Written account of the life of Adrian Stephens, the inventor of the Steam Whistle, by his son, James Stephens in 1921. Adrian Stephens had been in the employment of Josiah John Guest of the Dowlais Ironworks, when he invented a new safety device to warn engineers when a steam boiler was running out of water, which could lead to a rise in pressure and an explosion. It would later be added to every boiler, railway locomotive and steam ship around the world. Transcription: 'The other day I had some conversation with a friend of mine, who was aware of the fact that my father was the inventor of the steam whistle. On his asking me for the details I complied with his request to the best of my ability. My father, Adrian Stephens, was Chief Engineer at Dowlais works in the year 1835; when a boiler explosion occurred, with one of the old non-tubular boilers, through the negligence of the stoker who had not kept up the proper supply of water in the boiler. The result was a loss of several lives. Sir John Josiah Guest sent for my father and enquired of him if something could be done to prevent this happening again. After some further conversation and thought upon the subject, my father asked Sir John to procure for him some organ pipes from London. After considerable study my father produced the first steam whistle; the same steam whistle is used all over the civilized world of today and has undoubtedly saved thousands of lives. One of the pipes was fixed at the top of the boiler in such a way that the end of it dipped in the water. A shrill whistle was attached to the top of the (lh) pipe, and immediately the water got too low in the boiler the steam rushed up the pipe and caused the whistle to blow, thus giving a warning to the man who was neglecting his duty. My father never applied for a patent, in fact, there was very little talk of patents in those days, and as my father was a gentleman of independent means he never troubled about patents. After the death of Sir John Guest he went to the old Pendarrren works and fixed another of his inventions at the old Blast furnaces called Hot Blast. It was for heating the blast furnaces in a hotter and more efficient manner. This happened long after the time of Richard Trevethick and his employers at that time were Alderman Thompson and Mr Foreman of Pendarren House. After that as well as I can recollect he went to the Plymouth works in Pentrebach and became Civil Engineer for Mr Anthony Hill the proprietor there, after the death of his brother James Stephens who was mechanical Engineer there for many years. Many men of inventive genius have come from Cornwall. My father was a Cornish man and there are old traditions of his ancestors who were buccaneers and carried on a smuggling trade in the old caves of St.Michael’s Mount, long ago. James Adrian Stephens'

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