Early Marine Engine-Makers

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      I’m working with a colleague on a database of steamships built in the U.K. up through 1850. We are particularly interested in identifying the engine-makers and have currently done so for a bit over half the vessels. We have used the Bolton & Watt and Fawcett & Preston lists and are looking for other sources. We have three questions:

      1) Does anyone have a copy of the Maudslay list held in the Science Museum archive? This is posted on Science Museum online, but I have not been able to access it. The archive is currently closed until 2016 and the archivists are not responding to enquiries.

      2) What has become of the database of Penn & Son engines created by Richard Hartree? This is mentioned in his book on the firm. I have not been able to establish contact with him.

      3) Are there other engine lists out there that cover all or part of the period before 1850? Evidence on engine-building on the Tyne would be particularly welcome.

      Thanks for the help.

      Peter Solar


        Hello Peter

        Have you seen F H Pearson’s ‘The Early History of Hull Steam Shipping‘ (1894) ?



        Peter. H. King

          Good morning, Peter,

          I have fairly extensive details of the engine installed in SS ABERDEEN built by Robert Napier, Govan, 1881, arising from my own researches into Geo. Thompson’s Aberdeen Line. Happy to pass them on.


          Peter King


            The engine makers of numerous Royal Navy vessels are tabulated in “Rudimentary Treatise on Marine Engines and Steam Vessels” by Robert Murray. The 1852 edition can be found here.


              One quite interesting ship would be the 1,100 ton paddle frigate Moctezuma, or Montezuma. She was built in Britain of wooden and with a very shallow draft. She entered the Mexican navy in 1842, fought at the battle of Campeche in 1843 and was sold to Spanish interests in Havana in 1846. I’ve seen some reference to her builders and her engine but I can’t put my hand to it just now. I’d be interested if you had any records and I can look out what I have.


                Mr Google says that Montezuma’s engines “were supplied and fitted by the firm of Messrs Seaward and Capel”


                  You probably already have Joshua Field’s list of steamers and their engine makers from 1811 to 1822, but just in case …. It’s Appendix No 1 to Fifth Report of the Select Committee on the Roads from London to Holyhead; and into the regulations for conveying his Majesty’s mails between London and Dublin, &c, &c. Steam Boats; &c Ordered, by The House of Commons, to be Printed, 12 June 1822. 417. Some internet copies do not include the appendices but this one does:


                  It’s actually a GB list, not a UK list, omitting [at least some] Irish steamers.


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