Buckle, William

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b. 29 July 1794 Alnwick, Northumberland, England
d. 30 September 1863 London, England
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English mechanical engineer who introduced the first large screw-cutting lathe to Boulton, Watt \& Co.
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William Buckle was the son of Thomas Buckle (1759–1849), a millwright who later assisted the 9th Earl of Dundonald (1749–1831) in his various inventions, principally machines for the manufacture of rope. Soon after the birth of William, the family moved from Alnwick to Hull, Yorkshire, where he received his education. The family again moved c.1808 to London, and William was apprenticed to Messrs Woolf \& Edwards, millwrights and engineers of Lambeth. During his apprenticeship he attended evening classes at a mechanical drawing school in Finsbury, which was then the only place of its kind in London.
After completing his apprenticeship, he was sent by Messrs Humphrys to Memel in Prussia to establish steamboats on the rivers and lakes there under the patronage of the Prince of Hardenburg. After about four years he returned to Britain and was employed by Boulton, Watt \& Co. to install the engines in the first steam mail packet for the service between Dublin and Holyhead. He was responsible for the engines of the steamship Lightning when it was used on the visit of George IV to Ireland.
About 1824 Buckle was engaged by Boulton, Watt \& Co. as Manager of the Soho Foundry, where he is credited with introducing the first large screw-cutting lathe. At Soho about 700 or 800 men were employed on a wide variety of engineering manufacture, including coining machinery for mints in many parts of the world, with some in 1826 for the Mint at the Soho Manufactory. In 1851, following the recommendations of a Royal Commission, the Royal Mint in London was reorganized and Buckle was asked to take the post of Assistant Coiner, the senior executive officer under the Deputy Master. This he accepted, retaining the post until the end of his life.
At Soho, Buckle helped to establish a literary and scientific institution to provide evening classes for the apprentices and took part in the teaching. He was an original member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, which was founded in Birmingham in January 1847, and a member of their Council from then until 1855. He contributed a number of papers in the early years, including a memoir of William Murdock whom he had known at Soho; he resigned from the Institution in 1856 after his move to London. He was an honorary member of the London Association of Foreman Engineers.
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Bibliography
1850, "Inventions and life of William Murdock", Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers 2 (October): 16–26.
RTS

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

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