Henry Sacks

Sacks-and Airstrips
A. & S. HENRY & CO., LTD.,
Imperial Wharf, Tunnel Avenue, S.E.IO.
To A. & S. Henry & Co., Ltd., sack and bag manufacturers, fell the task and privilege during the War years of producing containers for many and varied commodities in urgent demand for H.M. Forces and civilians, both at home and overseas.
Jute bags by the million have been used for carrying such essential foodstuffs as flour, sugar, potatoes, coffee and cocoa. The firm’s jute bags have paid an important part in carrying the Army’s bulk food supplies. To cite one instance, our soldiers enjoyed clean wholesome bread, brought to the fighting lines by mobile field bakeries in Henry’s jute bags.
The firm have manufactured large paillasses for the use of the fighting forces. Aircraft and tanks needed nuts, bolts and rivets. Many of these were taken to the war factories in jute bags of the firm’s manufacture. Sandbags by the tens of thousands have been manufactured to provide blast walls and to reinforce shelters, whilst the sand-mat was all too familiar to many fire-fighters during the time of the incendiary raids on London.
Cement for the Mulberry harbour was in many instances carried in heavy sacks of Henry manufacture, and rolls of hessian cloth were used in the construction of airstrips.
Once our invading armies had gained a foothold Oil the continent it was essential that airstrips be speedily provided. One of the most interesting developments in the construction of these airstrips was the abandoning of the steel mesh form of construction and the use instead of hessian cloth impregnated with bitumen. Excellent results were obtained with this material.
On the Home Front small cotton bags were supplied in large quantities for the carrying of such commodities as flour and fertilisers. The demand for fertilisers, bagged in small quantities, has greatly increased owing to the necessity of cultivating all available land.
Now that the War is over, foodstuffs in large quantities have still to be conveyed to the starving peoples of Europe and the firm is making every effort to meet this and other calls upon their productive capacity

Taken from a Greenwich Council booklet on wartime Greenwich


The two East Greenwich Gasholders

The following is taken from a report produced in the 1990s on the history of gas holders in London

East Greenwich No 1 Gasholder
The building at East Greenwich was affected by the geology, so that shallower tanks resulted than those at first intended and greater numbers of lifts to make up the volume. Alluvium and gravel lie over London Clay, below which there are the water-bearing strata of the Woolwich and Reading Beds. It was planed originally, to have two tanks 250 feet across and 60 feet deep and a contract was let to Docwra’s. During excavation,however, in September 1884, the clay was found only to be a thin seam, and the depth of tank was reduced to 45 feet and 13 feet of this was raised on an embankment, to keep clear of the aquifer. The second tank was cancelled.
No 1 Gasholder had four lifts, rather than three and was the first such ever built. It is 180 feet tall and holds 8.2 million cubic feet. It is a larger than the Old Kent Road No 13 which it copies. It has six tiers of framing and two superimposed systems of diagonal bracing are provided in each panel, with a stiff top girder. It was built by Ashmore, Benson, Pease & Co for £17-15s per ton agreed in August-September 1884.
The deadline for completion was September 1886 but it is described as “not yet finished” in February 1888.
The holder continues in use but around 1980, parts of the bell and guide frame were fire damaged in an IRA bomb attack, but reinstated

East Greenwich No 2 Gasholder
It was at first that this should be built in 1884 as a twin of No 1 but the tank was not built until 1890, and then to a different configuration. 303 feet in diameter. it was only 30 feet deep and largely raised above ground level on an embankment, so that it was above the water table. This shows Liveseys’ confidence in the robustness and precision of its construction and that its radial and tangential guide rollers, would prevent the shallow lifts from tilting. The holder was an immense 12 million cubic feet and had 6 lifts of 30 feet with the top two lifts as flying lifts, so that the guide frame was only two thirds of the full height. This was the ultimate in frame-guided holder design. The bracing pattern of the guide frame was different from No 13 Old Kent Road and the diagonals were designed to be struts and so the longitudinal struts were eliminated, except for the T- sectioned top girder.
The tank was built by direct labour, and providing employment for stokers during the summer months. The ironwork contract was agreed in Apri11891 to Clayton Son & Co of Leeds, for £41,195, from a field of 11 tenderers. The holder was completed at the end of November 1892 for £62,000, thus costing the low figure of £5-2s-6d per 1,000 cubic feet – or less than a third of that of a few years before.
The two flying lifts were damaged following the Silvertown munitions
works explosion in 1917, and were removed. It was demolished in 1985, as surplus to requirements.

Return to Gas Holders

The young ladies at East Lodge

EAST LODGE (MARSH LANE, GREENWICH, article written) about 1904
From a family newsletter published by the daughters of Mr.
Davies, Manager at Hills Chemical Works and resident at East Lodge.

“We may build more splendid habitations,
Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,
But we cannot buy with gold the old associations.”

Whatever changes the year may bring, there are some places which always live in the memory, and round which loving thoughts and recollections home, holding them fast. ‘East Lodge’ is and ever will be one of these. Memories which gather round that dear old place have as it were woven themselves right into the lives of all of us. Some of our earliest recollections are connected with it. Who among us will ever forget the merry parties there – chiefly composed of cousins, but not entirely – especially at Christmas time or the New Year, the games of Blind Man’s Bluff or Fox and Geese played in the Hall or empty rooms. Those in the hall were the greatest fun. The picture is always fresh, the big square hall with its massive front door, the great bunch of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling, the staircase leading to the upper hall, and other rooms, up which most of us would often quietly creep leaving the blind man with about two careering round him, until he discovered what had happened and commanded us all to come down. How mixed we got sometimes, – I remember one nigh~, blind man being a newly married wife, she soon succeeded in catching a tall lean man and joyfully exclaimed ‘Oh I have got my dear old hubby’ – a shout of laughter greeted this speech, which soon told her she was wrong. Somehow the same games played elsewhere never have the same charm as they had at East Lodge.
There too there were the merry games round the fire, criticisms, ‘rhyme-making, title-acting, schoolmaster, My father’s rooster’ etc., till the room rang with fun and laughter. The bonnie fires at East Lodge were things to be remembered, and on those huge grates there was plenty of room for them. How cheery it was to come off a journey, at the end of the walk down the lane, in from the fog and cold to the bright welcome which always awaited us. The lovely fire and the tea ‘all ready. Honey was always a feature of those teas, and how we did enjoy it. No honey ever tastes like that used to.

Then the garden! Oh that garden, what a place it holds in our hearts. The lovely lawn with its big flower beds on either side that stretched from the front of the house to the river banks. The merry games of ball that we have had there, the quiet talks as we paced up and down it, watching the vessels, all come crowding into the mind as we think of that lawn. The shrubbery with its jolly swing which delighted us so as children, and the little hillock at the further end from which one could See all up and down the river; the little hillock of which George Macdonald said that it was ‘an ideal place to write a story’.

The summer house too, the ‘home’ in so many games of hides and seek. The kitchen garden too, with its fruit trees is a well-remembered spot for us. Also the dear old kitchen itself, with its arched window, and large round table. How the sunshine streamed in at that window as we sat at breakfast, and what merry supper parties gathered round that old table.

I think my earliest recollection of East Lodge were at the time of Uncle and Aunt’s Silver Wedding. If ever the house was full it was then, but what a good time we had, – I speak from the side of the little ones, but from what I remember, I fancy the big folks had quite as good a time.

The Sundays there will always live in the memory. The family gathering at morning service, the quiet afternoons, resting or reading round the fire, and the happy evenings as we all gathered round the piano to sing our favourite hymns. Some who often sang in that circle are now in that larger world, praising God around the throne. Sometimes we chanced to be at East Lodge on a New Year’s Eve. As midnight drew near we would leave our places by the fireside and go and stand in the big bay windows and opening them would listen to the bells which were to ring in the New Year. Not only the bells far and near would herald its birth, but all the steamers would give their greetings to the New Year with their hooters. And as we quietly listened to it all, and wondered what the fresh untrodden way held in store for us, we too would wish each other and all our friends far and near, ‘A Happy New Year’.

(the original accompanied by illustrations of house, garden and river by A.A.D )

A.A.D was the eldest, of the three daughters of Mr and Mrs Tom Davies of East Lodge – Anne Askew Davies, born 6.10.1858. We believe J.W.D to be Janet Whitridge Davies of Reigate, a first cousin of the three girls, whose father was Mr Clement Davies, a draper in Croydon. the next older sister, according to my records, lived from 1869-1969; she had become Mrs Edith Penfold of Purley, and has many descendants. I have neither date of birth for Janet, nor any record of a marriage for her, but her birth was probably within two years of Cousin Edith’s, which would put her in her early thirties when writing this tribute to the old house. The fathers Tom and Clement were both then dead I think, and the house demolished, (to make way for electricity works?)

This excerpt is taken from the manuscript magazine ‘The Four Wheeler’, edited by Mildred Davies of East Lodge, and Eastcombe Avenue, Charlton, and was circulated purely within the family. The title of the magazine refers to the four wheels of cousins who started it after a holiday together in Anglesey, but there were in fact six ‘wheels ‘that is families of cousins descended from John Davies, draper, of Oswestry Shropshire, and his wife, born Anne Askew Whitridge. It was, of necessity, that the unmarried daughters who contributed most, and the three ‘Charlton Cousins’ were prime amongst these.
The article ends with a pen and ink drawing inscribed ‘The Way In’ by AAD, and is followed by the accompanying quotation (unascribed)
‘Here once my step was awakened, Here beckoned the opening door, And welcome thrilled from the threshold ‘to the foot it had known before.’
Notes by Maj Wagstaffe, to whom thanks.


Return to The Pilot

Delta Metal in Wartime

The Non-Ferrous Industry
Tunnel Avenue, East Greenwich, S.E.IO.

ALTHOUGH the Delta Metal Co., Ltd., has been established in Greenwich since as far-back as the year 1905, little is seen or heard locally by the general public of its activities as its Works are situated rather off the beaten track at the extreme end of Tunnel Avenue on Blackwall Point, and well beyond the tunnel entrance, and its products are mainly raw materials for succeeding industries and so do not of themselves offer much of direct interest to the man in the street. Nevertheless, so important to the war effort were materials such as bronze, brass and copper that the Non-Ferrous Metal Industry was one of the very first to be reserved exclusively for such purposes.
The metal manufactured at East Greenwich found its way into literally thousands of other works up and down the country, ranging from large firms whose names are household words in the engineering trade, and who have been for many years users of Delta Alloys, to new organisations set up in all sorts of unlikely places, or to others turned over from their ordinary peace-time occupations to the job of machining components of innumerable types from rod stock for Service requirements. Indeed, it can truthfully be said that by the end of the war there was hardly even a repair garage of any size in the land which did not eventually have lathes, drilling and milling machines installed and working day and night turning out metal parts for war uses. The parts that were produced from Delta extruded bars entered into the make-up ‘of articles of every conceivable description, including as they did fuzes and primers for shells, parts and fittings of guns and torpedoes, of searchlights, and, of course, of Radar apparatus, and all the other innumerable scientific instruments brought into service or specially developed for war uses; telephone parts to, aircraft fittings-both of engines and of fuselages-ship constructional angles, tee and channel bars, and other sections for ships’ fittings used in craft of all kinds from the largest battleships to the smallest launches; components of vehicles from tanks to lorries, of speedometers, lighting equipment and so on. Indeed, though a great part of the whole range -of supply needed by the Navy, the Army and the Air Force, there was sure to be found, without going very far, some component large or small that had its origin in a brass or bronze bar made at East Greenwich.
Production went on day and night throughout the war years, and the number of those employed went up to close upon 1,250. Many women came into the factory and performed valiant work handling the heavy metal rods and bars in course of manufacture, looking after the straightening machines, sorting and despatching the metal, driving trucks and lorries, and performing all kinds of other duties.
The Works had its share of enemy attention, starting with the very first heavy raid on the dock and river-side areas in September 1940, when incendiaries fell thickly in the vicinity igniting the office block, which quickly burned out. Accommodation for the staff was hastily arranged in corners of near-by buildings while the .Managing Director continued to conduct the affairs of the Company from a partially wrecked canteen dining room-and the cook produced much appreciated meals over fires built in the open near-by. A few weeks’ later H.E. bombs fell in the despatch yard, destroying a couple of lorries and doing other damage, but there was no loss of life and no one was seriously hurt. Another providential escape took place early in the following spring, when a parachute mine descended squarely upon the extensive building housing the small rod department, demolishing it completely. This took place on a Saturday night on which it had been arranged to close down the department to give some of the employees a well-earned rest, and again there was no loss of life… Practically all the specialised and irreplaceable machinery was dug out of the ruins, repaired, patched and welded, and was re-established in temporary sheds on the site and in other parts of the factory and running again within a fortnight. Thereafter, although upon sundry occasions many more bombs and incendiaries landed all around, no more serious damage occurred, other than occasional blast, and production continued more or less unhampered, running as it did into many hundreds of tons of metal weekly, throughout the war years.
The Delta Metal Company’s experience as originators of the extrusion process was always at the service of the Admiralty, the Ministry of Supply and the Ministry of Aircraft’ Production, particularly when in difficulty regarding the production of any particular alloy, and the desired .end was usually attained, and that with the minimum of delay. The metal which went into the ships, tanks, guns and aircraft and into the fabrication of parts for” Mulberry,” ” Pluto ” and” Fido ” is now going into the manufacture of articles for domestic uses-gas, water and electrical fittings, metal window parts, refrigerators, electric clocks, radios, motor car fittings shop fronts, balustrades and hand railing, just to mention a few of the thousand and one peace-time uses-which have been relegated to the background for so long, but which will benefit by the accumulated experience gained, and improvements made during the war years.

