A Brunel double writing machine, English, circa 1800.

Of brass and mahogany construction, this machine was patented in the U.K. on 11-4-1799 by its inventor, Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849).

Brunel, a Frenchman, left France for America in 1792, where he worked as a surveyor and civil engineer. He moved to England in 1799 and settled here.

Among his most famous engineering projects was the Rotherhithe tunnel under the Thames.

His son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), assisted his father and subsequently became one of the greatest engineers in the world.

This remarkably preserved example of Brunel’s design was made by John Farthing, of 43 Cornhill, London.

Despite a commercial patent, examples of Brunel’s machine are extremely rare; only two other examples are known to exist.


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