Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Bury, Edward (1794-1858)

896871Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 08 — Bury, Edward (1794-1858)1886Robert Hunt

BURY, EDWARD (1794–1858), engineer, was born at Salford, near Manchester, on 22 Oct. 1794. His early education was received at a school in the city of Chester, and his youth was remarkable for the fondness which he displayed for machinery, and for the ingenuity which he exhibited in the construction of models. His scholastic education being finished, he went through the usual course of mechanical engineering, and he eventually established himself at Liverpool as a manufacturer of engines.

In 1830 the Liverpool and Manchester railway was opened, and for several years after this period Bury devoted his attention to the construction of engines for railways. He supplied many of the first engines used on the Liverpool and Manchester and on the London and Birmingham railways. In the 'Transactions of the Institution of Civil Engineers' for 17 March 1840 will be found a valuable paper by him, 'On the Locomotive Engines of the London and Birmingham Railway,' in which he discusses the relative advantages of four and six wheels, and contributes a series of tables which are of the greatest importance in the history of locomotive traction, and of considerable interest in the theory of steam-drawing engines. Bury about this time introduced a series of improved engines for the steamboats employed on the Rhone, which attracted much attention on the continent, and led to his being consulted by the directors of most of the railways then being constructed in Europe.

For some years after the opening of the London and Birmingham railway, in September 1838, Bury had the entire charge of the locomotive department of that line. He subsequently undertook the management of the whole of the rolling stock for the Great Northern railway. In each case his administrative services were duly recognised by the directors, and his engineering capabilities, his mechanical knowledge, his good judgment, and his tact, secured for him, in an unusual degree, the confidence of those who were employed under him.

On 1 Feb. 1844 Bury was elected a fellow of the Royal Society, his claim being founded on the great improvements which he had introduced, especially in adjusting, the dimensions of the cylinder and driving wheels, and the effective pressure of the steam.

In the 'Annual Report of the Institution of Civil Engineers' for the session 1866-7 we find Bury tendering his resignation. The council of the Institution permitted him to retire under exceedingly gratifying circumstances. During his later years he lived at Crofton Lodge, Windermere. He died at Scarborough on 25 Nov. 1858.

[Proceedings of the Royal Society, 1859-60, vol. X.; Minutes of Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers, 1859.]

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