William Westcott Rundell, sometimes W W Rundell (c.1816–1897) was an inventor and engineer from Falmouth in Cornwall. He is best known for his work on the magnetism, particularly of adjustment needed for compasses on iron ships. He also campaigned for the better training of ships crews.
Life and work
The son of a shipwright, he was born at Stoke Damerel. In 1845 he was appointed secretary of The Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society. He resigned in 1855 to take the position of secretary at the Liverpool Compass Committee. Concurrently he was the Secretary of underwriters Registry for Iron vessels, Liverpool.
In 1855 and 1886, Rundell presented two reports to the Board of Trade and the Houses of Parliament giving his observations on the deviation of the compass in vessels having the compasses corrected by magnets.
At the 1851 Great Exhibition, Rundell exhibitied a carbonized cast-iron magnet He proposed a way of marking ships to mark percentages of every ships volume as a guide to determine her freeboard He conducted experiments on the SS Great Eastern with Frederick J Evans RN. The work with Evans related to dealing with the disturbing elements arising from the iron and the magnetisation of the ships. Evans published his work in conjunction with Archibald Smith
In 1889, Rundell created charts showing the horizontal variation in the magnetic force acting on a ship's compass needle by the iron within the ship (Dygograms) for HMS Polyphemus, HMS Curlew and HMS Dreadnought are held at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
He published many articles in The Engineer between 1857 and 1883.
- On the deviation of falling bodies to the south of the perpendicular. RCP (Royal Cornwall Polytechnic Society) Soc. 1847 pp 28–34
- General Index to the first sixteen annual reports of the RPC Soc. 1848
- On case hardening and tempering cast-iron magnets 1850 
- On Foucault's experiment for showing the rotation of the earth on its axis. 1851
- Notice of certain peculiar circumstances in Gwinear Consols and Wheal Seton Mines. 1847. Trans RGSC (Royal Geological Society of Cornwall)
- "Three letters from W W Rundell to Robert RitzRoy concerning compass deviation, with diagram of Great Eastern and table of experiments and results conducted on board". National Archives. Retrieved 28 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- William Scoresby (1859). Journal of a Voyage to Australia and round the World for Magnetical research.
- Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations 1851. 1851. p. 67. Retrieved 28 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- The Nautical Magazine for 1875. p. 300.
- Evans, Frederick J (1860). "Reduction and Discussion of the Deviations of the Compass Observed on Board of All the Iron-Built Ships, and a Selection of the Wood-Built Steam-Ships in Her Majesty's Navy, and the Iron Steam-Ship 'Great Eastern'; Being a Report to the Hydrographer of the Admiralty". Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Royal Society. 150: 337–378. doi:10.1098/rstl.1860.0021. JSTOR 108776.
- "Dygograms compiled by W. W. Rundell". Greenwich Maritime Museum. Retrieved 30 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Mechanics' Magazine and Journal of Science, Arts, and Manufactures, Volume 48". Retrieved 31 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- "Letter to John Enys". 1848. Retrieved 31 October 2019. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)