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.

Joseph Barrans

From Graces Guide
1859. Traction engines.

Engineer of 2 California Terrace, Queens Road, Peckham, London.

1856 Mr Barrans's portable engine was made by Messrs. Hughes of New Cross.

1859 Barrans designed a traction engine to the order of Dodge and Giandonati. It was constructed by Joseph Whitham and Son of Perseverance Ironworks, Leeds, who were allowed 68 days to complete the contract. It was tested on roads in Leeds before being shipped to San Francisco, whence it was to be re-shipped round Cape St. Lucas, through the Gulf of California and up the Colarado River to Fort Yuma, then inland to the border of the Great Desert. Its role was to travel 60 miles back and forth across the desert, serving the Mariposa copper mines, replacing mules. The trials were described by Dodge and Giandonati of 44 St Paul's Churchyard, London, in a letter to The Practical Mechanic's Journal, December 1859. The letter closed by stating 'we have never been better satisfied, and we do not see how better satisfaction could be given, either with respect to the principle of the invention or the perfect workmanship of the machinery.'

Messrs R. L. Ogden and Wilson of San Francisco, on behalf of the copper mine owners, sought a traction engine to transport ore to a smelter in San Francisco. Wilson, having seen a Barrans-designed engine in Leeds, ordered an example, to be built by Joseph Whitham and Son. After testing, it was partly dismantled and shipped to San Francisco via New York and Cape Horn, arriving on 19 May 1860. Barrans obtained US Patent No 26074 for this traction engine. After reassembly at Ogden & Wilson’s Vulcan Foundry it underwent a period of testing. However, it appears to have been unsuccessful. This information is condensed from here [1]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Leeds Engine website - A Brief History of the Whitham Family Companies