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Elizabeth Bennett and the Industrial Revolution pages 21-44

November 10, 2017 12:34AM
Back in London

As usual Aaron slept in the barracks at Dalrimple's, woke early, went downstairs for his customary breakfast of a roll and porridge. They had milk but now he realized it was foul tasting compared to what he drank at longbourne. Until this weekend he'd never had a good glass of milk. He was wondering if this was a business possibility as he checked on the production floor. In the shop there was a loom he'd never seen before. He surmised that Dalrimple had decided to do a friend a favor and have Rotor and himself upgrade the machine with brass and metal fittings.... try to get the machine operating better than when it was new. Aaron was very happy about this, he loved the challenge of getting an old worn loom working at peak performance. Dalrimple walked in.

“Good, I thought you'd be here. I need you to help me select our new apprentice. Jack told me he was leaving to go to work for you and I think that's excellent. The challenges of running an estate align perfectly with Jack's talent. I offered to pay him full severance just because I think every day that he's working on your estate will be a day you can be here. I need to hire an apprentice that you can train to assume the responsibilities you have. Let's go upstairs so you can help with the interview.

After the interview, Dalrimple asked “Well what do you think?”

Aaron answered” I suspect he doesn't have the talent to deal with geometry and spaces. I need to come up with an exercise that tests that particular talent rather than guess based on what he's said and done.. Let's continue with the interviews. After I've set up an exercise we can get likely candidates to take that test. Dalrimple said, “Very well, let's hope one of the interviews has the talent you're looking for.”

Aaron found Rotor and together they moved around to the looms that were near finishing a bolt, Gawd, look at 32. I'ts running ok, but the wobble is so bad the bolt will probably have to be sold as a second. They spoke to the operator.”When the bolt is finished, rmove it and clean up the loom. We'll take it to the shop and replace the rods that are too worn.” He signaled for an apprentice. Jack came over. “confused smileyee how if you press here , not too hard, yeah like that. Take the pressure off when the frame does it’s return…. Yeah, that’s better . Maybe we can still get a quality bolt out of this. Aaron and Rotor left to look for any other problems. One machine looked like the bolt was acceptable quality, but the wobble was bad.

Put a red flag on this one. We don't want to start a new bolt when this one's finished. We'll replace the rods on this one also. They identified the seven worst machines, flagged them, so they'd be hauled to the shop at the end of the day.

After that Aaron sat down at a drafting table and made an informal drawing of the part he'd use to replace the flash pan on the flintlock. . It had a cylinder to replace the percussion cap and the cylinder had a tunnel so the explosion of the percussion would flow into the powder behind the bullet. Machining this part would be a challenge. He expected over time he''d cast the part, then do minimum machining to grind the part to the desired dimension, and drill the path to the powder chamber.. He also made a drawing showing the shape and dimensions of the new hammer. Finally he made a drawing showing how the they'd have to bore out a three eighth’s inch hole in the receiver of the pistol that was deep enough to reach the powder load. The part with the percussion nipple could be pressed and sautered intothisn hole in the receiver. He saw he had time so he ran to the machine shop, left the flintlock and the drawings to the owner and got him to promise he to deliver the parts within a week.

A soccer practice was planned after dinner, so Aaron couldn't work late. Aaron had a quick late dinner, then headed off to the field. The team worded on their passing, worked on quick kicks on rebounds,. Only two places had grass short enough for practicing shot on goal, but every player took at least five shots. On the way back, Aaon thought how he’d no longer be at the games. The team wouldn’t miss him too much. Aaaron was a good defender, had excellent stamina so he was never out of position unless the other team pulled some kind of clever play. However as a ball handler and the ability to take quick shots when the ball came to him, Aaron was only average. They went back to Dalrymples, took showers by having friends stand on ladders and pour buckets of water on them. The cooks had prepared a light post game meal, so they ate everything the cook made available then went to their barracks where they quickly fell asleep. As Aaron lay in bed he was thinking he'd miss the sports he got to play at Dalyrimples, but quickly went to sleep.

