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had taken out a second patent for an improved lock. Owing to the clumsy tools and inferior workmanship of those days, he found it almost impossible to secure that accuracy without which the lock would be almost useless. The name of the young and clever workman at Woolwich arsenal was mentioned to him, and it was determined that Maudslay should be sent for.
5. The interview is thus described :- Maudslay was at once sent for to Bramah's workshop, and appeared before the lock-maker, a tall, strong, comely young fellow, then only eighteen years old. Bramah was almost ashamed to lay his case before such a mere youth; but necessity compelled him to try all methods of accomplishing his object, and Maudslay's suggestions in reply to his statement of the case were so modest, so sensible, and as the result proved, so practical, that the master was constrained to admit that the lad before him had an old head, though set on young shoulders. Bramah decided to adopt the youth's suggestions, made him a present on the spot, and offered to give him a job if he was willing to come and work in a town shop. Maudslay gladly accepted the offer, and in due time appeared before Bramah to enter upon his duties.
6. "As Maudslay had served no regular apprenticeship and was of a very youthful appearance, the foreman of the shop had considerable doubts as to his ability to take rank alongside his experienced hands. But Maudslay soon set his master's and the foreman's mind at rest. Pointing to a worn-out vice-bench, he said to Bramah, * Perhaps if I can make that as good as new by six o'clock to-night, it will satisfy your foreman that I am entitled to rank as a tradesman and take my place among your men, even though I have not served a seven years' apprenticeship.' There was so much self-reliant ability in the proposal, which was moreover so reasonable, that it was at once acceded to. Off went Maudslay's coat, up went his shirt sleeves, and to work he set with a will upon the old bench. The vice-jaws were re-steeled 'in no time,' filed up, re-cut, all the parts cleaned and made trim, and set into form again. By six o'clock the old vice was screwed up to its place, its jaws were hardened and properly tempered, and the old bench was made to look so smart and neat that it threw all the neighbouring benches into the shade. Bramah and his foreman came round to see it, while the men of the shop looked admiringly on. It was examined and pronounced a first-rate job.' This piece of work secured Maudslay's footing, and next Monday morning he came on as one of the regular hands.”
7. No wonder that such a man soon took a very prominent place in the shop. The most difficult and delicate pieces of work were entrusted to Maudslay. He felt an honest pride in his work. His father had died soon after he entered Bramah's works. Every Saturday night he was in the habit of walking down to Woolwich and handing over to his mother a considerable share of his weekly wages, and this he continued to do as long as she lived. Thus while gaining skill and experience as a workman, he never forgot his duties as a son.
8. Notwithstanding his youth he became not only the favourite but the hero of the shop, and by unanimous consent was appointed head foreman of the works. He proved himself especially useful to his master by devising new and greatly improved tools for making his patent locks.
9. In 1797 he commenced business for himself in a small workshop in Wells Street, London. The shop was in an awful state of dirt and dilapidation when he became its tenant. He entered the place on a Friday, but by the Saturday evening, with the help of his excellent wife, he had the shop thoroughly cleansed, whitewashed, and put in readiness for beginning work on the next Monday morning
10. He still directed his attention particularly to the improvement of the tools which were used, especially with the turning-lathe. He saw very clearly that so long as the excellence of the work chiefly depended upon the skill and care of the individual workman, work of a very unequal and unreliable character must be turned out. His great desire, therefore, was to make the machinery as far “self-acting” as possible. Among other valuable improvements there is one of especial value called the "slide-rest,” first invented by him, and now in universal use.
While Maudslay was thus plodding on, Mr. Brunel who afterwards became so famous as the constructor of the Thames Tunnel, and is better known as Sir Isambard Brunel-was bringing before the notice of the Admiralty some inventions of his own for the better construction of ships of war. Not being himself a practical mechanic, Mr. Brunel had great difficulty in carrying out his ideas. He found in Maudslay the very help he so much needed. His plans being approved of by the Admiralty, the whole of the requisite machinery was executed by Maudslay, who was very fully occupied with this work for nearly six years.
With an extending business, Maudslay had removed first to Margaret Street and then to much larger premises in Westminster Road, Lambeth, in 1810.
12. He next turned his attention to the engines used in steamboats. The Regent, which was the first steamboat that plied between London and Margate, was fitted with engines by Maudslay in 1816.
13. Like every good workman who takes pride in his craft, he kept his tools in first-rate order, clean, and tidily arranged, so that he could lay his hand upon the thing he wanted at once, without loss of time. He always made it a rule, from which he would never deviate, that he would turn out nothing but really good work. Every little detail was carefully attended to, and his workshop was considered one of the best training schools in the kingdom for young mechanics. Many of the most distinguished engineers of the present day are proud to acknowledge the benefit they have derived from the lessons that were taught and the example set in Henry Maudslay's works.
14. In the height of his prosperity, Maudslay never forgot his humble birth-place. He was ever glad to visit the scenes of his childhood, and to talk about his early days. After his death in 1831, he was buried by his own desire in the parish churchyard of Woolwich. It was natural that, being proud of his early connection with Woolwich, he should wish to lie there; and Woolwich, on its part, has equal reason to be proud of Henry Maudslay.-Smiles's Industrial Biography.
arsenal, a manufactory of heavy
artillery. stock, a soldier's neck dress. adhered, remained faithful to. patent, a means of protecting a
man's own invention by a pay
ment to government. vice, a kind of iron press for
holding things firmly. tempered, moderated.
unanimous, with one mind. dilapidation, falling to pieces. slide-rest, an appendage to the
turning - lathe for facilitating and insuring accuracy in the
motion of the cutting tool. Admiralty, the place where the
business of the royal navy is
Where was Henry Maudslay born? How old was he when he went to work? Describe his first interview with Bramah. Show Maudslay's care for his mother. In what state did Maudslay find his first shop? What did he do with it? What special improve
ment in turning-lathes did he invent? How did Maudslay prove himself of service to Mr. Brunel? What great work was executed by Mr. Brunel? Where was Maudslay buried?
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