Napier eventually contributed £6,100 of his own money to the startup capital of £270,000 required to launch Cunard’s line. The company’s first liner, Britannia, was 207 feet long, 1,154 tons burthen and powered by a 740 horsepower Thomson engine.
James Thomson was employed as Napier’s leading smith in 1828. Thomson and his brother, George (also an ex-Napier employee), later founded the Clydebank shipyard of J&G Thomson, which eventually morphed into John Brown & Co., the builder of Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth 2 and many other legendary ocean liners. A variety of other Clydeside yards were also founded by ex-Napier employees.
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