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James Courthope Peache

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James Courthope Peache (c1852-1931), chairman of Willans and Robinson

There is a good online account of Peache and his high speed single-acting steam engines here[1]. This includes information on all the Peache engines ordered.

A short illustrated description of the engine appeared in The Engineer, 6 December 1895[2]


1931 Obituary [3]

JAMES COURTHOPE PEACHE was for very many years connected with Messrs. Willans and Robinson, and was chairman of the firm from 1911 until its absorption in the English Electric Company at the end of 1919.

He received his engineering training at King's College, London, and as a pupil at Crewe railway works. He remained at Crewe from 1873 to 1880 as assistant to the works manager, and then became works manager for Messrs. Woodhouse and Rawson.

Three years later, in 1885, he went to Thames Ditton as works manager to take charge of the system of "interchangeable manufacture" which Messrs. Willans and Robinson were instituting.

In 1891 he invented the Peache single-acting high-speed engine, which was afterwards manufactured extensively by Messrs. Davey, Paxman of Colchester. This was a compound engine arranged on the tandem principle. On the down stroke steam was admitted above the high-pressure piston and passed through the piston-valve to the under side of the low-pressure piston on its next up-stroke. The high-pressure cylinder was then exhausted past the bottom edge of the valve. The piston-rod was kept in constant thrust downwards by steam pressure between the high- and low-pressure pistons acting on the difference of their areas, and steam was fed into this space through by-pass ports uncovered by the high-pressure piston at the bottom of the stroke.

In connexion with this engine Mr. Peache also patented and used a novel form of governor. He left Messrs. Willans and Robinson in 1892, and after a short period with Messrs. Musgrave and Sons of Bolton, joined Messrs. Davey, Paxman, with whom he remained until 1904, and for the last eight years of this time in the capacity of consulting engineer.

In 1904 he returned to Messrs. Willans and Robinson as managing director at Rugby, and took a large share in the later developments of the Willans central- valve engine, as well as in the introduction of the steam-turbine at Rugby.

Mr. Peache was also for many years chairman of Messrs. Broom and Wade of High Wycombe. He joined the firm in 1899 to help them at a difficult time. He designed the first "Broomwade" compressor, and a few years later made suggestions which led to the design of their mechanically operated valve machine, which is still built in large numbers. Mr. Peache gave up his interest in the firm early in 1914.

During recent years he was a director of the Chiswick Electricity Supply Corporation and of the West London and Provincial Electric and General Trust.

He died at the age of 79 on 19th March 1931, and he had been a Member of the Institution since 1880.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Richard Carr's Paxman History Pages website - Paxman "Peache Patent" Steam Engines
  2. [2] Contents page for The Engineer, 6 December 1895
  3. 1931 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries