James R Napier (1821-1879) was a marine engineer, naval architect and inventor.
Son of the iron magnate and shipbuilder Robert Napier, James was placed in charge of the shipbuilding division of his father's business in Govan in 1842. Some of the earliest iron warships for the Royal Navy were built by the family firm of Robert Napier & Sons and James was a pioneer in their design and construction.
James left the family business in 1857 and started some less successful ventures on his own. He was a prominent member of the Philosophical Society of Glasgow and of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, contributing many scientific papers to their publications. When the British Association held its annual meeting in Glasgow in 1876 he was one of the organisers, and was credited with making a success of the exhibition held in the museum buildings in Kelvingrove Park.
Reference: Mitchell Library, GC 920.04 BAI
Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning