Grant, Thomas Tassell (DNB00)

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GRANT, Sir THOMAS TASSELL (1795–1859), inventor, born in 1795, entered the service in 1812, and in 1828 was appointed storekeeper at the Clarence victualling yard, Gosport. His steam machinery for manufacturing biscuit was invented in 1829, and he was rewarded by a parliamentary grant of 2,000l. and medals from the French crown and the Society of Arts. It effected a saving to the nation of 30,000l. a year. Other important inventions were a new life-buoy, a feathering paddle-wheel, and (about 1839) 'Grant's patent fuel,' which was extensively used in the navy. His greatest achievement was the distilling from the sea of fresh water for drinking and culinary purposes. He had proposed it in 1834, but it was not adopted till fourteen or fifteen years later. In 1850 he became comptroller of the victualling and transport service, and held the post during the Crimean war. The Wye, fitted up with his distilling apparatus, was despatched to the Crimea, and produced ten thousand gallons of fresh water daily. His health broke down under the strain of the war, and he retired in 1858 and was created K.C.B. He was a prominent member of the Royal Society. He died 15 Oct. 1859, at his house in Chester Terrace, Regent's Park.

[Times obituary; Gent. Mag. 1859, ii. 534; Men of the Reign.]

J. B-y.