Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,372 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Life of Sir William Fairbairn by William Pole: Chapter IX

From Graces Guide

Note: This is a sub-section of Life of Sir William Fairbairn by William Pole


ABOUT this time Mr. Fairbairn was engaged in a work of considerable importance, which, by the circumstances which grew out of it, had an important influence on his future career. It was the investigation of the properties of iron boats, and the possibility of applying steam-power for traction on canals. The story is told for the most part in his own words:-

In the early part of the year 1830, Mr. Houston, of Johnstone, the chairman and principal proprietor of the Ardrossan canal, availing himself of the use of a light gig-boat, such as is used in regatta or in rowing matches, made an attempt to increase the speed of the packet-boat between Glasgow, Paisley, and Johnstone. To this boat he attached two of the track- horses, and, urging them forward at their utmost speed, he found, to his surprise, that instead of a heavy surge rolling along the canal before the boat, the gig rode smoothly over the surface, and the horses actually worked with greater ease upon the collar at the high velocity than they appeared to do at a lower speed. This was so contrary to all received theories, that doubts were entertained as to the accuracy of the results. Mr. Houston was not, however, a scientific person, and in order to test the accuracy of the experimental trials made with the gig-boat, I was requested by the Forth and Clyde Canal Company to visit Glasgow, and to conduct a series of experiments on a light twin-boat built by Mr. Graham for that purpose.

Mr. Houston's experimental trip with the gig, and my own experiments with the twin-boat, appeared to bring out a new law in the resistance of fluids, which encouraged the idea of attaining quick speeds on canals. At that time this was a subject of vital importance to everyone connected with canal interests. The Liverpool and Manchester Railway had just been opened with unexpected and extraordinary success. A new principle of traction had come into operation; the flight of the swiftest bird and the fleetness of the race-horse were surpassed by the iron bones and muscles of the locomotive; the tales of the Arabian Nights' were realised; and no wonder that such apparent magic should create fear and consternation in the minds of proprietors and shareholders of canal stock. A speed of four and a half miles per hour for passengers, and of two and a half for goods, were all that canals could then boast of, and a new project which held out hopes of increased velocity was seized upon with avidity. Hence every encouragement was given to the new theory, as exhibited by the experiments on the Forth and Clyde and the Ardrossan Canals. The Forth and Clyde proprietary, who had great interests at stake, confirmed the report which I gave in, viz., that after having duly ascertained the resistance to a floating body passing through the water of a canal at from five to fourteen miles an hour, it was found that such resistance might be overcome by a light iron boat, with a steam-engine on the locomotive principle.

In this report I was guarded not to raise hopes that might not be realised; but I considered the experiments of such importance as to recommend further trials, and accordingly on that recommendation I was ordered to proceed with the construction of a new vessel, and all the necessary machinery requisite to propel her at the required velocity of from nine to ten miles an hour.

The experiments referred to were made two years before the separation which took place between Mr. Lillie and myself, and although he did not oppose, he nevertheless did not cordially join with me in the undertaking The experiments were published in 1831, at the request of the governor and council of the Forth and Clyde Canal; and although the book was imperfectly got up, and was my first publication, it was nevertheless well received by the profession; and at a meeting of the Institution of Civil Engineers, of which I was a member, I received the thanks of the society from the president, Mr.Telford, in a manner highly complimentary. As a comparatively young engineer, this was more than I had reason to expect; but it had the effect of a stimulus in the right direction, and in all my subsequent engineering projects I had the privilege of consulting that great and eminent man, Mr. Telford, who from the commencement of our acquaintance always received me with marked kindness.

The book above mentioned deserves some further notice, on account of its being the author's first essay in engineering literature. It consists of ninety-three octavo pages, with five lithographed plates, and the title is as follows:-

Remarks on Canal Navigation, illustrative of the advantages of the use of steam as a moving power on canals. With an appendix containing a series of experiments, tables, &c., on which a number of proposed improvements are founded. Also plans and descriptions of certain classes of steamboats, intended for the navigation of canals, and the adjoining branches of the sea. By William Fairbairn, Engineer. London, Longmans and Co., 1831.

As to the literary style of this first attempt, we cannot do better than quote the opinion of the celebrated Dr. Henry, who, writing to Mr. Fairbairn shortly after the publication of the book, says:-

I have read with great pleasure your 'Remarks on Canal Navigation.' They are written (as such books should be) in a plain, perspicuous, and unpretending manner—no small merit in this age of quackery.

