Garden Engine Patent (1858/1812)

Thomas Messenger obviously still busy for on 9th August[1], he submitted another patent application No. 1858/1812. This time the invention was described as “improvements in the manufacture of garden engines, which are also applicable to fire and other engines”[2]. The invention that he described as a “simple, durable, powerful and Cheap Garden Engine, for Watering Gardens[3] was essentially a garden water pump, which could be adapted for other uses. The following is an extract from the patent application: –

My Invention consists of “Improvements in the manufacture of garden Engines which are also applicable to fire or other Engines”, and is as follows:— Heretofore the cylinder or cylinders of garden engines has or have been placed perpendicularly, whereas according to this my Invention the cylinder or cylinders is or are placed horizontally, which enables me, by the employment of a long lever or handle, greatly to facilitate the working of the engine. The levers heretofore in use were placed horizontally, whereas according to this my Invention they work perpendicularly, and the apparatus altogether is not so liable to become deranged or get out of order as those in use, being less complicated. The engines are made of more durable material, though yet produced at a less expense. I use a combined jet and spreader, instead of a separate jet and rose, as heretofore employed, so as to regulate at pleasure the discharge of water from the garden or other engine.

Although I have particularly mentioned a garden engine, I do not confine myself to the application of my improvements to garden engines only, as the same principal, may also be applied to fire or other engines for discharging fluid or semifluid matters.

The accompanying Drawings exemplify a garden engine constructed according to my Invention.

Figure 1 is a side view of the engine, shewn as fixed on a tub ready for use: Figure 2 is a sectional view of the working parts. A is the handle; B the discharge pipe; C an air chamber; D, D, are the cylinders place horizontally instead of perpendicularly; E is the valve box; and F, the rod which works the pistons.

Figure 1 – Patent 1858/1812

First, the placing or arranging of the cylinder or cylinders horizontally instead of perpendicularly (thereby allowing for the employment of a long lever or handle), and also the placing or arranging of the lever or levers perpendicularly instead of horizontally.

Figure 2 – Patent 1858/1812

Second, the employment or application of a combines jet and spreader, instead of a separate jet and rose, for the better regulation of the discharge.

Figure 1 – Patent 1858/1812

So keen was he to exploit his innovations that he demonstrated both his triangular tubular boiler and garden pump at the sixth annual exhibition of the Moira Floral and Horticultural Society, held on 4th August[4], in the park adjoining Moira Baths, a few miles west of Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire. He also exhibited at the third exhibition of the Floral and Horticultural Society held at Leicester Race Course, on 25th August. At the latter event, his garden pump was described as a “very convenient article, as it may be readily moved about, and worked by a lady – in fact, even a child can manage it. It is quite a desideratum for lady gardeners in the country[5].

There is no evidence of him extending the patent therefore it appears as though either the invention was not such as success as to be worth renewing or he had moved on. The latter is doubtful for was almost another ten years before he submitted another patent application (1868/1675) for “Improvements in Fire Engines or Double-Action Pumps”.

The pump was still in production in 1870, when it appeared in a plate “devoted to hydraulic appliances” in Thomas Messenger’s catalogue entitled “Catalogue of Horticultural Buildings, Hot Water and Hydraulic Appliances“.

1870 Catalogue


  1. Sealed on 8th February 1859.

  2. The London Gazette, 3rd September 1858.

  3. The Loughborough Monitor, 26th May 1859.

  4. The Derby Mercury, 11th August 1858.

  5. The Leicester Chronicle or, Commercial and Agricultural Advertiser, 28th August 1858.