified a variety of advantages accruing to the public from these mills; but admitted, in concluding his letter, that by the erection of the metal-mills "it is possible as Messrs. Grenfell and. Williams assert, that their interests are injured by this establishment."

At various times Sir Samuel introduced in the dockyards several new tools, implements. and engines, most of them of his own invention; such as engines for making cogues, cogue-sinking tools, for mooting tree-nails with single and double drifts, augers for boring holes for single and double drift tree-nails, rotatory tools for forming the heads and points of tree-nails, punches for driving tree-nails so as to preserve their heads sound, auger shanks with universal joints, apparatus for preparing nuts, and screw points for copper bolts, &c.

The management Sir Samuel introduced in these three establishments, so widely differing from that of the dockyards, cannot be considered as irrelevant to the subject in question, since the success of machinery is so well known to depend materially on the economical arrangements in its use. These establishments were each of them managed by a master of no higher pay than 4£. per week, without any additional allowance or emolument ; he had for his assistance one foreman only, and one cabin keeper. The operatives were of a great variety of descriptions, denominations, and ages; in the wood-mills of nine descriptions ; in the metal-mills of eight; the pay they earned varied from 9d. to 10s. a day; the average pay, including the master, being in the wood-mills no more than 2s. 10d. a day. Every machine had two persons capable of tending it; every operative had two employments to which he could be put, so as never to be out of work. They were paid weekly by the master, after working hours ; instead of, as in the case of all others in the dockyard, quarterly, which, together with various other regulations tending simultaneously to the benefit of the operative and of the public, induced work people to engage themselves in these establishments in many instances at a less rate of pay than they might have obtained from neighbouring private manufacturers; whilst the public, on the other hand, never in these establishments paid the indolent for work they were incapable of performing.

On Sir Samuel's return from Russia at the end of 1807, he represented the nullity of the objections which had been made to the ropery he had proposed, and which statement he had reason to believe was considered satisfactory ; but the abolition of his office of Inspector-General of naval works, and his being placed as a Commissioner of the navy, from this time greatly impeded his means of introducing other machinery. The three establishments in Portsmouth Yard still continued, however, to be considered as requiring too much appropriate knowledge to admit of their management being, imposed on any one in the naval department but himself; the sole direction of them remained with him the whole time he continued in the service. For the nearly eight years for which he was individually responsible in regard to them, above a million sterling had been expended in them in materials and workmanship ; he had taken means from first to last to give the Resident Commissioners and the dockyard officers full opportunity of informing themselves of the whole of the transactions in these establishments ; during this long period they never had seen reason to consider his management in any respect otherwise than judicious, commendable, and advantageous to the public. The direct savings that resulted from these establishments proved, on investigation, far more considerable than Sir Samuel had ever represented them as likely to prove. The block-making machinery (including, it is true, the saws and other preparatory machines of his invention,) effected a saving of 16,621£. 8s. 10d. per annum.

The metal-mills in the year 1812, the whole capital sunk for their erection having already been paid off, with compound interest on it, by the savings, were working at a clear profit of 40,954£. 12s. 8d. per annum. In both cases the quality of the articles produced had, moreover, been improved.

In the wood-mills a variety of articles besides blocks had been manufactured with, comparatively equal advantage. On the insignificant article of small wooden tables for the use of the navy, of which about a thousand a year were required, the saying by Sir Samuel's machinery was upwards of 700£. Mr. Burr, the master of the wood mills, who, as before mentioned, had been trained by Sir Samuel, introduced several improvements and new machines; as for instance, one for making shot-racks for the use of the whole navy, by which more than two thirds of the expense for workmanship was saved.