The author describes at some length the discussions which had taken place between himself and some of the Scotch canal proprietors, with the view of improving the communication on their lines, and the experiments made in consequence, with boats of different kinds. The results were so encouraging as to induce the Forth and Clyde Company to order Mr. Fairbairn to construct a light passage boat, worked by steam-power, to ply between Glasgow and Edinburgh. The remarks he makes on this commission are interesting as showing a trait of character usually not over-prominent in young engineers of an enterprising turn of mind—namely, a sense of the importance of practical utility and commercial advantage in engineering designs. Mr. Fairbairn says:-

The business I had now in hand was to ascertain how, and at what cost, the object which I recommended the Forth and Clyde Canal Committee to pursue, could be attained. It was not an abstract question of practicability, but how far a very high rate of velocity could be advantageously obtained; at what cost, and what might be the comparative difference of expense between the proposed new principle and the present mode of trackage.

In pursuance of this commission he proceeded to design and build the Lord Dundas, of which he gives, in the book, drawings and detailed dimensions.

She was 68 feet long, 11 feet 6 inches breadth of beam, and 4 feet 6 inches deep, drawing sixteen inches of water. She was built of iron plates, about one-sixteenth of an inch thick, strengthened with light angle iron and T iron ribs, and she was fitted with cabins fore and aft.

The engine was on the locomotive pattern, having two cylinders, one on each side, and was equal to about 10-horse power. It worked a single paddle-wheel 9 feet diameter and 3 feet 10 inches wide, placed a little aft of midships, and intended to make fifty or sixty revolutions per minute. The wheel worked in a trough extending fore and aft, to allow of the flow of the water to and from the paddles. From this feature the boat was called a ' twin' boat, although the name hardly applied, as the general construction of the body was single.

The whole weight of the boat, including the engine, paddle-wheel, was 7 tons 16 cwt.

Mr. Fairbairn says of this boat:-

This little vessel was constructed exclusively for lightness, and in order to give her bows and sides the required tenacity and stiffness, light angle irons were introduced as ribs, and the whole firmly riveted together. When the boat was finished, I was forcibly struck with her lightness, solidity, and strength.

She was ready in 1831, and Mr. Fairbairn continues his narrative:—

I waited with anxiety our first experiment; and having launched the vessel and fixed the machinery, we proceeded down the river Irwell some miles below Manchester for the purpose of making our first trial.

During the time required for building the boat I had frequent opportunities of considering the nature of the engagements into which I had entered with the Forth and Clyde Canal Company. It was true I had made no promise to accomplish by steam what had been done by horses, but I considered it worthy of trial, and engaged to build the boat and machinery, and to undertake the superintendence of the experiments. So far the undertaking was clear on both sides; but subsequent considerations, and greatly matured reflections, modified my expectations, and notwithstanding that the lightness of the vessel and the power of the engines promised success, yet my doubts and misgivings continued to increase, and I approached the day of trial in a state of nervous excitement of no enviable description. It was clear, as I used to reason with myself long before the boat was finished, that I had given no pledge to the company. But the public as well as the proprietary would expect the realisation of their wishes; and if I did not succeed, must fail, and a failure was, of all things, to my mind, the most obnoxious and disagreeable. In this way I tormented myself, and passed many a sleepless night in order to devise the means of ensuring success. At last the dreaded day arrived; and a party of friends from Glasgow, Liverpool, and Manchester embarked for the purpose of testing the qualities of the new boat.

The spot selected for the trial was a narrow, straight reach of about a mile in length; which distance being carefully measured, we commenced the run with and against the current, and the maximum velocity was found to average about eight miles an hour, and that with a considerable surge in front of the boat. The whole day was spent in the experiments, and a faithful record was kept of the time in which the distance was run both ways.

Mr. Graham, of Glasgow, who took great interest in the experiments, maintained that as a first essay it was very successful. I thought differently, but kept quiet, as with all the power we could raise we did not materially increase the speed, but raised the surge before and behind the boat to a much greater height than before with horses; and thus, by sinking the vessel in a trough between the crests of the preceding and following waves, we appeared to hang on the water with a persistence which no power emanating from the boat itself could overcome.

