Matthew Murray and John Blenkinsop (Blenkinsopp)
Marshall states that Matthew Murray was born near Newcastle upon Tyne in 1765 and died in Leeds on 20 February 1826. Murray was the builder of the Blenkinsop locomotives used from 1812 on the Middleton Railway near Leeds, possibly the first commercially successful steam locomotives. A skilled and careful mechanic, Murray built these to last, and they did in fact work for twenty years and could haul 130 tons. Like many early locomotive builders and designers, Murray started as a mill mechanic. In 1795, at the age of twenty, he joined with James Fenton (1754-1834) (incidentally there was another James Fenton associated with the Round Foudary much later in the 1840s) and David Wood (1761-1820) to form the famous engineering partnership of Fenton, Murray, & Wood, which competed strongly in engine building against Boulton & Watt. Lowe also mentions William Lister (see also as locomotive builder) who provided financial backing for the firm..
In 1802 Murray patented his box type slide valve, which was later used for locomotives; this was not the first slide valve, being forestalled by Murdock's, but it was much simpler than the latter. He also patented in 1802 his engine with two cylinders driving cranks set at right angles on the same shaft ; this meant that the machine was self-starting in any position, and the principle was applied in the Blenkinsop locomotives. The latter were based on Trevithick's 'high-pressure' design, Murray apparently lacking the confidence to break away from the solutions applied by Trevithick. When the Stockton & Darlington Railway asked the partnership to build its first locomotives Murray refused, not having overcome his distrust of the necessarily high (50 psi) pressure of locomotives. Later Murray evolved a design for a locomotive in which the boiler and engine were carried in separate vehicles. He never built this, although the idea was later patented by T. E. Harrison and two units were built for the Great Western Railway. Murray's design included a hopper above the grate, operated by a roller driven from the wheels, which may be considered the first scheme for a mechanical stoker. Gillian Cookson (the ODNB biographer) calls Murray "frank and open" with a genial temperament.
Patents (via Woodcroft)
GB 2327/1799. 16 July 1799. Steam-engines.
GB 2531/1801 11 August 1801 Constructing the air-pump and other parts belonging to steam-engines, so as to increase power and save fuel.
GB 2632/1802 28 June 1802 Combined steam-engines for producing circular powers, and machinery belonging thereto, applicable for drawing coals and other minerals from mines, for spinning cotton, flax, and wool, or for any purpose requiring circular power.
Slide valve patent
GB 3792/1814 12 March 1814 Construction of hiydraulic-presses for pressing cloth and paper, and for other purposes.
See: C.F. Dendy Marshall;
Matthew Maurray and the locomotive. Locomotive Carriage and Wagon Review, Feb. 1926, 32, 58-60.
Tyas, G.F. Matthew Murray. a centenary appreciation. Trans Newcomen Soc., 1925, 6, 111-43.
Cookson, Gillian entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Martin Johnson letter in Backtrack, 2013, 27, 573 assesses Murray and his locomotives in a forthright style.
E. Kilburn Scott.
Memorials to pioneer Leeds engineers. Trans Newcomen Soc., 1930, 11, 164
The career of Matthew Murray, born 1765 - died 1826: read before the Society of Engineers (Inc), Monday, 2 March 1931
Matthew Murray, pioneer engineer: records rom 1765 to 1826. Leeds: 1928. 132pp.
Ottley 2855 was obviously impressed as annotated entry noting five bibiography, a chronology and a family tree, as well as including details of contemporary engineers.
Marshall states that Blenkinsop was probably born on Tyneside in 1783 and died in Leeds on 22 January 1831. John Blenkinsop was the agent for the Middleton Estate, near Leeds, which included the Middleton Colliery .This colliery used a wooden wagonway to convey its coal to Leeds, but in 1811 Blenkinsop patented a rack system for steam locomotion and the owners of the estate authorized him to order a locomotive from Murray and to re-lay the wagonway according to his system. The latter involved cast-iron upright ('edge') rails, with rack teeth along one line of rail (a central rack was impracticable because some horses were still used). The first two locomotives, Prince Regent and Salamanca, were an immediate success. They were modelled on Trevithick's machine but had two vertical cylinders instead of one, and these drove crankshafts which were connected by gears to another shaft on which a rack wheel was mounted on the left-hand side. According to Blenkinsop, one of these machines could do the work of sixteen horses. This rack system was not used by subsequent designers, but it had the advantage of enabling a very light locomotive to exert a strong pull. It should be noted that Sekon (The evolution of the steam locomotive) spelled his name as Blenkinsopp and that the name appeared to be Blenkensop on the Armstrong broad gauge 0-6-0 supplied by Slaughter, Gruning in 1865 (RCTS Locomotives of the Great Western Railway. Part 2)..
Patent (via Woodcroft)
GB 3431/1811. Mechanical means
whereby the conveyance of coals, minerals and other articles, is facilitated,
and the expense reduced.
C. F. Dendy Marshall, History of the railway locomotive down to
the end of the Year 1831 (1953).
Rutherford, Michael. In the beginning. Backtrack, 1997, 11, 539.
Argues that Blenkinsop and Murray have failed to receive sufficient recognition for the influence of their rack system, both in Britain (where at least nine locomotives operated), and in Belgium and in Germany. The system was also evlauated in South Wales.
Seccombe, Thomas (revised M.M. Kirby) entry in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
Fenton, James (b. 1754)
Born in 1754 and died in Hampstead on 13 January 1834. With Matthew Murray and David Wood they formed a firm to build steam engines at the Round Foundry in Leeds (Marshall). See also locomotive manufacturers for firm which bore his name.