From a local authority brochure about local Greenwich firms during the Second World War.

Return to Delta Metal


-Coneybeare & Co. Ltd. was established in 1870 in Pelton Road, Greenwich, but  moved to Greenwich Church Street over forty years ago. The company supplied  steel moulds for concrete pipes to the Imperial Stoneworks Company and was among the first to supply steel moulds for pipe making in this country. Since  then their markets have expanded, they have supplied most of the Colonies and manufacturers in Great Britain and Ireland as well as elsewhere overseas with moulds for tamping, vibrating, spinning or for vertical pressure types, including  moulds for fitments such as bends, gullies, tapers, flags and posts.

Carter – Haulage Contractors

haulage poster


Being situated in the industrial area of South East London at Christchurch Way, S.E.10, it is only natural that P. A. Carter & Sons Limited has endeavoured to meet the haulage requirements of the industries among which they live.

They are now operating a modern and well-equipped fleet of vehicles of varying classes and types, including low-loaders, semi-low-loaders, and pole trailers, in addition to the normal type of lorries which go to make up a general haulier’s fleet, and can undertake the more unusual types of loads which they are called upon to transport. The fleet is generally equipped to supply the needs of cable manufacturers and steel erectors, which industries are so well represented in South East and East London.

A more recent development of the business has been the opening of a Midland Depot at Wolverhampton and the establishing of regular daily and nightly services between Greenwich and the Midlands.

Taken from a brochure of Greenwich Industries. 1950s

Future of the gas works site. 1980s.

This report is included with some reservations. The copy it was scanned from had no identifying marks as to authorship, origins or ownership. It appears to be a document commissioned, possibly by British Gas, on the history and future of the East Greenwich Gas Works site – and is thus of considerable interest.
If someone feels they own the copyright please get in touch and it will be removed with an apology, or an acknowledgement inserted.

1.1 The earliest name that we know of is Lee Ness, which is likely to be of Anglo- Saxon origin, and mean ‘thinly wooded headland’ or ‘headland [covered] low-lying meadow’; it could also have been named by attraction from the river Lee which run northwards from the opposite bank of the Thames, whose name appears to derive from an ancient British river-name from a root meaning ‘light’ or just possibly ‘the river of the god Lugus’. .

1.2 Before a system of embanking was in place (by C17, probably earlier, and perhaps as early as the Roman period), this was a place of marsh, water-meadow, and reed- beds, and almost always liable to flooding .On the other hand, it was an ideal place for hunting wildfowl, and Henry VIII certainly hawked here from his palace of Placentia at Greenwich. Indeed, there is no reason not to expect that the Roman period inhabitants of the area (whether officials or natives) would have done likewise: there were, after all settlements of that date at Charlton, Woolwich, and Greenwich, and the main London-Dover road (Watling Street) ran within 2km of the south end of the peninsula.

1.3 During the Anglo-Saxon period Lee Ness was part of a large estate which would have been called Lieveshamscire (Lewisham-shire) and included Lewisham, Greenwich, Woolwich, Mottingham, and Combe. This estate belonged in 918 to Elstrudis, youngest daughter of King Alfred, and in 1006 was the subject of the document reproduced. Vow of Edward the Confessor as heir apparent to the throne In the early years of the eleventh century, the Danish fleet wintered at Greenwich (and, incidentally, slew Bishop Alphege over non-payment of ransom; at that spot, it is said, the church of St Alphege was built, now represented by the monumental C18 fabric of the old church of Greenwich) and forced the Thames up to London.

1.4 In 1588, Robert Adams drew a descriptive plan of the Thames, showing its defences (and Queen Elizabeth’s route to her famous Tilbury speech), among which are shown a bastion at Lee Ness connected by a pontoon barrier to one of the north bank at Blackwall, clearly sited not only to form a final line of defence before the City, but also to command the mouth of the river Lee which was an important navigable channel. [It should be noted that there has been no search of the records for references to this defence line, so that at the moment this plan remains the sole evidence for its existence.] Its appearance would be not dissimilar the Italian engineer Gianibelli’s 1588 design for defences at Tilbury.

1.5 By 1695 when Samuel Travers, HM Surveyor General, compiled a plan of ‘the King’s Lordship or Manor of East Greenwich’, the peninsula was wholly protected from flooding and had been divided up into fields, with a Watch House in the centre of the northern part. The only other building shown is the New Magazine, which by 1760 was in such a dangerous condition that it was declared unsafe; it lasted however until 1802 before being demolished. [There were constant petitions to Parliament in the early C18 for its removal because of the danger of explosion.] The C18 also saw the removal of Execution Dock from Wapping to a point on the west side of the peninsula. This iron-caged gallows can be seen in a 1782 view from Blackwall (figure 6). Towards the end of that century a tide-mill was erected on the east side just north of the river end of the modern River Way. This was the site of a serious explosion of a high-pressure boiler installed by Trevithick, which led to improvements in boiler design, and thus a footnote in the history of steam engineering. When the early/mid-Victorian entrepreneurs needed to expand from their cramped quarters in and around the City, the peninsula offered an ideal greenfield site, and by 1874 the Thames Conservancy’s river plans show a whole series of such works. On the west side (running selectively northwards), were at Enderby’s Wharf [now owned by STC] and Morden Wharf. Tthe consortium trading as the Telegraph Construct; and Maintenance Co (manufacturers of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable laid on an epic voyage by BruneI’s leviathan the Great Eastern), Maudslay Sons & Field (who expanded to this site in 1865 and were builders of innovative marine steam engines for, among many other ships, BruneI’s Great Western of 1837 and also the Time Ball on top of the Old Observatory in Greenwich Park). [This is now the derelict site of Humphery & Grey’s Bay Wharf Construction Co Shipyard, Bessemer‘s Patent Steel Works then Bethell’s Chemical and Alum Works, Mockford & Co’s Chemical Manure Stores, and, right on the point, the graving dock managed by Lewis & Stockwell, which still survives, having been converted into a river water reservoir for the gas works, and is now backfilled although structurally complete. In 1874 the north east sector of the peninsula was still undeveloped, apart from F.C Hills & Co Chemical Manure Works and Bugsby’s Mill immediately north of River Way.

1.7 The South Metropolitan Gas Company (now part of British Gas) bought the vacant land between 1881 and 1885 and thereafter absorbed more to reach today’s total of 99ha. The last two major acts are, of course the construction of the two Blackwall Tunnels, the first opened in 1895 and the second built between 1960 and 1967.

2.0 Preservation

2.1 Within the British Gas site very few standing structures remain. Of these (and of virtually all the other buildings on the peninsula) one stands out as a pre-eminent candidate for preservation: the Ammonium Sulphate Storage Shed, built in 1956 by the Demolition & Construction Co Ltd to hold up to 10 000 tons of dry powder. [This was used in the scrubbing process to remove ammonia from the raw manufactured gas.] Its reinforced concrete parabolic roof is a remarkable and spectacular example of concrete engineering virtuosity. Attempts are being made by groups such as the Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society to have it Listed as it is now over 30 years old (the cut-off point). An out- standing opportunity exists here to seed the regeneration process by creating a major cultural centre which could easily gain international status. There are already excellent communications by road, rail, air, and water. Ideally, sufficient land should be included to create a parkland atmosphere, thus producing a resource more akin to Glyndebourne than the Royal Albert Hall. [See Appendix for a musical assessment and further details.]

2.2 Also within the British Gas site (on the south side of River Way) are the earliest standing buildings on the peninsula: Ceylon Place (a row of two-storey cottages) and the Pilot Public House, on whose front wall is a plaque inscribed CEYLON PLACE New East Greenwich 1801. These are on the Local List and clearly merit preservation
2.3 To the west of the massive cast/wrought iron coal and coke jetty are two gasworks buildings of c 1900. Further from the river is the wash house and nearer is an engineering workshop. Although both buildings have been truncated in plan, neither is without a certain architectural charm: the wash house has a series of engaged piers with corniced capitals of brick on its south wall, and the workshop south wall is arcaded. Of the two, the workshop is probably more suitable for preservation.

2.4 Finally on the site, there are three structures, all of which have some claim to preservation and all of which present major problems not only of refurbishment but also of integration within the overall redevelopment scheme. These are the massive cast and wrought iron coal and coke jetty of 1886 (the southern arm of the T added soon after 1903), the remaining gasholder (no. 1 of 1886 by George Livesey, the world’s first four-lift gasholder) which is a major landscape feature at over 60m high in an otherwise relatively flat terrain and the dry dock at the north end of the peninsula (1871, lengthened before 1890)
3.0 Archaeology

3.1 For most of its documented history, the British Gas site has been low-lying meadows, reed beds, and marsh, constantly liable to flooding until systemic embanking perhaps as late as the early C17. Changes in the course of the Thames as yet largely unassessed for this area, will have altered the topography, possibly in a fairly drastic manner if we consider the whole period of human occupation of the middle and lower Thames catchment area.

3.2 Much of the peninsula is covered by a layer of peat (recorded in ground investigations) between about O.75m and 5.5m thick, whose upper surface is at about -1.5mOD. This peat band is likely to represent the Tilbury IV marine regression, which has been identified in archaeological contexts in London and dated to within the Middle Bronze Age (later 2nd millennium BC). Analysis of this type of deposit allows us to assess the topographic and vegetational environment in which prehistoric Thames-dwellers lived.

3.3 On the sites where it has been identified in London, the Tilbury IV peat sealed a Late Neolithic/Early Bronze Age landscape which produced evidence for cereal farming (including minor structures such as platforms). This opens up the exciting possibility that (apart from areas disturbed/destroyed by recent foundations) up to 99ha of early 2nd millennium BC landscape underlies the British Gas site!

3.4 The archaeological implications are drastic, not least because, unlike the better known types of prehistoric site that have an impact on the modern landscape, such as Stonehenge, hill forts, and barrows, the sort of occupation site that might be, found here is more likely to be the remains of a temporary shelter and/or a scatter of stone/flint tool fragments and food bones. It is therefore almost impossible to predict the locations of such sites, although a thorough analysis of the ground investigation data for the area should give some idea of the’ topography at that period and hence areas that might be more likely to be ‘settled or otherwise used in an archaeologically recoverable way. That said, the importance of investigating a broad spectrum of the landscape must not be minimised, and it should be noted that piling is just as destructive of these types of deposit as deep excavation: in other words almost any typical ‘brown land’ foundation method will result in a total loss of the archaeological deposits. 3.5 Furthermore, slight though such remains as discussed above are, they represent an important (and often much neglected through their difficulty of recovery) part of our heritage and, imaginatively interpreted and displayed, can add to the ‘sense of place’ that is so crucial to the successful establishment of a largely new residential area such as is planned here.

3.5 Without the detailed study of the early topography of the area mentioned above it is difficult to estimate accurately the archaeological potential of the later periods up to the seventeenth century (by which time the river wall seems to have been in place), particularly as virtually no stray finds have been recorded which might offer some clues. One which was recorded (in 1948) from the northern edge of the peninsula was a find of C4 Roman pottery (one complete and one broken ‘vase’ from a depth of 7.5m), which need not indicate more than a relatively casual loss, possibly from a passing ship.

3.6 We must now return to the Armada bastion. Because the original plan was drawn at such a small scale (1: 63 360) it is difficult to go further than a location to the nearest 6ha. It is, however, clear that English Heritage will object most strenuously to development within that area without at least a full-scale trial excavation, which is likely to cost about £20,000 and take between one and two months to complete. Once the site is found, a major excavation will be required, costing perhaps £0.25M and lasting possibly three months. Post-excavation processing can be expected to cost virtually as much again. [It is difficult to be more precise at this stage, but these figures give a reasonably accurate view of the likely financial and time costs involved. The bonus, of course, is a site of enormous heritage potential and with major promotional possibilities.] While the visible remains, when uncovered, will .be disappointing to those unfamiliar with excavated structures, it will be entirely possible to recreate an accurate replica either on the same site (which is now perhaps 70m back from the modern river wall) or on the present river edge.