This effect was to me far from satisfactory; as I thought in this early stage of the experiments I could perceive, what was afterwards realised, that the propulsion of a vessel having the propelling power within itself is entirely different from the force employed in the shape of traction from a towing-path. In the latter case the vessel is free from the load of machinery which in the former case sinks her to a greatly increased depth. With horse traction the vessel rises upon the surface of the water with comparative ease, and with diminishing resistance overrides the wave; but when hampered by a steam-engine the vessel, from its increased weight, floats at a greatly increased depth, and accumulates rather than diminishes the intensity of the surge.

The 'Lord Dundas ' had a second trial on the river cut from Warrington to Runcorn, and a third from Runcorn to Liverpool in the open tideway. In the narrow canal our speed was reduced to something under six miles. In the open water of the Mersey, however, the engines had good play, and we drove along at the rate of ten miles an hour. In the trial from Runcorn to Liverpool I had the pleasure of the company of Mr. George Rennie, to whom I was greatly indebted for many useful and friendly suggestions. He took great interest in the experiments, and made many enquiries as to the results, which he considered, under the circumstances, highly satisfactory. In the passage from Runcorn to Liverpool Mr. Rennie got alarmed at the fragile nature of the vessel; and when he was informed that it was our intention to navigate her from Liverpool to the Clyde, he expressed great fears of our safety, and advised us strongly not to venture to sea unless well provided with cork jackets.

I had, however, great faith in the stability of the vessel, and early on the following morning she sailed for the Isle of Man, with instructions to wait for me there, where I should arrive by the regular steamer the following day. As this voyage turned out more perilous than I expected, and as some interesting phenomena were exhibited in the navigation by the attraction of the iron in the ship's hull upon the compass, it may be useful to describe the circumstances under which they occurred.

The boat sailed from Liverpool at five o'clock one morning in June 1831. At seven she made the floating light, and before two the land which the captain called the west side of the Isle of Man was in sight. For some time they kept steaming towards the shore, but the commander could not reconcile his course and the chart, nor yet the appearance of the land, and on nearing the shore they found, instead of the Isle of Man, they were close upon the coast of Cumberland. This very wide discrepancy between the course apparently steered, and the position of the little vessel, completely upset the calculations of the skipper. He maintained that be was correct in his course; but before he had time to settle the difference he had to "bout ship,' and run for Morecambe Bay, in order to avoid a stiff breeze which commenced blowing from the west. Here they took shelter for the night; and it was the afternoon of the next day before they were able to weigh anchor and sail for the place of rendezvous, Douglas, in the Isle of Man It was here that I had to meet them, and for that purpose I sailed for that port the afternoon of the day they left Liverpool. When I reached Douglas I found, to my surprise and great disappointment, that such a vessel as I described had never been seen; and alarmed at this non-arrival, I took the first vessel for the Clyde, conceiving they must have gone on.

On arriving at Greenock there was still no account of the vessel; and there being six persons on board, Mr. Elliot (my superintendent), an engineer, a stoker, the captain and two sailors, I felt all the misery and responsibility of having been, in some degree, if not entirely, the cause of a serious loss of life. Labouring under these painful feelings, I went down to the Comries, and in a little boat searched all the islands, and made enquiries in every direction, but without effect.

Feeling great uneasiness and alarm, I became dreadfully nervous, and after spending a great portion of the day in a fruitless search, I returned to Greenock, and took the first vessel I could find for the isle of Man. On my second arrival at Douglas I made instant enquiries about the vessel, and to my great relief I found that one answering the description had reached Ramsey, and was then at anchor in the bay. This information was welcomed with a thankful heart, and there never was a journey undertaken with more heartfelt satisfaction than mine on an old horse from Douglas to Ramsey. On reaching the summit of the last hill which overlooks the bay of that town, the first sight that met my eyes was the 'Lord Dundas,' like a speck on the waters, riding quietly at anchor on a sea as smooth as glass.

Hurrying down the hill, I made enquiries for Mr. Elliot and the captain, but no person could give me any information. At last a sailor informed me that I should find them at a public- house in the neighbourhood. On enquiry I learnt they had been there, but were all gone to a country fair about five miles inland, where they were enjoying themselves, without once thinking of the misery I had endured on their account for the last three days. At first I felt annoyed at their behaviour, but after a little reflection I was but too glad to find them in the land of the Jiving, and waited their return with perfect goodwill, and a determination to give them a cordial reception.

