Farey, John (1791-1851) (DNB00)

FAREY, JOHN (1791–1851), civil engineer, son of John Farey, geologist [q. v.], was born at Lambeth, Surrey, on 20 March, 1791 and educated at Woburn. At the age of fourteen he commenced making drawings for the illustrative plates of 'Rees's' and the 'Edinburgh' encyclopiedias, 'Tilloch's Magazine,' Gregory's 'Mechanics' and 'Mechanical Dictionary,' the 'Pantalogia,' and many other scientific works. He edited some of these, and contributed to others. The necessity of accomplishing drawings with accuracy in a limited time led him to invent in 1807 an instrument for making perspective drawings, for which he received a silver medal from the Society of Arts (Transactions, xxxii. 71), and in 1813 he made a machine for drawing ellipses,for which the gold medal of the same society was awarded hun. In 1619 he went to Russia, where be was engaged as a civil engineer in the construction of ironworks. There he first saw a steam-engine indicator; on his return to England he employed McNaught to make indicators for general use, and thenceforth he was continually requested to use the instrument in disputed cases of the power of steam-engines. He relinquished his professional engagements in 1631 in favour of his brother, Joseph Farey, and embarked in a lace manufactory in Devonshire, which, however, he gave up in 1823, and in 1825 took the engineering direction of Messrs. Marshall's flax-mills at Leeds; this position he was obliged to relinquish in 1826 in consequence of the failure of his brother's health and the necessity for his return to London, where he resumed his profession of consulting engineer, and from that time was engaged in most of the novel inventions, important trials in litigated patent cases, and scientific investigations of the period. Farey joined the Institution of Civil Engineers as a member in 1826, served several offices in the council, and always took great interest in its welfare. His residence, 67 Great Guilford Street, Russell Square, London, was burnt down in 1850, when considerable portions of his library and documents were injured or destroyed.

His health, which had been failing since the death of his wife, now received an additional shock, and he died of disease of the heart at the Common, Sevenoaks, Kent, on 17 July 1851.

He was the author of' A Treatise on the Steam Engine, Historical, Practical, and Descriptive,' 1827, vol. i., the only part printed. He also contributed two papers on the' Force of Steam' to the ' Transactions of the Institution of Civil Engineers' (1836), i. 85-94, 111-16.

[Minutes of Proceedings of Institution of Civil Engineers (1862), xi. 100-2.]

G. C. B.