Alexander Brodie and his Firehearths for Ships

By William N. Boog Watson, published November 1968


Born in 1733, Alexander Brodie prospered as a master-blacksmith making fire-grates and register stoves. He designed a new and safer firehearth for ships; two large boilers over a fire-grate, pot-gantries, a spit, a condenser for fresh water and a large bread oven. The Admiralty awarded him a monopoly which lasted twenty-nine years, to install this firehearth in all ships. In 1786, Brodie developed the Calcutt Ironworks for casting and boring cannon. He gave much of his fortune to charities and set up a woollen mill from which the Tweed industry developed. Brodie married but his children did not survive infancy.

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Filed under: Other (Eighteenth C) | Other (location)
Subjects include: Biography | Navies | Shipbuilding & Design

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