Cornwall and Devon Mr Lean and the Engine Reporters

Mr Lean and the Engine Reporters

SKU 409533
Weight 0.25 kg
 
£9.99
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Bridget Howard PB 102pp

Cornish steam engines were known throughout the world, and used wherever a pumping engine of great power and reliability was needed. What made them unique was not merely their design, but also the meticulous records that were kept of their performance, so that intending purchasers could weigh the advantages of one engineer's model against that of his competitors. These statistics were assembled throughout the 19th century, month by month; they measured the work done by the engines in the mines of Cornwall and scientifically compared their efficiency. These records were known as Engine Reporters. The best known were compiled by the Lean family from 1811 until 1904. But there were others. A breakaway version was issued by John Lean brother of the then editor and lasted from 1827 to 1831. A rival text appeared under the name of William Tonkin from 1834 for about eight years. William Browne was published between 1847 and 1858. Two further series were written for John Taylor giving him information about the engines at his mines in North Wales and in Mexico. The reporters used a measurement known as 'Duty' to compare the efficiency of the engines. Duty was the result of dividing the amount of work done by the quantity of fuel used. Today we assume that the truth is exactly as set out in the dry statistical columns. Usually it was but we forget that mining and engine building were fiercely competitive industries. Those who compiled the reports were involved in the conflict particularly in the early days. They had their friends and their feuds. The elder Thomas Lean was a rogue; his son was a pillar of Victorian rectitude. William Tonkin was a very dubious character and William Browne is still a figure of controversy. This book tells their individual stories.
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