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Harold E. Edgerton Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-103829).

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Edgerton, Harold Eugene (06 April 1903–04 January 1990), electrical engineer and photographer, was born in Fremont, Nebraska, the son of Frank E. Edgerton, a lawyer, and Mary Coe. Edgerton received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska in 1925 and a doctorate of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1931. He married Esther May Garrett in 1928; they had three children. Most of Edgerton’s career centered on his invention, development, and application of the stroboscopic flash....

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Fisher, Avery Robert (04 March 1906–26 February 1994), entrepreneur, graphic designer, and audio engineer, was born in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest of six children of Charles Fisher and Mary Byrach Fisher, both Russian immigrants. Young Avery was captivated by his father's extensive record collection and this began his lifelong love of classical music. He entered New York University (NYU) in 1924, majoring in biology and English. After graduating in 1929 he joined an advertising agency and came into contact with several publishing companies who were his clients. He got a job as a graphic designer with G. P. Putnam's Sons and then joined Dodd, Mead & Company in 1933, where he worked for the next ten years. He recalled his work in graphic design with great pride and claimed that designing books was his first love. He said that a beautiful typographic design was as pleasing to the eye as listening to music was pleasing to the ear. In 1941 he married Janet Cane; the couple had three children....

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Freeman, Thomas (?–08 November 1821), surveyor, civil engineer, and explorer, was born in Ireland and immigrated in 1784 to America. Nothing is known of his parents, early life, or formal training, but he apparently had a background in the sciences. He may have acquired employment at Plymouth, Massachusetts, as an inspector and surveyor. In 1794 ...

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Robert Fulton. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-102509).

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Fulton, Robert (14 November 1765–23 February 1815), artist, engineer, and entrepreneur, was born on a farm in Little Britain (later Fulton) Township, south of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the son of Robert Fulton, a Scotch-Irish tailor and tradesman, and Mary Smith. Fulton’s father had left the prosperous market town of Lancaster to establish his family on the land, but like so many others with the same goal, he failed. The farm and the dwelling were sold at sheriff’s sale in 1772, and he took his family back to Lancaster. He died two years later....

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Geddes, James (22 July 1763–19 August 1838), civil engineer, judge, and surveyor, was born of Scottish parents (names unknown) near Carlisle, Pennsylvania. As a youth, Geddes studied mathematics with a tutor and studied languages independently. In 1793 he visited the area that later became New York state’s Onondaga County; he moved there the following year. He organized one of the state’s first salt works, helping to establish the salt industry, which would dominate the area’s economy for many years....

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Benjamin Henry Latrobe. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-1881).

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Latrobe, Benjamin Henry (01 May 1764–03 September 1820), architect and civil engineer, was born in Fulneck, Yorkshire, England, the son of Benjamin Latrobe, an English Moravian clergyman, and Anna Margaretta Antes, an American born in Pennsylvania. From 1776 until 1783 Latrobe attended Moravian schools in Germany, initially the Paedagogium at Niesky and later the seminary at Barby in Saxony, where he received a broad liberal education in the arts and sciences. Latrobe seems to have traveled extensively in eastern Germany, perhaps visiting Vienna, during his school years. Architectural drawings signed by Latrobe for buildings erected in 1784 and 1785 for a Moravian community near Manchester, England, complement his student architectural drawings of existing Moravian communities. Latrobe held a position in the Stamp Office in London from 1785 to 1794; he received an additional appointment as surveyor of the London police offices in 1792....

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Mills, Robert (12 August 1781–03 March 1855), architect, engineer, and writer, was born in Charles Town (Charleston), South Carolina, the son of William Mills, a tailor, and Ann Taylor. Raised a Presbyterian, he was educated privately in Charleston, possibly in part by his brother Thomas. Mills studied architecture with ...

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Pond, Irving Kane (01 May 1857–29 September 1939), architect and structural engineer, was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the eldest son of Elihu Bartlit Pond, a newspaper publisher and Michigan public school advocate, and Mary Barlow Allen. He was educated in Ann Arbor public schools, and he graduated from the University of Michigan in 1879 with a degree in civil engineering....

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Smith, Francis Hopkinson (23 October 1838–07 April 1915), mechanical engineer, writer, and artist, was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the son of Francis Smith, a musician, mathematician, and philosopher, and Susan Teakle. Smith was reared in the genteel society of old Baltimore, where he studied for entrance to Princeton University. Smith’s family suffered economic ruin, however, and he never attended college. Before the Civil War he held jobs in a hardware store and an ironworks. Around 1858 he moved to New York City, where, after some training with a partner named James Symington, he set up an engineering firm. Over the years he increasingly complemented this enterprise with his work in the fine arts and as a speaker. He was usually thought of, and perhaps thought of himself, as a southern gentleman. In 1866 Smith married Josephine Van Deventer of Astoria, New York. They had two children....

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Strickland, William (1788–06 April 1854), architect and engineer, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of John Strickland, a carpenter, and Elizabeth Wilson. Strickland’s formal education began at the age of twelve, when he entered Mr. Lyttle’s school in Philadelphia, which he attended from 1800 to 1803. Later, owing to his father’s work with ...

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Wright, Benjamin (10 October 1770–24 August 1842), civil engineer and surveyor, was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, the son of Ebenezer Wright and Grace Butler, farmers. He displayed an interest in mathematics as a student, and in his mid-twenties he was sent to live with his uncle, Joseph Wright, in Plymouth, Connecticut. There he had access to surveying instruments and was able to study both surveying and law. In 1789 he and his family moved to Fort Stanwix (now Rome), New York. Soon Wright began work as a surveyor, setting boundaries and subdividing tracts for newly sold lands on the frontier. During 1792–1796 he plotted 500,000 acres in Oneida and Oswego counties and surveyed an additional 2 million acres in parts of northern New York. In 1798 he returned to Plymouth to marry Philomela Waterman. They settled in Fort Stanwix and eventually had nine children, eight of whom survived their parents. In 1830 the family relocated to New York City, where Philomela died in 1835....