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Joseph Bramah

Joseph Bramah

Overview
Joseph Bramah born Stainborough Lane Farm, Wentworth
Wentworth, South Yorkshire
Wentworth is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 1,223.- History :...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, was an inventor and locksmith. He is best known for having invented the hydraulic press
Hydraulic press
A hydraulic is a machine using a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force. It uses the hydraulic equivalenta mechanical lever, and was also known as a Bramah press after the inventor, Joseph Bramah, of England. He invented and was issued a patent on this press in 1795...

. Along with William George Armstrong, he can be considered one of the two fathers of hydraulic engineering.

He was the second son in the family of three sons and two daughters of Joseph Bramma (note the different spelling of the surname), a farmer, and his wife, Mary Denton.
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Encyclopedia
Joseph Bramah born Stainborough Lane Farm, Wentworth
Wentworth, South Yorkshire
Wentworth is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Rotherham in South Yorkshire, England. It has a population of 1,223.- History :...

, Yorkshire
Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, was an inventor and locksmith. He is best known for having invented the hydraulic press
Hydraulic press
A hydraulic is a machine using a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force. It uses the hydraulic equivalenta mechanical lever, and was also known as a Bramah press after the inventor, Joseph Bramah, of England. He invented and was issued a patent on this press in 1795...

. Along with William George Armstrong, he can be considered one of the two fathers of hydraulic engineering.

Early life


He was the second son in the family of three sons and two daughters of Joseph Bramma (note the different spelling of the surname), a farmer, and his wife, Mary Denton. He was educated at the local school in Silkstone
Silkstone
Silkstone is a village and civil parish in the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley in South Yorkshire, England. It is situated in the foothills of the Pennines, between the towns of Barnsley and Penistone, and includes the village of Silkstone Common...

 and on leaving school he was apprenticed to a local carpenter. On completing his apprenticeship he moved to London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, where he started work as a cabinet-maker. In 1783 he married Mary Lawton of Mapplewell
Mapplewell
Mapplewell is a village within the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, in South Yorkshire, England. Formerly part of the now defunct Barnsley West and Penistone borough constituency, following the Boundary Commission for England's report on South Yorkshire's Parliamentary constituencies in 2004 and...

, near Barnsley
Barnsley
Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Dearne, north of the city of Sheffield, south of Leeds and west of Doncaster. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and...

, and the couple set up home in London. They subsequently had a daughter and four sons. The couple lived first at 124 Piccadilly, but later moved to Eaton Street, Pimlico.

Improved water closet


In London, Bramah worked for a Mr. Allen, installing water closet
Closet
A closet is a small and enclosed space, a cabinet, or a cupboard in a house or building used for general storage or hanging clothes. A closet for food storage is usually referred to as a pantry...

s which were designed to a patent obtained by Alexander Cumming in 1775. He found that the current model being installed in London houses had a tendency to freeze in cold weather. Although it was Allen who improved the design by replacing the usual slide valve with a hinged flap that sealed the bottom of the bowl,
Bramah obtained the patent for it in 1778, and began making water closets at a workshop in Denmark Street, St Giles
St Giles, London
St Giles is a district of London, England. It is the location of the church of St Giles in the Fields, the Phoenix Garden and St Giles Circus. It is located at the southern tip of the London Borough of Camden and is part of the Midtown business improvement district.The combined parishes of St...

. The design was a success and production continued well into the 19th century.

His original water closets are still working in Osbourne House, Queen Victoria's home on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
The Isle of Wight is a county and the largest island of England, located in the English Channel, on average about 2–4 miles off the south coast of the county of Hampshire, separated from the mainland by a strait called the Solent...

.

Bramah Locks company


After attending some lectures on technical aspects of lock
Lock (device)
A lock is a mechanical or electronic fastening device that is released by a physical object or secret information , or combination of more than one of these....

s, Bramah designed a lock of his own, receiving a patent for it in 1784. In the same year he started the Bramah Locks company at 124 Piccadilly, which is today based in Marylebone, London and Romford, Essex.

The locks produced by his company were famed for their resistance to lock picking
Lock picking
Lock picking is the art of unlocking a lock by analyzing and manipulating the components of the lock device, without the original key. Although lock picking can be associated with criminal intent, it is an essential skill for a locksmith...

 and tampering, and the company famously had a "Challenge Lock" displayed in the window of their London shop from 1790 mounted on a board containing the inscription:

The artist who can make an instrument that will pick or open this lock shall receive 200 guineas
Guinea (British coin)
The guinea is a coin that was minted in the Kingdom of England and later in the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United Kingdom between 1663 and 1813...

 the moment it is produced.


The challenge stood for over 67 years until, at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the American locksmith Alfred Charles Hobbs
Alfred Charles Hobbs
Alfred Charles Hobbs was an American locksmith.He was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1812 and married Charlotte F. and had a child: Alfred J. Hobbs...

 was able to open the lock and, following some argument about the circumstances under which he had opened it, was awarded the prize. Hobbs' attempt required some 51 hours, spread over 16 days.

The Challenge Lock is in the Science Museum in London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

. An examination of the lock shows that it has been rebuilt since Hobbs picked it. Originally it had 18 iron slides and 1 central spring; it now has 13 steel slides, each with its own spring.

Bramah received a second patent for a lock design in 1798.

Machine tools



Partly due to the precision requirements of his locks, Bramah spent much time developing machine tool
Machine tool
A machine tool is a machine, typically powered other than by human muscle , used to make manufactured parts in various ways that include cutting or certain other kinds of deformation...

s to assist manufacturing processes. He relied heavily on the expertise of Henry Maudslay
Henry Maudslay
Henry Maudslay was a British machine tool innovator, tool and die maker, and inventor. He is considered a founding father of machine tool technology.-Early life:...

 whom he employed in his workshop from the age of 18. Between them they created a number of innovative machines that made the production of Bramah's locks more efficient, and were applicable to other fields of manufacture.

