Titt, John Wallis

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b. 1841 Cheriton, Wiltshire, England
d. May 1910 Warminster, Wiltshire, England
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English agricultural engineer and millwright who developed a particular form of wind engine.
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John Wallis Titt grew up on a farm which had a working post-mill, but at 24 years of age he joined the firm of Wallis, Haslam \& Stevens, agricultural engineers and steam engine builders in Basingstoke. From there he went to the millwrighting firm of Brown \& May of Devizes, where he worked for five years.
In 1872 he founded his own firm in Warminster, where his principal work as an agricultural engineer was on hay and straw elevators. In 1876 he moved his firm to the Woodcock Ironworks, also in Warminster. There he carried on his work as an agricultural engineer, but he also had an iron foundry. By 1884 the firm was installing water pumps on estates around Warminster, and it was about that time that he built his first wind engines. Between 1884 and 1903, when illness forced his retirement, his wind engines were built primarily with adjustable sails. These wind engines, under the trade marks "Woodcock" and "Simplex", consisted of a lattice tower with the sails mounted on a a ring at the top. The sails were turned to face the wind by means of a fantail geared to the ring or by a wooden vane. The important feature lay in the sails, which were made of canvas on a wood-and-iron frame mounted in a ring. The ends of the sail frames were hinged to the sail circumferences. In the middle of the sail a circular strap was attached so that all the frames had the same aspect for a given setting of the bar. The importance lies in the adjustable sails, which gave the wind engine the ability to work in variable winds.
Whilst this was not an original patent of John Wallis Titt, he is known to be the only maker of wind engines in Britain who built his business on this highly efficient form of sail. In design terms it derives from the annular sails of the conventional windmills at Haverhill in Suffolk and Roxwell in Essex. After his retirement, his sons reverted to the production of the fixed-bladed galvanized-iron wind engine.
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Further Reading
J.K.Major, 1977, The Windmills of John Wallis Titt, The International Molinological Society.
E.Lancaster Burne, 1906, "Wind power", Cassier' Magazine 30:325–6.
KM

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

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