Richard Trevithick – letter about Greenwich

TREVITHICK Letter about Greenwich.

Trevithick Letter l/10/1803 in quoted in F.Trevithick Life.

Written from Penydorra near Cardiff to Mr. Giddy

Richard Trevithick

“In consequence of the engine bursting at Greenwich I have been on the spot to inspect its effects.  I found it had burst in every direction.  The bottom side whole of its seating had ?? at the level of the chimney.  The boiler was cast iron about l” thick, the same ?? were equally l 1/2″, it was a round boiler 6′ diameter, the cylinder was 8″ diameter, working double.  The bucket was l8″ diameter. 21′ column, working single from which you can judge the pressure required to work this engine. The pressure it appears that the engine burst must have been very great, for there was one piece of boiler about 1″ thick and about 5 cwt there between the l25 yards and from the hole it cut in the ground where it fell it must have been nearly perpendicular and from a very great heat in the hole it cut in the ground on its fall was from l2 to l8″ deep.  Some of the bricks were thrown 200 yards, and no two bricks were left ?? to each other either in the stack or around the boiler.  It appears that the boy that had care of the engine was gone to catch eels under the foundations of the boarding and had left the care of the it to one of the labourers, this man saw the engine working much faster than usual stopped it without taking off the spanner which fastened open the steam lever and a short time after being idle it burst, killed three of the ?? and another died soon after of his injuries. The boy returned that instant and was then going to take the trig from the valve. He was hurt but is now recovering.  He had left the engine about an hour.

Boulton and Watt have sent a letter to the gentlemen of this place who is about to erect some of these engines – the engine had ?? 14m with a bushel of coal – was only a 8″ cylinder and working was the engine cock and in too light a load for its duties.  Also of a bad construction was the fly wheel so loaded to one side so as to ?? the boiler double engine and ???

Return to New East Greenwich and the Tide Mill


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