Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Rowan

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1858. Improvements in Scutching and Heckling Flax.

William Rowan ( -1884)of John Rowan and Sons

Possibly around 1820. Born the son of John Rowan

1877 Invented the 'safety disc' for boilers. [1]. This is perhaps the earliest example of the device better known as the bursting disc or rupture disc, now widely used in industry.

1880 Rowan's Patent Piston. William Rowan, C.E., 96 York Street, Belfast. The piston can be seen in operation at 75 Great York Street, and at York Street and Lagan Foundries.[2]

1884 January 5th. Died. Obituary.[3]


1909 Obituary of his sister.[4]

Miss Mary Rowan. We regret to announce the death, at an advanced age, of Miss Mary Rowan, which took place her residence 2, Newington Terrace, on Saturday. She was the last survivor of the family of the late John Rowan, founder of the York Street Foundry, and sister of the late William Rowan, the well-known engineer, the inventor of "Rowan’s Piston," and one of the pioneers of motor traction in this district, names formerly held in high esteem in Belfast. Miss Rowan was a loyal and honoured member of the Second Congregation (All Souls’ Church), her membership dating from 1846, in which year the family migrated from Doagh to Belfast. It was about the year 1835 when John Rowan and his son William built and ran a "steam coach" or motor, between Doagh and Belfast.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1877/08/31
  2. Northern Whig - Thursday 25 March 1880
  3. Northern Whig - Monday 07 January 1884
  4. Northern Whig - Monday 08 March 1909