half plate negatives

Made:
1875-1929 in unknown place
Half-plate negative of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom Half-plate negative of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom Two half-plate negatives of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom

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Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Creative Commons LicenseThis image is released under a CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Licence

Buy this image as a print 

Buy

License this image for commercial use at Science and Society Picture Library

License

Half-plate negative of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Half-plate negative of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Two half-plate negatives of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom
Science Museum Group
© The Board of Trustees of the Science Museum

Two half-plate negatives of the Newcomen engine at Fairbottom, Ashton-under-Lyne, known as 'Fairbottom Bobs', owned by Newton Stanley Smith of Harrison & Smith, Sale, 1930-1939.

These images of the oldest known surviving steam engine in the world were taken shortly before it was dismantled in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchetser and transported over 3500 miles to be displayed in Henry Ford’s museum, Michigan, America.

The Newcomen engine, designed by Thomas Newcomen in the early 1700s, allowed for industrial progress by draining water from deep mines allowing for the exploitation of their mineral wealth. It was the first practical steam engine and became a successful artificial source of power, replacing the power of wind, water and animals.

The engine was safer and more effective than the earlier Savery engine. It worked by heating water in a boiler, the resulting steam was let into the cylinder, pushing up the piston. The steam was then condensed, bringing down the piston. The piston rocked the beam, which worked the pump.

The ‘Fairbottom Bobs’ seen in these images were Newcomen type steam engines, installed in the mid-1700s to pump water from a coal mine adjacent to the River Medlock, Greater Manchester. The area around the engine was known as Fairbottom, and the name Fairbottom Bobs came from the bobbing action of the engine itself.

Henry Ford acquired the ‘Fairbottom Bobs’ around 200 years later in 1929. Herbert Morton was tasked with dismantling, packing, and transporting what remained of the original engine to Dearborn, Michigan, for display in Ford’s museum. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation holds a photo album chronicling Morton's experience of the associated archaeological dig and transportation process.

Details

Category:
Photographic Technology
Object Number:
2017-2013
Materials:
glass
Measurements:
overall: 120 mm x 162 mm
type:
half-plate negative
credit:
Roger Smith