Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Hall, Samuel (1781-1863)

1251553Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 24 — Hall, Samuel (1781-1863)1890Richard Bissell Prosser

HALL, SAMUEL (1781–1863), engineer and inventor, was second son of Robert Hall, cotton manufacturer and bleacher, of Basford, Nottingham, where he was born in 1781. He was an elder brother of Marshall Hall [q. v.] the physiologist. He took out patents in 1817 and 1823 for ‘gassing’ lace and net, which consisted in passing the fabric rapidly through a row of gas flames, all the loose fibres being thus removed without injury to the lace. The process exercised a most important influence upon the lace trade of Nottingham, and is still used universally. It brought much wealth to the inventor, but he unfortunately dissipated his fortune in bringing out other inventions. In 1838 Hall patented his ‘surface condenser,’ in which the steam is condensed by passing it through a number of small tubes cooled on the outside. It was chiefly intended for use at sea, and it was hoped that the evils attending the presence of salt in boilers would be obviated by charging them with fresh water at the commencement of a voyage and using it over and over again. The invention was extensively though unsuccessfully tried during 1839–41, but the principle of tubular condensers is now largely used for cooling purposes. His other patents, which number twenty in all, relate chiefly to steam engines and boilers. He died 21 Nov. 1863 in very reduced circumstances, in Morgan Street, Tredegar Square, Bow.

[Mechanic's Mag. vols. xxviii–xxxiii. xxxvii.; Nottingham Journal, 4 Dec. 1863.]

R. B. P.