Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

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.

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.

James Compton Merryweather

From Graces Guide

James Compton Merryweather (1840-1917) of Merryweather and Sons

Son of Moses Merryweather

Apprenticed with Mr McConnell at Wolverton Works and then articled with Mr Edward Field in London[1]

Partner in McGlashan and Merryweather

Described his experience of small steam carriages in the early days of powered vehicles:

"... I had many journeys to Barnet, Streatham, Margate, and other places, in the night time. This motor car had a horizontal steam boiler, a double- cylinder engine, and seats for eight persons. It could run fifteen miles an hour on the level, and ten miles an hour up hill. It made no noise, no smell, no exhaust,and was only stopped running by the law which prohibited a speed of over four miles an hour."[2]

J. C. Merryweather invented the Canvas Fire escape chute and various hand held fire extinguishers, such as the 'Konus Kemik', the 'C. T. C.' and the 'Fire Suds'.


1918 Obituary [3]

JAMES COMPTON MERRYWEATHER was born at Clapham, London, on 12th March 1840.

He was educated at Chatham House, Ramsgate, and began his engineering training at the Wolverton Works of the London and North Western Railway.

On leaving Wolverton he spent a short time with the firm of McGlashan and Co., coppersmiths, in which he became a partner, but in 1864, owing to the increase in the work at Long Acre, and the failing health of his elder brother Richard, he joined his father in the fire-engine business.

He at first took over the control of the coppersmiths' department at Lambeth which prospered exceedingly, and at the same time he was interested in and had much to do, in conjunction with his brother Richard, with the introduction of steam fire-engines.

A few years later, owing to the death of his father and the retirement of his brother Richard, he became head of the firm. In collaboration with his brother Henry, he was chiefly responsible for the development of steam tramway-engines, of which a description was given in the discussion on A. Mallet's Paper on "Mechanical Traction upon Tramways"; and under his direction, the firm in recent years acquired world-wide renown as pioneers of the motor fire-engine industry, the first engine of this type being placed on the road in 1899.

He was the author of two standard works, the "Fire-Brigade Handbook" and "Fire Protection of Mansions," and was associated with practically all the improvements in fire-extinguishing methods during the past 50 years.

Some years ago he established the first weaving shop for the manufacture of canvas hose in London.

His death took place at his residence in Whitehall Court, Westminster, on 24th November 1917, at the age of seventy-seven.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1875.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Mechanical Engineer records
  2. The Engineering Times 1899 [1]
  3. 1918 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries