of bibles and prayer-books, thereby reducing their price to one-third of the former cost. There was scarcely a newspaper of any importance in the country that was not printed with a Cowper's machine.

As I possessed some self-acting tools that were specially suited to execute some of the most refined and important parts of the printing machine, the Messrs. Cowper transferred their execution to me. This was a great advantage to both. They were relieved of the technical workmanship; while I kept my men and machine tools fully employed at times when they might otherwise have been standing idle. Besides, I derived another advantage from my connection with the Brothers Cowper, by having frequent orders to supply my small steam-engines, which were found to be so suitable for giving motion to the printing machines. At first the machines were turned by hand, and very exhausting work it was; but the small steam-engine soon relieved the labourer from his heavy work.

Edward frequently visited Manchester to arrange with his brother as to the increasing manufacture of the printing machines, and also to introduce such improvements in the minor details as the experience and special requirements of the printing trade suggested. It was on these occasions that I had the happy opportunity of becoming intimately acquainted with him; and this resulted in a firm friendship which continued until the close of his admirable life. The clear and masterly way in which, by some happy special faculty, he could catch up the essential principles and details of any mechanical combination, however novel the subject might be, was remarkable; and the quaint and humorous manner in which he treated all such subjects, in no small degree caused his shrewd and intelligent remarks to take a lasting hold of the memory.

On many occasions Edward Cowper gave Friday evening lectures on technical subjects at the Royal Institution, London. Next to Faraday, no one held the attention of a delighted audience in so charming a manner as he did. Like Faraday, he possessed the power of clearly unveiling his subject, and stripping it of all its complicated perplexities. His illustrations were simple, clear, and understandable. Technical words were avoided as much as possible. He threw the ordinary run of lecturers far into the shade. Intelligent boys and girls could understand him. Next to Faraday, no one filled the theatre of the Institution with such eager and crowded audiences as he did. His choice of subjects, as well as his masterly treatment, always rendered his lectures instructive and attractive. He was one of the most kind-hearted of men, and the cheerful way in which he laid aside his ordinary business to give instruction and pleasure to others endeared him to a very wide circle of devoted friends.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.