The metal-mills, down to the end of this time, were far from completed according to Sir Samuel's plans. Machinery for rolling copper bolts, and for rolling and otherwise manufacturing iron, was, indeed, in great part provided, but not yet erected. He had begun experiments in the year 1799, for ascertaining the comparative strength of metals, prosecuted them with advantage from time to time, and was deeply engaged in them in 1810, when suddenly called up to town.. But he had already ascertained the great additional strength that might be given to metals by hammering or rolling. He had so far improved the mixture of metals that one of them used in those Mills, compared to the best Swedes iron which bore only seven tons and a-half, bore a weight of 5 tons 7 cwt. and a quarter before it broke. The mixed metal cast bolt-nails, which in lieu of copper ones he introduced, of seven inches long, were of a shape so advantageous, and of a mixture so good, that they could without boring holes for them, be driven into oak or fir without splitting the wood; and he was engaged in experiments to ascertain the chemical causes which influence the quality of copper sheathing.

The not giving the requisite extension to the metal-mills, he officially stated could not but be considered as an impediment to the introduction of iron for, various purposes for which it might be advantageously employed; for example, "for chains for cables, and for standing rigging, first suggested to him by Mr. John Peake :" but on every occasion he professed himself adverse to propose or encourage such improvements until he could feel assured of a uniform goodness of both material and manufacture, which can only be obtained by means of such an establishment as that of the metal-mills. It was not without reason that he entertained this opinion ; since, to take. the example he gave to Earl Spencer, 1799, in which he instanced that in the Ajax, 74-gun-ship, there were only three of the dead-eye bindings tough enough on coming to the dockyard to admit of their being spread open to take out the dead-eyes in the Penelope nine of the dead-eye bindings and chain-plates 'broke at the first setting up the shrouds; whilst in the Bellerophon, where there was no other difference than the goodness of the iron, the chain-plates had never been broken or changed, during a service of thirteen years. Had such inferior iron been used for fabricating any article Sir Samuel might have recommended to be of iron, failure he well knew was not likely to be attributed to the badness of the material, but to the impropriety of its application to a new purpose.

In regard to the establishment of millwrights, the pecuniary advantages derived from it were very considerable, but hardly of a nature to be detailed here : but engines for facilitating work were introduced in different workshops in consequence of this establishment, as in the smiths shop, for instance, where a boring engine, though turned by men, saved more than half the expense in boring holes in iron knees ; the saving on making cogueing tools amounted to 80 per cent. But of all the advantages of this establishment, that one which was of the greatest real importance was the introduction of mechanical skill into a naval arsenal. This benefit had already began to be very evident before Sir Samuel gave up the management of these concerns ; it was extending to different branches of business, and the millwrights were already frequently applied to for advice as to the better or cheaper mode of execution of various works.

As to the intended ropery, the expected savings were calculated at from 80,000£ to 120,000£. per annum; and a still greater saving would have been derived from the manufacture of sail-cloth. In this case, it is true, these savings were only estimated; but his estimates were formed on data to be relied on, minutely examined, and most ample allowance made for every item likely to diminish profits. Even at this day, the introduction of a manufactory of cord age and sail-cloth may be regarded. as an establishment which possibly of all others would be productive of the greatest amount of saving, and what is more important, the greatest improvement might be made in the efficiency of these essential articles of naval equipment.

It is needless to bring to notice the attempts which continued to be made to discredit these establishments, even to the last year of Sir Samuel's services, sometimes by calling for accounts in Parliament, sometimes by statements from manufacturers or by members of Parliament, or by captains in the navy, of the inferiority of the articles themselves, as well as the extravagant cost at which they were produced. In 1812, he drew up a full Report on the subject, in transmitting the first part of which to the Admiralty, the Navy Board stated that "an investigation has been made, and we are now enabled to transmit for your lordships' information a full Report thereon from Commissioner Bentham, which we hope their lordships will consider a complete refutation of the alleged defects in the copper manufactured at Portsmouth."

This investigation, in addition to a variety of facts that had come under the notice of the Navy Board and the dockyard officers, had at length perfectly satisfied them of the advantages resulting from Sir Samuel's three establishments, and the facility of their management; so that on the abolition of his office, when it was determined that they should thenceforward be conducted by the dockyard officers, those officers now willingly. accepted this duty to which they had been so long averse. Thus Sir Samuel, after eighteen years of unwearied exertion for the introduction of machinery into naval arsenals, had the satisfaction of seeing that this great improvement was at length appreciated, by the Admiralty and naval authorities, as well as by the public.