The next day was busy as expected. Aaron and Rotor rushed breakfast, went to the shop and started disassembling a machine. The guide was cracked, part of the reason for the wobbles, so they had to replace it. That added an hour to the reassembly time. They'd be very lucky to get all machines rebuilt that day, but Rotor and Aaron were very disciplined to not rush their work. Each machine had to be precisely assembled so it would last without giving trouble. Late in the afternoon they found a guide that had some dry rot on places, so they had to replace it. They brought Jack in to help, and he did allow them more speed as he knew what they were doing next and could had them tools, parts, and apply some muscle to sandpaper or file where needed. As dinner time approached Mr Dalrimple came by and told them that he had instructed the cook to set food aside for them, that they would eat it when they wanted . They kept working and had finished 6 looms when they stopped for dinner. They finished dinner, disassembled the seventh loom, laid out the parts, then retired for the evening. The next two days went smoothly. They got all the looms working, no more wobbles. The loom that Mr Dalrimple had stored was one that he had purchased at very good price, because the previous owner couldn't fix it. It was a model manufactured by some factory not currently used by Dalrimple. He wanted to spend as little as possible so he and Rotor set out to use the simple machine shop they had to build any parts that seemed a problem. They had to completely disassemble so could look at all pars to see if any looked different from their mates. Sure enough quite a few parts had been installed that were not right for this machine. They guessed which parts were correct, and set about the laborious process of machining the metal parts, and cutting and sanding the wood parts. They assembled the machine and rotated it through all the different operation points quite a few time so Aaron could take notes of problems which would indicate the parts were not fitting as well as needed. They worked Wednesday and Thursday, and Aaron went to Mr Dalrimples office to be sure it was still ok to use Mr Dalrimple's horse to ride to Longborne for the weekend. Aaron assured they’d have the machine running next week. “I’m sure you know we don't have any other machines of the same model, we should get rid of it soon.”

”Yes I know. Laffer has has a lot of these, so I figure I'll sell this to him. I bought the machine from Ronson. He for some reason bought three of them. They make these in Manchester, where they use them a lot. If Laffer won't give Ronson a decent price for the two he has left I'll buy them , get them in prime operating order, then ship 'em to Manchester. What would you think about drawing up some drawings with dimensions for these machines, then teaching Ronson how to repair his looms”.

“Yeah, I could do that, just so long as they're fast learners like Rotor.” Aaron really didn't think Rotor was a fast learner, but he would never say that to Mr. Dalrimple, and he sure didn't want to try to teach people who were slower than Rotor.

“ I've been thinking that a way to assess the interviewee's space and dimension capacity is to get Rollo to teach them some rope knots, see how fast they learn.. “ Rollo had spent 12 years in the Navy but had been released when he came down with some recurring ilness. He walked like someone who'd spent a long time on the decks of a ship, so they called him “Rollo”.

“.....Sounds like a plan. So do you think Rolo might be a good person to work in the shop?”

“He's good with knots, and he was smart enough to climb the rigging and take care of the sails. I don't think fixing a loom is harder than that.. It wouldn't hurt to give it a shot, see if he likes it…. if he can do it.”

“I'll ask Rotor, if he wants we'll give Rollo a try in the shop”.

A silence....“I was going to check on the horse.”

“Let's go to the Stables. I know a man whose horse is a little too spirited. I was thinking that for someone young like you, you can deal with that. Also nothing like a couple long rides every week to calm horse down.”

The horse didn't act skittish when Aaron walked up and rubbed his neck. They saddled the mare, once again, no problem They took the horse out of the stables, Aaron jumped on the horse, The horse was surprised but no bucking. “Yeah, I could make better time with this horse. What's her name?”
“The guy who sold her called her Matty. His wife is dead, her name was Matilda.”

They removed the saddle, and went back.

Rotor was getting everything positioned to rebuild the loom.

“Don't rebuild yet Rotor. I've been trying to figure what’s causing the peculiar wave we see when we rotate through the phases. Let's reduce the rod length by 3/32 inches for 3 three rods distributed evenly. It'll be faster if we just cut new rods. It too an hour of cutting, drilling, and fitting to get the new rods in. They once again painstakingly went through all phases.

“”What d' ya think?” Maybe a little better, for sure not worse. The replaced more rods, tested again and kept replacing until it was clear the machine was working as intended.
He went upstairs, told Dalrimple they'd fixed the machine. “It wasn't hard to fix, so if you buy the other two it'll be ok.”

“Do you think Rotor can show Ronson what needs to be done to the other two looms?”
“Yeah, no problem, he can do that.”

