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George William Manby

Born: 28-Nov-1765
Birthplace: Hilgay, England
Died: 18-Nov-1854
Location of death: Great Yarmouth, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Hilgay Churchyard, near Downham Market, England

Gender: Male
Religion: Anglican/Episcopalian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Inventor, Military

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Invented the fire extinguisher

Military service: Cambridgeshire Militia

Captain George William Manby invented the first fire extinguisher, a copper cylinder which held three gallons of water, and used compressed air to jettison the water through a narrow tube which could be aimed toward a fire. Patented in 1813 and originally called the Extincteur, Manby's fire extinguisher is his most famous safety invention, but he also devised a mechanism for safely catching people who jumped from burning buildings, a method for extracting people who had broken through ice, and a purportedly unsinkable lifeboat (from which Manby was rescued as it sank).

As a young man he served in the Cambridgeshire Militia, and was then appointed barrack-master at Great Yarmouth, England. He became passionate about safety devices after witnessing a deadly storm off Great Yarmouth in 1807, in which dozens of men, women, and children were drowned only about sixty yards from shore, left literally helpless as onlookers could offer no assistance. In the wreck's aftermath, he invented the "Manby Morter", an apparatus to propel rope a substantial distance from shore to ship -- when the rope was tied to a ship in distress, people in lifebuoys could pull themselves across the water and reach the shore. After Manby himself used his Morter in 1808 to rescue sailors from a ship sinking 150 yards from Yarmouth's shore, dozens of Manby Morters were installed along the coast, and frequently used in rescue efforts.

He was a contemporary and childhood friend of Lord Nelson, and in his dotage Manby moved into the basement of his home and converted the rest of the structure into a museum of Nelson memorabilia. His brother, Thomas Manby, served under George Vancouver on the Discovery as he explored the west coast of America, and eventually reached the rank of rear admiral. Thomas Manby is the namesake of Manby Point, Alaska.

Father: Matthew Pepper Manby (captain)
Mother: Mary Manby
Brother: Thomas Manby (naval officer, b. 1-Jan-1769, d. 13-Jun-1834)
Wife: Jane Preston Manby (m. 1793, sep. 1801, d. 1814)
Wife: Sophia Gooch Manby

    University: Royal Military College, Woolwich, England

    Royal Society 1831
    Welsh Ancestry

Author of books:
The History and Antiquities of St David's (1801)
Fugitive Sketches of the History and Natural Beauties of Clifton, the Hot-Wells, and Vicinity (1802)
A Guide from Clifton to the Counties of Monmouth, Glamorgan (1802)
An Englishman's Reflexions on the Author of the Present Disturbances (1803)
General Report on the Survey of the Eastern Coast of England (1813)
Journal of a Voyage to Greenland in the Year 1821 (1822)
A Summary of Services Rendered to the State, in Saving the Lives of Its Sailors from Shipwreck (1851, memoir)


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