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Pluto last won the day on July 12 2011

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About Pluto

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    European inland waterway history, including the transfer of technology during the early industrial revolution; wooden boat construction on inland waterways; the history of opening bridges; and the L&LC.

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    industrial historian
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  1. Oxford Canal around Brinklow, pre-1830s route map

    The Brinklow arches appear in Hogrewe's 1780 book on English canals. Von Maillard, in his 1817 book on canal construction noted: The first 11 arches were initially built as accommodation, but afterwards became uninhabitable. This structure, whose plan and view can be found in Hoggreve’s work about the English canals, presents on paper a pleasant image, however, on the other hand it was pointless to have so many costly land arches, and instead of those an embankment was all that was necessary – it gave a poor impression; also not to be copied on this oldest canal in England are the delicately built, very costly and mainly unessential overflows.
  2. Limestone Traffic on Canals

    Most northern waterways were built primarily for the carriage of limestone, which was used extensively as a fertiliser, with other uses developing as the economy grew. The L&LC was no exception, and initially they expected to carry far more limestone than coal. By 1790, when the canal came to be built through East Lancashire, the route was moved southwards, out of the limestone area and into the coal measures. The undertakers of the canal realised that coal was becoming more important, not for steam engines, but for industrial processes, so the twenty years from 1770-1790 mark the end of the agricultural revolution and the beginning of the industrial revolution, as shown by the change in the canal's route. There are more details in my book on the canal published last year, which includes a section on limestone traffic.
  3. Steam on the Bridgewater

    The K&A seems to have attracted eccentric designs. This one was sent by someone living near the canal to the L&LC in 1893. The inventor, having been given the L&LC's statistics for their Wilkinson steam engines, decided he had to go back to the drawing board.
  4. Just come across the following whilst browsing Google Books.I can't find volume xlv online: Mechanics Magazine Dec 11, 1847 NOTES AND NOTICES. New Steam-boat for Canals—A newly constructed steam apparatus, by Christie and Co., of London, is now working upon the Duke of Bridgewater's Canal, between Runcorn and Preston Brook. It consists, first of all, of a simple barge, which carries the engine, but of course has no paddles. It propels itself, with whatever burden is attached to it, by means of a rope, one end of which is made fast at Runcorn, and the other at Preston Brook; there are two barrels fixed in the engine boat, which are made to revolve round their centre pieces by the power of the engine, and, as they go round, they wind up one end of the rope and let out the other, so that, when the barge is at either of the above mentioned places, one barrel is bare and the other filled with the coil. The rope that is loosed falls, by its own gravity, to the bottom of the canal, so that there is no obstruction offered to other vessels. Thus, when the boat has arrived at Preston Brook, the Runcorn barrel is uncoiled, and vice versa on its arrival at Runcorn, On Tuesday last, six loaded barges were attached to it, four of 40 tons burden, and two smaller boats, making altogether 250 tons burden, independent of the steam boat, which it took to Preston Brook, about five and a half miles, in two hours. It seems fully to answer the expectations of the trustees, and it will enable them to clear the docks of the different carriage-barges at a wonderful rate of dispatch.—Liverpool Mercury. [The invention referred to is that of Capt. Beadon, of which a full account was given in our vol. xlv., p. 205.]
  5. HS2 - Wormleighton loop maintenance yard

    You may be interested in the latest design, which does encompass canals.
  6. Passing Place in a Lock

    It does seem to have been the case, and the same thing may have happened on the Canal de Briare. They had their own 'caves' for storing wine until the winter rains provided enough water for the trip to Paris. Probably a bit of a simplification, but water supply was not well understood in the 18th century. France had some early canals, the Briare, Midi, Orleans, and Picardy, but the return was obviously poor. There was much more centralised control by the government, which affected canal development there, though there were some grand schemes. Both Austria and France looked at English narrow canals as a way of producing a cheap navigational system after the Napoleonic wars, but little in the way of narrow canals were built, apart from the Canal du Berry, Wiener Neustadt Canal and the Naab Navigation in Bavaria, plus I think a canal in the Low Countries.
  7. Brexit 2017

    As I said previously regarding another poster, you are sounding just like the American gun lobby suggesting that you cannot amend an amendment. Being against further votes does suggest you are uncertain as to how they would go. And if we are to have a true democracy, we need to vote on every decision made, and there are going to be an awful lot in the near future.
  8. Brexit 2017

    You do sound a bit like the American gun lobby suggesting that you can't amend and amendment.
  9. Passing Place in a Lock