3.7 The opportunity should be taken, while groundwork’s are proceeding, to carry out a series of fairly small-scale investigations of the early river wall(s): we do not know at present when embanking first took place in this area, or indeed whether or not it was systematic or piecemeal. All these questions are, in theory, answerable, but it is more likely that we will be able to recover only part of these answers. Nevertheless, that part will be very valuable for building the overall picture.

3.8 Finally, the one thing that can confidently be predicted is that during these investigations we will find something that is completely unexpected, and that is supremely difficult to build into a budget or timescale.

The Ammonium Sulphate Storage Shed: Performance Possibilities. Virtually every new performing arts structure, and especially those for music, has proved to be acoustically inadequate (eg the Royal Festival Hall). It is therefore exciting when a building becomes available that has excellent acoustics to start with and does not need expensive modifications. Here some combination of materials and three-dimensional geometry has offered an ideal venue for the performance of early music (for instance Monteverdi’s works could for almost the first time be performed in exactly the way they were designed (both tonally and locationally) for San Marco in Venice, where groups of musicians and vocalists were scattered around the galleries of the church), and also for modern ‘electronic music such as Stockhausen, Boulez, and the Paris-based Institut de recherche et de coordination accoustique/musique (IRCAM). The purity of the reverberation here should be stressed-unlike some halls it does not distort the sounds, which means that both early (including Mozart and modern (eg Berg’s Lulu) operas would perform well here. Indeed, there is very little that .is put on at Glyndebourne that could not be put on here. It is, however, easy to ruin acoustics-soft fabrics and carpets are particularly absorbent, as, indeed, are audiences. Therefore, while portable dampers may be required for some types of performance, every effort should be made to retain hard surfaces. In addition, as little as possible of the air volume should be occupied, so that while the audience seating platform will probably require a slight rake it should be no more than 2m from front to back. It would also be advantageous to have as few permanent structures as possible, including the seating; in this way the utilisability of the building.


Return to East Greenwich Gas Works


(source of this article probably The Engineer)

HE Bryan Donkin Company’s principal business today is with the Gas Industry and reference has already been made to the supply of gas valves from 1847 onwards. Early rotary exhausters, such as the one patented by Joshua Beale of Greenwich in 1848, itself only an improvement on Rarnella’s design of 1588, suffered from the disadvantage that there was great friction between the slides. The speed of the guiding segments on a 38 exhauster running at 60 r.p.m. being as high as 600 ft. per minute. The segments had to run in circular grooves machined in the end plates of the machines.

In 1866 Beale patented (No. 1402) an improved type of exhauster of which the Bryan Donkin Company obtained sole manufacturing rights in 1870. They made about 100 of these in which the friction was reduced by about 20′ by using rings instead of segments and letting only an auxiliary blade slide to take up differences in diameter. .’

In 1877 the same John Beale patented (No. 2419) a greatly improved type in which the friction was only 30-40% of that in the original. Shortly afterwards Mr.Beale retired and the Bryan Donkin Company purchased his business outright. The rings and segments for guiding were entirely abolished in this design and a simple block, brought to the centre, was substituted. In the example quoted above, the velocity of the slide on the guide block became fewer than 60 instead of 600 ft. per minute. The block also had a much greater wearing surface than the segments.

There is still sufficient interest in this long-lived type for “the 1877 patent” to
remain a term in current use within the company.

The cylinders of these exhausters are bored with the horizontal axis a little longer than the vertical. This is an improvement over the true circle as it gives a curve swept by a slide of constant length and was employed originally by Franchot about 1860. An amusing result of this eccentric boring is that on more than one occasion maintenance fitters have “rectified” this ovality under the impression that it was due to wear. They then found the circular bore useless and a new shell had to be supplied.

The great advantage of these exhausters over otter types was the small number of working parts. More than 600 exhausters of the various Beale types were at work by 1897 many of them drive by steam engines supplied by the Bryan Donkin Company. Nearly 100 had been exported with examples in reach of the five continents. The company also made some 3- and 4-bladed exhausters, the pioneer 3-blade type at the Old Kent Road works of the South Metropolitan Gas Company dating back to as early as 1873-4

Another early achievement was the installation of sets of gas boosters at Beckton Gas Works in 1880 which pumped the gas through 4 ft. mains over a distance of 8-10 miles to London. This pioneer installation was one of the very few examples of gas boosting in this country prior to the present century. There were 8 exhausters of the Beale 1866 pattern each of 225,000 cu ft. per hour capacity at 50 rpm. The exhausters could pump 48 million cubic feet a day against a pressure of 48 in w g. they were driven by four steam engines connected to a common condensing plant. Other sets were subsequently installed at Bromley by Bow to discharge gas from that works into the same mains

Return to Beale Foundry


First published Bygone Kent.

In the 1860s, it has been said that Thames ‘constituted the greatest shipbuilding area in the world’. There were shipyards all up and down the river. As well as the two Royal Dockyards at Deptford and Woolwich there were many many private yards. They were sited in Rotherhithe, Deptford, Woolwich, Millwall, Poplar and Blackwall and only the Greenwich peninsula stands out being shipyard free. One manufacturer, however, did come to Greenwich and he had a big idea. His site was to be on the west side of the peninsula – near the Millennium Dome but not under it.

For every shipyard turning out important and dramatic ships there must have been several boatyards building the small craft that kept the whole system running. Small boats were and are needed for all sorts of purposes – and there are as many designs as purposes. This fact seems to have escaped the subject of this article. He wanted to build boats, thousands of them, which were all the same. The idea was revolutionary – boats had been made up and down the river for millennia – but never ones like this!

On the Greenwich peninsula was an area, which must have seemed ideal for the purpose of boatbuilding. This was known as Horseshoe Breach, or the Great Breach – it is the area, which today lies beyond the point at which the riverside path runs inland. A breach of the sea wall, which took place before 1620, has formed a bay, which appears to form a natural slipway. In 1864 this area was leased from Morden College by The National Company for Boat Building by Machinery. The company had been had been set up by Nathan Thompson, with the support of his brother John. They came from New York where Nathan had worked as a marine engineer. He claimed to have begun work on his system around 1842 and it had thus taken him nineteen years to perfect.

In 1859, while Thompson was still in New York his system had been examined there by the United States Navy Department. They had asked James Snellgrove Jr, a practical boatbuilder, to make a demonstration ‘wash streak’ boat in their presence. He showed that it would take one man, working ten hours a day, eleven days and three hours to do so. Mr. Snellgrove thought, however, that the fact that the machinery was all in different rooms meant that the project had taken six days longer than it needed. He reported that if all the machines were worked at the same time by different individuals that each boat could be made in a day and a half. Thus five boats could be built in the time usually taken to make one. The Navy Board adjudicator, Mr. Webb, reported that ‘hand labour can never successfully compete with machinery propelled by steam’ so Thompson’s must ‘give him a world wide reputation for his genius’.

Within four years Thompson had come to England. It is far from clear why he did so. When Philip Banbury wrote up Thompson for his ‘Shipbuilders of the Thames and Medway’ he pointed out the similarity of Thompson’s methods to those patented by George Bousfield of Brixton. Bousfield himself died in 1859 while Thompson’s experiments were taking place. Another Bousfield, William, who was related to George, perhaps his son or nephew, was to move to America and eventually died there. Is it perhaps possible that there was some connection between Thompson and Bousfield and that Thompson came to England following Bousfield’s death?

An ambiguous comment about Thompson was made by P. Barry author of ‘Dockyard Economy and Naval Power’. Barry visited Thompson’s works and made enthusiastic comments about them. In a long, and very obscurely written paragraph he praises Thompson’s machinery as ‘practical ….expeditious and economical’ while at the same time drawing attention to the manufacture of wooden nutmegs in New England. His English readers may not have known that in America Connecticut is known the ‘Nutmeg State’ and that a wooden nutmeg refers to a native of that state whose intentions are dishonest.

For his boat-manufacturing project Thompson had a number of backers – chief of them Colonel Sykes, MP, and Chairman of the East India Company who was the Company Chairman. He produced a booklet consisting of letters of recommendation for his process. These seem to have been obtained by inviting prominent people to a demonstration and asking to write a reference. For this purpose he had first of all had opened a demonstration works near Victoria Park in Old Ford, Hackney. As a result the Company prospectus included references from an astonishing number of people including the Dukes of Cambridge and Sutherland and to an assortment of shipbuilders and industrialists. Whether any of them ordered any boats from him isn’t known.

The idea was to produce a large number of identical small boats, m ade by a series of ingenious machines. Thompson claimed that 25,000 new small boats were needed every year in Britain and he thought that he could supply a quarter of these. He had no doubt noted that ‘a quarter of all the ships’ boats built in the United Kingdom were built to sit on the chocks of Thames built ships’. So, since the shipbuilding industry was all around his works he thought that he could not fail to sell to them.

Boats made to a system would be useful for all sorts of things. Space was taken up by boats on the decks of ships – they could carry more if they could be quickly assembled and disassembled. Duplicate parts could be supplied and repairs thus done without any difficulty. Thompson’s boats, it was said, ‘go together like a bedstead’. Landing craft could be stowed into a single transporter and then put together when time for the invasion arrived. Boats could also be packed up for overland journeys. It was, in fact, likely to be extremely useful.

His system depended on a series of machines – fourteen in all and all steam driven. The boats, which had to be all the same, moved through the system from one to another and were built up round a central ‘assembling form’ which, held everything together and in the right place. Obviously the machinery meant a very large cash investment but it was however calculated that labour costs for each boat made would be less than a quarter than those made by conventional means. The cheapness of boats produced by this method would mean that new boats could be bought by fisherman and others without access to large amounts of capital. In addition boats could be made very quickly – within hours of the order and certainly in only a few days.

Once the company had been floated it was decided to set up the permanent factory in Greenwich and the site at Horseshoe Breach was leased from Morden College, Thompson set about making the Breach fit for shipbuilding by building a causeway and putting a boom across the bay itself. They then faced the river wall with stone. New buildings on site were to be proper brick built structures by agreement with Morden College.

When Barry visited the works in 1863 it seemed to have provided a breakthrough. ‘Respectable parties’ said Barry would be allowed to visit and see what was happening. He took photographs of the works which were published in his book – originals stuck in to each individual copy.

In its prospectus the company had explained that if only one fifth of the boats needed in Great Britain were made by the company at first they could still make a profit. Unfortunately this does not seem to have been the case and they went out of business in their first year.

Philip Banbury tried to analyse the reasons for this debacle. He pointed out that Thompson did not mention the ‘obvious fact; that all the boats had to be the same and that there was little hope of persuading customers to buy so many of a standard type – certainly not enough to sell 6,000 boats a year. Banbury estimated that the total number of ships’ boats needed on the Thames each year was ‘perhaps 300 of over a dozen types and sizes’ and he points out that there were also other specialist boatbuilders in business. He also pointed out that other small boats were usually very specialist and had evolved for a wide range of tasks and water conditions. Small local boatbuilders had marginal capital costs whereas Thompson’s machinery required a large investment.

I don’t know what happened to Thompson. In his report to the US Navy Department he said that he had taken out patents in: the United States, England, France, Russia Belgium, Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Austria, Sardinia, Turkey and Spain. Perhaps he went off and tried to make his system of boats pay somewhere else. I have tried to trawl for him through the Internet – perhaps somewhere in the world he was successful and perhaps somewhere there is a memorial to him. Perhaps, if he really was a ‘wooden nutmeg’ some of the capital he raised went with him and who knows what he did and where he went.

In writing this article I would obviously like to pay tribute to the work done by Philip Banbury and to acknowledge quotations from Barry. I would also like to thank Wendy Schnur from the library at Mystic Seaport.



To be incorporated under the Joint Stock companies’ Acts and -Liability Limited to amount of Subscription. CAPITAL £200,000 US 20.000 SHARES OF £10 EACH. WITH POWER TO DECREASE. TEN SHILLINGS PER SHARE TO BE PAID ON APPLICATION, AS A FURTHER SUM or TEN SHILLINGS PER SHARE or ALLOTMENT.

WILLIAM BROWN, ESQ., Liverpool, late M.P. for South Lancashire.
JOHN DILLON, ESQ., (Messrs. MORRISON, DILLON & Co.) Fore Street, Vice-President, Society of Arts

COL. W. H. SYKES, F.R.S., M.P., Chairman of the Hon. The. East India Company CHAIRMAN
J. KENNEDY ARTHUR, ESQ., Somerset Street, Portman Square.
PETER GRAHAM, ESQ., (Messrs. Jackson & Gallagher) Oxford Street
HARVEY LEWIS, ESQ., M.P., Grosvenor Street, Chairman Marine Insurance Company, and Director of the National Bank.
CAPTAIN E. Q. TINKER, (Messrs. Gotel, Tinker & Moran) Fenchurch Street.
VICE-ADMIRAL WALCOTT, United Service -Club, and Wington House Ringwood.’
CHARLES WHETHAM, ESQ., (Messrs.-Whetham & Snow,] Gracechurch Street.

