Open main menu

Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 34.djvu/200

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


Society. He died of erysipelas late in October or early in November 1865.

Lowe projected a ‘Selected Series of French Literature,’ to consist of translations from memoirs and letters, of which the first volume, containing part of Madame de Sévigné's correspondence, appeared at London in 1853, 12mo; no more seems to have been published. In 1857 he published a translation of Victor Schoelcher's ‘Life of Handel,’ London, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1859.

[London Review, 4 Nov. 1865; Brit. Mus. Cat.; Third Annual Report of the Soc. for the Acclimatisation of Animals, &c., 1863.]

J. M. R.

LOWE, JAMES (d. 1866), a claimant to the invention of the screw-propeller, was apprenticed on 2 Nov. 1813 to Edward Shorter, a master mechanic and a freeman of the city of London, who had in 1800 taken out a patent for propelling vessels, which he had named ‘the perpetual sculling machine.’ In 1816 Lowe ran away and joined a whaling ship named the Amelia Wilson, but after three voyages returned to his master. Later on he commenced business as mechanist and a smoke-jack maker, and henceforth occupied his spare time in experimenting on screw-propellers for ships. On 24 March 1838 he took out a patent, No. 7599, for ‘improvements in propelling vessels’ by means of one or more curved blades, set or fixed on a revolving shaft below the water-line of the vessel. His propeller was first practically used in the Wizard in 1838, and then in her majesty's steamships the Rattler and the Phœnix. On 16 Dec. 1844 he brought an action in the court of queen's bench against Penn & Co., engineers at Greenwich, for infringement of the patent. The evidence was contradictory, but it was shown that Lowe, although not the original inventor of propellers, was the inventor of a combination never before applied to the propulsion of vessels. This combination consisted of three parts, (1) a segment of a screw, (2) a segment of a screw applied below the watermark, so as to be totally immersed, (3) a segment of a screw applied on an axis below the water. The jury gave a verdict in his favour. On 19 Aug. 1852 he took out another patent, No. 14263, for his propeller. Lowe spent his wife's fortune of 3,000l. in his experiments, reduced himself to poverty, and never succeeded in obtaining any compensation for the use of his invention. On 12 Oct. 1866 he was run over by a wagon in the Blackfriars Road, London, and killed. He married, on 30 May 1825, the eldest daughter of Mr. Barnes of Ewell, Surrey. She died in 1872. Her daughter, Henrietta, who in July 1855 married Frederick Vansittart, of the 14th light dragoons, continued her father's experiments, and on 18 Sept. 1868 took out a patent, No. 2877, for a further improvement, which she called ‘the Lowe-Vansittart propeller.’ This was fitted to many government ships, and was found to be a valuable invention.

[Lowe v. Penn, in the Times, 17 Dec. 1844, p. 5; Mechanic's Mag. 1844, xli. 443, 461; Times, 24 Dec. 1869, p. 10; Morning Advertiser, 16 Oct. 1886, p. 3; Gent. Mag. November 1866, p. 705; History of the Lowe-Vansittart Propeller, by Mrs. H. Vansittart, 1882.]

G. C. B.

LOWE, JOHN (d. 1467), bishop successively of St. Asaph and Rochester, is said to have been a native of Worcestershire. Nash (Worcestershire, ii. 95) connects him with the Lowe family of the Lowe in Lindridge, Worcestershire, and makes him a descendant of Henry and Isabella Lowe, who lived in the reign of Richard II. He became an Augustinian eremite, and studied at Droitwich. He seems to have also been at Oxford, and is said to have been created a doctor there. He certainly came to London, where in 1428 he was prior of the house of his order, and provincial for England. About 1432 he was confessor to Henry VI. He became bishop of St. Asaph by bull dated 17 Aug. 1433, and was translated to the see of Rochester on 26 Oct. 1444. He made an agreement with the citizens of Rochester respecting his jurisdiction in the town, and before 1459 built a new palace. In politics Lowe was a Yorkist. In 1460 he joined Warwick's force at Rochester, went to Dunstable, and was sent as an emissary to Henry VI at Northampton. He did not, however, see the king, but in the same year was commissioned by the Londoners to accompany the bishop of Ely and others when they went to ask Edward's intentions respecting the crown. He made his will on 15 Aug. 1460, and feeling very infirm in 1465 wished to resign. Edward wrote to the pope on the subject, but before any decision was arrived at Lowe died in 1467, and was buried on the north side of Rochester Cathedral, where there is an altar monument to him with an inscription. According to Tanner he wrote: 1. ‘Sermones coram Rege.’ 2. ‘Conciones per annum.’ 3. ‘Lecturæ ordinariæ.’ 4. ‘Temporum Historiæ.’ 5. ‘Disputationes Theologicæ.’ It is more certain that he founded the fine library in Austin Friars, which was dispersed at the dissolution. Bury, in the epistle prefixed to his ‘Gladius Salomonis,’ an adverse criticism of Pecock's ‘Repressor,’ praises Lowe's learning and piety, and says that Lowe helped him with his book. Lowe