1-12 of 12 results  for:

  • water transport x
  • inventor (general) x
Clear all

Article

Bushnell, David (30 August 1740–1826), inventor, was born in Saybrook, Connecticut, the son of Nehemiah Bushnell and Sarah Ingham, farmers. By the time Bushnell entered Yale, he had developed concepts for both a submarine and an underwater explosive. At college, he experimented with gunpowder and proved that it could explode underwater. During the summer of 1775, the year he graduated, the thirteen colonies were in the throes of revolt against Great Britain, and Bushnell felt that an offensive weapon would be a useful tool against the Royal Navy in the ensuing conflict. With that in mind, he constructed his submarine in Saybrook during the spring and summer of 1775. Although he was secretive about his work, several colonial notables knew of it, including ...

Article

Ericsson, John (31 July 1803–08 March 1889), inventor and engineer, was born in Langbanshyttan, province of Wermland, Sweden, the son of Olof Ericsson, a mine proprietor and inspector, and Brita Sophia Yngstrom. His earliest education was instruction by his parents and private tutors. John often spent his days drawing and building models of the machinery in his father’s mine. His father was well educated, but John’s strong character traits were attributed to the influence of his mother. Sweden’s war with Russia ruined John’s father financially, but he was able to secure a position as an inspector on a canal project and to obtain appointments for his two sons as cadets in the Corps of Mechanical Engineers. Thus at age thirteen John began his first formal education, and his natural aptitudes for mechanical drawing and solving engineering problems were encouraged and developed....

Article

Fitch, John (21 January 1743–June or July 1798), inventor and craftsman, was born in Windsor, Connecticut, the son of Joseph Fitch and Sarah Shaler, farmers. His father came from neighboring Hartford and his mother from Bolton. His mother died before he was five; his father married Abigail Church of Hartford two years later. Most of what is known about Fitch comes from an autobiographical sketch written between 1790 and 1792, when he was alone and embittered, convinced that he had been cheated by life. Although he had by then put aside the Calvinistic Presbyterianism of his upbringing and replaced it with a rationalistic deism, he still tended to pass judgment on those he felt had failed him. His memories of childhood were few and unhappy. He described his father as uncaring, even tyrannical. Unjust treatment by an older brother “forbode” his “future rewards,” he reminisced—with the irony intended ( ...

Image

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

Article

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....

Image

John P. Holland. Photomechanical print, 1897. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-100656).

Article

Holland, John Philip (24 February 1841–12 August 1914), inventor, was born in Liscannor, County Clare, Ireland, the son of John Holland, a coast guard officer, and Mary Scanlon. The Hollands lived in a small coast guard cottage, and though they had greater economic security than many residents of the village, the poverty, famine, and disease that surrounded them and that led to the death of John’s younger brother Robert and two of his uncles had a profound impact on him, initiating a strong anti-British sentiment that influenced much of his life. In 1853 Holland’s father died and the family moved to Limerick, where Holland entered the monastery school. He was very committed to his studies and rapidly excelled in the physical sciences. The hardship caused by his father’s death, along with Holland’s strong interest in education, prompted his entrance into the teaching order of the Irish Christian Brothers in 1858. He was sent to the North Monastery School in Cork for further training and apprentice teaching. Over the next fifteen years Holland moved to various teaching posts throughout Ireland and taught a variety of subjects ranging from the physical sciences to music. However, his poor health forced him to take periodic breaks from his teaching duties and, along with his interest in designing submarines, influenced his decision to move to the United States in 1873 to join his mother and two brothers, who had moved to Boston several years earlier....

Article

Lake, Simon (04 September 1866–23 June 1945), inventor and submarine pioneer, was born in Pleasantville, New Jersey, the son of John Christopher Lake and Miriam Adams. Inventiveness ran in the Lake family; Simon’s father was the inventor and manufacturer of a window shade roller in Toms River, New Jersey, and later the proprietor of an iron foundry in Ocean City....

Article

Longstreet, William (06 October 1759–01 September 1814), inventor, was born near Allentown, Monmouth County, New Jersey, the son of Stoffel Longstreet and Abigail Wooley. Longstreet received some local schooling and at an early age showed mechanical skill and an interest in the increasing talk of steam engines and steamboats. In 1783 he married Hannah Randolph of Allentown, with whom he had six children. She had inherited a sizable sum of money from her father, and sometime before the fall of 1786 the family had settled in Augusta, Georgia, where Longstreet made his living as an inventor of steam engines and steamboats....

Article

Roosevelt, Nicholas J. (27 December 1767–30 July 1854), engineer and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of Jacobus Roosevelt, a shopkeeper, and Annetje Bogard. Nicholas’s brother Jacobus was the great-grandfather of Theodore Roosevelt. As a boy Roosevelt developed a great love for mechanics and built a model boat propelled by paddle wheels turned by springs and a cord. This experiment proved to be the start of his career in manufacturing steam engines and building some of the earliest steamboats. He persuaded friends to purchase land in what is now Belleville, New Jersey, and erect a metal foundry and shop. It was called Soho after the famous works of Boulton and Watt in Birmingham, England. Managing the enterprise alone, with several skilled mechanics imported from England, at first he had some success, building an engine for the Philadelphia waterworks and winning a federal contract to establish a rolling mill for copper to be used in the construction of warships. Unfortunately, the ships were never built, causing him a great financial loss....

Article

Stevens, John (1749–06 March 1838), engineer and inventor, was born in New York City, the son of John Stevens, a shipowner and merchant, and Elizabeth Alexander. In later years Stevens’s father entered politics, serving as treasurer of New Jersey and as president of the New Jersey convention that ratified the U.S. Constitution. In 1766 Stevens entered King’s College, now Columbia, and graduated in 1768. He studied law for three years but never practiced it; instead, he joined his father in New Jersey politics and served as a special aide to Governor ...

Article

Stevens, Robert Livingston (18 October 1787–20 April 1856), engineer, inventor, and naval architect, was born on his father’s estate, “Castle Point,” in Hoboken, New Jersey, the son of John Stevens, an inventor, and Rachel Cox. His name reflected the close association between his father and Chancellor ...