Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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John James Birckel

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c.1832 Born in France[1]

Trained under Charles Beyer[2]

'Principal draughtsman' to William Fairbairn, before moving to George Forrester and Co of Liverpool[3]

1861 Civil engineer, lodging in Liverpool[4]

1863 John James Birckel, Engineer, Vauxhall Foundry, Liverpool.[5]. The firm was George Forrester and Co

By 1866 was of Regents Canal Ironworks, Eagle Wharf Road, London

1866 Claimed to have designed a floating workshop for the Egyptian Government, three of which were to be built by a Liverpool firm. They had a draught of only 2 ft 6" when loaded. 110 ft long, 17 ft beam. Despite the rectangular section and shallow draught, they were sailed from Liverpool to Alexandria, being fitted with masts and sails for the purpose. Normal propulsion was by paddles, driven through gears. The engine, which also drove the workshop machinery, was mounted on top of a locomotive-type boiler, and had two cylinders of 10" bore and 16" stroke. The workshop was extensively equipped for wood and metal working, and included a foundry and blacksmiths' shop.[6]. Birckel's article, in 'Engineering', was followed three weeks later by a letter from George Forrester and Co of Vauxhall Foundry, Liverpool, pointing out that Birckel had no right to disclose any plans connected with the floating workshops, and that he had been employed by them as a draughtsman, and had played only a small part in connection with the plans and specifications.[7]. Messrs Forrester were doubtless less than pleased to note that alongside their letter was a letter from Birckel describing and illustrating a boring machine 'designed by me' for boring the cylinders of water meters designed by Thomas Duncan and made by George Forrester and Co !

Birckel responded to the letter from Forrester's, stating, inter alia, that his role in the design and execution of the floating workshop was by no means minor, and that he had previously been principal draughtsman with William Fairbairn.[8]

1901 Wrote to The Engineer from France.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1861 census
  2. The Engineer 1901/12/13
  3. [1] 'Engineering' 12 Dec 1866, p.464, letter from Birckel
  4. 1861 census
  5. 1863 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  6. [2] Engineering, 16 Nov 1866
  7. [3] Engineering, 7 Dec 1866
  8. Engineering, 14 Dec 1866, p.474