Benjamin Tibbets, the son of Andrew Tibbets, was born in Queens County in 1813. His mother was a McFarlane. The Tibbets family moved from the Millcove-Cambridge area to Scotchtown (Grand Lake) after their home was destroyed by fire. Eight years later, in 1830, the Tibbets moved to Fredericton.
Benjamin Tibbets received a basic education in Fredericton, but his real talents lay in drafting and engineering. He worked with Benjamin Wolhaupter, a watchmaker, in Fredericton, and then with Mr. Robertson, also a watchmaker, in Woodstock. He later apprenticed in several foundries. For two years he worked in Tibbets Machine Shop in Montréal.
After being a watchmaker’s apprenticeship and a foundry manager, he eventually began studying the design and construction of steam engines. Tibbets devised and built a new type of engine, a “steam-saving apparatus,” in Fredericton, which combined the principle of low-pressure steam working in conjunction with high pressure steam to improve the performance and speed of riverboats. Tibbets’ invention was first used in the steamer “Reindeer”, which was built at Nashwaaksis by Thomas Pickard and finished at Fredericton. It was patented in Lower Canada in November 1845.
Benjamin Tibbets never married, and he died at Scotchtown of tuberculosis on 19 November 1853.
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