From His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, K.G., &c., &c.7
His Grace the Duke of Sutherland ……..7
The Earl of Caithness …………8
Lord Alfred Paget, M.P., &c. ……….8
The Right Hon. Sir John S. Pakington, G.C.B., M.P., &c. .9
E. W. Crawford, Esq., F.R.G S., M.P. …….9
W. S. Lindsay, Esq., M.P. ………..10
Colonel W.H.Sykes, F.R.S., M.P. ……..10
Robert Dalglish, Esq., M.P. ……….10
Vice-Admiral Walcott, M.P. ……….11
William Brown, Esq., late M.P. for South Lancashire . .11
Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Belcher, C.B. …….12
Rear-Admiral Camac ………….12
Rear-Admiral Elliot ………….13
Rear-Admiral Stopford …………13
Capt. the Hon. Arthur A. Cochrane, C.B., R.N. ….14
Capt. Sherard Osborn, C.B., R.N. ………14
Capt. Cowper P. Coles, R.N. ……….14
George Turner, Esq. . . . . . .15
Richard Green, Esq. . . . . . .16
J. Scott Russell, Esq., F.R.S. Ship-builders .16
T. K. Fletcher, Esq. .17
Messrs. Richardson & Duck 17
J. Russell, Esq. …………..17
C. T. Anderson, Esq. …………18
Lieut.-Col. Anderson, F.S.A., &c. ……..18
William Fairbairn, F.R.S., &c. ……..19
Thomas Fairbairn, Esq. …………19
Joshua Field, Esq., F.R.S. ………..20
John Penn, Esq., F.R.S. ………..20
Professor Wilson, F.R.S., &c. ……….20
Thomas Chapman, Esq., F.R.S. ………21
George Appold, Esq., F.R.S. ……….21
William Carpmael, Esq., C.E. ……….22
Peter Graham, Esq. ………….22
E. J. Reed, Esq. …………..22
John Trotman, Esq. ………….23
John Dillon, Esq. …………..24
George Moore, Esq. ………….24
H. A. Silver, Esq………24

Extracts from Appendix to Prospectus, containing- Testimonials in favor of Invention. Full copies thereof may be had on application to Secretary.)

K.G., &c., &c.
(Copy of an Autograph Letter.)
Gloucester House, Park Lane, W., April 23, 1861.

Having yesterday had the pleasure of seeing the very interesting process of Boat Building, which you have been engaged upon for some time, and which you have now brought to such great perfection, I feel called upon, at your request, to state to you the impression I have derived from witnessing the working of your system. It appears to me that you have succeeded in devising a most beautiful process, well adapted for the object in view, and that your success may therefore be considered as complete.
I must leave it to scientific men to give their opinion upon the machinery employed, in all its details.
I beg to remain, Sir, yours truly,

2, Hamilton Place, W., April 18th, 3861.
I have viewed with much pleasure the very beautiful Mechanism you have designed for facilitating the Building of Boats.
Having seen the machinery in actual operation, I am able to state that it accomplished, with perfect precision and in a few minutes, the preparation of timber, which heretofore has required great skill on the part of the work- man as well as great labour. I scarcely know which to admire most, the simplicity of the machinery or the rapidity and finish with which the rough material is converted.
I wish you every success in carrying out your plan commercially. I am sure you are fully entitled to it for the ingenuity and perseverance you have displayed in its mechanical development, as well as for the practical success, which has crowned your labour.
I am, yours truly,

15, Abbey Gardens, N.W.
17, Hill Street, London, April 19th, 1861.
Having had the pleasure of witnessing the performance of your beautiful Machinery for Boat Building, I send you a few lines to say of how great importance I feel it is capable of being made of.
The shortness of time in which a boat can be built and the small cost for labour, are matters that deserve the careful attention of all who are engaged in their construction.
The beauty of the work turned out, and the ease with which any one part can be produced, are admirable. I feel that your plan is a most perfect one, and I trust that success may attend you which your inventions so justly deserve.
Believe me, yours faithfully,

42, Grosvenor Place, May 2nd, 1861.

I had already heard of your extraordinary invention for the building “of Boats, and was regretting not having had the opportunity of witnessing it, when you kindly called, and offered to take myself and a few friends to see another performance. I need scarcely assure you that I was struck with wonder at what I saw. The perfection with which each separate part is turned out, and the labour you must have bestowed in bringing to perfection such beautiful, ingenious and effective machinery deserves all praise, and I sincerely hope you will meet with your reward.
Believe me, yours faithfully,

G.C.B., M.P., &c., late First Lord of the Admiralty.
41, Eaton Square, SW., 28th March, 1861.

I have to thank you for allowing me to inspect your Machinery for Building Boats by Steam. Although my opinion can be of little value to you compared to the favorable testimony you have received from eminent practical and scientific men, I must assure you of the pleasure and admiration with which I examined your ingenious invention. There seems to be no doubt that your machinery will supply Boats of all sizes and of perfect construction, with a rapidity and cheapness hitherto unknown, and I trust you will be amply rewarded for a discovery which must be regarded as one of considerable public importance.
I beg to remain, very faithfully yours,

From R. W. CRAWFORD, ESQ., F.R.G.S., M.P. for the City of London. 71, Old Broad Street, London, E.C. 22nd March, 1861.

My opinion of your Boat Building Invention cannot be of any practical value to you, but I may nevertheless assure you of the pleasure it gave me to see it in operation, and of the great interest it has awakened in my mind. It is impossible not to be struck with the combination it displays of such complete efficiency with perfect simplicity or to avoid the conclusion that it is destined to work a complete revolution in the system and expense of Boat Building. I sincerely hope you will reap an adequate reward for the labour of so many years.
Yours faithfully,

From W. S. LINDSAY, ESQ., M.P. for Sunderland.
London, 4th March, 1861.

I inspected, with peculiar interest, the operation of your remarkable Machinery for the construction of Boats, and so far as I am competent to judge, it appears to me to be an invention of great commercial, and also of national importance. The perfection of the different parts of the Boat turned out by your Machinery was far beyond my expectation; and when the saving of time and money is considered, and the strength and lightness of the-Boat which your Machinery produces, I am led to feel that your invention must be brought into general use.
I am, yours faithfully,

From COLONEL W. H. SYKES, F.R.S., M.P., Chairman of the Hon. East India Company.
47, Albion Street, Hyde Park, March 27th, 1861.

I am obliged by your having given me the opportunity of witnessing in action, on Friday the 22nd inst., the cutting out from timber by singularly simple but efficient machinery, driven by steam, the component parts of Ships Boats. The celerity and mathematical accuracy, with which duplicate parts were produced, must necessarily abridge time and labour in Boat-Building, and greatly reduce cost. .
I trust the general use of your Patents will give you that pecuniary reward to which your remarkable inventions give you so great a claim.
YOURS faithfully,

From ROBERT DALGLISH, ESQ., M.P. for Glasgow.
18, Eaton Terrace, April 20th, 1861.

Your Invention appears to me likely to produce an entire revolution in Boat Building.
I trust you may soon be in a position to offer licences to the public—or to utilize your invention in some way— and that you may have all the success which so much ability and perseverance merit.
I am, yours very truly,

From VICE-ADMIRAL WALCOTT, M.P. for Christchurch.
House of Commons, March 18th, 1861.

The testimony borne by Mr. Scott Russell in favour of your Invention for the construction of Ships Boats Is so perfect that I cannot call to my command any words capable of enhancing the sense he has bespoken of the great ingenuity and successful labour with which it has been accomplished.
I therefore find my content in responding to a testimony which naturally must prove so extremely gratifying to your feelings; and I very sincerely hope your every expectation may be realized.
Very faithfully yours,

From “WILLIAM BROWN, ESQ., (BROWN, SHIPLEY & Co., Liverpool) late M.P. for South Lancashire.
Fenton’s Hotel, 28th May, 1861.

I was greatly pleased and gratified at having an opportunity of inspecting your Steam Machinery for Building Boats. It does not require much knowledge of machinery to see that it will cause an immense saving of labour, and I cannot for a moment doubt that it will prove of great national importance.
Permit me therefore to congratulate you on the science, talent, and mechanical skill which has given to the world a most valuable invention.
Ever respectfully,

London, April 17, 1861.

I have to thank you for the very kind invitation to inspect your Boat preparation Machinery as well as for the lucid exposition of its performance. Having considerable experience in this department of construction, I am enabled to state that the special machinery for the rabbetting and bevels of stem, transom and thwart knees, &c., are perfect, and these works could not be so truly effected by the most expert mechanic by hand; indeed, being the result of computed curves, could only be approximated. As an important aid, not only in the preparation of the parts of a boat, but also in many other matters relating to ship building, I feel fully satisfied that your machinery must soon be imported into our Naval yards. The saving in time and expense, as well as the perfection ensured, must command its advance.
Wishing you every success,
I am, yours very truly,

15, Abbey Gardens, N.W.
46, Devonshire Street, W., April 12th, 1861.

All who have had the good fortune to witness the extraordinary effect of your mechanical application for the rapid and economical construction of Boats, must acknowledge the ingenuity and superiority of invention pervading the whole process. I am one of those thus impressed; and have to thank you for the opportunity afforded me.
Heartily do I trust that you may reap all the advantages of your skill and labour, an event which must be equally beneficial to the Mercantile, and I may say Imperial interests of the country, by a recognition and adoption of the system introduced by you.
I am, dear Sir, truly yours,

London, Friday, April llth, i860.
I have no hesitation in stating that I consider your Boat Building Machinery to be a most valuable invention and a wonderful application of mechanical skill and ingenuity to a practical purpose.
The perfection of the work performed, and the great saying of time and labour and money, is sufficient to establish the invention as a great commercial benefit, but for purposes of warfare at a distance from the resources of the Naval Dockyards, your invention will prove of the greatest importance. With many thanks for your kindness in allowing me to inspect your machinery and witness its performance, and hoping that you will soon succeed in obtaining the reward you so justly deserve,
I beg to remain, yours faithfully,

26, Eaton Square, S. FT., March 27th, 1861.

I beg to return you my thanks for affording me an opportunity of seeing your Machinery for Building Boats. It appeared to me a most ingenious invention; while every machine connected therewith struck me as being equally simple and beautiful.
Believe me, yours faithfully,

Junior United Service Club, April 6th, 1861.

Allow me to offer my congratulations on the success of your most ingenious Invention for the construction of Boats, and to thank you for your courtesy in showing the machinery in operation.
As far as my knowledge will allow of my forming a judgment on such a subject, I fully believe that your invention will be of eminent service to the Navy and Mercantile Marine.
Yours truly,

Junior United Service Club, London, 3rd March, 1861.

Amongst all the wonderful inventions of the present day for the economising of human labour, I have not seen one that excels your Boat Building Machines, and the mechanical skill and ingenuity appears to me almost to excel Brunel’s famous block-making machinery. As a sailor, and naval officer, I think I may say that the beautiful manner in which your Machinery is capable of producing •perfect duplicates of boats, or of giving us any number of parts of a boat which shall be perfect facsimiles one of the other, will be the greatest boon imaginable, and save on board of a ship on foreign stations endless labour and expense in the constant repairs necessary for the boats of a man-of-war.
Believe me, Sir, yours faithfully,
15, Abbey Gardens, St. John’s Wood.

United Service Club, Pall Mall, February 27th, 1861.

Allow me to express to you my thanks for your kindness in allowing me to witness your method of Boat Building. Although I cannot aspire to being a shipwright or boat builder, during twenty-four years’ actual service at sea I have had great opportunities of becoming acquainted with boat-building and repairing, to which I have always given much attention. I therefore beg to assure you how fully I appreciate your wonderful yet simple invention, which as far as I am able to judge, turns out a most perfect boat, embracing a great saving of material, time, labour, and consequently economy.
I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

GEORGE TURNER, ESQ., Master Shipwright of Woolwich Dockyard, who was appointed by the Lords of the Admiralty to examine and report on the method of constructing Boats by Machinery (invented by NATHAN THOMPSON, Jun. Marine Engineer of New York), makes the following remarks in his “Report to the English Government,” November ’21st, 1860.
” Having given my best consideration to the method of Building boats by Machinery, invented by Mr. Thompson after seeing the various component parts of a Boat accurately and expeditiously prepared, ensuring at the same time, a perfect fit throughout; I am of opinion that both the work and strength of Boats built by his process would be superior to that of the ordinary method, and also ensure a great saving of time and expense. The division of labor, consequent on the machinery going on rapidly, and without interruption, while every part of a Boat is simultaneously manufactured, must necessarily reduce the cost of labor. And the despatch at command would be greatly increased when pressing orders require executing.”

