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Andrew Betts Brown

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1865. Machinery for raising and lowering weights.

Andrew Betts Brown (1841-1906) of the Vauxhall Ironworks Co, Brown Wilson and Co, Brown Brothers and Co and A. B. Brown and Co. Later his name was hyphenated as Andrew Betts-Brown

1841 May 4th. Born in Edinburgh the son of Robert Brown and his wife Marion Betts

1861 Engineer, living in Edinburgh with his parents[1]

1862 Patent. '2058. To Andrew Betts Brown, Engineer, of Castle Farm, Stockport, in the county of Cheshire, for the invention of "improvements in steam engines and boilers."'[2]

1863 He bought an old brewery in London which he converted into an engineering works

1866 Andrew Betts Brown, Brown Wilson and Co, Vauxhall Iron Works, London.[3]

1867 Patent. '338. And Andrew Betts Brown, of the Vauxhall Iron Works, Wandsworth-road, in the county of Surrey, has given the like notice in respect of the invention of "improvements in drilling machines."'[4]

1869 Married at Toxteth Park, Liverpool, to Anna Maria Pilliner

1871 Patent. '2253. To Andrew Betts Brown, of 80, Cannon street, London, in the county of Middlesex, for the invention of "improvements in slide valves for starting, stopping, and reversing steam and other engines and machinery."'[5]

1876 Patent. '529. And Andrew Betts Brown, of Rosebank Iron Works, Edinburgh, in the county of Edinburghshire, has given the like notice in respect of the invention of "improvements in machinery for cutting and getting stone."'[6]

1881 Hydraulic engineer, living in Edinburgh with his children and his sister, Elizabeth[7]

1885 of Brown Brothers and Co, Rosebank Iron Works, Edinburgh

1891 Civil engineer, living in Edinburgh with his wife Annie (born c.1850, Jamaica) and 4 children[8]

1906 May 13th. Died

1906 Obituary [9]

ANDREW BETTS BROWN was born in Edinburgh on 4th May 1841.

He was educated in that city, and served his apprenticeship in the locomotive works of the North British Railway at St. Margaret's. During this period he attended the evening classes at the Watt College, where he gained several prizes in Natural Philosophy and Dynamics. He then went to Manchester, and studied chemistry and kindred subjects at a technical college, taking various degrees.

In 1863 he proceeded to London, and purchased an old brewery, which he converted into engineering works, still existing under the name of the Vauxhall Iron Works. One of his early inventions was that of an overhead travelling-crane, which was used with success in the construction of Blackfriars Bridge.

In 1870 he obtained an important contract to fit Hamburg Docks with a plant combining steam and hydraulic power for discharging ships, which he had then just brought out. Part of this plant was constructed in London, but realising that conditions were more favourable in Edinburgh, he acquired some ground at Rosebank, adjoining the North British Railway Co.'s line to Granton, and the necessary plant was erected to complete the Hamburg contract. Since then these works have been so extended that they are now one of the largest engineering works in the east of Scotland.

His next invention, and perhaps the best known, was the combined hydraulic and steam starting-engine which is now used in nearly every large and small steamer afloat. He next devoted his attention to marine engineering, and was one of the first to take up the problem connected with the steering of large vessels.

He invented the steam-tiller, which at its time was quite a novelty, and which has been adopted by the majority of the present larger ships both naval and commercial.

In connection with this he also devised the telemotor, a hydraulic apparatus designed to facilitate the control of the steering gear from the bridge, by dispensing with the cumbersome chains and shafting which had been hitherto used.

Among his other numerous inventions was the well-known hydraulic installation for loading and discharging cargoes, involving the use of the well-known steam-accumulator, of which He was the originator, and on which subject he read a Paper before this Institution in 1874. This mode of discharging cargoes is now used extensively by the Royal Mail and British India Companies. He brought out a new form of forging press combining his steam-compressor, for dealing with heavy marine shafting and gun forgings. A large number of the Japanese Fleet was steered by his machinery, and his firm have supplied steering gears for the latest Japanese battleships and the two latest express Cunard steamers — Lusitania and Mauretania.

His death took place at his residence in Edinburgh, on 13th May 1906, at the age of sixty-five.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1866; he was also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and a Member of the Institution of Naval Architects.

Obituary 1906 [10]

We have to record with regret the death, on the 13th inst., at Edinburgh, of Andrew Betts-Brown, whose name is so closely associated with a number of improvements in modern marine engineering. Mr. Brown, who was in his 67th year, was the eldest son of Mr. Robert Brown, of Edinburgh.

He was educated in his native city, and served his apprenticeship as an engineer in the locomotive world of the North British Railway . . . He went to London about 1893 and took an old brewery, which he converted into engineering works . . . [much more]

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