Smith, Francis Petit 1808 - 1874

1808-1874, inventor, British; English

1835 - built a model ship propelled by a screw, driven by a spring.

1836 - with technical assistance from an engineer, Thomas Pilgrim, and financial backing from Wright's Bank, took out a patent for screw propulsion (not for a propeller).

1837 - during the testing of the 'Francis Smith', which was propelled by a wooden screw of two complete turns, a happy accident saw half the propeller broken off and the speed increased.

1839 - the Archimedes (237 tons) completed. The propulsion system of the Archimedes convinced Isambard Kingdom Brunel to change the S.S. 'Great Britain' to screw propulsion.

1856 - when the 1836 patent expired, Sir Francis Petit Smith retired to Guernsey as a farmer.

1855 - awarded a civil-list pension of £200.

1860 - offered the post of Director of the Patent Office Museum.

1871 - knighted.