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Birmingham Steam Buses 1824-1910.

Aidan

master brummie
The history of 4x4 or AWD vehicles is peppered with vehicles of interest and character but their continuing story needs to be on another thread as I believe the Burstall & Diplock are the only steam powered ones. That crazy Pedrail system again - sorry for the repeat but it has some info on it.
 

Thylacine

master brummie
Good morning, classmates, and thanks for your contributions.

Prof Henry Frederic(k) William Burstall (3 September 1865 - 15 July 1934) is a serendipitous discovery (whether descended from our Tim or not). Another Brummie mathematician-engineer!

And Diplock's "pedrail" behemoth is a real beauty, isn't it? I'd be proud to drive one of those down the main street of Latrobe! Towing a charabanc full of visiting Brummies ... ;)

And what's with his first names "Bramah Joseph"? I'm reminded of Tangye's middle name "Trevithick". Surely a sign of their parents' respect for the engineering profession, and perhaps a shaping influence on the interests of the youngsters?
 
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Aidan

master brummie
Encyclopaedia Brittannica tells us "Robert Fourness showed a working three-cylinder (steam) tractor in 1788". But who he and where did he tractor (as in drag I think rather than farm)?

I have not been able to find much on him apart from a couple of continental sites suggest his steamer had a rocker valve to vent the steam as per modern vehicles (Aidan's lack of both French and engine internals breaking down at this point). Think he also died early poss 1806. Can we find more about him?
 

Lloyd

master brummie
The history of 4x4 or AWD vehicles is peppered with vehicles of interest and character but their continuing story needs to be on another thread as I believe the Burstall & Diplock are the only steam powered ones. That crazy Pedrail system again - sorry for the repeat but it has some info on it.
Before we finally veer away from such vehicles, may I show one of the ultimate designs?
Take, as Messrs Ruston of Lincoln did, the basic idea of a Traction Engine, replace the boiler and steam engine with an early (and therefore probably difficult to start and unreliable) heavy oil (diesel) engine, replace the wheels with a tracked pedrail system, then offer it to the army as a gun tractor. Thankfully proposals for armoured gunship versions were not progressed.
 

Thylacine

master brummie
Thanks, Lloyd, for that local version of "Valkyries" (though I'm a little surprised they allow such pagan music to be played on the cathedral organ ;)). And the "Landships" webpage: looks like a great game! (Interesting "War of the Worlds" section there too.)
 

Thylacine

master brummie
[A couple of snippets on Robert Fourness, who died in Leeds on 1 November 1806. At that time his children were just two and four years old. His road steamer is very early: more information is surely called for. The patent (with John Ashworth) was no 1674 of 1788: can anyone find the drawings?]

London Gazette (28 February 1809):
The Creditors who have proved their Debts under a Commission of Bankrupt awarded and issued against Robert Fourness, late of Gainsborough, in the County of Lincoln, lronfounder, Dealer and Chapman, are desired to meet the Assignees of the said Bankrupt's Estate and Effects, on Saturday the 25th Day of March 1809, at Eleven o'Clock in the Forenoon, at the House of Mr William Peech, the Angel Inn, in Chesterfield, in the County of Derby, in order to authorise and empower the said Assignees to execute a Conveyance of all the Bankrupt's Right and Equity of Redemption and Interest whatsoever of, in, and to a certain Messuage and Ironfoundry, and sundry other Hereditaments, situate at Gainsborough aforesaid, unto Daniel North, of Fulbeck, in the said County of Lincoln, Gentleman, the Mortgagee of the same Premises, in consequence of such mortgaged Premises being inadequate in Value to reimburse and pay the said Daniel North the whole of his Debt secured by the said Mortgage; and on other special Affairs.​
L H Weeks. Automobile Biographies. New York: The Monograph Press, [1904]:
Robert Fourness.

Born in Otley, Yorkshire, England. Died at an early age. Fourness became a practical engineer and invented several labour-saving machines. One of his first inventions was for a machine to split hides, that was set up and operated in the establishment of his father. Later in life he established works for himself in Sheffield, and afterwards in Gainsborough. In 1788, he was a resident of Elland, Halifax, and there made a steam carriage that was run by a three-cylinder inverted engine. Spur-gearing transmitted the driving power from the crank shaft to the axle. His patent was taken out in conjunction with James Ashworth. This vehicle was mounted on two driving wheels and had a smaller driving wheel in front.​
 

Aidan

master brummie
Well again there is a tree lodged in Ancestry that shows the following possibility:

Birth 20 May 1757 Batley, England, United Kingdom

Marriage 7 Nov 1799 (Age: 42) Pontefract, Yorkshire, England to Sarah Halley

Child Robert Fourness Jr born 1803
.
Death 1 Nov 1806 (Age: 49) Batley, Yorkshire

From IGI Buried 5 Nov 1806 Batley, Yorkshire
 
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Thylacine

master brummie
[Aidan posted a picture above (post #1185) of the Fourness steamer which looked familiar to me. It turns out to be by the great Belgian artist "Hergé" (Georges Prosper Remi 1907-1983), the creator of the comic hero Tintin. The Fourness illustration is number six in the book Tintin Raconte l'Histoire de l'Automobile (1978), part of the "Tintin Raconte l'Histoire de ..." series. Here is the caption to the picture, rendered into impeccable English by Google Translate. Attached are a more complete version of the picture, and the frontispiece of l'Histoire de l'Automobile. We have come across these delightful illustrations before, and they have proven to be quite accurate. So this being the only picture we have (so far) of the Fourness steamer, we should be grateful indeed for it.]

