Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 130,443 pages of information and 207,227 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Whitelaw and Stirrat

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JD Whitelaw01.jpg
JD Whitelaw02.jpg

James Whitelaw and James Stirrat of Paisley

Patented a water mill, on the lines of a 'Barker's Mill'. A simple reaction water turbine. See illustration[1]. Patented in 1839, and sometimes referred to as a 'Scotch Mill'. Influence? One source states that an improved form of Barker's mill was proposed by Mathon de la Cour in 1775, and constructed by Whitelaw in 1839[2]

An early example was demonstrated in 1840 by Shaws Water Company at the wool spinning mill of Messrs Neil, Fleming and Reid, Greenock. In the demonstration the speed was raised from 62 to 104 rpm, developing above 60 HP at the higher speed. The head was 30 ft and the flow approx 1300 cu ft per min. Efficiency was higher than with any water wheels, and the need for speed-increasing gearing was avoided. Capital cost was much lower.[3]

One of these water turbines was supplied to the Chard Canal for working a rope-powered inclined plane.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Engineer and Machinist's Assistant 1847. plate LXXXI and others
  2. 'Notable Events in Engineering History' by E. A. Forward in 'The Engineering Educator' ed. W. J. Kearton, New Era, 1928
  3. Bradford Observer, 1 October 1840