The published history of mine pumping in Cornwall is extensive but to date has largely concentrated on the use of steam in the nineteenth century; the story of the eighteenth century and its pioneers has received considerably less attention. It is to this period that Rick Stewart, author of the Trevithick Society’s best-selling history: Devon Great Consols: A Mine of Mines, has turned his attention.
Mine Pumping Engines in Eighteenth Century Cornwall opens with a discussion of adit drainage and the use of water power including the pioneering water engines developed by the Coster family. The history of the Newcomen engine in Cornwall from the first tentative steps in the 1710s to a point when over “three score” atmospheric engines were in use in the county is covered in detail.
The work of Boulton and Watt in Cornwall is examined as is their sometimes highly acrimonious relationship with Cornish mine adventurers.
The book’s closing chapters cover the work of Jonathan Hornblower and Edward Bull both of whom challenged Boulton and Watt’s near monopoly on engine construction. Appendices outline the numerous engineers who erected engines in the county and a technical discussion of pumps and pump technology during the eighteenth century.
This publication has, in part, been made possible by assistance from the Cornwall and West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site Office.
Mine Pumping Engines in Eighteenth Century Cornwall by R. J. Stewart is published by the Trevithick Society as a large format paperback at £17.50 and is now available in book shops. (ISBN 978-0-9935021-2-5)