The Maudslay forming machine

Contributed by Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust

The Maudslay forming machine

This machine is on display at the Chatham Historic Dockyard TrustThe Maudslay forming machine was built in 1810 to mechanise rope making at Chatham Dockyard.

Its introduction meant better, stronger rope could be produced much more quickly.

The machine has been in continuous use since 1811.

Sir Henry Maudslay, born in 1771, was an engineer and inventor. He worked for Marc Brunel (father of Isambard Kingdom Brunel) installing block-making machinery at Portsmouth Dockyard to create the world's first production line. In 1810 he went into business with Joshua Field.

The Maudslay forming machine is of world significance because the Royal Navy - vital in the building and running of the British Empire - couldn't have survived without it.

Sailing ships relied on rope made at Chatham and a ship such as HMS Victory required about 30 miles of it!

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