1788. Fourness Steam Machine (Great Britain).

Although born in France, the steam locomotive would naturally experience a major expansion in England, where mechanics in general then had a big lead, it would also advance keep longer. England had the chance to see it occur in a host of researchers, each more inventive than others, which domesticated steam, as the French would later develop the engines and cars of modern design. Among the British researchers Robert Fourness was one of the most remarkable, and in 1788 he produced a steam engine mounted on four wheels and comprising among others the next innovation: a pear-shaped boiler surrounded by homes and connected to a group of three vertical cylinders, the exhaust steam passed through the water tank. This water was pumped through a system connected to a piston rod, and a pin engaged with the driveshaft commanded the valving of steam: foreshadowing the rocker valve fitted to modern cars. One point, however, appear to have been somewhat neglected by the manufacturer: driver comfort! ... It is true that at that time, the pioneers of mechanical cared little! Still, with such massive wheels, not depreciated, and given the appalling state of roads in those days, one wonders how the driver managed to keep his job ... Interesting detail: Fourness — whose death interrupted prematurely experiences — was the first manufacturer that thinking to reject backward smoke from the chimney. To this end, he had fitted it with a sleeve sloping. It is true that most of the time, engines and chimneys were placed at the rear of vehicles. But, considering the low rate of evolution of these devices, you can imagine what happens when the wind was blowing in the opposite direction!
 
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Aidan

master brummie
I think there is much more to find on Fourness and his steamer....

But while we wait - time for a quiz? Who's is this steamer, what happened to it after it's life as a bus, where did (s)he live & work, what other inventions did s(he) invent that would probably been used all over Birmingham?
 

DavidGrain

master brummie
Have just been watching the Lord Mayor's Show from London on TV. In the procession advertising Yorkshire was the steam bus Elizabeth from Whitby which has been mentioned on this thread before. Commentator said that it was only the second time this bus had been to London. The previous time was in 1949. Also in the procession were two steam rollers entered by the Worshipful Company of Paviors of which the new Lord Mayor is a liveryman.
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Have just been watching the Lord Mayor's Show from London on TV. In the procession advertising Yorkshire was the steam bus Elizabeth from Whitby which has been mentioned on this thread before. Commentator said that it was only the second time this bus had been to London. The previous time was in 1949. Also in the procession were two steam rollers entered by the Worshipful Company of Paviors of which the new Lord Mayor is a liveryman.

'The previous time' it was in London must have been when it was a lorry.

This news item about the event includes "The new lord mayor, Alderman Michael Bear, served as sheriff of the City from 2007 to 2008. He is a civil engineer and the managing director of Balfour Beatty Property."


Once again Civil Engineers to the fore! Quite a few Mechanical and Electrical engineers started their training in the Civil Engineering field, then later specialising.

The Balfour Beatty group used to be one of the country's large bus operating combines in the 1920s - 1960s period, owning such nearby companies as Stratford Blue (before it passed into BET group ownership under Midland Red) and Midland General in Derby and Nottingham shires.
Who was it who said "All history is somehow connected"?
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Meanwhile, after plugging away for three days, I've managed to link the 1927 Timothy Burstall with the 1776 one, and found the 'Hill' connection.

Timothy (1927)'s father was Aubrey Frederick Burstall (1902-1984); his father was Henry Frederic William Burstall (1865-1934) whose father was Henry Abraham Burstall (1822-1890); his father was Abraham Burstall (1781-1855) whose brother was our Timothy Burstall (1776-1860). Their father was Thomas Burstall (1745-1813) and their mother Mary Burstall nee....Hill !
Thomas and Mary married in 1775 in Hedon, Yorkshire where Thomas was born, but must have moved soon afterwards to Lincolnshire where Timothy, seemingly their first child, was born.

Just need to link Mary and John Hill now, younger brother or nephew perhaps?

Just to add to the confusion, there is a Timothy Burstall b.c.1781 who had TWO sons named Timothy, one b.c.1830 and the other b.c.1838; all 3 were together in the 1841 census in Bath (see post #1175)
 
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mw0njm.

Brummie Dude
hello.Lloyd i have just put a post on the dupal.if you have any input i will be greatfull.i know you are one of the best when it come to buses lol
 

Thylacine

master brummie
Meanwhile, after plugging away for three days, I've managed to link the 1927 Timothy Burstall with the 1776 one, and found the 'Hill' connection ...

The Thylacine has been known to cock a humorous snook at the arcane art of genealogy, but not today, and perhaps never again. Magnificent work, Lloyd! :thumbsup: :cool:
 

Lloyd

master brummie
Whilst I understand your theory of 'Relativity', I think it can only be speculative as it omits one of the basic ingredients of human nature - interbreeding. From my studies of times since accurate genealogical records started to be kept (c.1840) there was in smaller communities (as most were then) only a handful of family names, and travelling around was nowhere near as common as it is today, so the available ingredients for an area's 'gene pool' were small in number. Only in the last century has travelling socially become a normal event, thus widening the area from which to choose a partner and therefore the diversity of ancestry along the lines you suggest.
Actually I have a theory of my own - that this recent ability to mix the gene pool over a wider (even global) area is a major reason for the dramatic increase of the intelligence level of the population as a whole; obviously factors like more leisure time and easier obtained (and sometimes compulsory) education have their impact, but generally Homo Sapiens is a far cleverer beast than he was two hundred years ago.

However, this has b. all to do with steam buses.

As we have seen above, at least one of the Burstall clan was a teacher of things mechanical, and the knowledge of ancestor Timothy's steam carriage must have been known to them and was probably discussed within the walls of Birmingham University, even if the 'real beast' never ran here.
 

Thylacine

master brummie
Well said, Lloyd! Clearly my tongue was firmly in my cheek when I composed that sceptical post. In my own great-grandparents' generation, two brothers married two sisters.

The genealogical research of yourself and others adds a great deal of knowledge and interest to our subject.
 
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