First edition of Glynn’s development of Smeaton’s work on water wheels. (1853)

GLYNN, Joseph

Rudimentary treatise on the power of water, as applied to drive flour mills, and to give motion to turbines and other hydrostatic engines.

Published: London, John Weale

Date: 1853

12mo (179 × 107 mm), pp. xii, 148, 12 (publisher's catalogue); library stamp to front free flyleaf; slightly toned; numerous engraved illustrations; bound in original publisher's limp green blind-stamped cloth with printed paper labels to upper cover and spine, splitting and loss to spine at base and top, else good.

See Minutes of the Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, 23 (1863): 492-498, and The Engineer, 15 (1863): 98-99. Not in Bibliotheca Mechanica. COPAC shows seven copies of the first edition in UK institutions.

Joseph Glynn (1799-1863), who went to school with Robert Stephenson in Newcastle, trained as an iron founder with his father at the Ouseburn foundry until 1820 when he designed and built a steam engine to drain the Talkin Colliery in Cumberland. In 1821 he designed the system for street lighting by coal gas in Berwick-on-Tweed and subsequently in Aberdeen. Later he became Engineer at the Butterley Iron Company in Derbyshire, where he worked on improving the design of the steam engines up to 200 horse power. He was then commissioned to design a series of marine steam engines for the General Steam Navigation Company and for the Royal Navy (HMS Firefly and HMS Firebrand). His most memorable achievement was the design and construction of steam engines to drain the Fens of eastern England, making it possible to farm many thousands of acres for the first time. He became Vice-President of the Society of Arts and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1838. He died in London in 1863. In the work here offered Glynn outlined his application and development of Smeaton’s rules for the construction of overshot water wheels, a number of which he had built with a diameter of 30 feet and more, and the engines he famously used to drain the fenlands. ‘Mr. Glynn was an advocate for the use of water as moving power, and he erected some water-wheels of large dimensions. His name, however, will be chiefly associated with the employment of the water-wheel or scoop-wheel, as it is called, for draining marshes and fens by steam power. A water-wheel driven the reverse way by a steam-engine, where the object is to lift a large quantity a short distance, has been found in many localities superior to any system of pumps; and this plan was used by Mr. Glynn with great success in the fen country in England, and also in Hanover and Holland, a “polder” near Rotterdam having been thus drained … He contributed to Mr. Weale’s Rudimentary Series “A treatise on Cranes,” of which work 30, 000 copies have been sold, and it has been translated into nearly every European tongue. His “Treatise on the Power of Water” [the present work] has met with nearly equal success, and has put within the reach of the practical millwright and the mechanical engineer, the information which a few years since was confined to the abstract mathematician.’ (‘Obituary’, PICE, 23 (1863): at 495, 497)