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James Brown (1790-1872).
Engineer and partner of James Watt and Co.
1872 Obituary in The Engineer 1872/03/22.
An individuall of distinguished worth and merit has been, during the past week, removed from the ranks of the engineering world, where, from his modest and retiring habits, he was not so generally known as his worth entitled him to be. Mr. Brown was. for more than fifty years, intimately associated with the Soho Engineering establishment, and enjoyed the personal esteem of James Watt, Matthew Boulton, the late Mr. James Watt, of Aston Hall, Messrs. Southern, Murdock, and Creighton?, besides many other eminent contemporaries. With these he was associated in all the principal undertakings of the period entered into at Soho during the many years of his connection with that far-famed establishment. In 1817 he accompanied James Watt in the Caledonian steam-vessel, which had been purchased and fitted for the occasion, this being the first steamer that ascended the Rhine as far as Coblentz. Subsequent to this, in the year 1821, in the James Watt, he acted as chief engineer, towing the Royal Sovereign, with His Majesty George IV, into Leith harbour. He also took a prominent part, in connection with Watt and Boulton in the various steam packet companies, and especially with the first steam vessels introduced by the Government for carrying the mails. He had much to do with the London and Edinburgh, the Margate and Ramsgate, the Gravesend and Herne Bay lines, and also with the early navigation of the Danube. He furnished the designs andl drawings of many of the vessels. In 1840 he became a partner in the firm of Boulton, Watt, and Co., in which firm he continued till the death of his friend, Mr. James Watt, in 1848; and he continued as a partner in the same firm, under the name of James Watt and Co., until he left the firm in 1861. He lived in comparative retirement from that time, admired, venerated, and beloved by all who enjoyed the pleasure of his friendship and counsels. He had many intimate and long-cherished friendships, but, owing to his ripe and honourable age, he had survived all his contemporaries. He was in all respects a man formed to command the confidence and esteem of those with whom he was assochiated by the sterling integrity of his character, and by the steadiness and sincerity of his friendship no less than by the suavity and amiability of his disposition. His last illness was, happily, not long nor severe, and he met his end with that firmness and resignation which characterises the humble Christian. Mr. Brown was born at Dundee, on 25th August, 1790, and died on the 13th March 1872.