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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article focuses on the construction of the new sciences of thermodynamics and energy in Britain during the Victorian era, arguing that it occurred not simply within the broad contexts of industrialized engineering but that the new industries of marine engineering and the new sciences were, in specific local contexts on the Thames and on the Clyde, integral to one another. It begins with an account of James Thomson’s marine engineering networks centred on the Thames at Millwall, followed by a discussion on the work of his brother William at the Glasgow College laboratory. It then considers Robert Mansel’s development of an exceptionally sensitive thermometer before turning to the shipbuilding yards and marine engineering works of the Clyde at Glasgow, still in its relative infancy as the producer of the British Empire’s ocean steamers.

Keywords: thermodynamics, energy, Britain, marine engineering, Thames, Clyde, James Thomson, William Thomson, Robert Mansel, shipbuilding

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