The following is an extract from a letter subsequently received by the Inventor from the same gentleman: —
Your cutter compared in cost of labor with one built by contract, would be a difference in your favor as 7 is to 32. I cannot speak too much in favor of your method of Building Boats, and have not failed in doing so even in head quarters

Letter of RICHARD GREEN, ESQ., the eminent Ship-builder and Ship-owner, after the Invention had been practically examined by himself and two of the most efficient men in his employ

Blackwall, January 24th, 1861.
Having visited your Establishment, I pronounce your Machinery for Building Boats, to be a very clever Invention, and have no doubt it will accomplish all you profess.
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

From J. SCOTT RUSSELL, ESQ., F.R.S., &c.
20, Great George Street, Westminster, S. W.,
March 8th, 1861.

Allow me to express the great pleasure and instruction I have received from the examination of your excellent Machinery for the construction of Ships Boats. There can be no doubt that your boats could be sold considerably cheaper than boats built by hand, and still leave a hand- some profit on construction. There is no question of the superior workmanship and exact fitting of the parts of boats built by your method, nor can I doubt that a Company formed for the construction of boats on your principle, would, if well managed, confer a great boon on shipowners, consistently with a profitable investment, and that. It would have little to fear from competition.
In conclusion, I earnestly hope that the issue of your undertaking may reward the originality of your invention, and the great ingenuity and labour with which you have brought it to a practical issue.
I remain, yours faithfully,

From T. K. FLETCHER, ESQ., Ship-Builder, etc. –
Union Dock, Limehouse, March 8th, 1861.

I have had much pleasure in examining your Machinery for Building Boats of all sizes and descriptions. It appears to me that the machines are very novel, strong and simple I doubt not that a great saving of labour may be effected by them.
I am, dear Sir, yours sincerely,

From RICHARDSON & DUCK, Shipbuilders.
South Stockton Iron Ship Yard, Stockton-on-Tees, 29th April, 1861.

We were much pleased with the exhibition of your Patent Machinery for making Boats. It is not only very ingenious, but makes better work than hand-labour. We have no doubt that, if properly introduced, it will entirely supersede the present method.
Wishing you every success,
We are, dear Sir, yours truly,

From J. RUSSELL, ESQ., Chief Surveyor, Lloyds.
Association, Lloyds’, March 26th, 1861.

I hasten to assure you that the inspection of your ingenious Machinery for simplifying and Expediting the construction of Ships Boats, has afforded me both pleasure and instruction, and I think that the merits of your inventions and adaptations only require to be known to secure for your perseverance a profitable result.
I am, Sir, your obedient Servant

From C. T. ANDERSON, ESQ., Superintendent of Agents,
Lloyds’, March 20th, 1861.
I have great pleasure in expressing my approval of your admirable Machinery for the construction of Ships’
Boats, by the aid of which a great saying of time and expense will be effected.
I trust the merits of your excellent invention, may soon be publicly recognized, and that your ingenuity and perseverance may be profitably rewarded.
I remain, yours truly,

Superintendent for the Manufacture of Fire Arms.
Royal Arsenal, Woolwich, April I0th, 1861.

I beg to thank you very much for the kind permission to visit your Works at Victoria Park, and there to have an opportunity of minutely examining your very interesting and most ingenious combination of Machinery for Boat Manufacture.
After having gone through the application of machinery to the manufacture of Small Arms, and the production of the other Stores required by the War Department, I was, in some measure, prepared for appreciating your ingenuity in the matter of Boats.
I consider the system of machines which you have organized, to be eminently fitted for the object in view, both as regards quality of structure and economy; and which, if carried out under proper management and intelligence, will not only benefit those who use the machines, but at the same time will also be a public boon.
Yours very sincerely,

From WILLIAM FAIRBAIRN, ESQ., F.R.S., &c., &c.
(FAIRBAIRN & SONS, the eminent Engineers.)
Manchester, April 16th, 1861.

I was highly gratified by the examination of your ingenious and effective Machinery designed for the construction of Boats.
Looking at the economy and facility which this system is calculated to afford, and the rapidity with which it enables you to construct vessels, I am of opinion that your arrangements are of the highest value to the Public Service. Irrespective of the tools for cutting out the parts, I observed that your tabulated system of numbers enables you to make those parts facsimiles of one another, so that when put together they combine perfectly into a finished whole.
This ensures certainty and cheapness of construction, and from what I have seen I entertain hopes that a well-organized establishment will enable you to realize your expectation of making by this new process, a boat in five hours.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

From THOMAS FAlRBAIRN, ESQ., one of Her Majesty’s Commissioners for the Great Exhibition 1862.
17, Park Lane, London, 23rd of April, 1861.
I gladly assure you of the pleasure and instruction I received from the visit to witness your Patent Boat-making Machinery.
In addition to the remarkable ingenuity displayed in the design and construction of several of the machines, I was especially pleased with the combination of mechanical appliances which you have effected. It is -when viewed as a system that I consider your inventions most important, and I hope for your own sake, as well as for science and sound industrial development, that your machinery may be appreciated by the authorities, and be adopted by the proper departments of the Public Service in this country.
I am, dear Sir, very faithfully yours,

From JOSHUA FIELD, ESQ., F.R.S., (of the Firm of MAUDSLAY, SONS, AND FIELD, the eminent Engineers.)
Lambeth, March 27th, 1861.

Having been permitted to inspect your Machinery, and to witness its operation for making Boats, I feel confident in pronouncing it a very clever combination of ingeniously contrived machines, applied to a very useful and important object. I shall be much pleased to learn that it has been fully brought into practical use, with the profitable result its merits deserve.
Yours faithfully,

From JOHN PENN”, ESQ., F.R.S., (JOHN PENN & Son, the eminent Engineers.)
The Cedars, Lee, Kent, S.E, 28th April, 1861.

There is no doubt in my mind that boats can be made better, and at a less cost, by your Patent Machinery than by the ordinary system, with the advantage of making any number exactly alike when required. I was much pleased with the beauty and simplicity of the mechanical contrivances and the machinery you used to carry out the important object you have in view, and which must have cost you much time and thought, and for which I hope you will receive due reward.
Yours truly,

From PROFESSOR WILSON, F.R.S., Engineer, &tc. &tc.
London, April 18, 1861.

I need hardly say how greatly I was pleased with my visit last week to your temporary establishment, when you were good enough to show me your newly-invented Machinery for constructing Boats, in operation. The whole arrangement of the machinery appears to be admirably adapted for the purpose, and must effect a very great saving in the cost of construction, and at the same time turn out the work in a far superior manner to the old system by hand. Some of your mechanical adaptations were entirely new to me, and could, I think, be employed very advantageously in many other ways and for other purposes of construction than that for which they were specially invented.
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,
15, Abbey Gardens, N.W.

From THOMAS CHAPMAN, ESQ., F.R.S., Chairman of Lloyds’ Register of British and Foreign Shipping.
2, Leadenhall Street, London, 15th April, 1861.

I beg to thank you for the opportunity afforded me this day of witnessing the gratifying exhibition of your Machinery for converting the materials used in the construction of Ships Boats.
The ingenuity and mechanical skill evinced in the adaptation of the various machines for the purposes required, cannot fail to excite the admiration of all who have the opportunity of examining your invention. I very sincerely wish you every success in your enterprise. If your anticipation of being able to effect a large diminution in the cost of ships boats is realized, you will confer a great boon on the ship-owners of all nations.
I am, Sir, your very obedient servant,

23, Wilson Street, Finsbury Square, E.C., March 23, 1861.

When I saw your Machinery at work for Boat Building, it very much surprised me at the simplicity and expedition with which you could build a Boat. It appears to me just the machinery to suit the purpose for which it was designed, and I hope it will be adopted.
I remain, yours truly,

24, Southampton Buildings, March 20th, 1861.

Having very carefully examined the system of Machinery invented and employed by you. in the construction of Boats, I have much pleasure in stating it as my opinion, that you are not only the first to devise a series of machines with a view to improve every stage of boat-building, but that you have perfectly succeeded in practically carrying out your object. Yours faithfully,

From PETER GRAHAM, ESQ. (Jackson and Graham),
Treasurer of the Society of Arts.
35, 37, & 38, Oxford Street, London, W.,
19th January, 1861.

I have to thank you for permitting me to see the operations of the various Machines you have invented and applied to the purpose of building Boats. From practical experience in applying machinery to working wood, in order to save the cost of labour in my own manufactory, I have no hesitation in saying that I am fully convinced, if established upon a large scale under good management, your system of Boat Building by Machinery must prove a great commercial success.
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

From E. J. REED, ESQ., Secretary to the Institution of Naval Architects.
7, Adelphi Terrace, Strand, W.C.,
March 20, 1861.

I have to thank you for the opportunity of inspecting your Boat Building Machinery in operation a short time since, and in doing so I desire to express my sense of the perfect efficiency and completeness with which it performs its work. It cannot be doubted, I think, that such machinery may at once be applied on a large scale with great profit; and it can be as little doubted that—like other labour-saving machinery—when once fairly at work, it will enormously stimulate the demand for the articles which it produces, and thus exceed all present anticipations of its value. In addition to its more obvious advantages, your machinery will greatly facilitate the export of boats, and parts of boats, for construction and for repair, to distant parts of the world—a matter of great importance, in my opinion. I will only add that it is a great satisfaction to see your mechanical skill and inventive powers applied in a direction which is likely to lead to great pecuniary advantage — an important consideration, which too many inventors neglect.
I am, dear Sir, yours very truly,

From JOHN TROTMAN, ESQ., (Patentee Trotman’s Anchor).
42, Cornhill, April 10th, 1861.

Excellence and cheapness in a commercial point of view, are the great characteristics of your most valuable invention. The celerity and mathematical precision by which duplicate parts are produced, for subsequent repairs, facility of transport, &c., is not without its importance.
Indeed, I felt momentarily the same emotions—seeing those extraordinary machines of yours—as when I witnessed for the first time at work, “Brunel’s” very wonderful block-machinery, the admiration of all beholders. Besides the production and reproduction-of every description and size of boat, the applicability of your machinery to ship building purposes, fittings, &c., has its intrinsic value.
Heartily wishing my brother patentee every success,
Believe me, most sincerely,

From JOHN DILLON, ESQ., (Morrison, Dillon & Go.) Vice-President of the Society of Arts.
Fore Street, April 10th, 1861.

I am so entirely unconnected and unacquainted with the subject of boat building, that my opinion can be of little weight or value; but I was certainly struck with your wonderful application of the power of machinery to a practical and useful object, and wish you every success in the plan you have undertaken,
I am, dear Sir, yours faithfully,

From GEORGE MOORE, ESQ. (Copestake, Moore, Crampton & Co.)
5, Paul’s Church Yard, 13th April, 1861.

I am glad to find that eminent scientific men have pronounced your invention for Building Boats by Machinery to be a decided success.
Having myself witnessed the power and practical character of the machinery, I may be permitted to add that in my humble opinion its application to the purpose for which it was designed would insure for the inventor commercial as well as scientific success.
Yours truly,

From H. A. SILVER, ESQ. (S. W. Silver & Co.)
3 and 4, Bishopsgate Within, and at 66 and 67, Cornhill,
London, KC., April 12th, 1861.

I have to thank you for affording me an opportunity of witnessing the operation of your most valuable invention. Your system of Building Boats by Machinery is simple, sure, and perfect, and consequently eminently practical.
It would be idle ceremony to wish you success when success is so certain and so well deserved.
I am, Sir, yours faithfully,


From Money Article o/”THE TIMES ” of 15th June, 1861,
A company is about to be introduced for the application of the patents of Mr. Nathan Thompson, an American engineer, for boat building by steam machinery. This machinery is suitable for the construction of boats of every size and mould, and durability j and safety are attained from the uniformity and perfection of the ‘ various fittings, while the saving in time and labour is extraordinary. The inventor has published testimonials from a large number of the principal persons in the United Kingdom connected with navigation; and the working of elaborate constructive establishments, and these are all of the most unequivocal character as regards the value of the system both in a national and commercial sense. (A cutter 30 feet in length can,’ it is said, ‘ be constructed and delivered perfect in every respect within a few hours after the order is received for it,’ and the Master Shipwright of Woolwich Dockyard, who was appointed by the Admiralty to examine and report on the method, has fully corroborated the opinions expressed by other authorities. The -revolution which it is likely to create will, it is believed, be analogous to that effected in other departments of labour by the sewing machine, and the contrivances which have of late years multiplied the production of clocks and watches. In our colonies and distant territories, where so much of the progress of each settlement depends upon the facilities for river and coast navigation, its advantages are likely also to be of especial importance.”

From “MORNING HERALD” of 17th June, 1861.

