William McNaught (Glasgow)
William McNaught (1813–1881) was a Scottish engineer, from Glasgow, who patented a compound steam engine in 1845. This was a technique of improving the efficiency of a standard simple Boulton & Watt beam engine. The engine was compounded by adding a high-pressure cylinder between the support column and the flywheel, on the side opposite the low-pressure cylinder. This improvement could be retrospectively fitted to existing engines.
William McNaught was born on 27 May 1813 at Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland. William was the son of John McNaught, the inventor of the McNaught indicator, a device that measured the cylinder pressure cycle in steam engines. John started producing the indicators in 1830, and for the period 1832–40 he lived at 24, then 26 Robinson Street, Glasgow. William is recorded at that address in 1840. William patented his compound steam engine in 1845 (Patent no. 11001). He relocated to Manchester in 1849.
The Robertson Street workshop was operated by 'William McNaught & Son' as "Makers of Steam-Engine Indicators, Steam Gauges, etc" at 12 Hampden Terrace. Glasgow at least until 1895.
McNaught'ed beam engines
A beam engine might run at 5psi, using one low-pressure cylinder steamed by an 1840 wagon boiler, but when McNaught'ed the new high-pressure cylinder could run at over 60psi, a pressure that the then new Lancashire boiler was capable of producing. In addition the stress on the centre of the beam was massively reduced, and those on the crank pin slightly reduced. This was important in preventing beam failure.
|Sample engine||Beam||Crank Pin|
|Units lbs |
The thermodynamic benefits of high-pressure steam were beginning to be understood, as scientific opinion turned away from the ideas of caloric to the laws of thermodynamics proposed by Joule in 1849.
Many engine makers McNaughted existing beam engines including that of William McNaught (Rochdale).
- Hills, Richard Leslie (1993), Power from Steam: A History of the Stationary Steam Engine (paperback ed.), Cambridge University Press, p. 244, ISBN 9780521458344, retrieved January 2009
- Hills, Richard L. (Sep 2004), "McNaught, William (1813–1881)", Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press), retrieved 15 June 2010 (Online version requires subscription)
- Pickles, Newton; Graham, Stanley (19 June 1979), McNaught, "Lancashire Textile Project", Tape 79/AG/13 (Stanley Graham, Barnoldswick), retrieved 15 June 2010
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