“I'm gonna offer to sell the loom back to Ronson, just cover the costs. Then have Rotor show them what you did. I'd like to get him a little beholdin'”

Aaroon nodded while he thought about how Dalrimple was the master at building connections between his competitors, his suppliers and buyers that became as important as his machinery. “ I need to go talk to Sampson about some parts he’s building, I'll be back in ninety minutes.” Aaron took all the cash he had, and went to see Sampson. He greeted Sampson, hoping he had enough to pay for the parts for the flintlock .
“Hello Mr. Sampson! I brought all the money I have, I’m hoping it’s enough to pay for your work.”
“If you don’t have enough we’ll work something out” Her pulled the flintlock and parts from under the counter. I sure wanted to install the parts into the pistol, see how they work.” I’m making an offer. I’ll fit these into the pistol for free, just so I can see how this works.”
Aron liked saving money, but he needed to experience the problems in making the parts fit. ‘ I’ll agree on condition that I get to be here for every step. I need to see how much difficulty there is in making the parts fit.. They worked out a time. AAron guessed that Sampson didn’t want to discuss charges for manufacturing the parts yet, so he cheerily left.

The week went well, Roller agreed to start working in the shop for a small increase in pay. He also agreed on a short exercise on tieing knots they could use in interviews. Having both Rotor and Rolllo working on machines reduced Aaron’s workload so he could consider reducing his time at Dalrimple’s to two days per week, enough to deal with the hard problems, but leave most of the work to Roller and Rotor. On thursday morning AAron went to Sampson’s and the installation of the percussion part and the modified hammer went as expected. They had to do a lot of filing to make the percussion part fit into the hole they’d bored into the receiver but they got it in , and used some melted iron to be sure it was permanently a part of the pistol. They directed air so the pistol could cool down slowly. After that they loaded the pistol with a light powder charge, a wax ball. And a percussion cap. Sampson had a safety box so they could fire the pistol without worrying if it might explode. The firings went well, working up to using a full charge and a lead bullet.
“Ye’ve got yerself something that could make a lot of money. My offer is---no charge for what I’ve done , but in the future any adaptations that you do in London, I do them.. I’ll do them for £25 each. If anyone hears I can do this and comes to me, I’ll send them to you. I don’t want to take a chance on damaging a £500 fowling piece They shook hands on the deal, Sampson handed Aaron the pistol, and Aaron wrapped the pistol with some powder, balls, and percussion caps and left to find Silas. Walking through those streets that Silas claimed for his gang, Aaron found Silas.
“I can tell you’ve got it and it’s working. Let’s go down by the river and we’ll practice. They walked to a place on the river that people used as a practice range. Most people paid a fee for use of the range, but they let Silas and Aaron walk in. They walked over to a table set up for loading and cleaning. Aaron handed the pistol and the sack with caps, balls and powder to Silas. Silas set about loading. “Do I use one capful of powder?”
“Yes, I’ve tested it, it’ll handle a normal load.”
Silas aimed at a target fifty feet awy, and fired
“Wow, so great, no delay at all waiting for the spark to ignite the powder.” He looked at the target, saw he almost missed. He reloaded, fired again. This time he almost missed on the other side of the target. After a few more rounds he asked “How hard would it be to put some riflings in the barrel.?”
“I’ve read about that. I don’t have the equipment. I can look for some one and find out how much it’d cost.”

