Newcomen Society

United Kingdom

Newcomen Society

United Kingdom

Time filter

Source Type

Bunch A.W.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2014

Cordite was the main propellant used for ballistic weaponry at the start of the twentieth century. The Royal Navy required high quality specific types of this propellant in order for its ordnance to operate most effectively. Acetone was needed as a gelatinizing agent to incorporate the chemical components during cordite manufacture. At the start of World War I the United Kingdom's reserve of acetone was very limited. Traditionally, acetone was obtained from wood distillation. An alternative method for making acetone was essential. Chaim Weitzmann (the first President of Israel) was instrumental in formulating a bacterial process that could make a significant contribution to the supply of acetone needed to keep the guns firing. Many problems relating to the efficiency and scale of production had to be overcome. Holton Heath in Dorset became the site where the process became one of the first examples of biotechnology working at an industrially useful scale. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2014.


Holden R.N.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2014

In mechanizing spinning, productivity gains arose by enabling multiple threads to be spun at a time. A re-reading of Edmund Cartwright's original power loom patent of 1785 shows that, contrary to the story he later told, he was seeking to do the same in weaving by weaving multiple webs at one time. This attempt failed and future efforts to mechanize weaving focused on mechanizing the traditional horizontal loom, with productivity increases coming through increasing speeds and enabling one person to manage more than one loom. To achieve this required the solution of a number of non-trivial engineering problems and it was not until around 1860 that the power loom could be used to weave the full range of cloths produced by the Lancashire cotton industry. Key people in this development were William Horrocks of Stockport, Richard Roberts of Manchester and the Blackburn engineers of the 1840s. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2014.


Gregory M.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2014

The industrialization of the cloth production into large factories came in the eighteenth century. However, making cloth into clothes remained a hand operation until the mid-nineteenth century. The invention of the sewing machine evolved from significant technical innovation by many workers, producing stitches that could not be made by hand. Alongside innovation in business practices such as the Patent Combination, Hire Purchase and Part Exchange, the sewing machine industry inaugurated major advances in 'interchangeable manufacture'. To produce the millions of cheap machines, each containing many small precision parts, required its own machine tool revolution. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2014.


Starr F.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2012

At a very early stage in the development of the internal combustion (IC) engine, poppet valves became the standard way of controlling the flow of the fuel/air mixture into the cylinder and the flow of exhaust gases out. Of the two valves, inlet and exhaust, the latter is more susceptible to failure. Exhaust valves are affected by creep, high temperature fatigue, and valve 'burning' from corrosion by the exhaust environment. As engine outputs increased, valve temperatures also increased and changes to fuel specification worsened the risk of corrosion. Initially, valve reliability was compromised by the limited range of alloys that were available, but the lack of scientific understanding of alloys also hindered development. After 1910, the mass-production automobile stimulated the need for better design and materials. Key advances were made in WWI when the Royal Aircraft Establishment investigated the first stainless steels for valves and the technique of cooling hollow valves using a sealed-in fluid. During and after WWI, work by Ricardo and others began to reveal the importance of octane rating, and towards the end of the 1920s fuels incorporating tetraethyl lead began to be utilized in American Naval aircraft, but this was the exception. In the automobile industry in the 1920s, much work was done on valve design. In this period both aircraft and automobile engines used Silchrome, a martensitic stainless steel containing silicon as well chromium, as the standard exhaust valve alloy. Silchrome had reasonable high-temperature strength and good resistance to the type of high-temperature corrosion from the unleaded fuels then in common use. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2012.


Grudgings S.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2012

John Wise of Hawkesbury in Warwickshire was involved with erecting a number of Newcomen Engines in Warwickshire, Bristol, London and Cornwall between the 1720s and the 1770s. Probably because of the wide geographical distribution of his work, the importance of Wise's contribution to early steam engine development has not received the attention it warrants and this article attempts to redress this. The author's assertion that Wise was an important figure in the construction of early engines is reinforced by the fact that he took out what is understood to be the first patent for improvements to atmospheric engines as early as 1740. This paper attempts to draw together what is known of Wise and his work from a range of primary and secondary sources as a basis for further research. The catalyst for this account was Peter Tymków alerting South Gloucestershire Mines Research Group (SGMRG) to Wise's work on the Chelsea Waterworks' (CWW) Newcomen Engine and providing the details from their Court of Directors' Minutes of Wise's previously unreported work in Bristol. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering and Technology 2012.


James J.G.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2015

Sunderland Bridge, when built, was the longest iron arch in the world. Discussions about building it with stone had been held in the 1780s but the idea of an iron structure took hold in 1791 and as such it was finally opened in 1796. Severe deterioration soon occurred and only drastic action in 1805 saved it from collapse. Thereafter it survived until 1853 when it was largely rebuilt although the main ribs remained in situ. Total replacement took place in the 1920s, the present bridge being opened in 1929. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2015.


Wallis G.J.O.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2015

The fundamental duty of conservation is to preserve surviving materials and the evidence they contain. Thus conservation should accorded a higher priority than commercial, economic, legal, and aesthetic factors, but in the real world it is these influences that usually drive or constrain what is perceived to be possible and practical, sometimes with serious consequences. This paper explores through case studies how ethical conservation can be delivered within a sometimes hostile environment, identifies some of the factors critical to making this happen, and suggests a role for the Newcomen Society. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2015.


De Haan D.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2015

Recent research has revealed that a considerable amount of previously unknown and unpublished information is buried within artists' responses to Coalbrookdale and particularly the Iron Bridge. This paper is a reappraisal of some of those works, especially by Francis Vivares, Thomas Farnolls Pritchard, Elias Martin, John Edmunds, William Williams and Edward Edgcombe. © The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology 2015.


Gregory M.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2016

The provision of mains sewerage and the centralised collection of refuse are two of the most long-lasting infrastructure projects brought in by Victorian engineers. The Sanitary Act of 1866 required local Councils to supply 'a sufficient sewerage system and a supply of wholesome water', triggering a large number of schemes throughout the country. The City of Winchester is taken as an example of a city slow to implement the Act. When mains drainage came to the city, it was allied to a refuse destructor to supply energy to the pumping plant. Over a century of increasing population requiring sewerage and refuse services over an increasing area, the subsequent history of the plant provides an insight into the development of such services in a typical, medium-sized British town. © 2016 The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology.


Starr F.,Newcomen Society
International Journal for the History of Engineering and Technology | Year: 2016

Reverse engineering is a procedure normally used for producing close copies of engineering equipment made by an industrial competitor or in an enemy country. But it can be used by industrial historians to explain why components which were apparently doing similar jobs had a rather different configuration. In this case, the reasons behind the distinct differences between exhaust valves used in two American air-cooled radials, the Pratt and Whitney Double Wasp, the Curtis Wright Twin Cyclone and the Rolls-Royce liquid-cooled Merlin are explored. Comments are also made on the sleeve valve engines made by Bristol, intended to avoid the supposed problems of the hot poppet exhaust valve. Sodium cooling of the valves in all engines was needed because of the high rates of heat transfer. The American engines incorporated a hemispherical cylinder head incorporating two valves. Because of the size of valves, these had to be of the hollow head type. The Merlin engine, to minimise frontal area, opted for a pan shaped head, which forced the use of four valves per cylinder. Stem cooling in these valves was adequate. © 2016 The Newcomen Society for the Study of the History of Engineering & Technology.

Loading Newcomen Society collaborators
Loading Newcomen Society collaborators