Begin Business at Manchester
ContentsStamping machine improved ,
Astronomical instruments ,
A reflecting telescope proposed ,
Death of Maudslay ,
Joshua Field ,
'Talking books' ,
Leave Maudslay and Field ,
Take temporary workshop in Edinburgh ,
Archie Torry ,
Construct a rotary steam-engine ,
Prepair a stock of machine tools ,
Visit to Liverpool ,
John Cragg ,
Visit to Manchester ,
John Kennedy ,
Grant Brothers ,
Take a workshop ,
Tools removed to Manchester ,
A prosperous business begun ,
Story of the brothers Grant ,
Trip to Elgin and Castle Grant ,
The brothers Cowper ,
The printing machine ,
Edward Cowper ,
MR. MAUDSLAY arrived from Berlin two days after my return to London. He, too, had enjoyed his holiday. During his stay in Berlin he had made the friendship of the distinguished Humboldt. Shenkel, the architect, had been very kind to him, and presented him with a set of drawings and engravings of his great architectural works, which Mr. Maudslay exhibited to me with much delight. What he most admired in Shenkel was the great range of his talent in all matters of design, his minute attention to detail, and his fine artistic feeling.
Soon after Mr. Maudslay's return, a very interesting job was brought to him, in which he took even more than his usual interest. It was a machine which his friend Mr. Barton, of the Royal Mint, had obtained from France. It was intended to cut or engrave the steel dies used for stamping coin. It was a remarkable and interesting specimen of inventive ingenuity. It copied any object in relief which had been cast in plaster of Paris or brass from the artist's original wax model. The minutest detail was transferred to soft steel dies with absolute accuracy. This remarkable machine could copy and cut steel dies either in intaglio or in cameo of any size, and, in short, enabled the mechanic who managed it to transfer the most minute and characteristic touches of the original model to the steel dies for any variety of size of coin. Nevertheless, the execution of some of the details of the machine were so defective, that after giving the most tempting proof of its capabilities at the Royal Mint, Mr. Barton found it absolutely necessary to place it in Maudslay's hands, in order to have its details thoroughly overhauled, and made as mechanically perfect as its design and intention merited.
This interesting machine was accordingly brought to the private workshop, and placed in the hands of the leading mechanic, whom I had the pleasure of being associated with, James Sherriff, one of our most skilled workmen. We were both put to our mettle. It was a job quite to my taste, and being associated with so skilled a workman as Sherriff, and in constant communication with Mr. Maudslay, I had every opportunity of bringing my best manipulative ability into action and use while perfecting this beautiful machine. It is sufficient to say that by our united efforts, by the technical details suggested by Mr. Maudslay and carried out by us, and by the practical trials made under the superintendence of Mr. Wyon of the Mint, the apparatus was at length made perfect and performed its duty to the satisfaction of every one concerned.
Mr. Maudslay had next a pair of 200 horse-power marine engines put in hand. His sons and partners were rather opposed to so expensive a piece of work being undertaken without an order. At that time such a power as 200 horse nominal was scarcely thought of; and the Admiralty Board were very cautious in ordering marine engines of any sort. Nevertheless, the engines were proceeded with and perfected. They formed a noble object in the great erecting shop. They embodied in every detail all Mr. Maudslay's latest improvements. In fact the work was the sum total of the great master's inventions and adaptations in marine engines. The Admiralty at last secured them for the purpose of being placed in a very fine vessel, the Dee, then in course of construction. Mr . Maudslay was so much pleased with the result that he had a very beautiful model made of the engines; and finding that I had some artistic skill as a draughtsman, he set me to work to make a complete perspective drawing of their great engines as they stood all perfect in the erecting-shop. This was a work entirely to my taste. In due time I completed a graphic portrait of these noble engines, treated, I hope, in an artistic spirit. Indeed, such a class of drawing was rarely to be had from any engineering draughtsman. Mere geometrical drawing could not give a proper idea, as a whole, of so grand a piece of mechanism. It required something of the artistic spirit to fairly represent it. At all events my performance won the entire approval of my master.
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