Robert Henry Thurston

American mechanical engineer (1839-1903)

Robert Henry Thurston (October 25, 1839 – October 25, 1903) was an American engineer, and the first Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology.

Robert Henry Thurston, 1880

Quotes edit

  • The wonderful progress of the present century is, in very great degree, due to the invention and improvement of the steam-engine.
  • Great inventions are never, and great discoveries are seldom, the work of any one mind. Every great invention is really an aggregation of minor inventions, or the final step of a progression. It is not usually a creation, but a growth, as truly so as is the growth of the trees in the forest.
  • The first machine of Papin was very similar to the gunpowder-engine... of Huyghens. In place of gunpowder, a small quantity of water is placed at the bottom of the cylinder, A; a fire is built beneath it, "the bottom being made of very thin metal," and the steam formed soon raises the piston, B, to the top where a latch, E, engaging a notch in latch engaging the piston rod, H, holds it up until it is desired that it shall drop. The fire being removed, the steam condenses, and a vacuum is formed below the piston, and the latch, E, being disengaged, the piston is driven down by the superincumbent atmosphere and raises the weight which has been, meantime, attached to a rope... passing from the piston rod over pulleys... The machine had a cylinder two and a half inches in diameter, and raised 60 pounds once a minute; and Papin calculated that a machine of a little more than two feet diameter of cylinder and of four feet stroke would raise 8,000 pounds four feet per minute—i.e., that it would yield about one horse-power.

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