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 163,113 pages of information and 245,598 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.

Thomas Cochrane

From Graces Guide

Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM (Chile) (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a senior British naval flag officer and radical politician.

1775 Thomas Cochrane was born at Annsfield, near Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, Scotland, the son of Archibald Cochrane, 9th Earl of Dundonald and Anna Gilchrist. She was the daughter of Captain James Gilchrist and Ann Roberton, the daughter of Major John Roberton, 16th Laird of Earnock.

1788 Spent six months at Chauvet's military academy in London before leaving to join the Navy.

1793 Joined the Royal Navy aboard HMS Hind.

1795 Appointed acting Lieutenant of HMS Thetis.

1801 Putting into Malta he caused a brawl at a fancy-dress party and fought a duel before returning to sea the following day.

1801 Promoted to Captain.

1802 Became a student of Political Economy at Edinburgh University.

1806 Stood for election at the corrupt borough of Honiton in Devon but failed in the election because he refused to pay the usual bribe.

1807 Stood for election in the constituency of Westminster.

1809 Made Knight Grand Cross (GCB).

Served during the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars in the Royal Navy. He was successful in virtually all of his naval actions.

1814 Wrongly accused of involvement in stock market fraud precipitated by spreading the rumour of Napoleon's death. Subsequently struck off the Navy List and imprisoned.

1815 Released from prison.

1817 Worked with the Chilean government to organize and command their navy in their war of liberation from Spain.

1818 Organized the construction of the first seagoing steam warship, Rising Star, for the Chilean Navy.

Cochrane was an early supporter of steamships. He attempted to bring a steamship from England to Chile, but its construction took too long; it did not arrive until the war was ending. This happened again with a steamship he had hoped to bring to the Greek War of Independence.

1823 Served as an admiral in the Brazilian navy to help in their fight for independence from Portugal.

1827 Arrived in Greece in order to aid in their attempts at liberation from Turkish rule.

1830 Patent on use of compressed air in tunnelling, making specific reference to the tunnelling at Rotherhithe; importantly he introduced the idea of an air-lock for the miners to enter the pressurise space. [1]

"Cochrane's patent was taken out while Brunel's shield was being worked on the Thames Tunnel, but it was only brought into full operation for that particular purpose when the other shield was being pushed forward."[2]

1830 Patent for "An improved Rotatory Engine to be impelled by Steam, and which may also be rendered applicable for other purposes" was granted to Sir Thomas commonly called Lord Cochrane.

1831 Succeeded his father as tenth Earl of Dundonald.

1832 Given a free pardon from King William IV and returned to the Royal Navy as Rear Admiral.

In the 1830s, he experimented with steam power, developing a rotary engine and a propeller. The Admiralty agreed to build HMS Janus, which combined his hull form, rotary engines, and boilers in a promising, if unsuccessful, package.

1844 Thomas Cochrane (now the Earl of Dundonald) petitioned for prolongation by 14 years of the term of his 1830 patent on the rotatory steam engine[3]

1845(8) HMS Janus was launched but failed on testing and was scrapped.

1851 Cochrane received a patent on powering steamships with bitumen

1851 Became a Full Admiral.

1854 Elected an elder brother of Trinity House.

1860 Cochrane twice underwent painful surgery for kidney stones. He died during the second operation on 31 October 1860, in Kensington. He was buried in Westminster Abbey, where his grave is in the central part of the nave.


Douglas Mackinnon Baillie Hamilton Cochrane (1852-1935) was the 12th earl of Dundonald

He was an army officer and patentee.[4]



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Patents for inventions #6018 [1]
  2. [2] Proc. Inst Civil Engineers 1897
  3. London Gazette 16 August 1844
  4. Science Museum
  • [3] Wikipedia
  • Biography of Thomas Cochrane, ODNB
  • [4] Innovation and the Rise of Tunnelling
  • [5] Science Museum