The Beginning
Leonardo da Vinci
Samuel Bentham
Joseph Bramah
Joseph Clement
Marc Isambard Brunel
Henry Maudslay
James Nasmyth
Richard Roberts
Joseph Whitworth
John Wilkinson

George Stephenson
Robert Stephenson
Isambard K. Brunel
Thomas Telford
James Watt
Maudslay's Influence

The Humble Drilling Machine

Wilkinson's Bore Mill (graphic)
Maudslay Engine (graphic)
Maudslay Lathe (graphic)

SIR ALFRED HERBERT  of Alfred Herbert Ltd. (list)

MR.AXEL WICKMAN  of A.C. Wickman Ltd. (list)

founder of the tractor empire.

Industrial Stories




Henry Maudslay

Henry Maudslay

Henry Maudslay was born at Woolwich on August 22nd 1771. His father was a joiner from Bolton, who worked on the wooden frames for cotton machines.
Later his father served as wheelwright in the Royal Engineers but was wounded in action so became storekeeper in the dockyards at Woolwich Arsenal, London.
Henry worked as a powder monkey in the dockyards aged 12 , making and filling cartridges.
At 14 he had moved into the carpenters shop, although he took every opportunity to slip into the blacksmiths shop where he became familiar with working with iron.

In 1780's the famous locksmith
Joseph Bramah was looking for someone to produce the tools required to make his new precision locks.

Henry Maudslay had built up a strong reputation as a smith and tool maker.
Although still only in his teens, Henry was recommended to Bramah who engaged him.

Joseph Bramah invented a burglarproof lock, which remained unpicked for sixty-seven years and is still in use today. The secret of the lock was the precision to which it was made.

When Henry Maudslay later went on to establish his own company, his work was influenced by precision, which was required for the machines, which he had designed and made for Joseph Bramah.

In the early eighteenth century machines were primitive and often powered by hand or by foot. There were no standard measures, parts would have to be individually engineered. These meant that nuts and bolts would be made to fit as a pair and were not interchangeable. Henry Maudslay was among one of the first to recognise the importance of standardisation and interchangeability of machine parts. He was also one of the first to realise the importance of a true plane surface, for obtaining precision in machine tool production.

Within a few years, Maudslay had been appointed as head foreman of Bramah's works.

In 1791 he married Bramah's housemaid Sarah Tindale.

By 1797, Maudslay asked for a raise of thirty shillings a week (to support his wife and 3 children) and Bramah refused, so Maudslay walked out and started his own workshop on Oxford street in London, producing machine tools made to order.

One of his most successful tools was the slide rest lathe. This allowed people to turn large pieces of metal, very quickly and with exact precision. To many people it was regarded as the most important development in the production of machine tools.
James Nasmyth (inventor of the steam hammer) said the following about the slide rest lathe :-
"its influence in improving and extending the use of machinery has been as great as that produced by the improvement of the steam engine in respect to perfecting manufactures and extending commerce".

The end result of Maudslay's lathe was that woodworking, metalworking, manufacture, tool-making, and factories were all revolutionized.

Maudslay's lathe also changed the nature of warfare and it made Britain the greatest sea power in the world and It also made possible the modern orchestra and the modern piano.

In 1810 he moved his works to Westminster Road (Lambeth) London. He went on to improve the original slide lathe and invented new machine tools and manufactured flour and saw mills, mint machinery and
steam engines.

One of his most successful new tools was a machine that could automatically punch holes in boiler plates, which resulted in him gaining a contract to supply the Royal Navy with iron plates for ships tanks. His machine replaced the work that had previously been carried out by hand. Other tools improved the method by which the thread on screws were cut and he produced attachments for his slide lathe which could plane and cut slots in metal.




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