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British Industrial History

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Benjamin Hick

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c.1855 Benjamin Hick and Sons patent friction clutch for ships, at London Science Museum

Benjamin Hick (1790-1842) Mechanical engineer.

1790 Born at Leeds

Trained at Fenton, Murray and Wood, the well known makers of steam engines, textile machines and other machinery.

Moved to Bolton to work for Smalley, Thwaites and Co

Smalley, Thwaites and Co became Thwaites, Cochrane, Hick and Co and later Rothwell, Hick and Rothwell at Rothwell's Union Foundry. The firm made stationary steam engines, (a number of which were featured by John Farey (Junior) in the second volume of his 'Treatise on the Steam Engine', 1827) as well as general engineering products such as cranes.

1814 Hick married; had two sons who he trained as engineers.

1823 Benjamin Hick, Bolton, became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers.[1]

1828 One of the promoters of the Bolton and Leigh Railway

1830 the firm made the locomotive Union for the Bolton and Leigh Railway.

1832 Benjamin Hick left to set up his own business Benjamin Hick and Sons, and the original firm became Rothwell and Co.

1833 Benjamin Hick and Sons set up their own manufactory at the Soho Foundry, Bolton. They made the locomotive Soho for the Bolton and Leigh Railway, and soon became well-known as suppliers to British and foreign railway companies.

1842 September 9th. Benjamin Hick died at Bolton. The firm continued under the management of his son, John Hick(1815-1894).

1843 Obituary [2]

Mr. Benjamin Hick was born at Leeds in the year 1790, and was brought up as a practical engineer in the establishment of Fenton and Murray, by whom at an early age he was entrusted with the superintendence and erection of several large engines, etc., and he was eventually offered a partnership in their works; this he declined, and in 1810 engaged with Mr. Rothwell in the Union Foundry at Bolton, of which he was the managing partner; and in 1833 he established the Soho Foundry, now carried on by his sons in that town.

His attention was directed to almost all branches of mechanics, and the ingenuity displayed in his inventions and improvements is generally acknowledged: some of his improvements have become public property without being claimed by him, or its being known from what source they emanated.

He became a member of the Institution in the year 1824, and although the distance of his residence precluded his frequent attendance at the meetings, he was a liberal contributor to the collection of models, &c.

His good taste, his integrity of character, the encouragement which he extended to talent of all kinds, and the assistance given by him to all public improvements, obtained for him considerable influence in the town of Bolton, where his loss will be much felt.

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