On the return of the party from the fair, I soon ascertained the cause of the mistake which had occurred in making the coast of Cumberland instead of the Isle of Man; and in order to prevent a recurrence of any further errors, I had the compass examined on the following morning before sailing

Mr. Fairbairn then describes how he tested the boat's compass, with the aid of a second one fixed on shore, and determined the effect of the iron in causing the erroneous deviation. This is a very common process now, when iron is the most usual material of ship construction; but it must be recollected that at that time an iron boat was quite a new thing, and the prompt discovery of the error, the experimental determination of its exact amount, and the immediate application of an efficient remedy and correction, showed great ability on the part of the young engineer.

He continues:—

To remedy this error there was no difficulty, as the natural suggestion was to place a piece of iron in the opposite direction of the ship's attraction, imtil the needle on board was brought in a line parallel to that on shore. With this rough-and-ready correction we proceeded on our voyage with perfect certainty and without any further mishap.

It was the early part of the forenoon that we sailed from Ramsey, and the little vessel, which at the stern was only a few inches from the water, steamed away at a great rate, and reached Port Patrick in the afternoon. We did not call at that port, as we were desirous of reaching the Clyde, if possible, before midnight. But two naval officers came off in a boat to examine the craft, which, they informed us, had been watched by the telescope for two hours previous; and their astonishment was great as to the nature of the little vessel and the adventurous navigators on board. After a careful examination of the vessel and her machinery, with which they expressed themselves highly pleased, they landed again, amid the cheers of some hundreds of persons assembled on the pier to witness the performances of so small and lively a craft. Before reaching the Mull of Galloway, and all the way from that point to the entrance of Loch Ryan, we encountered a considerable swell, but the little light and pliable steamer danced upon it like a canoe, and if it had not been for a strong wind from the west which came on to blow after sunset, we should have made the Comrie Isles, at the mouth of the Clyde, that night. As it was, the sea was beginning to wash over our frail bark, and on reaching the northern point of the Galloway coast we deemed it expedient to run to Stranraer for the night, and make the Clyde on the following morning. We did not reach Stranraer till after midnight, but we roused the landlady and her maid, and kept them frying herrings till two in the morning.

Early the next morning we got up the steam and started for Glasgow, where we arrived in the afternoon. The boat was afterwards tried on the long reach of the Forth and Clyde Canal, but the experiments confirmed the results previously obtained on the Mersey, and showed that high speed never could be obtained upon canals, where the vessel had to carry her own machinery and be propelled from the water. This was undeniable; and although we had abundance of power to propel the vessel at nine and ten miles an hour in open water, we never, in our most successful experiments, attained more than seven and a half miles an hour on the canal, with a high swell in front, and a corresponding one following behind.

At a low velocity of five to five and a half miles an hour the 'Lord Dundas' steamed beautifully, and at that rate she carried passengers from Port Dundas, Glasgow, to Port Eglintoun, Edinburgh, for upwards of two years.

The experiments made with the Lord Dundas' were sufficient to convince the most sanguine of the canal proprietary that nothing could be effected in the shape of high velocities on canals to compete with the new locomotives, then in the process of development on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

Strongly impressed with the conviction that we—the canal interest—had no chance whatever with our able competitors, I advised the governor and council of the Forth and Clyde Company to abandon the attempt of carrying the passenger traffic by light steamboats, and to confine their operations to a class of steamers that would act as tug-boats, taking the barges in fleets, and thus to expedite the delivery of goods at both ends of the navigation. I further advised the construction of iron vessels adapted to canal and sea navigation, which by increased rapidity of transit would meet the demands of an increased traffic in parcels and light goods. These suggestions were acted upon, and 'I had the satisfaction to be the first to open this new system of transport on canals, and at the same time to direct attention more prominently to the construction of iron ships in general.

At a later period of Mr. Fairbairn's life he was asked by the eminent French savant, the Baron Charles Dupin, to give him an account of his early labours in regard to the construction of iron vessels; and as his letter gives a much more complete account of his experiments than is conveyed in the Autobiography, an extract from it may be inserted here:—

London, May 25, 1853.

My dear Baron Dupin,—It was my intention to have replied direct to your queries respecting the first introduction of iron as a material for ship-building; but as it may be some weeks before I can make my promised visit, and as you may require the information before that time, I beg leave to state that iron boats navigating canals have been made in Scotland and Staffordshire for upwards of fifty years; but the application of this material for the building of large vessels did not take place until the years 1830 and 1831.

