19/08/2019
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Scottish engineer James Nasmyth was born - On this day in history

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Scottish engineer James Nasmyth, inventor of the steam hammer, was born on 19 August 1808 in Edinburgh. Nasmyth was the son of painter Alexander Nasmyth, who encouraged his son to develop his interest in all things mechanical, which increased when he befriended the son of a local iron founder.

At the age of twenty, Nasmyth made a full size steam carriage capable of carrying passengers and his success encouraged him to seek a career in engineering.

One of his greatest inventions was the steam hammer which allowed huge pieces of metal to be worked efficiently and could deliver a range of blows, from the lightest to the heaviest. One of the hammer's earliest uses was in the forging of the paddle shaft of the SS Great Britain.

Nasmyth died in 1890, at the age of 82.

Further reading

James Nasmyth: An Autobiography

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