“I’ll just go with this for now. Go ahead and find out who can rifle barrels and how hard it is. I really owe you for this. Whenever you need my services, please say. “ Silas never paid for what he wanted. He kept tabs on who had helped him in the past and was ready to repay in ways legal or not. Any time some “toughs” bothered one of the workers at Dalrimple, all he had to do was mention it to Silas and the problem would vanish, sometimes the “tough” would vanish too Deliveries from Dalrimple were never stolen, and they didn’t have to bribe anyone to be sure deliveries were not delayed.
Next morning AAron loaded his small amount of luggage and a lunch. The luggage Jack would take to Longbourne was loaded behind the saddle Aaron and Jack left at the same time. Jack would walk, but since he had no luggage, he’d make good time. Aaron carried a small amount of money, in case he needed to buy materials, or hire a laborer. Dalrimple kept Jack’s seperation pay in a bank account, and when Jack was in Merryton he’d arrange to transfer his funds into an account in Merryton. Most of AAron’s cash was moved to a bank account in preperation for setting up an account in Merryton. They left in high spirits.
Jack and Longbourne
AAron arived late that afternoon, and started working on getting the Smithy area in order so it could be used. All the items left in the buidling that were not needed for the horses or smithy went to another building. That gave him room to set up the forge and bellows. He started disassembling the bellows, putting the parts that would need to be replaced into a two sacks. One sack he’d use to buy replacements, the other sack he used to make drawing, and he’d use the drawings to purchase replacements. He decided to look for a saddlemaker or leathery in a nearby town. For leather products the small towns were usually cheaper.. Elizabeth came in to tell him dinner would soon be ready, and was impressed that the stables now looked orderly. AAron explained how he would get the smithy working, then use it to repair tools, carts, then use the smithy to fulfil commitments to friends in London. Elizabeth suggested “We have a carriage we used to use. Now we ocasionaly use it, but it gives so many problems we usually just walk. It’d be helpful if you could repair it. We used to have a smithy in Merryton who repaired carriages, but he died and the new smithy didn’t do that. So in Merryton now the citizens of merryton must have a dozen carirages sitting around unused.’
“That’s a useful bit of information. I’m planning to use this smithy more as a machine shop. I’ll Leave the smithy work to whoever does that now, but take on jobs such as carriage repair, tools and carts, farm machinery, firearms and fowling pieces. If you’ll think about any particularly talented young men who’d like to learn to do that sort of stuff, let me know.” Elizabeth nodded and they both went in for dinner.
Dinner was sumptuous by the standards of an industry employee from London. They had Carp, a duck, fresh baked bread, fresh vegetables, and a pie made from the quince from their orchard. As they finished Jack arrived, quite weary from his long fast paced walk.

Aaron stood, ‘This is Jack Spencer. He worked as an Apprentice at my firm, and I’ve selected him to be my farm manager. He grew up the son of an estate manager and is going to apply what he learned at Longbourne. That way I’ll have time to doing what I did best at Dalrimple’s.” Everyone but Elizabeth was surprised and everyone but Mrs. Bennett was glad they’d have an estate manager. Mr Bennett did have a diffident attitude toward estate management and his daughters expected Jack would generate far more income than their father and his gentlemanly approach to estate matters . Kitty and Mary both offered to show Jack around the estate and introduce him to tenants and tradesmen. ‘Good, of course that’ll have to wait ‘til tomorro. For now why don’t you walk around the to see the animals we have here, and look at the outbuildings. Jack, tomorrow you and I will have to repair the roof on a building so we can store the hay. The hay was stored in the stables, but since the smithy is going to be in the stables we’ve gotta store the hay somewhere far from the fire. The horses will be happier if we move them somewhere they don’t smell smoke. We’ll have to find where they stabled the horses before. Probably it won’t take too much to repair it back to a useful stables. . Jack and the two sisters walked away to see the varied collection of chickens , ducks, geese, and rabbits that were part of the farm. They did not keep pigs, one of Mr. Bennet’s sound decisions. Pigs were too much a threat to the other animals who mostly wandered freely The next morning they did a temporary fix for the carriage, and selected the worst building, and started disassembly so they could use the salvaged wood and bricks to repair the hay barn. The two farm laborers saw this as part of their job, so they pitched so the four of them salvaged framing, planks, and shingles that weren’t split or too dry for reuse. They then started removing shingles and any suspect framing from the building hey planned to use for hay storage. They sent Kitty and Mary to town to buy tar and shingling nails while they used the planks to build a sheathing over the rafters. It turned out that Mary and Kitty loved the trip into town, as they got to talk to their friends about Aaron and what he was doing. They had time to melt some tar, and it spread it over the sheathing so they had a roof that was adequate for storing hay. “Good! This will hold until we can find someone who’ll know how to use some of the slate stacked up everywhere.” They used the carriage to move the hay from the various places it had been stashed. The were exhausted from the hard day’s work, but as they were cleaning up for dinner, the town magistrate and constable showed up for a visit. The magistrate,Mr. Reston smiled broadly. “The whole town is talking about what you’re doing here at Longbourne! I’m so glad Mary and Kitty came to town and told us so much. I see you’ve accomplished a lot today. They say you’re going to set up the old Smithy to do tool and carriage repair, and something about improving our fowling pieces. They both dismounted. I’m sorry we’re so slow about evicting Farrel and Marsh. We knew Mr Bennett was feeling bad, so we didn’t think think it’d hurt to give those two sod’s a little more time. Now we know that was a mistake. Constable Waller, the other man tipped his hat, rode out to Ferrel’s today and gave him a legal order to either pay up his overdue rent or move out in three days. I’m going to hire Mrs Marsh as a housekeeper, and let her and her daughters live in one of our vacant cabins. As the girls get older the town will have to pitch in with work and education so the girls have a chance to grow into people we in town can brag about. I hate to see children suffer because their father is a drunk.”. Mr Reston saw that dinner was waiting so he excused himself and Mr Waller. “We’ve got to go home, we can’t have our families waiting dinner “.