The discovery of accelerated velocities by light boats on canals occurred in the spring of 1830, and the new theory of riding the wave, or the undulating motion produced in the fluid by the haulage of a light vessel along its surface, was first accomplished by Mr. William Houston, of Johnstone, on the Ardrossan Canal, between the towns of Paisley and Glasgow. This discovery—which took place at the opening of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway—was received with more than common interest by the canal proprietary of the United Kingdom, and during the heat and fervour of the moment it was looked upon as the only competition to the threatened destruction of their property by railways. To save that property, and investigate by experimental research the laws on which this new theory of the resistance of fluids was founded, I undertook, at the request of the governor and council of the Forth and Clyde Company, the enquiry which led to new constructions and new results, and was published in the following year under the sanction of the council and other Canal companies.

The objects I had in view of the prosecution of these experiments were threefold.

First, to ascertain the resistance offered to light vessels when drawn through narrow channels of water at velocities varying from 4 to 14 or 15 miles an hour.

Secondly, to determine by what description of vessel this could best be attained; and,

Lastly, to ascertain whether or not steam could be used as motive power for accomplishing those objects.

As, respects the first, it was proved that the resistances from 3 to 5 miles an hour increased nearly as the squares of the velocities; from 5 to 8 miles the resistance was considerably more than the squares; and from 8 to 14 miles—when the vessel rose upon the surface and skimmed upon the water—the force of resistance was so greatly diminished as to reduce the obstruction to the vessel's progress considerably under that ratio. But you will find these facts more clearly demonstrated from the following summary of results as taken from the fourth series of experiments on July 12, 1830.

Results of Experiments, made with a Twin Boat 5 Tons Weight, on the Monkland Canal.

{Table not included}

In the last experiment, No. 10, the boat was lightened of its cargo, and reduced to 57 cwt.

From the averages arranged in the above table, it will be observed that the rates of velocity are to the forces as 4’8, 6’2, 7-2, and 11’6 to 82, 205, 378, 433, &c., which are less than the squares of the velocities, at the rate of 11.5 and 12.5 miles per hour, when the surge is overcome, and when the boat is moved forward, unaccompanied by the heavy swell that is invariably present at a speed varying from 5 to 81 miles per hour.

Having ascertained the resistances and the extent to which the velocities could be carried by animal power (which it will be observed never exceeded 14 miles an hour), the next consideration was the introduction of steam and the construction of a vessel uniting the double qualification of strength and lightness. Now this could not be accomplished by wood, as a light timber- built vessel would never carry a steam-engine of sufficient power to propel the vessel at 12 to 14 miles an hour, and the only resource was therefore iron.

A vessel of this kind—the Lord Dundas '—was accordingly built at my suggestion; and although it did not realise the objects for which it was originally constructed, namely, the attainment of high velocities, it nevertheless paved the way to a new system of marine construction which has since become general amongst the nations of Europe and America.

In the construction of the 'Lord Dundas,' which was intrusted to my care, several important ideas presented themselves. First, the superior strength of iron as compared with wood; the distribution of the material in these constructions; and the superior strength and lightness which a judicious application of this material afforded. All these circumstances were present to my mind in the construction of the 'Lord Dundas,' and by the introduction of T and angle 1 iron as frames and ribs, I found that the required rigidity and strength was attained at a comparatively small expenditure of material.

In the construction of iron ships I may mention that our knowledge at the commencement was very imperfect; and I had to watch with the utmost care and attention the position and disposition of the material, in order to effect economy in its use, and that with as near an approach as possible to the maximum of strength.

In this respect I laboured under great difficulties; and having no data on which we could rely for guidance in these constructions, I felt the want of information, and at a very early period (1834) determined to institute a series of experiments on the strength of malleable iron of different forms and conditions, in order to effect an improved system of construction, both as regards the strength and a judicious application of the material.

These experiments were read before the Royal Society, and published in the Transactions of that body, of which I think you have a copy.

I have the honour to be,

My dear Baron Dupin,

Your faithful obedient Servant, WM. FAIRBAIRN.

Hitherto the business in which Mr. Fairbairn was engaged had been entirely prosperous and pleasant, but about this time some troubles began to arise, which resulted in an important change

It appears that a few years previously three gentlemen had associated themselves together for the purpose of establishing large dye-works in the neighbourhood of Manchester. An Italian merchant living in that town found the capital; a Swiss engineer, who had made himself known by great ingenuity and prolific production in mechanical inventions, was to design the machinery; and another Swiss gentleman, a practical chemist and dyer, was to superintend the practical processes. The parties do not seem to have begun in perfect harmony; for the chemist declared that all he wanted was a few cisterns, tubs, kettles, and wash-wheels; but such a primitive plan did not please the mechanical inventor. He proposed great savings by extensive self-acting machinery; and as his counsels prevailed, an estate of nearly 100 acres was bought near Egerton, and weirs, dams, and water-courses were laid out, and new buildings constructed, filled with machinery on an entirely new principle, designed to accomplish every motion and every process by mechanical power, instead of in the ordinary way, by hand.