“BOAT-BUILDING BY MACHINERY. —Mr. Nathan Thompson marine engineer of New York, has just introduced to the British public a new process for the building of boats by machinery.” It” is no new thing for the old world to receive a quickening impulse from the new, and if only half the good effects that Mr. Thompson and his coadjutors—among whom may be named Mr. Puseley, who has laboured zealously in the cause—anticipate from the application of machinery to boat-building be realized, it will become the boat-builders of the United Kingdom to look to their laurels. I Indeed, there can hardly be any ground for doubt that this new application of machinery must revolutionise the whole system of boat-building, for Mr. Thompson boldly affirms that the amount of labour which, performed annually in a government dock-yard would be requited by £16, can under his system be accomplished for £1 15s. or £2; and so rapid and almost illimitable is his facility of construction that it is calculated that by extended application of this machinery 2500 boats could, on an emergency, be turned out in 30 days. Several distinguished men in this country, many of them persons practically acquainted with the subject, who have seen the system in operation, have also borne testimony more or less favourable to it, among whom may be mentioned—Sir John Pakington; Sir Francis Baring; Admiral Walcott, M.P.; Admiral Elliot, Captain Coleman; Captain Sherard Osborn; Mr. Lindsay, M.P.; Mr. Richard Green; Mr. Scott Russell; Mr. Trotman; Mr. Fairbairn; Mr. John Penn, F.R.S., and Mr. T. Chapman, F.R.S.; Mr. G. Turner, master shipwright of Woolwich Dockyard, has also reported favourably to the English government on Mr. Thompson’s invention, by which he declares that both the work and strength of the boats built would be superior to what would be obtained by the ordinary method.”

From “DAILY NEWS,” 17th June, 1861.
THOMPSON’S BOAT-BUILDING MACHINES.—On Saturday an opportunity was afforded to a limited number of gentlemen of inspecting the apparatus invented by Mr. Nathan Thompson, of New York, for the building of boats by machinery, and erected by him at Old Ford, Bow^ In no department of human activity has the talent of the Americans been more conspicuous than in the construction of machinery and its adaptation to the ordinary arts of life. Hitherto it was considered that the curvilinear form of a boat’s timbers, and the great variety of angular shaped pieces required in the construction presented insurmountable obstacles to the application of machinery to boat-building. These obstacles seem, however to have been completely overcome by Mr. Thompson, who, after many years’ study and labour, has invented thirteen machines for forming and fashioning gunwales, floor timbers, cants, keels, sterns, stern posts, knees, transoms, and all the variety of forms and angles, and bevelling of every width and taper that are required, in order to build up boats and yachts of every variety and description. The machines invented by Mr. Thompson are of the most ingenious description, and appear to be endowed with almost intelligence, so marvellously and so accurately do they manipulate the timber required for boat building. There are in the Royal Navy and mercantile marine about 40 descriptions of boats, and there is not one of them but may be produced by these machines, so that the scope of their usefulness is not merely confined to any one pattern or design. When all the machines are at work together—and the processes can be carried on in a consecutive manner, so that every part of the boat is being simultaneously manufactured—the saving in the cost of labour as calculated by the master shipwright at Woolwich, -will be in the proportion of 7 to 32, while the good character and accuracy of the workmanship are secured by this employment of machinery. The advantage which must result from building boats where every portion may be made in duplicate, and where repairs may be readily effected in a time of emergency, must strike every person as being scarcely less important than the economy of production and the excellence of the workmanship by these means. The machinery for bending the timber in order to form the ribs is so constructed as to give every possible curvature that may be required in any part of a boat, whether for a small lugger or a yacht of £150 tons, and of the finest possible lines. By the aid of all these mechanical applications, a cutter, 32 feet in length, 7ft. 3in. in beam, was, and may again be completed easily in five hours. It appears that there are some 25,000 boats built every year in this country, and it may readily be imagined that there is ample scope for building boats by machinery.

From “DAILY TELEGRAPH,” 17th June, 1861.
“Boat-Building BY MACHINERY.—Nothing short of an entire revolution in the process of boat-building is promised by the invention of Mr. Nathan Thompson, junior, naval engineer, of New York. We use the term “revolution” advisedly, and with application to all those facts, which we have been enabled closely to examine. Not only is every idea of human skill and intelligence, in this kind of work, shaken or entirely subverted, but the very operation is carried on by an inverse process; for, instead of first laying down a keel and constructing a vessel upon that basis, the work is begun by Mr. Thompson’s machinery from the gunwale. It. may, then, be fairly said that the boat-builder’s occupation, as hitherto constituted, is either going or gone. He must yield, as other manufacturers have done, to scientific improvement. There is no setting a bound, in these days, to the province of mechanism. We have heard that one .,of the Lords of the Admiralty, after seeing Mr. Thompson’s machines in action, declared that he had been previously sceptical as to the power of any machinery to make a boat; but that he was so struck by what had been shown him, that he believed machinery capable of everything except diplomacy. It may be urged that there is somewhat of the mechanical element even in that department of human labour; although, to be sure, the diplomatic machinery is not, like Mr. Thompson’s, driven by steam. (< On Saturday we witnessed a series of experiments, or rather demonstrations, at Mr. Thompson's factory, near the Victoria Park. When we premise that, in less than an hour and a half, we saw all the principal parts of a boat cut and shaped from the rough material with as much ease as if they had been so many pieces of cloth to form a garment, our readers will be prepared for some rather incredible statements in detail. They have never, probably, dreamt of giving an order for a yacht, with strict injunctions that it should be ready by the end of the week, supposing it to be about Wednesday afternoon or Thursday morning when their requirement was first mentioned to the builder. Still less likely are they to have imagined that respectable and veracious person promising to furnish the little article—say a thirty-feet cutter of strong build-in the course of the same afternoon. What appears ludicrous, when thus put, is mere matter of fact, rather understated. Such a boat as could only be built in ten days by all the skilled artisans who could be set to work at once upon her, is turned out by Mr. Thompson's machinery in five hours. We cannot, indeed, conceive any doubt of such success. Assuming that the operations will be extended to the general supply of boats to the navy and the mercantile marine, we have additional gratification in the promise that this great triumph of inventive genius will redound to the benefit of the British fisherman, who may soon become the owner of a boat for less than £30, the price of which, under the old system, would have placed that object far beyond his reach."

From "THE OBSERVER," June, 1861.
"BOAT-BUILDING BY MACHINERY.—There is no branch of mechanical industry in which the Americans have shewn greater ingenuity than in the construction of machines for working in wood. With the exception of some small machines for mortising, we have hitherto had none suitable for that description of work. We have manufactured iron in every possible way by machines, but for timber it had strangely enough been considered that manual labour was sufficient. It is only within the last four years that a change has taken place in this respect, and now the most complete system of machinery, perhaps, ever constructed, is that which is now in use in the dockyards and workshops at Woolwich, where wheels, gun-carriages, ammunition boxes, and a variety of articles are constructed by machine, the greater portion of which are automatic. At Enfield ?; we have machines for working in wood the stocks of the rifles ; and 'some of our largest brewers and cooperages have their casks made by machinery. The chief part of these machines are due to the ingenuity of American machinists. We have now to add to the catalogue a collection of thirteen machines, constructed for forming and fashioning gunwales, floor timbers, cants, keels, sterns, stern posts, knees, transoms, and all the variety of forms and angles, and bevelling of every width and taper that are required, in order to build up boats and yachts of every variety and description.

17th June, 1861.
BOAT-BUILDING BY MACHINERY.—We were called upon on Saturday to inspect the inventions of Mr. Nathan Thompson, of New York, for boat-building by machinery, and were highly gratified -with the extraordinary results of the working of the several machines, erected for the purpose on some extensive premises at Old Ford, Bow. One of Mr. Thompson's most ingenious machines is the ' drunken saw,' so called, no doubt, from its eccentric motion. It is a circular cutter, hut so adjusted on a screw axis as to have, when in action, what may be called a " wabbling" movement. In the course of its eccentricities it cuts laterally as well as longitudinally, and the effect is to form what is known as a groove or "rabbit" in the timber with extraordinary accuracy. The use to which this machine is applied in connection with the boats is for making the gratings, and the saving of time and of manual labour in this part of the work is very great. The ' drunken saw' can easily do the work of 40 men. A scarcely less useful and clever machine is one for giving the required bend and curve of the planking for the ship's side, which is done to the most perfect nicety by a combination of knives or cutters fixed on two rollers, the upper being concave, and the lower one convex.

From Money Article of" MORNING HERALD," 18^ June, 1861.
"Already the advantages to be derived from the adoption of Nathan Thompson's machinery for boat-building have been described in the account of the visit which took place on Saturday to the factory in the neighbourhood of Victoria Park. The National Company for Boat-building by Machinery (Limited) have now issued their prospectus, and the promoters intend to raise the requisite capital for carrying the plans of this eminent marine engineer into effect. The amount is £200,000, in 20,000 of £10 each, and the names of the directors, together with the executive, will lead to the conclusion that the endeavour is to be made to organise a successful undertaking. The patents and works of the inventor have been tested in every conceivable way, and if testimonials from high authorities are of any value in recommending a principle to the notice of the public, then those presented by Mr. Thompson should ensure him every consideration. The report of the United States Naval Commission is also of the most gratifying character, and, weighed "in connection with the opinions so universally given, assists to prove the great utility of the system which is to be introduced. Among the features of the invention are the greater strength and uniformity of construction, the dispatch with which the work can be completed, and the economy exercised by the application of machinery. The arrangements entered into for Mr. Thompson's patent seem to be of an unobjectionable nature, the shareholders being entitled to the receipt of a minimum dividend of 7 per cent before he is permitted full participation to the extent of his interest. As in all similar undertakings a great deal will depend upon management it may be as well to slate that this department has been committed to Captain John Vine Hall." ______________

From Money Article of " MORNING-CHRONICLE,"
15th June, 1861.
" Machinery and steam are fast revolutionising commerce and manufactures. Steam, if it does not annihilate time and space economises both marvellously, and improved machinery is working the same wonders for handicraft operations. The latest novelty introduced to the British public from America bids fair to supersede all the old methods of boat building. When we are told that a cutter, thirty feet in length, can be constructed in ten or a dozen hours, by the application of ingenious machinery, we may be allowed to suspect a mistake, but when we are invited to see the thing done, and when we have the opportunity of making our own eyesight a •witness, there can be no longer room for doubt. Mr. Nathan Thompson, an American marine engineer, has been long known for his mechanical skill, and for his remarkable and scientific improvements in machinery. His attention has of late been turned to boat construction by the aid of machinery, and he has succeeded in perfecting a simple and effective system of boat building, the main elements of which he has wisely secured by patents. A joint-stock company of the highest respectability has been organised here for the purchase and working of Mr. Thompson's patents, and after testing the efficiency of the machinery in every possible way, and satisfying themselves of its advantages by a personal inspection at the temporary factory erected here, they come with confidence to the public for the requisite capital, and put before them calculations to show that the profits on outlay must, under proper management, be very large indeed. The patentee has offered liberal terms, and this will no doubt strengthen confidence in the enterprise." From Money Article of

GAZETTE, 11th June, 1861.
" The object of the Company for (Boat-building by Machinery,' •whose prospectus is issued to-day, is to purchase and work several patents secured in this country by Mr. Nathan Thompson, of New ,A York. The machinery, which we had an opportunity of seeing in operation on Saturday, is at once simple, efficient, and beautiful; and the advantages possessed by it, in the shape of strength, uniformity of construction, dispatch, and economy, are unquestionable. The capital is £200,000, in shares of £10 each. Accompanying the prospectus is a pamphlet filled with testimonials from practical men and persons of standing who have visited and examined the temporary •works at Old Ford, Bow, where the invention is in operation."

From Money Article, of" DAILY NEWS," 17th June, 1861.
" The prospectus of an interesting undertaking bearing the title of ' The National Company for Boat-building by Machinery, Limited is issued. This company is very respectably constituted. Its object is to purchase and work several patents secured in this country by Mr. Nathan Thompson, of New York, for his process of building boats by machinery. By the concurrent testimony of a great number of eminent scientific and other authorities, the merits of the invention are of a very important character, and the machinery 31 is at once simple, efficient, and beautiful. It is contended that boat- building by the ordinary methods cannot compete for a moment with the new process, and that the advantages possessed in the shape of greater strength, and uniformity of construction, despatch, and economy, will cause large profits to be realised. As illustrating the system it is mentioned that a cutter, 30 feet in length, can be de- livered, perfect in every respect, within a few hours. The remuneration to the inventor is rightly made partly contingent on the company's success, as only one-third of the purchase-money will be paid in cash, the remainder being in the company's shares, upon one-half of which no benefit is to accrue until a dividend at the rate of 7 per cent. per annum has been paid to the other shareholders. A royalty on each boat made is also to be withheld until 7 per cent. dividend is secured. The capital is £200,000, in shares of £10 each. Accompanying the prospectus is a pamphlet filled with testimonials from persons of standing who have visited and examined the temporary works at Victoria Park, where the invention is in operation."

