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British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,101 pages of information and 233,633 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Elijah Galloway

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Hugh Steele and Elijah Galloway had been given the task of surveying the eastern end of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway line, which included the infamous Chat Moss

1829 Patent for 'vibrating' engine.

1829 Patented a feathering paddlewheel. Galloway's patent was subsequently bought by William Morgan of New Cross, who improved the design and brought it to practical success.

1829 'History and Progress of the Steam Engine' By Elijah Galloway and Luke Hebert

1832 'Remarks on the steam engines of Cornwall' by Elijah Galloway 16pp

1838 Galloway’s non dead centre engine was patented by Elijah Galloway and was an attempt to build an engine with the advantages of self starting in any position with the simplicity of a single crank.

1840 The Elijah Galloway engine of 1840 appears to have an eccentric rotor which goes around inside an inner casing. The gearwheels are driven from the centre of the engine but their purpose is obscure.

1840 Galloway engine in Science Museum

1846 Galloway engine in Science Museum

1846 Galloway had patented another form of engine by English patent No. 11,485, sealed December 14, 1846

1847 'The Rotary Steam Engine.— Mr. Elijah Galloway , has just brought to perfection a true rotary steam-engine, a most important improvement upon its predecessors. The engine has been tested at tbe workshop of the Great Western Railway at Paddington, and is now at work at Mr. Tyrrell's factory, Deptford, driving a fan blower. It is between four and five horse power, and the whole of the machinery contained in a circular box about 1.5 foot in diameter, and weighing about 2.5 cwt. It is impossible to explain it satisfactorily without drawings, but it may be described as consisting of segments of circles, so arranged that the abutment and pistons or acting arms bear each other, so as to secure steam-tight contact without any packing. The moving power proceeds directly from the centre of this box to the vis inertiae to be acted upon, whether it be screw, paddle, or locomotive driving wheel, or drum. Its simplicity, and the almost impossibility of its getting out of order, are not among its least advantages. The patentees assert for it that it is perfectly steam-tight — that its motion and power are uniform at all velocities, and with no[!] imperceptible wear or friction ; that it has what engineers will understand by the term "no dead point;" and that it works full power up to the size required. So impressed are the authorities at the Admiralty with the importance of the invention that Captain Fitzmaurice has been directed to send an estimate for fitting the Minx with an auxiliary screw propeller, worked by one of these rotary engines of 50-horse power. The Minx is a sailing vessel of about 300 tons burden, and we understand that the saving in weight of machinery alone, by adopting the rotary steam-engine, will be at least 50 tons. The ordinary machinery would occupy a space of about 30 square feet, while the machinery of Galloway's engine may be comprised in a box somewhat less in size than a seaman's chest! At a mean velocity, the engine makes 300 revolutions per minute without any loss of effect, while the expenditure of fuel does not exceed tbat of tbe reciprocating engine.— London paper. [1]

1848 'ROTARY STEAM-ENGINE. Mr Elijah Galloway has brought out another patent rotary, which now at the factory Mr Tyrrell, engineer, Deptford, where it has been inspected by the leading officers of the steam department of the royal navy. It is in working operation, being employed to drive the blower of Tyrrell's furnace, which he calculated to require about four horse power. The economy of weight and space proposed to be gained will at once be understood when it is affirmed, that the whole of this four-horse engine (without the boiler) would not occupy much more than half a hat-box, the actual dimensions of what may be called the piston being only nine inches by four inches, and the weight of the whole box being between two cwt. and three cwt. A steam pipe from the boiler brings the steam into this little receptacle, an eccentric crank is turned by the rotary motion within it; and here is all the machinery said to be necessary to propel the largest engines, whether mining, marine, or locomotive. The adaptation of the interior of the little box may be described to consist of five segments of circles of highly polished steel, so arranged that the abutments and pistons, acting arms (also of steel highly polished), bear on each other to secure steamtight contact without any packing. The patentees state, that their engine makes 400 revolutions in the time the reciprocating engine makes 200 reyolutions, with the same rate only of expenditure in fuel — power for power ; and further, that the number of revolutions made in a given time do not sensibly affect the power. One of the most common defects in rotary engines has been their tendency to leakage, whereby continual loss of power has been sustained. The new engine, on the contrary, is perfectly steam-tight. It works, it is reported, at high velocity without any perceptible friction; it has no "dead point," and works at full power up to the size required. The engine at Mr Tyrrell's has been tested in various ways, viz. at the engine workshop of the Great Weatern, at Paddington, where it was employed to drive the lathes and other machinery during the repair of the company's own engine, and subsequently at the workshop of the Earl of Orkney, Taplow Court, Berks. The alleged economy of water and fuel will be the point upon which the merits of the invention mainly depend; and it is perhaps to be regretted that the little engine at Deptford is supplied with steam from a boiler of 10 horse power, instead of having a boiler of horse power specially adapted to its size. The patentees are about to construct a larger engine on the same principle, with a boiler of proportionate size, and the opportunity will then be afforded in the most practicable way of measuring the consumption of fuel with the power of the engine, and the amount work actually performed. Messrs Lloyd and Hughes, of the Government steam navy department in Somerset House, have so far reported in its favour, that the Admiralty have requested Captain Fitzmaurice to send in an estimate of the cost of fitting the Minx with an auxiliary engine of 50 horse power. The Minx is a vessel of 300 tons burthen, and is, it is said, to be furnished with a screw propeller, which the rotary engine is supposed to be peculiarly well fitted to drive. The actual dimensions of this new engine of 50 horse power would not be more than 31 inches by 16 inches, the velocity being calculated at a mean of 300 revolutions per minute. The substitution of the new rotary engine on board the Minx for the engines at present ordinarily used, would, it is calculated, lighten her, in respect of machinery alone, by about 50 tons, leaving out of calculation altogether of the economy of space and fuel. Should the merits of Galloway's invention be such as to lead to its adoption in the royal navy, it will necessarily add greatly to the effectiveness of our war steamers, many of which cannot fight with their lower deck guns in rough weather, in consequence of the immense weight of their machinery and coals.'[2]

1856 Elijah Galloway died on 4th March, leaving a widow and daughter, penniless.[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Devizes and Wiltshire Gazette - Thursday 18 November 1847
  2. Fife Herald - Thursday 10 February 1848
  3. [1] Mechanics' Magazine and Journal of Science, Arts, and Manufactures, 24 May 1856