Royal Naval Biography/Fisher, William

[Post-Captain of 1811.]

Commanded the Cornwallis frigate at the capture of the Isle of France.[1] His post commission bears date April 18, 1811. Since the peace he has commanded the Bann of 20 guns, and Cherub 24; the latter employed on the African station. The following article appeared in the Hampshire Telegraph of Feb. 5, 1827:

“No part of our naval economy has been less attended to, and none needs so much attention, as the necessity that constantly exists in foreign, and even on home stations, of keeping up a supply of fresh water for our men of war. The loss of lives in this arduous part of the service is immense, from fatigue, from accidents, from diseases incident to their long exposure to wet, and from the facilities which it affords the seamen of straggling, and getting intoxicated. Capt. William Fisher, R.N. has succeeded in inventing an apparatus for this purpose, which does not require that the water casks should he removed from out of the boats, but by means of which they may he filled at the rate of a ton of water in four minutes. The apparatus consists, simply, of a forcing pump with a five-inch cylinder, which may be carried by two men, in a hand-barrow, to a well, river, pond, or any reservoir of fresh water, and the water is then forced through some newly invented hoses to any distance. The chief merit of the plan lies in the hoses, which are manufactured under Capt. Fisher’s directions, and were the result of a long, expensive, and arduous application to the subject. They are made of canvas, in fifty feet lengths, fastened to each other by brass nozzles, which are secured by a moving screw collar; therefore in screwing them together, the hoses need not be turned over. The hoses are made without seams, and are perfectly air and water tight, capable even of holding gas and ardent spirits; and beside being made of canvas, are thoroughly saturated with a composition, of which catechu, or common Indian rubber, is the principal or sole ingredient. They are rolled to the size required over a cylinder, and by a peculiar press and slight heat, are rendered into a compact pliable tube, incapable of injury, not liable to wear, proof against the effect of rot arising from damp, resisting the attacks of all vermin, and requiring no oil nor cleaning. An experiment of the usefulness of the invention was some time since tried in London, and was then so far found to answer the purpose required, that the Admiralty directed the apparatus and a set of hoses to be supplied for the use of his majesty’s ship Durham; as that ship is now at Spithead, the inventor solicited that an experiment should be tried here, which was done yesterday morning at the dock-yard, in the presence of Admirals Sir George Martin and Sir Thomas M. Hardy, all the captains in commission, and a number of other naval officers, of considerable experience in the service. A report of the usefulness of the machine has been sent to the Admiralty, drawn up by Sir Michael Seymour, strongly recommending its general adoption. These hoses are particularly useful in breweries and mines, and most particularly for fire engines. The invention is secured to Capt. Fisher by a patent.”

Agents.– Messrs. Maude & Co.