Morland, Sir Samuel (1625-1695)
Sir Samuel Morland (1625-1695)
Samuel Morland was born in 1625, in Berkshire, the son of a clergyman. He studied mathematics at Winchester College, Cambridge University and became a fellow of Magdalene College in 1649.

In 1675 he took a 31 year lease on the old Manor House of Vauxhall from the Duchy of Cornwall. This house was close to the workshop used by the Marquis of Worcester in the 1660s to demonstrate his Water-commanding Engine (a steam engine). Morland demolished the old house and built a new home on the site. The new house was full of his own inventions, and the gardens had many fountains so became a bit of a tourist attraction. In 1684 Morland decided to move to Hammersmith and sublet the rest of his lease to Robert Fowles a London Goldsmith.

He was a spy - opening, reading, copying and then re-sealing letters. He acted as a diplomat to Sweden in 1653 and to Italy in 1654, the latter being important to Cromwell. He was appointed to Assistant to Secretary Thurloe in 1654 and Gentleman of the Privy Chamber, 1655. Although he had served Cromwell on the accession of Charles II he was given a full pardon and a pension in 1660. This was as a rewarded for revealed an assassination plot against the king

Morland's Adding Machine. Image Source : What the Tudors & Stuarts Did For Us by Adam Hart-Davis

Morland then dedicated himself to his inventions. He experimented with using gunpowder to make a vacuum that would suck in water (in effect the first internal combustion engine) and worked on a steam engine. He was sent to France by the King to help Louis XIV by designing pumps and a pumping station for Versailles. Although he was mainly interested in hydraulics he also applied himself to instruments, mechanical devices, applied mathematics and military engineering. His inventions and achievements include : Morland also accepted several official appointments including: Samuel Moreland died in 1695