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Series One: The Boulton & Watt Archive and the Matthew Boulton Papers from Birmingham Central Library

Part 3: Engineering Drawings - Sun & Planet Type, c.1775-1802

The Engineering Drawings reproduced here enable a thorough examination of developments between 1775 and 1800 and reflect the dominance of the 'Sun and Planet Type' of engine in this period. The material is made available under geographical headings to facilitate regional comparisons, analysis of the distribution of engine types and methods of employment of the Boulton and Watt engines.

They played a vital role in the Industrial Revolution. These engines had important uses at collieries, cotton mills, flour mills, breweries, distilleries, glass-works, potteries, rolling mills, canal companies, waterworks and, increasingly, in the
iron industry for raising water to operate bellows, forge hammers and other equipment. Some examples include:

  • Aitchesons & Brown for a Distillery at Clackmannan
    (first drawings January 1787).
  • Henry Coates and John Jarratt (see Portfolio No: 1) for their engine at Kingston-upon-Hull. They had the first double-acting engine with straight-line linkage (first drawings dated May 1784).
  • Howard and Houghton’s Oil Mill (see Portfolio No: 16) at Sculcoates
    (first drawings dated September 1786).
  • Joshua Foster’s Wool Manufactory at Horbury in the Parish of Wakefield. Payment £812. (first drawings October 1795).
  • Samuel Oldknow of Stockport near Chester (see Portfolio No: 62) for a Cotton Mill at Stockport (first drawings 1791).
  • Walkers Ward & Co of Chester (see Portfolio No: 184) for their
    Lead Manufactory (earliest drawings April 1799).
  • Samuel, Davey Liptrap & Co of Whitechapel Road for a Malt Distillery in Mile End, first parchment dated 1 March 1786.
  • Albion Mill (see Portfolio No: 97) Engines for the large steam flour-mills excited a good deal of discussion at the time and the machinery was inspected by a great many people. Albion Mill was erected on the Surrey side of the River Thames near Blackfriars Bridge. Plans date from 1782.
  • Benjamin Severn for his Sugar Manufactory in Whitechapel.
  • Josiah Wedgwood (see Portfolio No: 97) for 3 separate engines dating from drawings as early as April 1782.
  • Hawkesbury Colliery (see Portfolio No: 241) two Winding Engines, the first of these was repurchased by Boulton and Watt and sold on to the Lancaster Canal Company (earliest date of drawings February 1791).
  • W E Chapman & Co for a Rope Manufactory in Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
  • Sir Richard Arkwright for a Cotton Mill at Nottingham.
    (first drawings March 1790).
  • Samuel Whitbread (Portfolio No: 4) for a Brewery in Chiswell Street, in the Parish of St Luke, Middlesex. This engine was of the Chain-Beam Type.
    (first drawings June 1784).
  • Coalbrookdale (Portfolio No: 238).

Over 3500 drawings covering some 272 separate engines are brought together in this section devoted to original manuscript plans and diagrams.

Engineering Drawing

Digital Guide
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