Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1824-1892 - Thavies Inn (Holborn)

Mechanical engineer and inventor was born on 6 December 1786 in Zurich. Having been apprenticed to a mill-wright at Haupteuil in Thurgau, he became associated with Rothwell’s engineering company in Bolton, Lancashire, which was involved in the contruction of steam locomotives. Rothwell financially supported his inventions.

In 1824 Bodmer opened a factory at Bolton to build machinery for the wool manufacturing process. He also improved the conveyor belt. His inventions covered a wide range of uses including machine tools; locomotives and steam engines; furnaces and boilers; screw propellers; firearms and armaments; and water wheels. He became a locomotive builder in the 1830s and built at least two locomotives for British railways.

He closed his business in 1845 and lived in London between 1846 and 1848. His brother Jakob Christoph Bodmer had settled in Stoke Newington, where he made a living as a timber merchant. After 1848 Bodmer was active in Vienna, before returning to Switzerland in 1860. He died in Zurich in May 1864. His son Louis Rudolph followed in his footsteps. Born in 1821 in Zurich, he married the daughter of Benjamin Hick in 1853 at Kensington. In September 1861, residing at no. 2 Thavies Inn, Holborn, he patented an improved apparatus for preventing explosion in steam-boilers’. The couple later settled at no. 2 Lansdowne Road, Kensington. After a successful career as a mechanical engineer, he died at that address in October 1892.

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