Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Edward Shickle Cowper

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Edward Shickle Cowper (1790–1852) FRS, printing engineer and university teacher

1790 February 25th. Born at Southwark, the son of Edward Cowper, a tea dealer.

1804 Apprenticed to Benjamin Lepard, a wholesale stationer in Covent Garden

1813 Patent for a paper-cutting machine.

1813 Became a partner with Augustus Applegarth and Henry Mitton, as stereotype founders and printers, at Nelson Square, Southwark. See Cornish and Co

1816 Patent for curved stereotype plates, for printing rolls of paper for hangings and other purposes

1817-21 With his youngest brother Ebenezer Cowper they were engaged by the Bank of England to develop a system of printing banknotes that would be difficult to forge

1818 December 4th. Married Applegath's sister, Ann (d. 1836).

1820 Cowper left the partnership and became a consulting engineer

1823 Patent for printing a web of paper or fabric

1827 Patent for printing music.

1827 The brothers brought out for The Times a new steam-powered ‘multiple’ machine with four cylinders which delivered 4,000 sheets per hour, the most rapid of all machines working flat formes. Versions of the machine to cut rolls of paper into sheets, which Cowper patented in 1828, were used by many country newspapers until the early twentieth century.

Trading as E. and E. Cowper, Edward and his younger brother Ebenezer manufactured and installed printing machinery throughout Europe.

1830 Edward Cowper of Streatham Place, Brixton Hill, a machine printing press maker, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1839 Cowper was appointed as part-time lecturer in the civil engineering department of King's College, London. His lectures at King's College and elsewhere were judged to be brilliantly successful, his custom being wherever possible to exhibit actual objects rather than to rely on drawings or models. The department flourished and expanded.

1848 he was appointed Professor of manufacturing art and mechanics.

1852 October 17th. Died at his home 9 Kensington Park Villas, after an illness in the early part of the year

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