In this way upwards of 10,000L. had been spent without any immediate prospect of the manufactory being completed, when the capitalist took alarm, and refused to find any more money. The works were stopped, and the whole property was offered for sale at a price greatly below what it had cost.

Mr. Fairbairn writes:-

Mr. -, failing to effect a sale, again applied to me, requesting I would endeavour to find him a customer. I consulted with Mr. Lillie, and applied to a firm whose mills and property were situated a little further down the river. We were on intimate terms with the members of this firm, for whom we had erected a water-wheel, and done other work at their mills. They had very little spare capital, but they urged me to buy the estate, at a fixed price, and said they would join Mr. Lillie and me in converting the buildings into a cotton- mill. The whole property was bought in our joint names for 13,000L., each paying one-fourth of the purchase-money. The completion of the contract was the signal for active operations. We set vigorously to work, and in less than twelve months one side of the principal building was removed, and the mill made double the width. The weir and overflows were also completed, as also a new water-wheel 62 feet in diameter and 130 horsepower; and the mill-work and part of the machinery were erected and at work in less than fifteen months.

The drains caused on the capital of the firm of Fairbairn and Lillie for this work were so great as to cripple their legitimate business as millwrights to a serious extent; for after the mill was set to work all the money made was expended in enlargements or other capital investments returning no interest to the proprietors.

Four or five years went on in this way—all outlay and no income—when a source of serious trouble arose, namely, a commencement of misunderstanding and mistrust between the two partners. Mr. Fairbairn in his diary enters at some length into the causes and circumstances of the disagreement, but it is needless to reproduce the particulars here. It will suffice to quote his concluding observations:-

All these circumstances convinced me of the necessity of a speedy dissolution of partnership, and from 1830 to 1832 I urged upon Mr. Lillie the necessity of a change. At the beginning be refused to listen to such a proposal, remarking that there was no reason for such a step, that he was willing to take his fair share of the business, and that he thought me unreasonable in wishing to break up a connection which bad for many years been so successful. Perhaps there was some reason in these observations; but after a careful consideration of the circumstances I felt convinced that we could no longer go on together with safety or comfort. I offered either to take the concern entirely into my own hands, and pay his share as it stood in the books; or for him to retain it, as we might ultimately decide. Finding further persuasives unavailable, and a separation determined on, it was ultimately arranged that I should take the works on payment of a sum of money equivalent to his share as it stood in the books. This was accomplished in 1832, by my handing over my share in the Egerton Cotton-mills; and on paying a sum of money down, the works in Canal Street became mine as sole proprietor. At the same time a dissolution took place with the Egerton firm, who agreed to pay the capital which stood in both our names over to Mr. Lillie, also a retiring partner, by instalments.

This change of circumstances, throwing Mr. Fairbairn entirely on his own resources, was a serious one, and cost him much anxious thought to determine on. But he was confident in the soundness of his judgment, and strong in his self-reliance, and the event showed he was right.

Mr. Lillie decided to enter into business on his own account, and took new premises within a' few hundred yards of the old ones. It seems that an impression had been circulated that he had been harshly treated, and forced out of the business against his will, and in consequence he received much sympathy and support in his opposition to the old establishment. Mr. Fairbairn, however, stood up manfully, and the more his difficulties increased the greater was his determination to overcome them. He says:-

I felt alone, but with renewed energies; and I hoped in a short time, by an indomitable spirit and unflinching industry, to conquer every difficulty. I had come to the determination to strike out a new path for myself; and in spite of the breaking up of the different departments, by the loss of the foremen, who nearly all went over to Mr. Lillie, I nerved myself for an active opposition from whatever quarter it might arise. I entertained the utmost confidence in my own powers; and knowing that Mr. Lillie was neither more active nor more industrious than myself, I came to the conclusion that I had nothing to fear, and that ultimate success was sure to follow. Armed with these resolutions, I set vigorously to work, and never relaxed till I had taken a position entirely independent of any competitor.

In all our subsequent transactions I must, however, do this gentleman the justice to say that I found him as an opponent the same honourable, kind-hearted man that I had found him as a partner.

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