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Men of Invention and Industry   By: (1812-1904)

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Samuel Smiles

"Men there have been, ignorant of letters; without art, without eloquence; who yet had the wisdom to devise and the courage to perform that which they lacked language to explain. Such men have worked the deliverance of nations and their own greatness. Their hearts are their books; events are their tutors; great actions are their eloquence." MACAULAY.



CHAPTER I Phineas Pett: Beginnings of English Shipbuilding

CHAPTER II Francis Pettit Smith: Practical Introducer of the Screw Propeller

CHAPTER III John Harrison: Inventor of the Marine Chronometer

CHAPTER IV John Lombe: Introducer of the Silk Industry into England

CHAPTER V William Murdock: His Life and Inventions

CHAPTER VI Frederick Koenig: Inventor of the Steam printing Machine

CHAPTER VII The Walters of 'The Times': Inventor of the Walter Press

CHAPTER VIII William Clowes: Book printing by Steam

CHAPTER IX Charles Bianconi: A Lesson of Self Help in Ireland

CHAPTER X Industry in Ireland: Through Connaught and Ulster to Belfast

CHAPTER XI Shipbuilding in Belfast: By Sir E. J. Harland, Engineer and Shipbuilder

CHAPTER XII Astronomers and students in humble life: A new Chapter in the 'Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties'


I offer this book as a continuation of the memoirs of men of invention and industry published some years ago in the 'Lives of Engineers,' 'Industrial Biography,' and 'Self Help.'

The early chapters relate to the history of a very important branch of British industry that of Shipbuilding. A later chapter, kindly prepared by Sir Edward J. Harland, of Belfast, relates to the origin and progress of shipbuilding in Ireland.

Many of the facts set forth in the Life and Inventions of William Murdock have already been published in my 'Lives of Boulton and Watt;' but these are now placed in a continuous narrative, and supplemented by other information, more particularly the correspondence between Watt and Murdock, communicated to me by the present representative of the family, Mr. Murdock, C.E., of Gilwern, near Abergavenny.

I have also endeavoured to give as accurate an account as possible of the Invention of the Steam printing Press, and its application to the production of Newspapers and Books, an invention certainly of great importance to the spread of knowledge, science, and literature, throughout the world.

The chapter on the "Industry of Ireland" will speak for itself. It occurred to me, on passing through Ireland last year, that much remained to be said on that subject; and, looking to the increasing means of the country, and the well known industry of its people, it seems reasonable to expect, that with peace, security, energy, and diligent labour of head and hand, there is really a great future before Ireland.

The last chapter, on "Astronomers in Humble Life," consists for the most part of a series of Autobiographies. It may seem, at first sight, to have little to do with the leading object of the book; but it serves to show what a number of active, earnest, and able men are comparatively hidden throughout society, ready to turn their hands and heads to the improvement of their own characters, if not to the advancement of the general community of which they form a part.

In conclusion, I say to the reader, as Quarles said in the preface to his 'Emblems,' "I wish thee as much pleasure in the reading as I had in the writing." In fact, the last three chapters were in some measure the cause of the book being published in its present form.

London, November, 1884.



"A speck in the Northern Ocean, with a rocky coast, an ungenial climate, and a soil scarcely fruitful, this was the material patrimony which descended to the English race an inheritance that would have been little worth but for the inestimable moral gift that accompanied it. Yes; from Celts, Saxons, Danes, Normans from some or all of them have come down with English nationality a talisman that could command sunshine, and plenty, and empire, and fame... Continue reading book >>

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