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British Industrial History

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Francis Barber Ogden

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Francis B. Ogden (1783-1857) was a nephew of Aaron Ogden. He was United States consul, in Liverpool from 1829 to 1840 and then in Bristol, where he was buried at Arnos Vale Cemetery in 1857. Ogden had a long-standing interest in steam engines and, soon after becoming consul in Liverpool, attended the Rainhill Trials where he met and befriended John Ericsson. Ogden helped finance Ericsson's researches over the next few years, while personally patenting Ericsson's inventions in the United States. Ericsson named his first screw-propelled steamboat Francis B. Ogden. This boat was demonstrated to the British Admiralty, but rejected by them.[1]

In 1813 Ogden was granted a US patent for using steam expansively in marine engines having two or more cylinders. In 1817 or 1818 he placed an order with Fenton and Murray of Leeds for a double-acting two cylinder beam engine, having rejected a quotation from Boulton and Watt on the basis of cost. The cranks were set at 90 degrees. The cylinders were 30" diameter, with 4 ft stroke. They were probably used in Ogden's boat 'Roanoke'. In 1824 Ogden purchased, secondhand in New Orleans, an engine made by Fenton, Murray and Wood made to the same design as the 1817-18 engine, and installed it in a tug on the Mississippi. Some accounts claim that Murray pirated Ogden's design, but a recently published study finds that any such engines were probably produced with Ogden's knowledge and agreement.[2]

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Wikipedia
  2. 'Matthew Murray 1765-1826 and the firm of Fenton Murray and Co 1795-1844' by Paul Murray Thompson, published by Paul Murray Thompson, 2015