Letter from Charles Bage to William Strutt, 1802/10/15

Dear Sir

I am greatly obliged to you for your letter, and am now taking the liberty to draw on you for another. We have ordered a retort & receiver from Mr Balshaw of Bolton and having every thing to build, wish the plan to be as complete as may be. I have annexed a sketch of such an one as occurs to me and have to request the favour of your opinion and advice. I conceive your stove peculiarly well adapted to our purpose for bleached yarn, dyed thread and yarn brought wet from the reels; but fear I may not fall on the best and most economical plan of constructing the warming parts.

I recollect your observation concerning the assent of that up the center of the inverted pot, and its descent down the sides; but I feel at a loss to convey the smoke away without touching the edges of the pot, (which I … it ought not to be for fear of burning them away) and; without interfering with the apparatus for blowing it.

Suppose 4 Arms of cast metal pipe from the pot horizontally to the 4 corners of the room, communicate with 4 chimnies of earthen pipes? May the earthen pipes be safely fitted to the Iron ones? – Is there no danger that the expansion and contraction of the Iron, may disjoint or break the earthen chimnies? – Is any contrivance necessary for dashing & diffusing the heated air to every part of the room? – How effectively to guard against smoke making its way through some crevices into the drying room?

Whatever observations you may favour me with will be thankfully received.

I remain Dear Sir

your much obliged

obed Servant

Chas Bage


Oct 15 1802

I hear the insurance offices have it in agitation … raise the insurance of Mills to 2 guineas plant, next Christmas, and to advance again at some future time. They are sick of such insurances. I have little doubt of spherical arches answering perfectly, and am inclined to believe the extra expense will not preclude the fire proof plans from being extended to all the buildings as well as the Mill.

AAA Boilers to supply a one or two horse Engine, and to Steam Boil the Boiling Bucking and Dying Vessels – Also to work the agitator, pump, water &c.

BB The Still and Receiver. The former I propose placing in a vessel of wood and boil the water by steam. Quere, might not steam be conveyed into the materials within the retort and thus save the expense of the surrounding vessel? –

C – Cistern or reservoir for the oxymuriate. DDD Cisterns for bleaching

EEE Keirs for Boiling and Bucking.

FG Wash pits supplied with a stream of warm water from a 25 horse Engine. The water to be turned into either of these pits at pleasure. G is the same width as the vessels for bleaching, that yarn may be suspended on the same rods and kept any convenient time in running water. The water to be freed from the oil of the Engine before it reaches the pits. H Cistern for Sours. I Room for falling stocks

K Space for small Engine. L Yarn Room up one flight of stairs.
M A stove on your plan about 8 by 9 feet.
N On the ground floor the place for feeding the stove fire.
O A Dying house the vessels to be heated by Steam.

The Room under L will serve for Stores.