Over dinner they discussed what Jack would need to do the next week, and Aaron gave Jack his cash and told him “Elizabeth had some funds set aside for improvement. Use that to get relacement leather so we can get the foundry going . Hopefully we’ll have enough to hire a skilled roofer to install the slate over the hay barn but don’t hire anyone until we know we’ve got the foundry earning us some cash. Miss Bennett has been doing an excellent job with the accounts, so don’t take on that job. She is absolutely trustworthy. Go to her for any purchases that are unavoidable but we’ve go to watch our pennies. Talk to Misss Elizabeth about who should rent the Farrell and Marsh leases. We need to give preferences to sons and daughters who grew up on a Longbourne Leasehold. Finally, there are two bags with the leather pieces we’ll need to repair the harnesses for the bellows, and the bellows itself. Ask around Merryton for a good leather shop who’ll give us the same price as any of their neighbors. Get Miss Elizabeth to go with you. I think her manner in dealing with people will result in us getting the best deal possible. They slept soundly that night, and next morning Aaron picked up the cheapest of Mr Bennet’s fowling pieces to use for a demonstrater for upgrade clients. They all went to services together and the conversation level showed that people were curious about what was happening at Longbourne. After services., Aaron picked up the lunch they’d fixed for him, and on the way out explained to Elizabeth he was borrowing the fowling piece but would return it. Miss Elizabeth answered, “ Father got that when he inherited the house. That means that is now your fowling piece.” Then she gave him a smile that made his heart do somersaults and said “Thank you so much for being solicitous for the welfare of us Bennett daughters. I’m so proud to have you for a cousin.” Aaron left for his long ride back to London.

The New Enterprise
The next week was not a particularly busy week, so he made an early trip to Sampson’s with the fowling piece. He showed how the percussion nipple assembly would still work on the fowling piece, and left the piece so Sampson could adapt it They agreed that since this was a demonstration piece that Mr Sampson would be paid out of future sales. Next he went to Ronson’s to see if Rotor had been successful at teaching them how to modify their machines to compensate for the rods being a little too long. Ronson was ecstatic. I’ve fixed all my machine and have found four more I’m buying so I can fix them. All at bargain prices. How did you figure out what the problem was?”

I can’t explain that, I just run the machines through their paces and soon I notice little glitches that lead me to the problem.”
“Dalrimple was sure lucky that he found you.” Aaron had the feeeling that Ronson was wanting to make an offer, but they both knew that would be contrary to the ethics of the industry, so Aaron excused himself and walked quickly to Dalrimples. Things seemed to be smooth except for a loom that Rotor and and Roller together could not fix. The three of them rotated the loom through it’s phases several times and finally Aaron realized the guide had a hairline crack which caused it to warp under pressure so that frequently the loom would lock up. Rotor and Roller set about disassembling the loom, and Aaron went up to talk to Mr Dalrimple.
“I worked with Rotor and Rollo, we figured out the problem and they’re fixing it.”
“I knew as soon as you got back you’d figure it out”
“I’ve noticed that Rotor and Rollo work well together. They figure things out that they couldn’t individually It seems things are going fine with me working 4 days per week. I was thinking of cutting back to thee days, see it that works. You could save two days salary per week”
“OK, I suppose that’s what you need. I know you’ll have a lot of work to do on your manor, but remember, you’re an industrialist, no a farmer. You’ll earn far more money in industry ”
“So I’ll start leaving thursday mornings, I’ll pay you for the horse. I think he’s the right horse for me. On Wednesday he picked up the modified fowling piece, and took it directly to The Coleman factory. He remembered how people had joked about Mr Coleman lived in his workplace in London during the week, but spent weekends at an estate he’d inherited. He loved to talk about his love for duck hunting, and his frustration at how ducks would take flight as soon as the flint on his flintlock struck the pan, then the powder would not ignite fast enough to get the birds. He walked into Mr Coleman’s carrying the fowling piece wrapped in a blanket. Mr SColman saw him., laughed, put up his hands “I swear I didn’t do it! They both laughed, and Aaron unwrapped the fowling piece. Sandford said “ Not a particularly remarkable piece, then exclaimed “ You’ve replaced the flintlock! Is this one of those pieces modified with that instantaneous primer?
“ I’m offering to upgrade flintlock fowling pieces to percussion cap, for40.” I’ve brought this to you so you can try it out, if you like it, I’ll upgrade your pieces.”
“So there’s nothing for me to lose.! OK. I’ll try it out this weekend when I go hunting, and if it works as good as people say, It’ ll be easily worth £40”
Aaron left the weapon with Mr Colman, went back to Dalrimple’s. He worked with Rollo and Rotor the rest of the day, then he next morning went back to Longbourne. He’d have two full days at Longbourne this time.