From "MORNING CHRONICLE," 20th June, 1861.
BOAT BUILDING BY MACHINERY.—It says something more for machinery than the mind is apt to imagine when we hear of a process of building boats by steam. Of the wonders of this great power nobody in these days need be told, and the reader will very soon perceive that it may be brought to bear on boat-building, and with extraordinary advantage. From enquiries we have made, and from personal investigation of the application of machinery to the purpose in question, we have no doubt that before long an enormous amount of hand-labour will be saved in boat-building, and more perfectly constructed boats will come into use than have ever before been seen upon the water. The testimony of some of the best judges of naval architecture to be found among us confirms this statement, for we see letters in favour, of the invention from some of the highest '• men in rank and science to be found in Great Britain; and many of these are practical and experienced master builders. "Thus a fleet of boats could be supplied, packed, and conveyed to any distance, and then be fitted for immediate use with but little trouble. In short, the most experienced men in this country, as well as in the United States, unite in certifying to the capability of the machinery to turn out ten times the quantity of work (of a superior quality as to finish and fit) in the same time, as is now done by hand-labour. "This is dispatch of which the value will be at once appreciated. If we build 25,000 medium sized boats annually, and, in addition to these, there are barges, fishing-boats, lighters, and small yachts to be turned out, here is work for the company, into whose profits it is not our province to enquire, but which assuredly promise to be great, as the Government alone must have need of many boats, and it will be impossible for hand-labour to compete with the machinery which this particular company secures to itself."

From Money Article of "MORNING STAR," 19^ June, 1861.
"The Prospectus appears in another column of the National Company for Boat Building by Machinery—a name which at once expresses the object in view. It is proposed to raise a capital of .£200,000 in £10 shares, and to purchase and work the patents secured in this country by Mr. Nathan Thompson, marine engineer of New York, for building boats by machinery. The system has been inspected in actual operation by numbers of practical men, whose testimony is uniformly to the effect that it is simple and effective, and that it must supersede, to a great extent, the present mode of building boats by hand-labour. The advantages claimed are greater strength and uniformity of construction, dispatch, economy, and large profits. The undertaking is introduced under most respectable auspices, and it seems likely to prove a great success."

From Money Article of " MORNING POST," 20th June, 1861.
The prospectus has been issued of the National Company for Boat Building by Machinery, with a capital of £200,000, in shares of £10 each. The company, which comes out under the auspices of a. very strong direction, has been formed for the purpose of purchasing and working the several patents secured in this country by Mr. Nathan Thompson, marine engineer of New York, for his process of building boats by machinery. The inventor has received numerous testimonials from practical and scientific authorities as to the value of his invention."

From Money Article of "MORNING ADVERTISER,"
20th June, 1861.
" An important undertaking, entitled the ( National Company for Boat-building by Machinery,' has been brought forward for the purpose of working certain patents secured by Mr. Nathan Thompson, a marine engineer, of New York. The most satisfactory testimonials have been obtained from eminent authorities in this country in support of his system for the construction of boats, which, of course, will supersede the present mode of building them by hand- labour, and result in a considerable saving of time and expense. The invention has been approved by a considerable number of gentlemen especially qualified to form an opinion upon the subject, and the project has naturally attracted much-attention. The capital required is £200,000, in shares of £10 each, upon which 10s. will have to be paid on application, and 10s. on allotment."

18th June, 1861.
"A limited liability company is being formed to work the patents of Mr. N. Thompson, of New York, for the construction of . boats by machinery.- The merits of the invention are set forth in seventy testimonials from high authorities, and it is said that by this process a cutter, 30 feet in length, can be delivered, perfect in every respect, in a few hours. The capital is £200,000, in £10 shares, and remuneration to the inventor is made dependent upon the success of the company.

From "THE ATLAS," 22nd June, 1861.
" We almost immediately ceased to think of our friend in the delight we experienced in beholding the operation of a neighbouring machine. How shall we attempt to describe it? A rough piece of thick plank was placed under the influence of this machine. In less than two minutes it came forth planed, concave on one side, convex on the other, and with the curves exactly fitting to the model boat for which the plank is prepared. There is some- thing beautiful, poetical, in this triumph of mechanism. It was good to glance at the inventor, standing quietly by, knowing that the creature he had made would not fail him, and could not disobey him. We have always thought one of the greatest achievements ox" science was when Franklin went out into the fields with his kite and showed that the lightning was also subject to man; but we felt on Saturday that Mr. Thomson's invention of this marvellous machine was not a less eminent demonstration of mental power. " Having, in an hour and a quarter, seen all parts of a boat made, we left the factory. On our way back to town, Mr. Thompson told us that he had been nineteen years inventing his machinery. He began it in 1842, nine years before the Great Exhibition. He was working it when Mr. Q,.C. was eating his terms, when that eminent M.D. was walking the hospitals, before Charles Dickens was famous, when the Prince of Wales was in his cradle, when Louis Napoleon was a prisoner at Ham. Nineteen years deducting the years of childhood and youth, it is half a lifetime, and more. But the invention is worthy of Mr. Thompson's genius, and the time and study and pains he has bestowed upon it. "It is impossible to sum up all its advantages, but we may just allude to two or three of them. What a boon to the Government, in the time of war, to be able to get a fleet of gunboats in a few weeks or days ! What a boon to those who travel by sea ! Often vessels are obliged to start with an insufficient number of boats, because they are expensive and take long to manufacture. Now they may have them at a reasonable price, and supplied-as quickly as any other stores. What an impetus the invention will give to fishing! Truly the harvest of the sea is great, and the poor need it, but we only reap it sparingly. Boats are so expensive to buy and keep in repair. By Mr. Thompson's invention fishermen can have boats at a far less cost, and repair them without much expense or difficulty. Mechanical inventors are indeed the best philanthropists of the age, and in the foremost rank of mechanical inventors, is Mr. Nathan Thompson, jun. "J. B. H.

From "STEAM SHIPPING CHRONICLE," 21st June, 1861.
" To the Navy the invention can hardly fail to prove invaluable. Boats sufficient to land an army may now be stowed away in a single transport, without, as heretofore, inconveniently encumbering the decks of the transports or the ships of the covering fleet; and boats which may be taken down and packed up will be available for interior transport when ordinary boats would be of no use whatever. Africa, India, China, and even North America, Mr. Thompson's own country, are suggestive fields for the employment of boats which might be carried overland before being launched upon their proper element And rifled cannon, it is scarcely necessary to observe, threaten to be most destructive to the old-fashioned boats of our ships of war. An action, now-a-days, at close quarters, will, if it does not lead to the annihilation of the ships engaged, render every old-fashioned boat that is exposed entirely useless, while Mr. Thompson's boats would come out of action all but scathe less. Half-a- dozen round shot passing through them would only lead to the unshipping of the shattered fragments, and to the fitting in of duplicates, or to the repairing of one boat in an hour or two with the vestiges of another. So long as we were without an invention of this kind, the seamen in our ships of war we.-e, in fact, unsafe, and now that this is admitted, we trust that Mr. Thompson will not be treated by the Admiralty as Mr. Trotman has been. We hope to see the new machinery in operation in all our dockyards before the year is out, that the service may profit by increased efficiency, and the votes of next year be reduced by the economy which is sure to follow. Boat-building by manual labour is about to be numbered among the things that were ; boats will be produced cheaper than they yet have been ; will be wanted for purposes to which hitherto they have not been applied; and although a considerable present displacement of labour will unquestionably be occasioned, all experience shows that eventually a greater number will earn their bread by building boats than do just now. For one who made a living a hundred years ago by the spinning wheel ten thousand, if not ten times ten thousand, are now constantly and remuneratively employed.

From" NAVAL AND MILITARY GAZETTE," 22nd June, 1861.
" THOMPSON'S BOAT-BUILDING Machinery.—On Saturday last we were highly gratified in witnessing the practical operations of the several parts of the machinery for boat-building invented by Mr. Thompson, Naval Engineer, of New York, a gentleman of great mechanical skill and scientific genius. This invaluable machinery to our naval and mercantile nation has been erected in its ' metropolis, that the British public 'may receive the first offer of its manifold advantages, viz., military and naval. Not only can I our ships of war be immediately supplied with any number of war boats in emergency—as 2,500 boats can be completed in thirty days —but all the variously-formed boats employed in the Merchant Service and the fisheries of the "United Kingdom supplied, when required, on the shortest notice. "Advantages to Merchant Shipping.—Vessels employed in -whale fisheries can carry duplicate parts of their boats, and set them up on their arrival in the fishing waters, and have a supply on hand, to replace casualties during their protracted voyage, which have so frequently proved unprofitable from the want of appropriate boats. The sugar ships can also carry their large drogers in frame, and set them up at the port where they collect their cargoes coastwise by these boats. " .Economy will be immediately proved, as 'the future manufacturer boats by machinery will entirely supersede the old plan, by making the operation of any other than the new one impossible, either with regard to price, perfection, or rapidity of execution.' In the price of workmanship alone there will be a great saving. The cost of building a boat such as we saw partially constructed—32 feet long, 7 feet beam, and 3 feet depth—to our Government is £16, and the lowest cost is £13 to our ship-owners; but the cost by Mr. Thompson's machinery is £1 less. only. " Thus the enterprising naval warrior, the noble yachtsman, the amateur boat-sailor, the adventurous seaman, the hardy fisherman, or the industrious waterman—all and each will benefit by following their duty or pleasure, pursuits or business, in boats adapted to their various uses, and perfectly built at a greatly reduced price and ' at the shortest notice.' " British Statesmen, Admirals, and Captains, ship-builders, ship- owners, and merchants certify, by testimonials, to the super-excellence of Mr. Thompson's machinery for boat-building, and to the engineering abilities of his eminently-gifted genius in perfecting so extraordinary and so useful an invention for this maritime kingdom at large, but more especially to the humble and honest fishermen of its coasts, who can now cast their nets for the providential produce of the deep with many pounds less expense, saved towards the maintenance of their wives and families."

From "RAILWAY TIMES," 22nd June, 1861.
" BOAT-BUILDING BY MACHINERY.—It has hitherto been a reproach, alike to enterprise and capital, that the wondrous inventions of Mr. Nathan Thompson have not hitherto been brought into profitable operation. For some time has the machinery been at work, turning out boats by the hour; spectators have been amused, ship – builders alarmed, and merchants thinking of the period when all the marvels indicated would really begin to come to pass. A company has at length been formed, with Colonel Sykes for its chairman, and some half-a-dozen men of talent and energy for directors. Their first effort in the way of testimonials carried the whole commercial world by storm. There has not been such a success in joint-stock enterprise. for many years back, and we sincerely trust that the confidence of to- day will be sustained with equal approbation throughout the whole of its operations. It will be seen by the prospectus that the remuneration to the inventor is made contingent on the company's actual prosperity, one-third of the purchase-money being paid in cash, and the remainder in shares, upon one-half of which no benefit accrues •until a dividend of 7 per cent. has been received by the other shareholders. The capital is limited at present to £200,000, in shares of £10 each ; but we should imagine, in event of certain warlike appearances being realised, that operations on a much larger scale will be called for, additional capital required, and further series of machinery be set in motion. In these events, which are not deemed distant by shrewd observers of the signs of the times, applicants only partially supplied by the forthcoming allotment will of course receive pre-consideration."

From "ARMY AND NAVY GAZETTE," 22nd June, 1861.
"BOAT-BUILDING BY MACHINERY.—Some months since a paragraph was copied from this journal into the columns of the principal papers of the country, in. which we announced that Mr. Nathan Thompson, a marine engineer of New York, had submitted a plan to the Admiralty+ for building boats by machinery. We are essentially a maritime country. We use boats for sea-going purposes; we are prodigal in their employment upon our rivers and canals. Every urchin on our extensive sea-board must have his punt, his cockle- shell, his tub; in short, what cry along shore is more popular than ' I'm afloat ?' A company on the limited liability principle has been established for the purpose of working Mr. Thompson's invention. The board of direction is sound and good, the trustees who countenance the undertaking are millionaires, and the general manager is Captain John Vine Hall, a name familiar to all. It is stated that by careful inquiry it has been ascertained that the number of boats of a medium size annually built in the United Kingdom is about 25,000. In addition to these the large number of barges, canal and fishing boats, lighters, and small yachts, constantly required, and which would be more economically and rapidly produced by machinery, must materially extend the field of the Company's operations, and in the event of one fifth only of the boat-building trade of the "' United Kingdom being at first secured, the directors have satisfied themselves that large profits will be made, independently of such Government work as may be obtained. " By the conditional arrangement proposed to be entered into with Mr. Thompson for the purchase of his patents and inventions for the United Kingdom, it has been agreed that one-third only of the price be paid to him in cash, the remainder thereof being paid in the Company's shared—upon one half of which no benefit is to accrue until a dividend, at the rate of seven per cent. per annum, has been paid to the other shareholders,—and by a small royalty on each boat manufactured, the payment of which will be also deferred 37. ' until the shareholders shall have received a minimum dividend of seven per cent per annum. By this arrangement the interests of the inventor and shareholders are rendered identical. " We should add that Mr. Thompson's invention has received the approbation of the Lords of the Admiralty, naval officers, officers of the commercial marine, and a host of gentlemen whose names stand high in the scientific world; and so much importance do the Company attach to this circumstance, that with the permission of the writers they have published a long list of the testimonials, which we understand were readily and cheerfully given."

