one Of Ireland's Greatest Ever Inventors
Sir Francis Beaufort Of Navan, Co. Meath
Francis Beaufort was born into a family with a great interest in plotting maps which was his fathers masterpiece with the drawing board. His Irish credentials are largely his native place of birth and as a young boy he drifted between Ireland and Wales until he was aged fourteen.
He left his schooling behind to go on the open high seas but he had a great appetite for advanced learning through self education. His interest in science and mathematics brought him into contact with some leading scientists and mathematicians and it was a bad seafaring experience in 1789 that made the fifteen year old realise that nautical sea plotting charts were sadly absent.
Despite his lack of academic degrees, Francis Beaufort became a ship lieutenant and later rose to the rank of commander. Known as a geneorus man, Francis had a serious injury on board HMS Phaeton and returned to live in Ireland. During this time he became involved with his brother-in-law to establish a semaphore line from Dublin to Galway.
This project took two years and the Navan man did not seek any payment for his services on the project.
In 1810 he was back with the British Navy as a ship captain and this enabled him to carry out some vital research to advance a major invention he was pursing.
Astronomical observations were his main priority and on his sea travels he made numerous soundings and bearings tests to invent a new system for longitude and latitude and evaluating shorelines for ships.
Promoted to command of his own ship with instructions to carry out a hydrographic survey of an estuary in South America, his findings were described as historic and could possibly alter seafaring mechanism for future generations.
Measuring wind force scale was an obsession for Beaufort and determining tide tables for incoming and outgoing times was a scientific exploration that occupied his mathematical mind.
As a seafaring ship officer of the Admiralty, Sir Francis made a great discovery when he invented
the first versions of his Wind Force Scale and also Weather Notation coding. He used these formulas in his journals for the remainder of his life at sea.
Weather forecasting was greatly aided by Beaufort’s inventions and previous methods were greatly complimented with his advance technological theories. In 1829, aged fifty five, he rose in the Admiralty to become British Admiralty Hydrographer of the Navy and he served in that role for twenty five years.
He was almost solely responsible for overseeing the establishment of the finest surveying and charting institution in the world.
Francis Beaufort, born in Navan in 1774, died in 1857 and is a truly remarkable Famous Son Of Ireland.