Just before Bramah died, his workshops also employed Joseph Clement
Joseph Clement
Joseph Clement was a British engineer and industrialist, chiefly remembered as the maker of Charles Babbage's first Difference engine, between 1824 and 1833.-Early life:...

 who among other things made several contributions in the field of lathe
Lathe
A lathe is a machine tool which rotates the workpiece on its axis to perform various operations such as cutting, sanding, knurling, drilling, or deformation with tools that are applied to the workpiece to create an object which has symmetry about an axis of rotation.Lathes are used in woodturning,...

 design.

Hydraulic press


Bramah's most important invention was the hydraulic press
Hydraulic press
A hydraulic is a machine using a hydraulic cylinder to generate a compressive force. It uses the hydraulic equivalenta mechanical lever, and was also known as a Bramah press after the inventor, Joseph Bramah, of England. He invented and was issued a patent on this press in 1795...

. The hydraulic press depends on Pascal's principle, that pressure throughout a closed system is constant. The press had two cylinders and pistons of different cross-sectional areas. If a force was exerted on the smaller piston, this would be translated into a larger force on the larger piston. The difference in the two forces would be proportional to the difference in area of the two pistons. In effect the cylinders act in a similar way that a lever is used to increase the force exerted. Bramah was granted a patent for his hydraulic press in 1795.
Bramah's hydraulic press had many industrial applications and still does today. Of the period of time, to which end the things told of here are referring, the field of hydraulic engineering was within the province of an almost unknown science, and Bramah together with William George Armstrong were the two pioneers in this field.

The hydraulic press is still known as the Bramah Press after its inventor.

Other inventions


Bramah was a very prolific inventor, though not all of his inventions were as important as his hydraulic press. They included: a beer engine
Beer engine
A beer engine is a device for pumping beer, originally manually operated and typically used to dispense beer from a cask or container in a pub's basement or cellar. It was invented by the locksmith and hydraulic engineer Joseph Bramah in 1797...

 (1797), a planing machine (1802), a paper-making machine (1805), a machine for automatically printing bank notes
Banknote
A banknote is a kind of negotiable instrument, a promissory note made by a bank payable to the bearer on demand, used as money, and in many jurisdictions is legal tender. In addition to coins, banknotes make up the cash or bearer forms of all modern fiat money...

 with sequential serial numbers (1806), and a fountain pen (1809). He also patented the first extrusion
Extrusion
Extrusion is a process used to create objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile. A material is pushed or drawn through a die of the desired cross-section...

 process for making lead pipes and also machinery for making gun stocks (Patent No. 2652).
His greatest contribution to engineering was his insistence on quality control. He realised that for engines to succeed, they would have to be machined to a much better standard than was the practice. He taught Arthur Woolf
Arthur Woolf
Arthur Woolf was a Cornish engineer, most famous for inventing a high-pressure compound steam engine. As such he made an outstanding contribution to the development and perfection of the Cornish engine.Woolf left Cornwall in 1785 to work for Joseph Bramah's engineering works in London...

 to machine engines to a close tolerance. This enabled Cornish engines to run with high-pressure steam, vastly increasing their output. Woolf became the leading Cornish steam engineer and his designs were adopted by all the engine designers of the day. The 15-HP engines of Watt and others of circa 1800 gave way to 450-HP engines by 1835. Bramah can be viewed as a founding father in industrial quality control.

Death


One of Bramah's last inventions was a hydrostatic press capable of uprooting trees. This was put to work at Holt Forest in Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

. While superintending this work Bramah caught a cold, which developed into pneumonia. He died at Holt Forest on 9 December 1814. He was buried in the churchyard of St Mary's, Paddington
Paddington
Paddington is a district within the City of Westminster, in central London, England. Formerly a metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in 1965...

.

In 2006 a pub in Barnsley
Barnsley
Barnsley is a town in South Yorkshire, England. It lies on the River Dearne, north of the city of Sheffield, south of Leeds and west of Doncaster. Barnsley is surrounded by several smaller settlements which together form the Metropolitan Borough of Barnsley, of which Barnsley is the largest and...

 town centre was opened named the Joseph Bramah in his memory.

Patents


Bramah was a prolific inventor, and obtained 18 patents for his designs between 1778 and 1812.

1778 : Flushing toilet (Pat. No. 1177)
9 May 1785: Beer pump
Beer engine
A beer engine is a device for pumping beer, originally manually operated and typically used to dispense beer from a cask or container in a pub's basement or cellar. It was invented by the locksmith and hydraulic engineer Joseph Bramah in 1797...


1785: Hydrostatical machine and bodies, propelling vessels, carriages, etc (Pat. No. 1478)
1787: Bramah Lock (Pat. No. 1478)
1790: Rotary engines (with Thomas Dickinson) (Pat. No. 1720)
1793: Fire engines (Pat. No. 1948)
Beer engines and brewing (Pat. No. 2196)

1795: Hydraulic press (Pat. No. 2045)
1796: First Pumper Fire Truck
1798: Locks (Pat. No. 2232)
1802: A planing machine for making gun stocks (Pat. No. 2652)
1805: Improvements to paper manufacture and printing (Pat. No. 2840)
1806: Printing and numbering of banknotes (Pat. No. 2957)
Improvements to paper manufacture and printing (Pat. No. 2977)

1809: Pens (Pat. No. 3260)
Carriages (Pat. No. 3270)

1812: Public water mains and high-pressure hydraulic mains (Pat. No. 3611)
Carriages (Pat. No. 3616)

External links