Neilson, James Beaumont

SUBJECT AREA: Metallurgy
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b. 22 June 1792 Shettleston, near Glasgow, Scotland
d. 18 January 1865 Queenshill, Kirkcudbright-shire, Scotland
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Scottish inventor of hot blast in ironmaking.
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After leaving school before the age of 14 Neilson followed his father in tending colliery-steam engines. He continued in this line while apprenticed to his elder brother and afterwards rose to engine-wright at Irvine colliery. That failed and Neilson obtained work as Foreman at the first gasworks to be set up in Glasgow. After five years he became Manager and Engineer to the works, remaining there for thirty years. He introduced a number of improvements into gas manufacture, such as the use of clay retorts, iron sulphate as a purifier and the swallow-tail burner. He had meanwhile benefited from studying physics and chemistry at the Andersonian University in Glasgow.
Neilson is best known for introducing hot blast into ironmaking. At that time, ironmasters believed that cold blast produced the best results, since furnaces seemed to make more and better iron in the winter than the summer. Neilson found that by leading the air blast through an iron chamber heated by a coal fire beneath it, much less fuel was needed to convert the iron ore to iron. He secured a patent in 1828 and managed to persuade Clyde Ironworks in Glasgow to try out the device. The results were immediately favourable, and the use of hot blast spread rapidly throughout the country and abroad. The equipment was improved, raising the blast temperature to around 300°C (572°F), reducing the amount of coal, which was converted into coke, required to produce a tonne of iron from 10 tonnes to about 3. Neilson entered into a partnership with Charles Macintosh and others to patent and promote the process. Successive, and successful, lawsuits against those who infringed the patent demonstrates the general eagerness to adopt hot blast. Beneficial though it was, the process did not become really satisfactory until the introduction of hot-blast stoves by E.A. Cowper in 1857.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1846.
Further Reading
S.Smiles, Industrial Biography, Ch. 9 (offers the most detailed account of Neilson's life). Proc. Instn. Civ. Engrs., vol. 30, p. 451.
J.Percy, 1851, Metallurgy: Iron and Steel (provides a detailed history of hot blast).
W.K.V.Gale, 1969, Iron and Steel, London: Longmans (provides brief details).
LRD

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

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  • Neilson, James Beaumont — born June 22, 1792, Shettleston, Lanark, Scot. died Jan. 18, 1865, Queenshill, Kirkcudbright Scottish inventor. Working at the Glasgow Gasworks (1817–47), he introduced the use of a hot air blast for the smelting of iron ore. It had been believed …   Universalium

  • Neilson, James Beaumont — (22 jun. 1792, Shettleston, Lanark, Escocia–18 ene. 1865, Queenshill, Kirkcudbright). Inventor escocés. Mientras trabajaba en la fábrica de gas de Glasgow (1817–47) introdujo el uso del soplado de aire caliente en los hornos para fundición de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • James Beaumont Neilson — Infobox Scientist name = James Beaumont Neilson box width = image width =150px caption = James Beaumont Neilson birth date = June 22, 1792 birth place = Shettleston death date = January 18, 1865 death place = residence = citizenship = nationality …   Wikipedia

  • James Beaumont Neilson — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Neilson. Portrait de James Beaumont Neilson James Beaumont Neilson (1792 1865) est un maître de forge écossais, technicien du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • James Beaumont Neilson — Monumento a Neilson en Barstobrick Hill, on Neilson s former Queenshill estate cerca de Ringford, Kirkcudbrightshire. James Beaumont Neilson (22 de junio de 1792, Lanark 18 de enero de 1865, Kirkcudbright) fue un inventor escocés. Mientras se… …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Neilson (name) — For other uses, see Neilson. Neilson Family name Meaning Son of Neil Related names MacNeil, Nelson, Neilsen, Nielsen …   Wikipedia

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