Seguin, Marc

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b. 20 April 1786 Annonay, Ardèche, France
d. 24 February 1875 Annonay, Ardèche, France
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French engineer, inventor of multi-tubular firetube boiler.
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Seguin trained under Joseph Montgolfier, one of the inventors of the hot-air balloon, and became a pioneer of suspension bridges. In 1825 he was involved in an attempt to introduce steam navigation to the River Rhône using a tug fitted with a winding drum to wind itself upstream along a cable attached to a point on the bank, with a separate boat to transfer the cable from point to point. The attempt proved unsuccessful and was short-lived, but in 1825 Seguin had decided also to seek a government concession for a railway from Saint-Etienne to Lyons as a feeder of traffic to the river. He inspected the Stockton \& Darlington Railway and met George Stephenson; the concession was granted in 1826 to Seguin Frères \& Ed. Biot and two steam locomotives were built to their order by Robert Stephenson \& Co. The locomotives were shipped to France in the spring of 1828 for evaluation prior to construction of others there; each had two vertical cylinders, one each side between front and rear wheels, and a boiler with a single large-diameter furnace tube, with a watertube grate. Meanwhile, in 1827 Seguin, who was still attempting to produce a steamboat powerful enough to navigate the fast-flowing Rhône, had conceived the idea of increasing the heating surface of a boiler by causing the hot gases from combustion to pass through a series of tubes immersed in the water. He was soon considering application of this type of boiler to a locomotive. He applied for a patent for a multi-tubular boiler on 12 December 1827 and carried out numerous experiments with various means of producing a forced draught to overcome the perceived obstruction caused by the small tubes. By May 1829 the steam-navigation venture had collapsed, but Seguin had a locomotive under construction in the workshops of the Lyons-Sain t- Etienne Railway: he retained the cylinder layout of its Stephenson locomotives, but incorporated a boiler of his own design. The fire was beneath the barrel, surrounded by a water-jacket: a single large flue ran towards the front of the boiler, whence hot gases returned via many small tubes through the boiler barrel to a chimney above the firedoor. Draught was provided by axle-driven fans on the tender.
Seguin was not aware of the contemporary construction of Rocket, with a multi-tubular boiler, by Robert Stephenson; Rocket had its first trial run on 5 September 1829, but the precise date on which Seguin's locomotive first ran appears to be unknown, although by 20 October many experiments had been carried out upon it. Seguin's concept of a multi-tubular locomotive boiler therefore considerably antedated that of Henry Booth, and his first locomotive was completed about the same date as Rocket. It was from Rocket's boiler, however, rather than from that of Seguin's locomotive, that the conventional locomotive boiler was descended.
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Bibliography
February 1828, French patent no. 3,744 (multi-tubular boiler).
1839, De l'Influence des chemins de fer et de l'art de les tracer et de les construire, Paris.
Further Reading
F.Achard and L.Seguin, 1928, "Marc Seguin and the invention of the tubular boiler", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 7 (traces the chronology of Seguin's boilers).
——1928, "British railways of 1825 as seen by Marc Seguin", Transactions of the Newcomen Society 7.
J.B.Snell, 1964, Early Railways, London: Weidenfeld \& Nicolson.
J.-M.Combe and B.Escudié, 1991, Vapeurs sur le Rhône, Lyons: Presses Universitaires de Lyon.
PJGR

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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