It may be added, that although Sir Samuel was no longer in the service, his assistance was privately requested in 1828, by the then Lord Althorpe, in pointing out, as to naval concerns, subjects worthy of consideration by the Committee on Finance, of which his lordship was a member; this circumstance, together with the interest he continued to take in that subject, led him to read with much attention Sir Henry Parnell's recent publication on Financial Reform. In this Sir Henry affirmed it to be " morally impossible" that articles could be provided either so good or so cheap, when manufactured on government account, as they could be obtained by contract with private persons : in consequence, Sir Samuel was led to bring to notice in a little work, "Financial Reform Scrutinized," a great number and variety of facts in proof of the fallacy of that opinion ; and it is scarcely to be doubted that the statements and facts he therein adduced have had, amongst other reasons, their influence with naval administrations in giving their sanction to machinery in the arsenals, and to the introduction of engineering skill to the present great extent, and with such immense advantage to the public.

Should it seem that Sir Samuel Bentham has been brought forward too prominently in this paper, the writer admits that she has seen with pain his inventions and improvements continually adopted by others, and considered as amongst the marvels of the day, without the least reference or allusion to him: it appeared, therefore, no unworthy endeavour, thus late, to obtain for him in public estimation the credit so justly, his due in regard to manufacturing concerns ; but it is hoped it will be borne in mind that this paper is no more than a simple. statement of facts, taken from official documents still in her possession ; and that reference might at any time be had to them, as well as to the records contained in the books of the naval department. She cannot conclude without craving excuse for the imperfection of her humble endeavours ; and of adding a hope that the example afforded of success attendant on perseverance no less than skill, may contribute in exciting others to continued exertion in the introduction of improvements, whether for private emolument, or for the benefit of the public service.


Mary Sophia Bentham, widow of Sir Samuel Bentham

ENUMERATION OF THE PRINCIPAL INVENTIONS OF THE LATE BRIGADIER, GENERAL SIR SAMUEL BENTHAM, K.S.G., INSPECTOR-GENERAL OF HIS MAJESTY'S NAVAL WORKS, ETC.[edit]

AN improved chain-pump at the early age of sixteen. The secretary of the Navy Board was commanded to acquaint him that "they admit the improvement, and commend your ingenuity." [1773]

A curvator for measuring the curvature of timber for ship-building. [1775]

Coqueing. A new mode of connecting wood-work together, "in all cases where the force to be resisted tends principally to make the pieces slide over one another ;" now in very general use in ship-building, and equally applicable to many cases in civil architecture and engine work. [1780, 1802, 1803]

An amphibious carriage. A vehicle on wheels for travelling on land, but of the form of a boat, so that, on arriving at a river, it was capable of being launched from the shore and rowed across, or up and down the stream ; used first for travelling on the Asiatic side of the Ural Mountains to Perme, &c.; afterwards many thousand miles in Siberia and to the Chinese frontier. This carriage was formed of a trellis of wood work, covered with raw hides, afterwards smoked to render them impervious to water. [1781]

A planing machine. [1781]

The heat of steam from salt pans employed for the warming a supply of brine in Count Strogonoff's salt works at Perme. [1781]

Raising a double quantity of brine from the same bore, by making the upper part of the pipe double with a piston in each pipe. [1781]

A chart exhibiting the absolute and comparative population of part of the Russian Empire, and a chart of one of the provinces made accordingly by Imperial order. [1783]

A pile-driving machine for the Fontanka Canal, St. Petersburgh, by a new mode of employing the weight of men on a revolving ladder. [1783]

A new mode of converting iron into steel by cementation at Prince Potemkin's fabric. [sic = manufactory?], 1784

A new composition for crystal glass, producing it at half the current price. [1784]

A new variety of Reaumur's porcelain for crucibles, hard enough to strike fire with steel, and in which brass was melted. [1784]

A mode of rowing with two ranks of men, first exemplified in a river boat of forty oars. [1784]

