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George Sorocold — further work by Paul Sharratt and Alan Gifford

ET Social Network Members may be interested to learn about a further reference to the early Engineer George Sorocold discovered during continued research by myself (Paul Sharratt) and Alan Gifford.

Our article on Sorocold concluded with a quote relating to Sorocold attributed to Robert Bald from 1812 which reads:

"Sorocold was one of two millwrights of his age who never failed in what they undertook, because they considered the perfection and success of their work first and their profit afterwards."

We have since found an earlier quote in a similar vein from John Theophilus Desaguliers  (1683-1744) Natural Philosopher, Engineer, Fellow of the Royal Society and notable Freemason. In the second volume of his work ‘A Course in Experimental Philosophy’, published in 1744. He refers to Sorocold as follows:

“There have indeed been some of a strong natural Genius for Mechanicks, that without any previous knowledge of Mathematicks and Philosophy, have performed great Works, and built such Rules upon Facts and Observations as have stood them in good stead. By using themselves to think of only one thing at a time, they have learn’d many Properties and Proportions of Bodies, which comparing afterwards with great Attention they have been supplied with natural Mathematicks of their own. Such were Hadley and Sorocold the only Engine-Makers of any note of the last age in England; who never failed in success in their Undertakings, because their chief view was that the Works might be brought to perform, before they consider’d what Profit they should get by them.”

Elsewhere in the volume Desaguliers refers to Sorocold’s work in London stating:

“Mr.Sorocold put up his Engine at London-Bridge, between 30 and 40 Years ago, which remains, and will for many last, as an Instance of the Excellence of the Erector. As for the Contrivance for raising and falling the Water-Wheel,  that was the Invention of Mr. Hadley, who put up the first of that kind at Worcester, and for which a patent was granted him.”

Both quotes must add to the reputation of Sorocold, made as they were by such an influential character as Desaguliers.

The search continues.

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