John Ramsbottom (engineer)
John Ramsbottom was an English
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...

 mechanical engineer who created many inventions for railways, including the piston ring
Piston ring
A piston ring is a split ring that fits into a groove on the outer diameter of a piston in a reciprocating engine such as an internal combustion engine or steam engine.The three main functions of piston rings in reciprocating engines are:...

, the Ramsbottom safety valve
Safety valve
A safety valve is a valve mechanism for the automatic release of a substance from a boiler, pressure vessel, or other system when the pressure or temperature exceeds preset limits....

, the displacement lubricator
Displacement lubricator
A Mechanical lubricator, or automatic lubricator, is a device fitted to a steam engine to supply lubricating oil to the cylinders and, sometimes, the bearings and axle box mountings as well. There are various types of mechanical lubricator....

, and the water trough
Track pan
A track pan or water trough is a device to enable a steam railway locomotive to replenish its water supply while in motion...



Born in Todmorden
Todmorden is a market town and civil parish, located 17 miles from Manchester, within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale, in West Yorkshire, England. It forms part of the Upper Calder Valley and has a total population of 14,941....

, on the Lancashire
Lancashire is a non-metropolitan county of historic origin in the North West of England. It takes its name from the city of Lancaster, and is sometimes known as the County of Lancaster. Although Lancaster is still considered to be the county town, Lancashire County Council is based in Preston...

 side of the border, Ramsbottom was the son of a steam cotton mill
Cotton mill
A cotton mill is a factory that houses spinning and weaving machinery. Typically built between 1775 and 1930, mills spun cotton which was an important product during the Industrial Revolution....

 owner. He learned about steam engine
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

s, rebuilding his father's and also invented the weft fork that enabled loom
A loom is a device used to weave cloth. The basic purpose of any loom is to hold the warp threads under tension to facilitate the interweaving of the weft threads...

s to be run at high speed.

In 1839 Ramsbottom joined Sharp, Roberts and Company
Sharp, Roberts and Company
Sharp, Stewart and Company was a steam locomotive manufacturer, initially based in Manchester, England. The company was formed in 1843 upon the demise of Sharp, Roberts & Co. and moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 1888, eventually amalgamating with two other Glasgow-based locomotive manufacturers to...

 of Manchester
Manchester is a city and metropolitan borough in Greater Manchester, England. According to the Office for National Statistics, the 2010 mid-year population estimate for Manchester was 498,800. Manchester lies within one of the UK's largest metropolitan areas, the metropolitan county of Greater...

 who made both industrial stationary engine
Stationary engine
A stationary engine is an engine whose framework does not move. It is normally used not to propel a vehicle but to drive a piece of immobile equipment such as a pump or power tool. They may be powered by steam; or oil-burning or internal combustion engines....

s and steam locomotive
Steam locomotive
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine...

s, and learned of the latter. He was recommended by Charles Beyer
Charles Beyer
Charles Frederick Beyer was a German-British locomotive engineer, co-founder of the firm Beyer-Peacock.-Early life:...

 in 1842 to become locomotive superintendent of the Manchester and Birmingham Railway
Manchester and Birmingham Railway
The Manchester and Birmingham Railway was built between Manchester and Crewe and opened in stages from 1840. Between Crewe and Birmingham, trains were worked by the Grand Junction Railway...

 (M&BR). In 1846 the M&BR merged and became the London and North Western Railway
London and North Western Railway
The London and North Western Railway was a British railway company between 1846 and 1922. It was created by the merger of three companies – the Grand Junction Railway, the London and Birmingham Railway and the Manchester and Birmingham Railway...

 (LNWR), and Ramsbottom became District Superintendent North Eastern Division.

In 1852 he invented the split piston ring
Piston ring
A piston ring is a split ring that fits into a groove on the outer diameter of a piston in a reciprocating engine such as an internal combustion engine or steam engine.The three main functions of piston rings in reciprocating engines are:...

, which provided a tight seal of the piston against the cylinder with low friction.

In 1857 Ramsbottom became locomotive superintendent of the Northern Division (lines north of Rugby
Rugby, Warwickshire
Rugby is a market town in Warwickshire, England, located on the River Avon. The town has a population of 61,988 making it the second largest town in the county...

), based at Crewe
Crewe is a railway town within the unitary authority area of Cheshire East and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. According to the 2001 census the urban area had a population of 67,683...


Ramsbottom became a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers
Institution of Civil Engineers
Founded on 2 January 1818, the Institution of Civil Engineers is an independent professional association, based in central London, representing civil engineering. Like its early membership, the majority of its current members are British engineers, but it also has members in more than 150...

 in 1866. He was also president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
Institution of Mechanical Engineers
The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is the British engineering society based in central London, representing mechanical engineering. It is licensed by the Engineering Council UK to assess candidates for inclusion on ECUK's Register of professional Engineers...

 in 1870 and 1871.

Ramsbottom retired in 1871, becoming in 1883 a consulting engineer and a director of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway
The Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway was a major British railway company before the 1923 Grouping. It was incorporated in 1847 from an amalgamation of several existing railways...

 (L&YR). He was also a director of Beyer-Peacock
Beyer, Peacock and Company was an English railway Locomotive manufacturer with a factory in Gorton, Manchester. Founded by Charles Beyer and Richard Peacock, it traded from 1854 until 1966...


External links

  • Obiturary
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.