Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,165 pages of information and 245,632 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Robert Dickinson

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Sometimes described as a West India merchant

In 1808 Richard Trevithick entered a partnership with Robert Dickinson, a West India merchant. Dickinson supported several of Trevithick's patents. The first of these was the ' Nautical Labourer', a steam tug with a floating crane propelled by paddle wheels. The second patent is for stowing cargo in iron tanks. Dickinson is described of 58 Great Queen Street, Lincoln's Inn Fields.

They set up in partnership on the second patent at 72 Fore Street (where Trevithick was living after the closure of the Thames Archway Co project. John Steel from Newcastle, who had worked with Trevithick on the locomotive, was the foreman and assisted by Samuel Hambly a cousin of Trevithick's wife and Samuel Rowe. The latter two were Cornishmen and had worked on the locomotives.

In 1808 Dickinson and Richard Trevithick took out a patent for tanks for ships, made from 3/16" wrought iron plate. Trevithick's share was later (probably 1811/2) acquired by Henry Maudslay.[1]

1809 April 29th. Third joint patent for the use of iron in shipbuilding

1810 Dickinson and Trevithick undertook to raise a wreck off Margate with tanks as buoyancy aids but after a dispute over payment they sank the ship again

1810 March 23rd. Patent application by both men concerning propelling ships and raising wrecks.

1801-23 He took out 23 patents

1811 Bankruptcy. '...a Commission of Bankrupt, bearing Date the 5th day of February 1811, awarded and issued forth against Richard Trevithick and Robert Dickinson, late of Fore-Street, Limehouse, in the County of Middlesex, Dealer in Iron Tanks, Dealers, Chapmen, and Copartners, intend to meet on tire 11th of March next, at Twelve of the Clock at Noon, at Guildhall, London...'[2][3]

1811 'Singularly cheap Cisterns, Tanks, or Resrervoirs' for containing Water, Oil, of other Fluid--By Mr. MUNN at the Auction Mart, on Tusesday next, at twelve, by Direction of the Assignees of Messrs. Trevithick and Dickinson, the Patentees, ONE Hundred and Twenty TANKS or RESERVOIRS, made of the best plate iron; and rivetted closely to prevent the escape of the most subtle fluid, of different dimensions, containing from 10 to 70 barrels each, and lying for view at Blackwall, Limehouse, Rotherhithe, and Deptford; these utensils were originally designed and are admirably calculated instead of casks for the purpose of conveying water in ships, and particularly those engaged in the Greenland whale fishery, but are equally applicable, instead of leaden cisterns, to the use of private individuals, as well as for oil-merchants, soap-boilers, and other manufacturers, the expence being very materially less in the first instance. - A man will attend at the Red-house, Deptford, between the hours of 9 and 4 daily, six days previous to the sale, to shew the tanks at the different places, where catalogates may he had; catlogues may also be had at ....' [4]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Newcomen Society: Simon Goodrich and his Work as an Engineer Compiled from his Journals and Memoranda by E. A. Forward, 1937
  2. The London Gazette Publication date:14 February 1815 Issue:16984 Page:271
  3. The London Gazette Publication date:29 October 1814 Issue:16951 Page:2158
  4. Morning Chronicle - Wednesday 13 March 1811