Rent Collection
For the next week back in Longbourne Aaron couldn’t get much work done in the shop, because he didn’t have the harnesses and the big bellows. The notable thing he accomplished was to repair the carriage. He tried what he could do with only the small bellows, but found he couldn’t generate enough heat do do much, so he decided to do an audit of past rents. Elizabeth offered to help and her assistance was invaluable because she could put her hands on past records so fast. The audits showed that rents stayed stable from year to year except in cases when a dispensation was awarded due to special hardships such as a sons being away for military service, disease or accidents to a rentor or essential son, or floods. What was notable was that in many cases that a dispensation once granted, sometimes became permanent, and that the most prosperous tenants usually paid low rents due to dispensations. The rule was that a dispensation once granted was removed only if the magistrate approved. There were numerous situations where Mr. Bennett had requested stopping the dispensation, but the magistrate took no action so the dispensation continued. They determined which tenants were benefiting from dispensations, checked the reasons for the dispensations and discovered the reasons for the dispensations were no longer valid. They spent the two days Aaron was in Longbourne preparing petitions to terminate the dispensations, then decided to go to an attorney in Merryton to be sure the petitions met all legal requirements. They rode in the carriage to Merryton and went to the attorney Miss Elizabeth selected based on recommendations from friends. Mr Sandford was the youngest attorney practicing in Merryton, but still almost 15 year older than Aaron. They showed up at Mr Sandford’s office, and asked if they could speak to him about rent dispensations.
Mr Sandford spoke “So I suppose you’ve prepared some petitions to terminate rent dispensations?”
Aaron answered “I take it that rent dispensation issues occur often?”
I’ve submitted over a dozen petitions, but they seem to disappear into a drawer in in Mr Reston’s office. This happens to landlords who disdain involvement with the community. You don’t fit into the ususal catagory so Reston might choose the risk free option, and grant the petitions. My suggestion is to allow me to submit the petitions. I’ll need to reformat them, we can’t give Mr. Reston an excuse to dismiss them. If he does what he’s done in the past, he’ll find some ways to show you he’s unhappy you did this. I’m pretty sure the people, getting dispensations pay a share of the saving to Reston. The more of these things I can document, the more likely I’ll succeed in bringing down Mr. Reston. “
Aaron spoke,” I certainly don’t want to make this personal !”
“When Mr Reston see’s your petitions, he probably see this as an attack on him. Still if you do nothing, he’ll consider you a pushover and take advantage. The magistrates are under supervision of the House of Lords. I’m trying to find a way to get this information to influential Lords. I’m pretty sure they’ll be unhappy with this type of petty vice.”

They left the petitions and were silent until they were almost home. Elizabeth spoke first. “We’ll find a way to deal with this. The important thing is we not tell anyone. We can’t have people gossiping about this, it’ll give Reston a warning, he’ll look for to a way to keep this quiet. As long as we keep silent, he may choose to “let sleeping dogs lay”. Meanwhile we’ll work on a way to get back at Reston, making him pay dearly for his larceny.”

