Thomas Fowler (1777-1843)

Thomas Fowler born in Great Torrington, was an English inventor whose most notable invention was the thermosiphon which formed the basis of early hot water central heating systems. Fowler patented the thermosiphon in 1828 (British patent number 5711). It was the first convective heating system to be patented. A system based on his design was installed at Bicton, part of the Rolle Estate and received great acclaim in the Gardener's Magazine of 1829. Unfortunately due to innate flaws in the patent system of the time (under which a new version of a design with minimal changes was not covered by the original patent), the thermosiphon was pirated by numerous other manufacturers and Fowler did not have sufficient funds to conduct legal proceedings. Heating at this time was generally by means of coal-fired stoves and in large houses these would be placed in a basement, enabling thermosiphon circulation throughout the house. Nearly a century after Fowler, British practice for typical small houses in the post-World War I period developed the back boiler, where a living room fireplace would also have a simple tank boiler built into it. Large diameter pipes from this boiler circulated through a coil heat exchanger in an indirect hot water storage cylinder upstairs. This hot water supplied both bathroom, increasingly fitted upstairs in houses of this period, and the kitchen or scullery downstairs. The height difference between boiler and storage allowed thermosiphon circulation in this simple large bore primary circuit. By the 1960s, the space heating circulation system was assisted by an electric pump which foreshadowed the eventual demise of the thermosiphon large bore system in favour of the more effecient microbore systems.
Thomas Fowler
In 1840 Fowler produced a mechanical calculating machine which operated using balanced ternary arithmetic. Apprehensive in case his ideas should again be stolen, he designed and built the machine single-handed from wood in the workshop attached to his printing business. To compensate for the limited precision achievable using wooden components, he constructed the machine on a large scale; it was 6 feet long by 3 feet deep and 1 foot high (1800 x 900 x 300 mm). Fowler had previously developed methods using balanced ternary arithmetic to simplify the complex monetary calculations he was obliged to perform on behalf of the Torrington Poor Law Union in his capacity as its treasurer, which he later published in his book, Tables for Facilitating Arithmetical Calculations. His machine was designed to give mechanical form to these techniques, the choice of balanced ternary allowing the mechanisms to be simple, though the values had to be converted to balanced ternary before processing and the results converted back to decimal at the end of the calculation. Though the machine did not survive to the present day, a replica has been constructed from a two-page description of it made in 1840 by the prominent mathematician Augustus DeMorgan. The Museum exhibits a scale model of the machine.
 
Content courtesy of Wikipedia

Thomas Fowler (1777-1843)

Thomas Fowler born in Great Torrington, was an English inventor whose most notable invention was the thermosiphon which formed the basis of early hot water central heating systems. Fowler patented the thermosiphon in 1828 (British patent number 5711). It was the first convective heating system to be patented. A system based on his design was installed at Bicton, part of the Rolle Estate and received great acclaim in the Gardener's Magazine of 1829. Unfortunately due to innate flaws in the patent system of the time (under which a new version of a design with minimal changes was not covered by the original patent), the thermosiphon was pirated by numerous other manufacturers and Fowler did not have sufficient funds to conduct legal proceedings. Heating at this time was generally by means of coal-fired stoves and in large houses these would be placed in a basement, enabling thermosiphon circulation throughout the house. Nearly a century after Fowler, British practice for typical small houses in the post-World War I period developed the back boiler, where a living room fireplace would also have a simple tank boiler built into it. Large diameter pipes from this boiler circulated through a coil heat exchanger in an indirect hot water storage cylinder upstairs. This hot water supplied both bathroom, increasingly fitted upstairs in houses of this period, and the kitchen or scullery downstairs. The height difference between boiler and storage allowed thermosiphon circulation in this simple large bore primary circuit. By the 1960s, the space heating circulation system was assisted by an electric pump which foreshadowed the eventual demise of the thermosiphon large bore system in favour of the more effecient microbore systems.
Thomas Fowler
In 1840 Fowler produced a mechanical calculating machine which operated using balanced ternary arithmetic. Apprehensive in case his ideas should again be stolen, he designed and built the machine single-handed from wood in the workshop attached to his printing business. To compensate for the limited precision achievable using wooden components, he constructed the machine on a large scale; it was 6 feet long by 3 feet deep and 1 foot high (1800 x 900 x 300 mm). Fowler had previously developed methods using balanced ternary arithmetic to simplify the complex monetary calculations he was obliged to perform on behalf of the Torrington Poor Law Union in his capacity as its treasurer, which he later published in his book, Tables for Facilitating Arithmetical Calculations. His machine was designed to give mechanical form to these techniques, the choice of balanced ternary allowing the mechanisms to be simple, though the values had to be converted to balanced ternary before processing and the results converted back to decimal at the end of the calculation. Though the machine did not survive to the present day, a replica has been constructed from a two-page description of it made in 1840 by the prominent mathematician Augustus DeMorgan. The Museum exhibits a scale model of the machine.
 
