Sunday, 22 January 2017

Mr Lean and the Engine Reporters

I have been requested to give a talk to the Friends of Luxulyan Valley on William West the last Great Cornish Engineer.  Such invitation is a great  excuse to  wander down some topics and produce some new posts on the Navsbooks site, and create a new shelf on in the Navsbooks store based on the industrial archaeology of the fascinating Luxulyan Valley in Cornwall.

First book up onto the shelf will be this little gem, a small publication packed some amazing, and little told history

Mr. Lean and the Engine Reporters

By Bridget Howard

Bridget Howard's book is a great publication packed with information that is a must for anyone interested in the history of the Cornish Steam Engine. It goes beyond the simple concept of  Lean's reporters being an accurate recording of steam engine performance, a recording that drove a technology race in Cornwall, to uncover a far more Complex history.

Within its 80 odd pages are packed details of all the other reporters, of the problems of measuring duty, corruption and the real power behind the tables of scientific looking figures.

The measurement of Duty 

This is a book hung on the measurement of  'Duty'.

"The amount of work performed by a steam engine for the combustion of a given amount of coal"
Page 81
Or in less simple terms

" The number of pounds "expressed in millions" lifted one foot high by a certain amount of coal"
Page 81

That certain amount was normally a bushell, a unit that could vary from 79 to 120 lbs, A there within lies one of the weak foundations upon which the engine reporting system operated. My particular interest was the important, and Controversial role that William West and is accomplice William Browne played in this amazing story.

The book is published by The Trevithick Society, ISBN 0-904040-56-9

If you are passing through Liskeard I suggest popping in to the excellent book shop to see if the hold a copy, or can order one.

Or to order on Amazon click below

  Mr. Lean and the Engine Reporter

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