From "RAILWAY JOURNAL," 22nd June, 1861.
" THE NATIONAL COMPANY For Boat-Building BY MACHINERY, (LIMITED).—Boat-building by machinery ! The thing is novel. Yet when one thinks of it, he asks himself why not ? Why should not boats be constructed by machinery ? Of course there are many things which cannot be accomplished by machinery. It cannot make a thin man stout, nor convert a mouse into a cat. But within the province of the application of machinery we do not know any- thing more natural, and which bids fair to be more profitable to the public and the parties working the patent, than making boats by machinery. If it can be done, and we told in the prospectus of the above company that it can be most completely and economically, it must be most useful. Boats, almost innumerable, are in constant use, and continually wearing out. We, the tight and right little islanders of the world, want boats as much as we want houses. Therefore there is plenty of demand for the material the new Company intends to supply, and consequently under good management there is every probability of great success attending their operations."

From "THE NEWS," 22nd June, 1861.
" The special merits of Mr. Thompson's machinery it is not our province to discuss; it is sufficient to know it has obtained the the approval of the highest authorities known to this country, official, naval, and scientific. He offers the means of producing ships'-boats with a facility greater than hand labour as thirty-two is to seven, and he appeals to capitalists to aid him in utilizing the scheme. He has already erected temporary premises where his machinery is at work, and which has been inspected and approved by men competent to form an opinion. It does not, therefore, admit of a doubt that his project is a feasible undertaking, and if Mr. Thompson's business habits be equal to his inventive ability, we think we may hazard the opinion that his reputation is safe and his fortune virtually made. Whether Mr. Thompson's drunken saw, with its 'wabbling' movement, cutting laterally and longitudinally, grooving with extraordinary accuracy, and doing easily the work of forty men, will be accepted as a boon by the shipwrights of Liverpool, Sunderland, and Aberdeen, or those who breathe the air of the Thames, is a problem which time and experience alone will solve. No doubt the introduction of machinery into the yards of English and Scottish ship-builders will be met by much the same class of feelings as has uniformly characterised the introduction of machinery into every other department of English manufacture, for shipwrights are proverbially a stupid race. But happily the fate of Mr. Thompson's project will not be influenced by the prejudices of shipwrights on the banks of the Thames or elsewhere, but by its ability to do what he affirms it will do, namely, economise labour and cheapen production."

From "RAILWAY RECORD," 22nd June, 1861.
"Boat Building by MACHINERY.—In another part of our paper we have given a detailed account of the vast mechanical triumph achieved by Mr. Nathan Thompson, the celebrated marine engineer of New York, in the remarkable machinery which he has invented and patented, by which rough timber is perfected and finished in all the varied forms demanded in the construction of boats of every size and mould. Mr. Thompson's machines have been set up and put in action at Bow, and the most ample opportunities have been afforded to the highest practical engineering and scientific authorities in this country to examine and test the efficiency and value of these most extraordinary examples of mechanical skill and ability. The power, simplicity and efficiency of the machinery are acknowledged by our first engineering authorities, no less cordially and frankly than they have previously been by the United States Naval Commission. " Of the commercial prospects of the Company which is now in course of formation, for the purpose of purchasing the machinery and patents of Mr. Nathan Thompson, for a given amount, of which one-third only is to be paid in cash, and the remaining two-thirds upon favourable terms, we entertain very sanguine expectations, for not only will the Company enter the open market upon conditions •which must leave all the boat-building trade, upon the existing system, at a great disadvantage, but when we call to mind the long array of testimonials, furnished to the Company from officers of H.M. Dockyards, and from our most eminent Shipbuilders, we can entertain no doubt of the complete success of the Company as a commercial speculation. A very wide area of operations is before them, for not alone is ordinary boat-building the object, but barges, lighters, canal and fishing boats, and even small yachts are practicable, and must come within their grasp. It is said that the number of boats built in the United Kingdom annually is about 25,000, five hundred a week! " The Board of Directors is of the highest character."

-From "MONEY MARKET REVIEW," 22nd June, 1861.
A National Company For BOAT BUILDING- BY MACHINERY. —A good deal of attention has been attracted by the announcement – 39 of (The National Company for Boat-building by Machinery (Li- mited).' The objects of this undertaking may not inaptly be said to possess a national importance, for, if only one-half of the results expected from the Company's patent be realized, great advantages will be conferred. The patents are those of Mr. Nathan Thompson, of New York. The directors tested in every way the statements put forward on behalf of this gentleman's inventions, and, having satisfied themselves of their accuracy, have placed the present undertaking before the public. They are supported in their opinion of their value by a remarkable series of testimony from a host of gentlemen eminent in science or by social rank. It is contended that the marvellous advantages of the Company's machinery will enable it to distance all competitors. The capital is £200,000, in shares of £10 each.

From TRUSTEE GAZETTE," 29th June, 1861.
" Boat Building BY MACHINERY.—What next? When on a recent visit in the vicinity of London, we were invited to see a boat built by machinery, an involuntary appeal to our understanding was made by the foregoing question. The query was not only pregnant with wonder concerning the next startling novelty that might be announced to the world, but it implied a doubt on the reality, or at least on the perfection in all its parts of the offspring we were then summoned to behold. " Two hours sufficed to dispel every doubt on the subject. With our own eyes, we not only examined a first-class cutter, 32 feet in length, which had just been made by machinery, but actually witnessed in operation the entire system by which another cutter was partially constructed on the same model during our brief stay at the factory of the inventor. " Mr. Nathan Thompson, an eminent engineer of New York, is the gentleman to whom the community at large, and the naval and mercantile marine in particular, are indebted for an invention which, ere long, will not only effect a complete revolution in the art of Boat-building by hand-labour, but at the same time confer a lasting boon on the entire shipping- interests of the country, " As a commercial undertaking in a great maritime nation, the success of this system for boat-building by machinery cannot for a moment be questioned. When it has been declared by the Master Shipwright of Woolwich dockyard, who was appointed by the Lords of the Admiralty to examine and report on Mr. Thompson's method of building boats, that the saving in labour alone would be a ' difference in favour of the new process as 7 is to 32,' all doubt with regard to the economy of the system is at once set at rest.

From "MORNING- STAR AND DIAL," 27th June, 1861.
"Mr. Nathan Thompson, of New York, is the first who has attempted the building of boats by machinery. Now that the thing has been done, we must all feel amazed that no one ever went about it before. A boat, we need hardly say, is made of a great variety of pieces of wood, separately sawn and shaped, and then put together. Even the most rural of our feminine readers does not suppose that it is chiselled out like a font, or burned out as certain tribes hollow their canoes, or sown up together like the Greek ships at the siege of Troy. The whole secret, therefore, of Mr. Thompson's invention is the perfection of so many separate machines, each of which will form, with all the instantaneous rapidity of steam- impelled mechanism, some one of the parts which, when screwed, hammered and bolted together, make a pinnance, a yacht, or a man- of-war. All the machines are at work together, and thus the construction is a simultaneous operation.

From "RAILWAY GAZETTE," 22nd June, 1861.
" THE NATIONAL COMPANY FOR BOAT-BUILDING B!" MACHINERY.—— A Company is now in course of formation, introduced to public sup- port by a highly influential and practical Board of Directors, for the purpose of purchasing and working the several patents secured in this country by Nathan Thompson, marine engineer, of New York, for his process of building boats by machinery. "The first announcement of this Company appeared in the morning papers of Monday last, together with a formidable array of testimonials of the most satisfactory character from the highest engineering and scientific authorities in this country, bearing personal evidence to the power, simplicity and efficiency of Mr. Thompson's machinery; thus fully confirming the judgment previously pronounced upon the merits of the invention by the United States Naval Commission. Of the commercial value of the process with a view to the remunerative prospects of the Company upon -.: the capital proposed to be invested (£200,000) the most eminent merchants and ship-owners have also borne the most unequivocal testimony, and upon grounds, the soundness of which are unquestionable. The rapidity with which the timbers are turned out, the accuracy of cut and dimensions, together with the most perfect uniformity of all the different parts, not only conduce to an increase of strength, put together upon this principle, but ensure the greatest rapidity in the execution of orders; a perfect fleet of boats, as the prospectus states, being capable of being got ready, and packed, for conveyance to any part of the world, within a -few hours of the order being given. All who are in any way acquainted with the delays which continually take place in getting boats ready for ships whose stay in dock is limited, will readily appreciate the great advantage which this facility of despatch must give to the present Company over the present system of boat-building. In all contract •work, of course, this advantage must be especially valued, for a certainty of delivery will be secured, unattainable at present. 'From. the numerous testimonials of officers in Her Majesty's dockyards, included in the long list to which we have before referred, we anti- V^. we anticipate that the Government will unhesitatingly give a powerful support to the Company. " We should state that the Company is formed with a capital of £200,000, which it is proposed to raise in £10 shares, with a deposit of 10s. a share. With this capital the patents will be purchased upon a principle of part payment in cash, and part payment in shares of the Company, which are not to take dividend until after 7 per cent. has been declared upon the general capital stock of the Company. " The practical working out of these patents will no doubt effect. a complete revolution in the system of Boat-building, and will apply to lighters, barges, canal boats, small yachts, and other craft of moderate dimensions. " There is ample room for profitable work, and we are happy to hear that up to the time at which we write, the application for shares have been very numerous indeed." "

Warren Hall & Co., Printers, 42 Cornhill, E.G., and Camden Town, N.W.

12th, 1859.

Agreeably to the request contained in your letter of the 3d inst., I send you inclosed, a copy of the "Report of the Board" appointed to examine your system of Boat building after of the Order" by which the Board was appointed.
I am, respectfully,
Your obedt Servt,

(transcript from damaged copy)

NEW YORK, Oct. 19,1859.

This is to certify that I, James Snellgrove, Jr.. a practical Boat-builder, (having served an apprenticeship under John B. Webb,) was called upon to help put together a Wash-streak boat 25 ft. 9 in. long, 6 ft. beam, 2 ft. 4 in. deep. the parts for which were got out by machinery invented by Mr. Nathan Thompson, Jr. This boat was built in presence of a Committee appointed by Secretary of the US Navy, and was the first ever constructed under the process.
The entire completion of the boat … for one. man working ten hours. .. In consequence of having to make a change for one man came to another owing to lack of room for the complement of machinery .. this employed ..,boat at least…that would …Boat ..was-engaging .. could see alone, ………when I came to see …of getting out .. from ..be rough .. them complete by machinery, I was perfectly astonished, and acknowledged that I saw that which I had never expected to look at. It was to me evident that by Mr. Thompson’s … required boats … finished by machinery to set patterns.. and then … be put together without the .. or even .. as by the process every piece is held relatively on a Form just as designed in the finished boat. Thus the gunwale, ribs, floor-timbers, cants, keel, stern, and stern-post .. placed on the form and fastened, the planking (which has been … planed on both sides of, one ..the machine) is put on; the boat is caulked; she is now lifted off the Form, and all that is needed to complete her is to put in the keelson, bottom, boards, risings, thwarts, thwart-knees, stern-sheets &c these having all been previously got out by machinery, fit exactly to their place.
Mr. Thompson's system is so arranged that twenty or more distinct … on the same boat can 'be going on, by machinery without interference. It is by the perfect system of division of labor, (each workman being constantly employed at certain machine, or in a particular department of construction,) that such great economy .. as compared with the present system of manual labor, which does not admit of any such division of labor. Another great advantage over the present system, lies in the rapidity with which orders may be executed. A .. or a day and a .., would allow time enough for the manufacturer employing Mr. Thompson's machinery to turn put from his shop boat of almost any dimensions finished complete. I have no hesitation in saving, as practical Boat-builder of thirteen years' experience, that, by the use of Mr. Thompson’s Patent Machinery, five boats can be built in the best possible manner in the same space of time as consumed in constructing one boat by hand labor, and that Mr. Thompson's process will cause an entire revolution in construction of boats.
City and County of New York, :
On the 19th day of October, 1859, before me personally came James Snellgrove, Jr., known to me to be the individual whose name is attached to the foregoing certificate, and made solemn oath that the contents of said certificate are true.
JAMES G. COOPER, Comr. of Deeds.

Return to Bay Wharf