Content courtesy of Wikipedia

Thomas Fowler (1777-1843)

Thomas Fowler born in Great Torrington, was an English inventor whose most notable invention was the thermosiphon which formed the basis of early hot water central heating systems. Fowler patented the thermosiphon in 1828 (British patent number 5711). It was the first convective heating system to be patented. A system based on his design was installed at Bicton, part of the Rolle Estate and received great acclaim in the Gardener's Magazine of 1829. Unfortunately due to innate flaws in the patent system of the time (under which a new version of a design with minimal changes was not covered by the original patent), the thermosiphon was pirated by numerous other manufacturers and Fowler did not have sufficient funds to conduct legal proceedings. Heating at this time was generally by means of coal-fired stoves and in large houses these would be placed in a basement, enabling thermosiphon circulation throughout the house. Nearly a century after Fowler, British practice for typical small houses in the post-World War I period developed the back boiler, where a living room fireplace would also have a simple tank boiler built into it. Large diameter pipes from this boiler circulated through a coil heat exchanger in an indirect hot water storage cylinder upstairs. This hot water supplied both bathroom, increasingly fitted upstairs in houses of this period, and the kitchen or scullery downstairs. The height difference between boiler and storage allowed thermosiphon circulation in this simple large bore primary circuit. By the 1960s, the space heating circulation system was assisted by an electric pump which foreshadowed the eventual demise of the thermosiphon large bore system in favour of the more effecient microbore systems.
Thomas Fowler
In 1840 Fowler produced a mechanical calculating machine which operated using balanced ternary arithmetic. Apprehensive in case his ideas should again be stolen, he designed and built the machine single-handed from wood in the workshop attached to his printing business. To compensate for the limited precision achievable using wooden components, he constructed the machine on a large scale; it was 6 feet long by 3 feet deep and 1 foot high (1800 x 900 x 300 mm). Fowler had previously developed methods using balanced ternary arithmetic to simplify the complex monetary calculations he was obliged to perform on behalf of the Torrington Poor Law Union in his capacity as its treasurer, which he later published in his book, Tables for Facilitating Arithmetical Calculations. His machine was designed to give mechanical form to these techniques, the choice of balanced ternary allowing the mechanisms to be simple, though the values had to be converted to balanced ternary before processing and the results converted back to decimal at the end of the calculation. Though the machine did not survive to the present day, a replica has been constructed from a two-page description of it made in 1840 by the prominent mathematician Augustus DeMorgan. The Museum exhibits a scale model of the machine.
 
Content courtesy of Wikipedia

Support us in conserving your local history.
14 South Street and The Market House-Great Torrington-Devon-EX388AF
Telephone - 01805 622306
Email - enquiries@torringtonmuseum.org.uk
Registered Charity 1166793
© 2016 Great Torrington Heritage Museum
Please support us in conserving your local history.
14 South Street and The Market House, Great Torrington, Devon, EX38 8AF.
Telephone - 01805 622306
Email - enquiries@torringtonmuseum.org.uk
Registered Charity 1166793
© 2016 Great Torrington Heritage Museum
Please support us in conserving your local history.
14 South Street and The Market House, Great Torrington, Devon, EX38 8AF.
Telephone - 01805 622306
Email - enquiries@torringtonmuseum.org.uk
Registered Charity 1166793
© 2016 Great Torrington Heritage Museum