Vessels which from their form were called vermicular; they could twist about from side to side, or each one turn upon itself, as a worm, suitable for winding round the islands frequent in the rivers of Russia, and drawing little water, so as to pass over shallows. One of these vessels, 252 feet long, extreme breadth 16 feet 9 inches, drew but 4 inches water when light, 6 inches when loaded, and with 120 men at the oars on board. An attendant barge of twenty-four oars was for stores. Both were perfectly steady, and on the river Soje, where one of the turnings approached to a light angle, the vermicular bent itself to that form. One vessel of this kind was for the Black Sea; several of them for the conveyance of timber and other produce from the interior to the sea. [1787]

Panopticon or inspection-house, invented whilst his brother Jeremy Bentham was, on a visit to him at Cherson. The building consisted of a centre from which diverged' several long rays, all of them, on all the stories, capable of inspection from the central part. A panopticon, afterwards (1807) erected at St. Petersburgh, was perfectly successful; and its eligibility for barracks particularly pointed out by General Fanshawe, Governor General of the Crimea. This panopticon, having been of wood, was unfortunately destroyed by fire. [1787]

Non-recoil of ordnance. Fitting ordnance thus was his invention when he created a flotilla for the protection of Russia against the Turks. He fitted every balk that could swim, and by non-recoil of the guns was enabled to place thirty-six and forty-eight pounders on vessels even so small as long-boats. The same mode of fitting he afterwards introduced in the British Navy, but the injudicious manner in which ordnance was fixed on this principle, when its superintendence was no longer under him, brought the principle into disrepute for the Navy. Ordnance in the merchant service is still so fitted, and it is said the principle has been extensively adopted in France for merchantmen at least. [1788, 1796]

Mounting ordnance in pairs to recoil, but so that the recoil of one gun should draw out the other. He mounted on board barges seventy-seven feet long two thirty-six pounder long guns on each barge as bow chasers, so as to slide in grooves, one gun "on each side of the middle line of the vessel, and attached one of these thirty-six pounders at each end of a single breeching, passed over a shieve fastened to the stem of the vessels so that the recoil of one of these guns drew out the other; whereby the loading was effected entirely within board, and no labour or time was lost in replacing the gun after recoil." [1788]

Amphibious military baggage waggons <Note 1> The body of the waggon in the form of a boat the head sharp, the stern broad and having a pair of wheels. A movable cover of the same form, either Used as the cover, or as a separate waggon. When coming to a river, the two waggons were connected together at their flat sterns, thus forming a long navigable vessel.

<Note 1> Footnote: Prince Potemkin's order at Sassy that corps of chasseurs should be furnished with them. [1789]

A waymeter <note 2>, contrived for ascertaining distances in the Kirghees' country, where no apparent instrument would have been tolerated. A pin in the felloe of one of the wheels of his carriage was pressed inward when it came to the ground, and marked the revolutions in a concealed apparatus. [1789]

<Note 2> Major Rennel's map of that country was drawn from S. B.'s original one made from these measerements. [1789]

<1>A planing machine. [1791]

<2>Machine for sawing in curved, winding, and transverse directions. [1793]

<3>Improved circular saws,whereby they cut at pleasure to any required angle, to any precise depth, to any given thickness, and with a smoothness of surface amounting it might be said to a polish. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<4>Apparatus for making carriage wheels,plain or ornamented. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<5>Apparatus for forming mouldings. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<6>pparatus for window sashes, plain or ornamented. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<7>Rebating machine. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<8>Morticing machine. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<9>Dovetailing machine. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<10>Reciprocating saws, improvements on those in use in foreign countries. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<11>Improved boring machine. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<12>Machine for cutting thin veneers. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<13>Machine for sawing marble or stone. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<14>Machine for polishing marble. [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<15>Machine for forming mouldings in marbles.*** [sic 1804, should be 1793]

<Notes 1-15> Footnote covering all of these in this block: Machinery for these several purposes was exhibited to a great many persons at Mr Bentham's, Queen Square Place in the years 1792, 3, 4, 5 and 6; and several of these machines were subsequently erected in Portsmouth Dock Yard.

