John Elder (1824-1869) of Randolph, Elder and Co, marine engineer and ship builder
1824 March 8th. Born at Glasgow, the third son of David Elder.
Worked for about a year in the pattern-making works of Messrs. Hick, at Bolton-le-Moors
Worked as a draughtsman at the Great Grimsby Docks.
1848 returned to Napier's to take charge of the drawing office as chief draughtsman.
1852 he became a partner with Charles Randolph in Randolph, Elder and Co; Randolph did not have experience with engines; Elder's knowledge led to work on steam engines for ships, particularly the first use of a compound engine in a ship; achieved some patents.
1862 John Elder, Randolph, Elder and Co, Centre Street, Glasgow.
1868 Patent on circular ironclads (i.e. floating gun batteries)
1868 Upon the retirement of his partners the firm became simply John Elder
1869 September 17th. He died aged 45.
1888 When his statue in Govan Park was unveiled in 1888 it said: by his many inventions, particularly in connection with the compound steam engine, he effected a revolution in engineering second only to James Watt, and in great measure originated the developments in steam propulsion that have created modern commerce
Sources of Information
- A Short History of Naval and Marine Engineering by E. C. Smith. Published 1937
- Glasgow Men