Otis Tufts

February 14 is the 212th birthday of Otis Tufts. Here is a short biography of his life and work.
Otis Tufts was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1804, and at the age of 21, went to Lowell to begin his career as a machinist and an inventor. He perfected and built printing presses, and in 1837, constructed the first steam-operated press in the U.S. He is credited with introducing the features of the double-hulled iron steam ship and built and launched in East Boston, the first vessel constructed wholly of iron in the U.S., the plans of which were drawn by the famous John Erickson. Tufts also invented the steam pile driver but is most widely known for his “Vertical Screw Railway,” several of which were installed in New York City and in Philadelphia. He also originated the idea of using two or more cables attached to elevator cars by equalizers, the first of this type being installed in the American House in Boston in 1868. He died in 1869 at the age of 65.

James Watt

James_wattJanuary 30 is the 280th birthday of James Watt. Here is a short biography of his life and work.

James Watt was a Scottish engineer and inventor who played an important part in the development of the steam engine as a practical power source. He studied instrument making and went to London in 1775, at the age of 18 to study further and to practice his trade. In 1757, he was appointed instrument maker at the University of Glasgow. There he met the physicist Joseph Black, who was studying the thermodynamic (heat) properties of steam. Watt studied the Newcomen steam engine then in use and made a number of important improvements. In 1769, he patented a separate condenser (a chamber for condensing the steam) for the engine. He formed a partnership in 1774, with the manufacturer Matthew Boulton and The Boulton and Watt steam engines soon replaced the Newcomen engines being used to pump water out of mines.

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Andre-Marie Ampere

January 20 is Andre-Marie Ampere’s 241st birthday. Here is a short biography of his life and the work he was involved in from the Elevator Museum.

2016.01.20 AndreDespite not attending school, Andre-Marie Ampere was to be given an excellent education. It has been claimed that Ampere had mastered all known mathematics by the age of twelve years but this seems somewhat of an exaggeration since, by Ampere’s own account, he did not start to read elementary mathematics books until he was 13 years old.
In 1797 Ampere earned a living tutoring mathematics until 1802 when he was appointed professor of physics and chemistry at Bourg Ecole Centrale. He was appointed professor of mathematics at the Ecole Polytechnique in 1809, where he held posts until 1828. Ampere was appointed to chair at Universite de France in 1826 which he held until his death. Although a mathematics professor, his interests included, in addition to mathematics, metaphysics, physics and chemistry. Ampere was also making significant contributions to chemistry.
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