Horn, John

Horn, John (1814-1895), shipbuilder, was born on 21st December 1814 at Glenchapel Quay near Dumfries, Scotland.   He began his career in shipbuilding in 1826 on the Clyde as an apprentice to Robert Napier, considered to be the father of iron shipbuilding.   Horn became foreman of Napier’s marine engine works when only 18 years old.

In 1849 he was appointed manager of the Neptune shipyard in Waterford, a position that he held until his retirement in 1870, when he handed over the reins to his son Andrew.   The yard had been established as a ship repair yard in February 1843 by entrepreneur Joseph Malcomson to service their growing fleet of ships.   Malcomson’s wide ranging shipping interests gave him first-hand knowledge of the technical revolution that was happening in iron ship building and led to him bringing Horn over from Scotland.   Horn understood and practised Brunel’s construction techniques while adding his own innovations.   He initiated a very ambitious and aggressive programme of shipbuilding, making a mark at home and abroad.   Horn managed a workforce of around 300 men in the Neptune yard.   It prospered and the ships built were the largest in Ireland at the time.   They were renowned for the strength of their hulls, the SS Avoca (launched 1861) being the first steamship to force the ice at Odessa.

John Horn died in 1895.


Irish, Bill (2001) Shipbuilding in Waterford 1820-1880. Bray. Wordwell.



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