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Thurston

engineering, steam and engine

THURSTON, Robert Henry, American engineer and educator: b. Providence, R. I., 25 Oct. 1839; d. Ithaca, N. Y., 25 Oct. 1903. He was graduated from Brown University in 1859, and received his mechanical training in his father's engine-building shops. In 1861 he joined the engineer corps of the navy, served during the Civil War, was twice promoted, and in 1865 was appointed assistant professor of natural philosophy at the United States Naval Academy. In 1872 he resigned his commission in the navy, and accepted the professorship of mechanical engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technol ogy. He was appointed a member of the United States scientific commission to the Vienna Exhibition in 1873; and in 1885 became the director of Sibley College, the engineering department of Cornell University, and univer sity professor of mechanical engineering. The excellence of the Sibley College curriculum is largely due to his ability as an organizer, and his administration made the college one of the foremost engineering schools of the country. As an inventor he was known for his mag nesium burning lamps, army and navy signal apparatus, various forms of testing machines for iron and other metals, and an engine-gov ernor and other improvements on the steam engine. In scientific research his most note

worthy work was done in investigating the commercial economy of the steam-engine, and in determining the useful•qualities of various alloys. His contributions to engineering and scientific literature are also of value, being marked by a clearness of statement unusual in technical writing. The more important of his publications are of Engineering> (3 vols., 1884; new ed., 1907-10) ; (Manual of the Steam Engine> (1890-1902); (Manual of Steam (1888-1901); 'Engine and Boiler Trials) (1890-1903); 'History of the Steam Engine' (1878-1902). Others are and Lubrication> (1884); 'Materials of Construction) (1890-1900) ; Steam Engines' (1885) ; 'Friction and Lost Work in Machinery and Mill Work) (1885 1903) ; as a Form of Energy) (1890) ; of Robert Fulton) (1891) and numerous scientific papers. Consult Durand, W. F., (Robert Henry Thurston) (Washington 1904).