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Articles and letters by Jabez Carter Hornblower

A list of published writings of J. C. Hornblower, often attributed to Jonathan Carter Hornblower, who was actually Jonathan Hornblower, Junior.

Published articles by Jabez Carter Hornblower

Because the Hornblower brothers were often confused one with another, many articles written by Jabez have been attributed to “Jonathan Carter Hornblower.” This was Jonathan Hornblower, Junior, born in 1753, an inventor but who was not the subject of a patent infringement action by James Watt. The defendant in the patent suit was Jabez Carter Hornblower, the oldest of the thirteen Hornblower children born to Jonathan, Sr. and Ann Carter Hornblower. The Dictionary of National Biography, edited by Sir Leslie Stephens and others, available online, confused the two brothers. Jonathan did publish several articles, but they dealt with his own patent of 1781. Unfortunately many scholars and writers have relied on this misinformation. The source of the confusion may go back to James Patrick Muirhead’s The Life of James Watt, published in 1858.

Jabez Carter Hornblower was the literary member of the family. Here are his articles:

“Description of a Machine for communicating Motion at a Distance,” Bristol, 1786. (Bath Agricultural Society, iv , 302-304 1788)

“Description of an Improved method of laying water pipes,” letter signed J. C. Hornblower, Pittman’s buildings, City Road, London, 1 Feb 1799, The Repertory of Arts and Manufactures, Vol. X, 251-56.

Nicholson’s Journal

William Nicholson (1753-1815) was a renowned English chemist who began publishing The Journal of Natural Philosophy, Chemistry and the Arts in 1797. The journal became known simply as Nicholson’s Journal. The following were written by Jabez:

“A description of an hydraulic bellows for a Smith’s forge” (i, 219-20, 1802)

“On the construction of beams for steam engines” (ib, ii, 68-9)

“Of a measuring screw” (ib, vi, 247-49, 1803)

“Account of a Machine for Sweeping Chimneys by a Blast of Air, (ib, vii, 246-51, 1804)

“An account of a fact respecting water heated in a boiler of stone with observations” (ib., ii, 68-69 )

“On the measure of Force by Horse Power” (ib., xi 95-99,1805)

On the Measure of Mechanical Power (ib, ix 264-71)


First report on the highways. London, Parliament. Papers 1808, vol ii, 333. Contains “Letter on outside passengers on coaches. By J. C. Hornblower, 13 Featherstone St, City road,” p. 204.

“Broad Wheels and the Preservation of the Turnpike Roads and Highways,” statement addressed to the Committee of the House of Commons on the Acts then in force. The remarks referred to the laying down some time previously of iron rails at Coalbrookdale. (1809)

“Historical Review of Improvements in the Steam Engine in the XVIIIth Century,” by Jabez Carter Hornblower, printed in the first and second editions of Gregory’s Mechanics, Vol. II 858-890. Complete title: A Treatise on Mechanics. Theoretical, Practical and Descriptive, By Olinthus Gregory, LL.D. (Vol II, First edition 1806)

This article was controversial and highly criticized by supporters of James Watt. An edited version appeared in the 1815 edition.

Owner/SourceSusan W. Howard
Date26 Jun 2008
Linked toJabez Carter Hornblower

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