    I think this is crucial in understanding canal construction. In this country, the early canals were far more successful than their promoters anticipated, leading to the inevitable water supply problems, despite water supply being central to a good engineer's design. They just didn't expect so much traffic. On the continent, early canals were very much more seasonal, and so there may have been less pressure on completing a journey quickly. I have just translated von Maillard's comments on the eight-rise locks at Fonserannes, on the Canal du Midi, where to save water boats were only allowed to pass every other day, suggesting that traffic was not so heavy. He thought they should have deviated around the hill, instead of building the tunnel at Malpas, as the deviation would have allowed the Fonserannes locks to be spread out, and thus require less water compared to the riser locks.
  10. Passing Place in a Lock

    Yes, there was at least one three-rise on the Wiener Neustadt Canal. Von Maillard is quite an interesting person, in that he became a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences at the instigation of the French scientist and engineer, Coulomb. He then wrote a book on steam engines which was published in 1784. His other books, apart from the canal engineering one, are about the construction of the arch and about cement mortars, both cutting edge research for the time. His canal book also has a section on soil mechanics, again cutting edge technology, suggesting he knew about Chezy's research, as well as Coulomb's. Interestingly, both Frenchmen were involved with late 18th century French canals. Although Austria is not the first place you would think of regarding canals, there was at least one late 18th century one in what is now Serbia, and plans for linking Vienna and the Danube to the other main rivers in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Adriatic were being develop from around 1700, with a major scheme being proposed in 1786. The Austrians also moved firewood using Trift technology, which required a good knowledge of hydraulic engineering. In engineering terms, von Maillard's book is much more important than Sutcliffe's, but you need to read Sutcliffe to get a good understanding of what was happening in this country, both for engineering and economics. I am currently three-quarters of the way through an initial translation of von Maillard (almost 400 octo pages), and may have it ready before Christmas, but more likely in the new year.
  11. Passing Place in a Lock

    The water usage for the Canal du Midi will not really be much different to that for other riser locks. Von Maillard shows in his book that if you drain the chambers completely, you need to give the middle locks a lesser fall than the two outer ones by the depth of water needed for floating a boat in the lowest and uppermost chambers. I would see one benefit in draining the chamber completely as it being easier to keep rubbish from accumulating and hence damaging the seal at mitre and sill. Where water is left in the chamber after locking, as happens here now - though has this always happened? - the fall for each chamber would have to be equal. At the moment, I don't have the figures for Bingley, despite having copied much of the surviving historical material relative to locks. Bingley is usually just described as having a 60 foot fall, though one list suggests 59 feet 2 inches. Measurement was not that accurate when canals were built, so there could easily be a few inches difference in the falls, something I will have to chase up as the dimensions for recent lock gates should be around. Von Maillard also suggested using side ponds fed not just from the chambers, but also kept full by feeding them via the bywash. In this case, excessive water usage by riser locks could be kept down, though canals were not generally used as intensively around 1800 as they were later in the century, and this would have an effect on the efficiency of such a system.
  12. Passing Place in a Lock

    You may not think of Austria as a place for canals, but the author of the book I am translating did build what was, in effect, an English narrow canal between Vienna and Wiener Neustadt at the start of the 19th century. The book he wrote about canal engineering - it is the only detailed contemporary book on canal construction in general written by an engineer that I have found (far better than the account in Rees Cyclopedia) - includes details of water usage on riser locks. If they are operated as on the Canal du Midi, where ALL the water in the upper chambers is used to fill those further down, leaving the chambers completely empty after a descent, then the middle locks need to have a smaller fall than the two outer ones by the depth of water in the upper and lower pounds. If you don't completely empty the upper chambers, as happens in England, the locks should have an equal fall. With the former situation, you can save much water when changing the direction of travel of boats passing through the locks by having side ponds, something which causes excessive water usage on riser locks without side ponds.
  13. Passing Place in a Lock

    I have just translated the section of a 200 year old Austrian book on canal building which describes riser locks, both with and without side ponds. In general, the author suggests that the fall of the locks depends upon how they were operated, in that he recommended that the centre locks had less fall than those at either end by the amount of water needed for floating a boat. However, the method of operation was as used on the Canal du Midi, where the upper chambers are emptied completely. In Britain, their use has developed such that all the chambers retain enough water for floating at all times, and this would affect the fall for each lock to obtain the most water-efficient way of operation. The author also condemns having locks close together, as there is then not sufficient water in the pound to supply the next lock down without making the pound unnavigable because of too little water. The configuration here could be the result of water problems during early operation, with the chamber being widened to produce sufficient water for the locks lower down the flight, particularly as some of these locks are close together..
  14. Many of them were miners, and passed their taste on to others who didn't serve abroad. In winter, you can still ask locally for a 'Benny and hot', ie with hot water. It was very much a local thing, and it was unlikely to have been drunk in Blackburn to any great extent.
  15. Burnley is one of the largest markets for Benedictine, a result of the Burnley Pals being stationed by the monastery in the First World War.