Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Michael Loam

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Michael Loam (1797-1871) a Cornishman, was the son of Matthew Loam (1761-1808). Matthew had worked for Boulton and Watt, starting as an engineman on the Wheal Butson in 1791, and died while Michael was still a boy.

In 1811 he came to the attention of Arthur Woolf, and became one of his chief assisitants. Michael's older brother Matthew Loam (1794-1875) also worked for Woolf on engine erection until 1825, when he appears to have left Cornwall, later becoming chief engineer of Tayleur and Co.

Michael Loam's son Matthew Loam (1819-1902) became an engineer with his practice in Liskeard. Became Loam and Son?

He invented the Man Engine, a device to carry men up and down the shaft of a mine. He won the prize for this design, offered by the Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society in 1834.

Inspired by German designs and constructed of a series of moving platforms, the Man Engine was finally erected at the Tresavean Mine, in Lanner near Redruth in 1842.

He was trained as an engineer at Wheal Abraham by Arthur Woolf.

Designed a bucket-wheel for a competition for raising the sewage of London from the lower to the higher level sewer.

1861 Mr. S. Holman, of 18, Cannon-street, London, saw the model of Loam's Wheel and publicized it as a means of raising fluids for irrigation, emptying docks, and other such purposes.[1]

Michael Loam remained active in the metal mining and smelting industries in Cornwall and is noted as an investor in the Tamar Tin Smelting Co in 1863.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1861/07/05/
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • 'The Cornish Beam Engine' by D. B. Barton (D Bradford Barton, new edition, 1966)