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British Industrial History

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Anthony George Eckhardt

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Anthony George Eckhardt (1740-1810)

1799 Patent for saving fuel.

1817 Letter to newspaper.[1]

A. G. Eckhardt, F.H.S. London, Mechanician, long respectably known in England and Holland, invented, some years ago, two objects great utility, for every country where trade, navigation, or agriculture are of any consideration.

The first is a machine for deepening and scouring canals, rivers, ports, &c. which, at the depth of 12 to twenty feet, cuts up all sand, mud or hard clay, with the greatest ease. This machine can fill a mud boat, containing 432 cubic feet, in the space of six or seven minutes, with five eight men, or with one horse power. It equally works the borders or edges of rivers, the same as in the deep middle stream, clearing all away, or deepening as required.

The second is windmill for draining marshes, overflowed lands, etc. which it performs with such celerity, that, for example, in 1770 acres, there are 77,101,200 square feet, which multiplied by 4, the depth given, contains 308,404,800 cubic feet, for the mass of water to be drained; this can be done with one of those mills in 359 days; an instance has been known of its emptying the amazing quantity of 820 tons per minute (each measuring five one quarter cubic feet.)

The first has been honoured with an exclusive patent by the King of the Netherlands, and is going be adopted, with his approbation, in all the ports, harbours, basins, canals, &c. of this kingdom. So great is the improvement of the draining mills over all others yet invented, that, notwithstanding there exists nine thousand draining mills always in activity, in various parts of Holland, His Majesty has confirmed a new patent to the brother of the inventor, on all the late improvements of these inventions, in addition the former grants of the Stole* of Utrecht, Friesland, Holland, &c. who also honoured the inventor with different gratuities, and has himself been lately pleased to order the adoption of them upon the crown lands.

It has been suggested the inventor, that the cleaning machine would be in England desirable acquisition. If then you have not in your place any substitute adequate this effect, I flatter myself you will have reason rejoice at this proposition. Conceiving I could not render my native country a greater mark of patriotism, than by the establishment of these valuable inventions, I have taken myself the direction of all correspondence with Great Britain and Ireland, and hasten to offer you this short sketch, reserving more minute detail for the pleasure answering your observations and ideas, with which I hope to be soon favoured, and have the honour to be, your most obedient servant, J. PLAYTER, Commissionaire, Hague.


Faulkner writing in 1829, says:— "Whitelands, a large and spacious old mansion is now in the occupation of Henrik Hinchcliffe and Co. as a stained paper factory. It was for some time in the possession of Messrs. Eckhardt. who first established it, in partnership with Mr. Woodmason in the year 1786.

In 1791, Mr. A. G. Eckhardt, F.R.S., and his brother Mr. Frederick Eckhardt, natives of Holland, well known in this country for their ingenious in inventions, established Whitelands House a new and beautiful manufactory of painted silk, varnished linen, cloth, paper, &c., for the hanging, and furniture of rooms; the paper, silk, leather, &c., was for the most part stamped, some of the pieces were very highly finished by hand. The linen was painted entirely by hand, and done by girls from eight or nine to fourteen years of age; about forty of these had constant employ, and worked in a room, kept in a proper state of ventilation by an air pump, to prevent any deleterious effects from the paint. About one hundred persons in the whole were employed."

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Saunders's News-Letter - Tuesday 29 April 1817
  2. Westminster & Pimlico News - Saturday 15 December 1888