Maudslay's table engine, 1838.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by G Gladwin after a drawing by J Clement of a table engine by Maudslay Sons & Field. This type of engine was patented by Henry Maudslay (1771-1831) in 1807. It was a simple, self-contained design that was sold for 50 years in a range of moderate sizes. After working in London's Woolwich Arsenal as a skilled blacksmith and toolmaker, Maudslay joined the famous locksmith, Joseph Bramah, and quickly became his head foreman. By 1797 Maudslay had started his own busines producing machine tools and developed two extremely significant tools - a highly accurate screw-cutting lathe and the slide rest lathe. Both were used to develop other revolutionary precision tools, in particular the machinery used in the production of ships blocks.