Nasmyth, James 1802-1890
Nasmyth was born in 1802 in Edinburgh to an eminent landscape painter (Alexander Nasmyth) whose hobby was mechanics. As a schoolboy Nasmyth played in his fathers workshop and showed a great mechanical aptitude building successful model steam engines. His ambition was to become a mechanical engineer and in 1829 he visited Henry Maudslay's machine shop in Lambeth showed him his drawings and was appointed Henry's personal draftsman at 10 shillings a week (50p). After Maudslay's death in 1831 Nasmyth carried on working for Maudslay's partner Joshua Fields for a short period before setting up business on his own. In 1836 he began to build his own foundry near Bridgewater making machine tools of all kinds along with a variety of steam-powered machines. He designed a powerful steam hammer, which he patented in 1842. Besides steam hammers, Nasmyth build over 100 steam locomotives, many small high-pressure steam engines, and a variety of pumps, hydraulic presses, and other machines. He retired at 48 to carry on his hobby of astronomy.