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British Industrial History

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Thomas Cochrane

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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.

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.

In 1818, Cochrane patented, together with the engineer Marc Isambard Brunel, the tunnelling shield that Brunel and his son used in the building of the Thames Tunnel in 1825-43.

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.

In the 1830s, he experimented with steam power, developing a rotary engine and a propeller. His work culminated in the steam warship HMS Janus of 1848, which combined his hull form, rotary engines, and boilers in a promising, if unsuccessful, package.

1851 Cochrane received a patent on powering steamships with bitumen

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.

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Sources of Information

  • [1] Wikipedia
  • Biography of Thomas Cochrane, ODNB