Henry Bell

1767 - 1830

Engineer. Born at Torphichen, Bell was the son of a mill-wright. He served as an apprentice to John Rennie (1761 - 1821) in London. Returning to Glasgow (1790), he developed the first commercially-successful steamship, the Comet, which was launched on the River Clyde at Port Glasgow in 1812. The 28-ton vessel sailed regularly between the Broomielaw and Helensburgh.

Bell died in Helensburgh and was buried in the kirkyard at Rhu. He was much respected by fellow marine engineer Robert Napier (1791 - 1876), who erected a statue over his grave in 1851 and was a major contributor to the cost of building the Bell Monument in Helensburgh (1872).

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