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Petition of Jonathan Carter Hornblower

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0096 MS 514
Held at: Senate House Library, University of London
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Full title: Petition of Jonathan Carter Hornblower
Date(s): c1792
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 2 leaves
Name of creator(s): Unknown
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Jonathan Carter Hornblower (1753-1815) was the British inventor of the double-beat valve, the first reciprocating compound steam engine. Hornblower's invention, patented in 1781, was a steam engine with two cylinders, a significant contribution to efficiency. The firm of James Watt (Boulton & Watt) challenged his invention, claiming infringement of patent. With the decision against him, Hornblower lost the opportunity to further develop the compound engine. Hornblower patented other inventions, a rotative engine and a steam wheel, or steam engine, and amassed a fortune in engineering. Hornblower died in 1815.


Scope and content/abstract:

Manuscript 'Reasons for Mr. Hornblower's petitioning the Honourable House of Commons for an Act to extend the term of his patent', [24 Feb 1792]; the patent had been granted in 1781 for 14 years, permitting the use of his steam engine in the Cornish mines. The case of James Watt is cited: in 1774 he obtained an extension of a patent 'of a similar nature, for 25 years certain'.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Access to this collection is unrestricted for the purpose of private study and personal research within the supervised environment and restrictions of the Library's Palaeography Room. Uncatalogued material may not be seen. Please contact the University Archivist for details.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Copies may be made, subject to the condition of the original. Copying must be undertaken by the Palaeography Room staff, who will need a minimum of 24 hours to process requests.

Finding aids:

Collection level description.

Archival Information

Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

Enclosed in a Goldsmiths' Library volume lettered 'Hornblower & Windwood-Address to Adventurers in the mines of Cornwall, 1788', including An address to the lords, adventurers and others, concern'd in the mines of Cornwall (1788; G.L. Cat. 13546).

Allied Materials

Related material:

Further material relating to Jonathan Hornblower may be found in the Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, and the Birmingham City Archives.

Publication note:

See Journal of the House of Commons, XLVII.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Sarah Aitchison as part of the RSLP AIM25 Project.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
Aug 2001

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