Improvements in apparatus for manufacturing iron. [1804]

Fire-proof buildings. The first building designed throughout of fire-proof materials, as far as has hitherto appeared, was that of a panopticon for the reception and remunerative employment of a thousand prisoners, the iron work of which was cast, although difficulties which government experienced as to its site prevented the completion of this establishment. Subsequently the intended ropery at Woolwich was to have been entirely fire-proof. Record and cash rooms at different Dock Yards Were built fire-proof according to his plans, as was also the eastern Rope-house at Plymouth, &c., and he exemplified, in a store-house in Deptford Dock Yard, that a building might be erected fire-proof at a less expense than by the use of wood in the usual manner. [1793, 1804, 1808, 1808, 1813]

Speaking tubes. In Mr. Bentham's dwelling house, Queen Square Place. Afterwards from the Inspection-room to the radial wings of the Panopticon, St. Petersburgh. [1794, 1807]

Tubular taper fire-irons for lightness: also machine for forming the taper tubes. [1794]

Machine for washing lace, so that its appearance should afterwards be the same as when new. This was intended for the employment of female convicts. The lace was rolled on a cylinder, then placed in a trough of soap-suds, for example, there turned round whilst beaten upon by a wadded tilt hammer. [1795]

Performing operations in vacuo. Amongst a great variety, the impregnation of wood for its preservation with gases, solutions of metallic salts, vegetable acids, &c. tanning of leather--dyeing and staining wood as well as other substances--impregnation of meat, fish, &c., with salt or other preservatives.-- lnspissation of syrups &c., by operating, without access of air and at a degree of heat below that which produces empyreuma, distillation, &C., &C., all of which effects were ascertained to be practicable by actual trial. The first use made of this invention was in weaving, the cobs of cotton being impregnated with soap-suds in vacuo. [1805 or 1806, 1812]

Metal for the shell of a navigable vessel <Note 3>. The amphibious baggage waggon constructed at the command of H.R.H. the Duke of York, was (the shell of it) entirely of copper, as also other parts for giving strength.

<Note 3> Footnore: Exhibited on the Thames [1795]

Enabling shallow docks and basins to answer the purpose of deep ones. This was 1795 effected in Portsmouth Dock Yard by an artificial rise given to the water in the basin or dock by pumping into it. The pumps for this purpose worked by steam engines were a lifting-pump raising seven tons of water per minute, and six chain-pumps of two feet diameter each, and each raising ten tons of water per minute. [1795]

Amphibious punt for raising mast timber out of water to the level of the mast-house, and for afterwards conveying its load within the building, as also for launching made masts. [1799]

In ship-building the following inventions were exemplified in the Arrow and the Dart, 1795 carrying thirty carronades thirty-two pounders, in the schooners of war the Redbridge, Eling, Millbrook and Netley, and in a water vessel. [1795]

Water-tight compartments against foundering, &c- [1796]

Fixed bulkheads, longitudinal and transverse, forming the water-tight compartments and for connecting the bottom, sides and deck together, so as to prevent racking or working at sea. [1798]

Diagonal trusses and braces connecting the parts. of a ship together: some of for them comprehended in the fixed bulkheads, others between the pillars, &c.

Thick string pieces for connecting the beams to the sides in lieu of knees.

Timbers butting at the ends of the ship instead of breasthooks and crutches.

Straight decks in lieu of hanging ones.

Placing the timbers at right angles to the rising line of the deadwood.

Metallic tanks for carrying water in bulk, and for preserving it sweet at sea.

Metallic canisters for powder, air-tight and water-tight, and means of laying the, magazine under water in case of fire, without injury to ship or powder.

Illuminators of glass introduced in the ~sides, scuttles, comings, &c.

Hawseholes both head and stern for mooring, at either end of the vessel.

Fins, two additional iron keels to increase lateral resistance.

Step-shaped treenails.

Short metal screws instead of long bolts.

Screw points to bolts, with nuts for screwing up the bolts, and metal plates for screwing the bolts against, and for receiving the heads of the bolts.

Pure copper sheathing nails in lieu of mixed metal, having, flat and smooth beads.

Bolt nailsof mixed metal for fastening on plank.

Chain-plates fixed to the thick strake of the vessel, instead of to projecting channels.

