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Charles Hart (1804-1865)

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Charles Hart (1804-1865) of Charles Hart (of Wantage), an early pioneer of the steam thrashing machine.

1804 Born in Great Coxwell, Berks[1]

1841 Charles Hart 37 iron founder and Hannah Hart 42 lived in Wantage[2]

1851 Charles Hart 47, engineer and iron founder, employing 40 men, lived in Wantage with Hannah Hart 61 and daughter in law Matilda Austin 24 and Mary Ann Gibbons 21, visitor[3] (who was sister of Henry Philip Gibbons and Philip Gibbons)

1852 patent on combined thrashing, straw shaking, riddling and winnowing machine

1857 Took in 2 of the Gibbons brothers as partners

c.1858 Retired from Hart, Gibbons and Gibbons

1861 Charles Hart 57, retired engineer, lived in Wantage with his sister[4]

1865 Died in Wantage[5]

1865 Obituary.[6]

Our obituary contains the death of our townsman, Mr. Charles Hart, the eminent Ironfounder and machinist. Of humble origin he was possessed of more than ordinary talent; of education he received but a small share, and at an early age was apprenticed to the late Mr. Austin of this town. After finishing his apprenticeship the decease of his employer he assumed the management of the business, and eventually married his late master's widow. Having now the entire management, a small foundry was found totally inadequate to supply the demands made upon it. Mr. Hart's skill and talent seemed be turned upon the production of agricultural implements, and as proof of his success there is hardly a plough or some other implements on any farm for many miles round which does not bear the word "Hart." Accordingly large and spacious premises and workshops were erected, and what was wont to be done by horse power and manual labour is now effected through the agency of steam.

About this time he, after years of toil and many experiments, succeeded in producing that important instrument to agriculturists, the combined steam thrashing machine, rights and advantages of which he secured to himself patents. It would appear that this was exactly what was required by agriculturists. Its utility seemed to be valued and appreciated at once, and it was only necessary to exhibit it at the next agricultural implement show, and consequently to the world, for its advantages to be understood. A new line of business was thus opened up, and Mr. Hart continued as orders came in thicker and faster, to make such improvements as were found necessary in the manufacture of the machine, with which his name will ever be associated. In the course of years he amassed a handsome competency.

Of a noticeably liberal disposition, he was always friend to the poor, and few we think made vain appeal. He was in religion a Wesleyan, and his manner of living most unostentatious. After suffering for some months from dropsy, he on Saturday breathed his last On Thursday he was conveyed to his last resting place, in the cemetery, borne thither by some his old workmen, from the foundry. Many testified their respect by closing their shops entirely, others partially. (At) the time of his decease he was a commissioner the town, and guardian of the poor. His funeral sermon will be preached on Sunday evening next.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Parish records
  2. 1841 census
  3. 1851 census
  4. 1861 census
  5. BMD
  6. Berkshire Chronicle - Saturday 07 October 1865