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British Industrial History

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Aaron Manby

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Aaron Manby (1776-1850), Staffordshire engineer, M. Inst. C.E. of Horseley Ironworks

1776 born at Albrighton, Shropshire.

Married Juliana Fewster (d.1807) with whom he had a son, Charles Manby.

1807 Married Sarah Ann Haskins (d. 1826), with whom he had one daughter, Sarah Maria (d. 1826), and four sons - John Richard Manby, Joseph Lane Manby and 2 other sons, three of whom became civil engineers.

By 1812 was in business at Tipton, South Staffordshire, as a managing partner of the Horseley Coal and Iron Co, a mixed concern operating coal mines, blast furnaces, and engineering workshops, established some forty years earlier. Under Manby, the engineering side of the Horseley business developed greatly.

1813 Manby granted patent for a means of casting the slag from blast furnaces into bricks and blocks for building.

c.1815 Set up Horseley Ironworks; engaged Richard Roberts as a leading hand in the pattern-shop; supplied John Rennie with cast iron structures.

1821 Horseley Ironworks constructed the first iron steamer, the PS Aaron Manby, the first of a number of steamboats built on the "knock-down" principle. The boat was assembled at Rotherhithe/Deptford (1822).

1821 Patent for a form of steam engine for marine use, which he called an ‘oscillating engine’. With this son Charles, Manby was the first to build and operate one commercially,

1821 Became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1822 The PS Aaron Manby was completed by 30 April 1822 and tried on the Thames; it was the first iron ship ever to go to sea.

1822 Manby set up an engineering works at Charenton, near Paris, under Daniel Wilson as manager. This made France largely independent of English engine builders, a cause of some resentment towards Manby.

1822 Manby and Wilson were among the first to obtain concessions to provide gas lighting for several streets in Paris. Their company - Manby, Wilson and Co - known as the Compagnie Anglaise, survived until 1847.

1826 Manby purchased the Le Creusot ironworks, reorganized and improved them.

c.1828 The two concerns were amalgamated as Société Anonyme des Mines, Forges et Fonderies du Creusot et de Charenton.

c.1840 Manby returned to England

1845 Horseley Ironworks was sold to John Joseph Bramah [2].

1850 Died on the Isle of Wight on 1 December.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1821 Institution of Civil Engineers
  2. The Standard 5 December 1845
  • Biography of John Penn, by Andrew Lambert, ODNB.
  • Biography of Aaron Manby, by R. B. Prosser, ODNB.