Mr Coleman’s Duck Hunting

Back in London, Aaron found that Rollo and Rotor were splitting their efforts on two different machines, without success. Two machines had failed at approximatly the same time, so Rollo took one, Rotor took the other. After almost two days neither machine was working. Aaron found Rotor puzzling over his machine. After watching a minute he said, let’s go see what Rollo’s doing.
“You want both of us to go?”
“Yeah, we’re a team.”
They went to Rollo’s Machine, Aaron asked Rollo to explain what he’d learned so far. After a recitation on what he’d tried, they both looked at AAron.
Aaron asked “So what should we try next”
They looked at each other. ” We gotta manually rotate to each phase. It’ll take one of us to hold then interlocks down and another to push the wheels”.
Aaron nodded, and as Rotor and Rollo started the process Aaron went to check on the other machines, and saw a note from Thomas Coleman on his work bench.
“ Dear Mr Collins. I brought in several guns for modification to percussion. Please bring a carriage to my office to pick them up.”
He went back to Rotor and Rollo. “ I expect you’ll get some ideas on what’s causing the problems as you go through the phases. Go ahead with those fixes… I’ll be gone a coup’la hours.”
Next Aaron went to his bank, withdrew most of what he had so he could pay Sampson to modify the guns that Coleman had sent, took a carriage that Dalrimples used for delivery and pick-up and rode to Mr Coleman’s.
“Well here’s our brash inventor! I took your piece out duck hunting, and loved it so much I took two neighbors the next morning. They loved the elimination of that pernicious delay for the spark to fire the powder. All together I’ve brought seven guns to be modified. Can you get all this done by next weekend?”
“I’ll get the machinists working right away, I don’t expect any problem with having them ready by friday.”
The guns were well wrapped, so Aaron loaded them onto the carriage, and drove to Sampson’s. On the way, Aaron saw one of Silas’ lieutenants, told him he was going be be carrying valuable freight, and asked if Silas could provide protection. Aaron pulled into the loading area at Sampsons, asked two of the men there to help carry the guns to Sampson. Sampson exclaimed “Well, I never expected so much business so fast!” They unwrapped the guns and Sampson cleared a space so they could start working on the modifications.
Aaron pulled out the £60 he’d had in the bank, and explained. That;’s all the cash I have right now. I was wondering if you could modify three. Then.I’ll take them to the customers, collect£ 120 they’ll owe me, then I can pay £80 for the other four guns. Sampson interrupted, you don’t have to go to that much trouble. I’ll extend you credit and you pay me when you collect. Be sure you collect in advance from those gentlemen who have debts outstanding I’ll test the guns at full load several times so we’ll know they’re ok and I’ll keep working until all are done. Thanks for the business Aaron”! I like doing business with you, Sir”
“How about I come back around tomorrow after lunch. Aaron pointed out which guns belonged to Mr Coleman so Sampson could do them first, and left for Dalrimple’s. Aaron walked up to Rollo and Rotor, and was delighted to see they’d finished one machine, and were reassembling the other.
Rotor looked up “Sorry Boss! When we started going through the phases, the problem was just staring us in the face. Next time we we’ll know to work together torqueing the machine through the phases if we have trouble.” Aaron helped Rotor and Rolo with routine maintenancethe rest of the day. The next day when it was time to pick up the guns from Sampson, he took the carriage, drove to Sampson’s. He saw one of Silas men, signaled to him and as he hoped, a few of Silas’ troopers started following the carriage. At Sampson’s he picked up the guns, and rode to Coleman’s He delivered the guns and Coleman paid him the £120 they’d agreed. AAron climbed back onto the Carriage and to his surprise Silas joined him! Silas was carrying a long package.
Silas grinned as he spoke. “Your friend Coleman told so many people about your adaptation that people are coming to me to ask where they can get one of your guns! I know Sampson, he has nothing against me, but he won’t do business with me because it’d hurt his reputation. I’m going to set a few men to escort you when you’re carrying guns or cash, but we won’t be able to meet openly ….. I’m going to miss our meetings over coffee. I’m friends with a fine old retired army officer, name is Gibbon, he operates a small weapons business he operates a small gunsmith shop on Baker Street. He’s too old to work on the guns anymore, but he knows every widow who has a gun she doesn’t use anymore, and most of the retired officers who still like to shoot My suggestion is you have him handle the transactions from now on, and you can use his shop for small jobs. You can pay him £2 for each gun transaction, and he’ll pay me £1 of that for security…... This package is a rifled musket a widow had stored in her attic. See what you can do.” Silas jumped off the carriage and disappeared in the traffic of walkers
At Sampson’s Aaron paid the £80 he owed, picked up the remaining four fowling pieces, then delivered them to Coleman. “My friend Dischman left me £40 to pay you, and I’ll tell the other two to mail you a check in care of Dalrimple’-- is that ok?”
Aaron answered “I’d rather not bother Mr Dalrimple. , or you for that matter. I’ll take these two pieces to Gibbon’s gunshop on Baker street. Your friends can pay when they pick them.” Back at Dalrimple’s, Aaron found Mr. Dalrimple.
“I’ve got to tell you not to pay me for only two days this week. I’ve had to spend a lot of time on a project I’ve started, adapting flintlock muskets to percussion caps.”
“I noticed you were gone some this week. Is the project almost finished?”
“No, but I’m reducing the time needed. I’ve had to spend way too much time in the carriage, picking up guns, collecting payments, delivering to customers, but I’m taking steps to eliminate that.”
“Good, anyone can handle the retail end, you focus on the machining. Is this percussion cap work going to turn into a high volume enterprise?”
“I’m starting to think it will.”
“If you need some financial backing to get a good machine shop going, let me know. I know a few men who like to invest in new enterprises.”
“Thank you, sir… but I don’t want to go into debt. I’d rather wait and expand using earnings.”
Dalrimple smiled… “I understand that…. I’ve experienced two of what they call “Gluts.” The businessmen who can’t cut back, who have to pay debts and interest, they end up losing everything. I’ve always operated Dalrimples on a slow and steady approach.”

