Collection MC354 - Benjamin Tibbets

Title proper

Benjamin Tibbets

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  • Textual record
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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the collection.

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  • Reproduced [before 1980] (Creation)
    Tibbets, Benjamin Franklin

Physical description

1 cm of textual records and photographs

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Name of creator

([ca. 1813]-1843)

Biographical history

This collection was assembled by Murray MacLaren (1861-1942), a former Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick, who was keenly interested in the life and work of Benjamin Franklin Tibbets. Benjamin Tibbets, the son of Andrew Tibbets, was born in Queens County, New Brunswick about 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, New Brunswick of tuberculosis on 19 November 1853.

Source: "Benjamin Franklin Tibbets and His Work," by Murray MacLaren, 1938

Custodial history

Information about the custody of these records prior to acquisition is incomplete.

Scope and content

This collection consists of records relating primarily to Benjamin Tibbets. It includes copies of photographs of a painting, "Landseer," by B. F. Tibbets; of the specifications of his invention (filed 22 June 1844); and of his 1845 petition to the Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick for the issue of a patent (diagram attached). It also includes copies of photographs of himself, Charles McFarlane, Henry McFarlane, and Mrs. McFarlane.

Also included are photocopies of Murray MacLaren's 1938 address to the York-Sunbury Historical Society entitled, "Benjamin Franklin Tibbets and his Work", along with copies of letters from Howden R. Balmain to MacLaren (1938) containing biographical and other information about Benjamin Franklin Tibbets.

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Transferred to the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick from the Legislative Library in January 1980.


Language of material

  • English

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No restrictions

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Finding aids

An inventory is available.

Associated materials

The New Brunswick Museum vertical file pertaining to Benjamin Franklin Tibbets (RS184) is available on microfilm no. F11093.

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