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British Industrial History

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John Trickett

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John Trickett ( -1888)

1889 Obituary [1]

JOHN TRICKETT commenced his apprenticeship to engineering at the age of sixteen years, at the Butterley Ironworks, Derbyshire ; four years later he entered the Deptford works of the General Steam Navigation Company, then one of the largest enterprises of the kind in the country, as Assistant to the Managing Engineer. During the ten years he was with that Company he designed and constructed twelve pairs of marine engines and boilers, and superintended the working of most of them on their first voyage. He also designed several land engines, constructed at the Company’s works, as well as all the boilers for replacements in the ships, and supervised the new work in the shops, and repairs on board the ships.

Subsequently Mr. Trickett entered the works of Messrs. John Penn and Sons, at Greenwich, where he held a good appointment.

In 1816 he was recommended by Messrs. Penn to the Admiralty, in answer to an invitation to submit the name of any one in their establishment suitable for employment in the public service. In July of that year he was appointed to the Steam Factory at Woolwich, and while there, as Assistant to the Chief Engineer, he carried out a series of elaborate screw experiments in the “Minx,” "Teazer,” “Rifleman,” and “Sharpshooter.”

In April, 1854, Mr. Trickett was appointed Chief Engineer and Inspector of Steam Machinery at Devonport and Keyham. Among the labour-saving arrangements made by him at those yards, were the multi-spindled machines for drilling six holes at one time in angle-iron, and for cutting four holes at once in tube-plates for boilers, which were then the first tools of the kind made for boiler-work.

In 1855 he designed and fitted a rope-driving arrangement to all the travelling cranes in the workshops, driving them from the running shafting which is now generally adopted in private shops. He also designed and fitted the post-cranes in the foundry with steam-power for working them.

In 1855-6 Mr. Trickett made and erected the first iron sheer-legs put up in the dockyards, and fitted them with steam-power. He also fitted steam-power to the 40-ton crane erected by Fairbairn at the north basin, and subsequently to the other cranes at Keyham, and to some at Devonport.

In July, 1862, Mr. Trickett was transferred, at his own request, to Woolwich Yard, on the retirement of the late Chief Engineer Mr. Charles Atherton, where he remained until the closing of the yard at the end of September, 1869, when he returned to Keyham. Mr. Trickett gave much attention to the manufacture of yarn and rope, and made many improvements in the machinery, in all the details of manufacture, which resulted in much better and stronger cordage being produced, and the cost of manufacture lessened. He was a member of the Boiler Committee formed in June, 1874, and was present in taking nearly all the evidence of persons examined by the Committee. He retired from the post of Chief Engineer of H.M. Dockyard, Devonport, in December, 1870, and his long and able services were recognized by the Admiralty awarding him a special pension, which he enjoyed till his death, on the 9th of November, 1888.

Mr. Trickett was elected an Associate of the Institution on the 1st of February, 1853, and when the division into professional and non-professional Associates was made, he was graded Associate Member.

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