The next day AAron placed the rifle and the two fowling pieces on a carriage, and rode to meet Gibbons. Gibbons was an old, once vigorous man, who loved to talk to his customers, but was too infirm to do the heavy labor involved in being a gunsmith. When Aaron took the long gun off his saddle, Gibbons suggested they put Aaron’s horse in his stables that he no longer used.. Aaron unwrapped the gun and Mr Gibbons looked over the gun. He released the safety, rotated the trigger guard, and exposed the chamber. “This is perfect! A gunsmith in Biemingham was known for this. He bolstered the stock with this steel in the stock. He made the hole for the bullet slightly bigger than the barrel. When ye’ load the bullet it’s placed in the chamber. When the powder ignites. It drives the bullet into the rifling so so the bullet spins .
The result was a rapid fire, very accurate rifle that everyone loved, but too expensive for our generals who don’ mind sacrificing a few soldiers if it saves a few pennies. Hunters really loved the piece, though it was a bit heavy. They did issue a few to recognise the top snipers. They could really wreck havoc on an enemy in a fortified camp and stay safely out of range. They called it the Sharpe in honor of the Bloke that tried to get the gun adopted.”
Gibbon’s shop had been a fully functional gunsmith not too long ago, so it had water wheel for power, and water driven drill, grinders and bellows They drilled a hole in the receiver of the rifle where the flintlock spark pan used to be. Next they had to create a metal piece which would fit into the hole and had an extension, called “the nipple” where they could place an explosive cap. They’d drill a hole into the piece that would direct the explosion into the gunpowder chamber They poured some molten steel into a mold. then they took turns using the grinder to grind the percussion cap down to the right shape and dimensions and drilled the hole from the percussion nipple wouto the chamber. They started with some steel near the liquid state, hammering it until they had what was called the hammer. The hammer was designed so that when released by the trigger, a spring would drive the hammer to strike the percussion cap. By the end of the day they had a working firearm. The did a few test firings, and set up a display so that people could see the new firearm from the street.
“I’m leaving these two fowling pieces for the owners to pick up. The names are on the invoice. They’ve gotta pay £40 for each fowling piece.. I don’t know the gentlemen, so it’s gotta be cash, no credit. The £80 you get can be used to buy flintlock pistols, or fowling pieces or whatever sellers offer to sell. Now you know how to adapt any flintlock to percussion cap. If Silas hired you a bright strong young man to be apprentice could you teach him how to upgrade flintlock’s ?”
“Yessir,yessir, sure can--not hard at all!”
Aaron had developed an affection for the old man so he said good bye with warmth.

Aaron found Silas, told him about the new firearm, and asked him to pay close attention to the shop. “Mr Gibbons is willing to train a young man to do the upgrade if you know of a strong, smart, attentive, well mannered young man. I’ll pay an apprentice’s salary using the sales from upgraded firearms.”
Silas smiled, “Yes, yes, I have at least six boys who’d do anything to learn to be a gunsmith. This is very generous AAR, and I really appreciate it!”
The next morning Aaron left early, and got to Longbourne not much after lunch.

Elizabeth Bennett and the Industrial Revolution pages 21-44

Joe78751November 10, 2017 12:34AM


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