John Penn and Son

Marine engineers,
Ship engines

1800 - John Penn (1770-1843) began in business on his own account at Greenwich, where he soon became known as a millwright, especially for flour mills. 1818 - the treadmill for prisons, designed by William Cubitt was first executed at John Penn’s works. 1825 - marine engineering started at Greenwich. 1833 - began to make marine engines with oscillating cylinders, first fitted to paddle-boats which plied between London and Richmond. 1843 - commissioned to make oscillating engines for the Phoenix of 260 h.p. 1851 - award at the Great Exhibition. 1852 - refitted the SS Great Britain with oscillating engines of 500 h.p. which gave the vessel substantial capacity for speed. 1872 - John Penn (1805-1878) took his two elder sons into the partnership, and retired from the more active duties of the business. 1875 - built the engine for the Royal Italian Government single-screw composite corvette, Cristoforo Colombo. 1879 - built the engine for the PS Empress for Cosens and Co of Weymouth. 1898 - built a horizontal engine with gear drive for Metropolitan Water Board (West Wickham Station). 1899 - acquired by Thames iron Works but continued to operate under own name. 1912 - company closed.