Thomas Tassell Grant

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Sir Thomas Tassell Grant KCB FRS (1795-15 October 1859) was a notable inventor in the 19th century.

Order of the Bath Series of awards of an order of chivalry of the United Kingdom

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

He was born in Portsea, Portsmouth, the son of a namesake and his wife Ann (née Tassell) of Soberton, Hampshire. [1]

Soberton farm village in the United Kingdom

Soberton is a village in the Meon Valley, Hampshire, England, bordered by villages such as Newtown and Droxford. It is listed in the Domesday Book under its original name, "Sudbertone" or "Sudbertune", and comes under Winchester City Council.

In 1829 he invented steam-powered machinery for making ship's biscuits that were stamped into hexagonal shapes, thereby ensuring that there was no waste. This process speeded up the production process and substantially reduced its costs. Other government departments copied the invention, saving the British taxpayer a great deal of money. As a reward Grant was given a £2,000 grant by parliament and received a medal from the French king, Louis Philippe, and a gold medal from the Society of Arts in London. [2]

Royal Society of Arts British organisation

The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) is a London-based, British organisation committed to finding practical solutions to social challenges. Founded in 1754 by William Shipley as the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, it was granted a Royal Charter in 1847, and the right to use the term Royal in its name by King Edward VII in 1908. The shorter version, The Royal Society of Arts and the related RSA acronym, are used more frequently than the full name.

London Capital of the United Kingdom

London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

In 1834 he invented a desalination plant which distilled fresh water at sea and was described by the Times in 1859 as "the greatest benefit ever conferred on the sailor, materially advancing the sanitary and moral condition of the navy". Installed on HMS Wye it produced 10,000 gallons a day during the Crimean War.

According to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Grant's other inventions included "a naval fuel (briquettes known as Grant's Patent Fuel), and a steam kitchen, which was given its first trials in the warship HMS Illustrious. He also constructed a new type of lifebuoy, and a feathering paddle wheel.

<i>Dictionary of National Biography</i> Multi-volume reference work

The Dictionary of National Biography (DNB) is a standard work of reference on notable figures from British history, published since 1885. The updated Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB) was published on 23 September 2004 in 60 volumes and online, with 50,113 biographical articles covering 54,922 lives.

HMS <i>Illustrious</i> (1803) ship launched on 3 September 1803

HMS Illustrious, a 74-gun third rate ship of the line and the second of that name, was built by Randall & Brent at Rotherhithe where her keel was laid in February 1801. Launched on 3 September 1803, she was completed at Woolwich. She was first commissioned for the Channel Fleet under Captain Sir Charles Hamilton and was involved in the Battle of the Basque Roads in 1809, in which she won a battle honour, and in the expeditions against the docks at Antwerp and render the Schelde unnavigable to French ships. On 22 November 1810, Illustrious was amongst the fleet that captured Île de France on 3 December. She then took part in the Invasion of Java (1811) in Indonesia. She was refitted at Portsmouth (1813–17) and then laid up in reserve until recommissioned in 1832. She was laid up again in 1845, and later used as a guard ship, a hospital ship and, lastly, in 1854 she became a gunnery training ship and continued as one until she was broken up in 1868 in Portsmouth.

He became a prominent member of the Royal Society, having been elected a Fellow in 1840. In 1850 he was promoted to the comptrollership of the Admiralty's victualling and transport service.

Victualling Department (Royal Navy)

The Victualling Department originally known as the Department of the Comptroller of Victualling and Transport Services or the Victualling Office, also known as the Department of the Director of Victualling was the British Admiralty department responsible for civil administration of Victualling Yards and the storing and supply of Naval Victuals for the Royal Navy from 1832 to 1964.

The outbreak of the Crimean War in 1854 tested Grant a great deal. However, his inventions helped to offset the widely condemned shortcomings of the war-time supply arrangements for the forces.

Grant was knighted for his achievements, and Queen Victoria presented him with a gold and silver vase. He died of cancer in London on 15 October 1859. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography remarked, "Despite the marked improvements they bestowed on the quality of the beneficiaries' lives, Grant's inventions were perhaps too homely to receive the mention they deserved in the histories of technology." He died at his house in Regents Park, London.

He had married Emma. They had two sons: Vice-admiral William Burley Grant and Richard Tassell Grant. His granddaughter Hilda Lucy Grant married Sir Charles Seely, 2nd Baronet in 1891. [2]


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