My Marriage - The Steam Hammer
ContentsPreparations for a home ,
Influence of chance occurances ,
Visit to Mr. Hartop's near Barnsley ,
Important interview ,
Eventual marriage ,
Great Western Railway locomotives ,
Mr. Humphries and 'Great Western' steamship ,
Forging of paddle-shaft ,
Want of range of existing hammers ,
The first steam hammer sketched ,
Its arrangement ,
The paddle shaft abandoned ,
My sketch copied and adopted ,
My visit to Creuzot ,
Find steam hammer in operation ,
A patent taken out ,
First steam hammer made in England ,
Its general adoption ,
Patent secured for United States ,
BEFORE I proceed to narrate the later events of my industrial life, it is necessary to mention, incidentally, an important subject. As it has been the source of my greatest happiness in life, I cannot avoid referring to it.
I may first mention that my earnest and unremitting pursuit of all subjects and occupations, such as I conceived were essential to the acquirement of a sound practical knowledge of my profession, rendered me averse to mixing much in general society. I had accordingly few opportunities of enjoying the society of young ladies. Nevertheless, occasions now and then occurred when bright beings passed before me like meteors. They left impressions on my memory, which in no small degree increased the earnestness of my exertions to press forward in my endeavours to establish myself in business, and thereby acquire the means of forming a Home of my own.
Many circumstances, however, conspired to delay the ardently longed for condition of my means, such as should induce me to solicit some dear one to complete my existence by her sweet companionship, and enter with me into the most sacred of all the partnerships of life. In course of time I was rewarded with that success which, for the most part, ensues upon all honourable and unremitting business efforts. This cheered me on; although there were still many causes for anxiety, which made me feel that I must not yet solicit some dear heart to forsake the comforts of an affluent home to share with me what I knew must for some years to come be an anxious and trying struggle for comfort and comparative independence. I had reached my thirtieth year before I could venture to think that I had securely entered upon such a course of prosperity as would justify me in taking this the most important step in life.
It may be a trite but not the less true remark that some of the most important events originate in apparently chance occurrences and circumstances, which lead up to results that materially influence and even determine the subsequent course of our lives. I had occasion to make a business journey to Sheffield on the 2d of March 1838, and also to attend to some affairs of a similar character at York. As soon as I had completed my engagement at Sheffield, I had to wait for more than two dreary hours in momentary expectation of the arrival of the coach that was to take me on to York. The coach had been delayed by a deep fall of snow, and was consequently late. When it arrived, I found that there was only one outside place vacant; so I mounted to my seat. It was a very dreary afternoon, and the snow was constantly falling.
As we approached Barnsley I observed, in the remaining murky light of the evening, the blaze of some ironwork furnaces near at hand. On inquiring whose works they were, I was informed that they belonged to Earl Fitzwilliam, and that they were under the management of a Mr. Hartop. The mention of this name, coupled with the sight of the ironworks, brought to my recollection a kind invitation which Mr. Hartop had given me while visiting my workshop in Manchester to order some machine tools, that it I ever happened to be in his neighbourhood, he would be most happy to show me anything that was interesting about the ironworks and colliery machinery under his management.
I at once decided to terminate my dreary ride on the top of the coach. I descended, and with my small valise in hand I trudged over some trackless snow-covered fields, and made my way by the shortest cut towards the blazing iron furnaces. On reaching them I was informed that Mr. Hartop had just gone to his house, which was about a mile distant. I accordingly made my way thither the best that I could through the deep snow. I met with a cordial welcome, and with the hospitable request that I should take up my quarters there for the night, and have a round of the ironworks and the machinery on the following
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