Pintles and braces of pure copper forged, and every set alike.

Safety light encompassed by a double partition of glass, the interval filled with water.

Interconvertibility of stones.

Spare heat from cooking-fire, all employed for distilling water.

Fusible metal as a valve, introduced in the above distilling apparatus.

Tumbling,out topsides and other improvements in the form of ships. [1805]

Rolling handspikes [1797]

Mortar mill. [1796]

Water works and fire-extinguishing apparatus, by a forcing pump worked by steam in addition to elevated reservoirs. [1797]

Floating dams or caissoons for closing entrances to basins or docks. [1800]

Inverted arches for bottoms of docks, &c., without piles or other wood-work. [1798]

Safety storehouses fir inflammable stores, by constructing them below the level of the adjacent water. [1799]

Ventilation of underground storehouses, by drawing the foul air through a channel to a steam engine fire. [1799]

Steam dredging engine. [1800]

Barges for delivering soil either above or under water. [1801]

Movable steam engines. [1801]

Double drawbridge, enabling masted vessels to pass through a low bridge without interruption to the roadway. [1801]

Combination of iron, stone, and bricks in a bridge. so, as to save centering, protect, the iron from corrosion, and prevent vibration. [No date]

Apparatus below the structure for moving drawbridges, so as to avoid startling horses. [No date]

Engines for making coques. [1799]

Coque sinking tools.

Guidesfor boring holes. [1802]

Treenail mooting tools. [1805]

Augurs for treenails.

Rotatory tools for forming treenail, heads and points

Punches for treenails.

Augur shanks with universal joints.

Apparatus for making nuts and screw-points to copper bolts.

Wedqe-shaped punches for sheathing and bolt-nails.

Covered Docks, completely covered in as any other workshop, well lighted by day, and by gas after dark, heated at pleasure, ventilated, provided with working stages, and with machinery and appendages suitable for carrying on those works in ship-building and repairing which can most advantageously be performed at the ship's side. [1810, 1811, 1812]

Timber-seasoning houses, with provision for charring the surface of wood, or for impregnating it with preservative materials; apparatus also provided for stowing or removing the timber. [1811]

Keeping mast timber dry instead of under water. [1810]

Towers for storing mast timber and made masts, with appropriate cranes and other machinery. [No date]

Saws worked by a steam engine for converting mast timber.

Floating breakwater to form a boat pond. [1797]

Floating breakwater of wood in preference to other materials, of a prismatic form; composed of ribs at intervals, leaving spaces for water to flow between them; the floats in a double row, leaving intervals between them, the one row moored opposite the intervals of the other, leaving space for small vessels to pass between. [1811]

Breakwater formed by cylindrical masses in two rows, the one row opposite the intervals of the other.

Breakwater formed by a semi-subaqueous bridge, formed as an inclined plane towards the sea, for the waves to expend themselves upon. The interior of these two last modes convertible to various useful purposes, and the uninterrupted flow of tidal or river water secured by all the three modes.

Foundations in deep water of buoyant cases' of cast iron, to be floated over their 1810 places, then filled in as sunk. [1810]

Foundation masses of brick or stone, commenced, on shore, then launched, floated to 1811 their places, and there completed. [1811]

Pressure of masses into bad ground by loading them. [1811]

Ascertaining by weighted probes the weight which ground will bear. [1811]

Excluding water temporarily during the execution of works, or for the examination of ground under water. [1810]

Ventilation in hot weather by cool air from under ground. [1811]

Underground covered roads to save space where much wanted above ground. [1812]

Desiderata in a naval arsenal, an example of the considerations requisite to be brought to view previously to the forming plans for any work, especially of magnitude and of a, complicated nature. [1812]

Amongst the items above enumerated a few are not as yet in general use ; but as half a century has been suffered to elapse before the merits of that great improvement, fixed bulkheads and water-tight compartments, has been appreciated, it seems advisable to bring to light inventions hitherto disregarded, though less important indeed, such as the mounting ordnance m pairs keeping mast timber dry, and the application of a vacuum to a great variety of purposes indicated in the patent.


M. S. B.