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.

Continue reading

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.
Continue reading

From Fieldman to Contractor

Collection Two in Elevator World’s Hall of Humor

by William C. Sturgeon

John McNally, an elevator mechanic who became a successful independent elevator contractor, documented his transition from field to management through his graphics. What constructor can fail to grasp the incongruity of the individuals and situations depicted in such familiar environments on or off the jobsite? John McNally ran the gamut, caricaturing the salesman and boss, as well as the technician in the field. After a half-dozen years in which my own contracting firm’s drillers encountered water, ballast stones, granite and a bath tub, ELEVATOR WORLD published a series of articles on “Horrible Holes.” Many readers told their sad tales editorially, while John McNally, having suffered similar experiences, forwarded his graphics on the painful subject.

ch2-1a ch2-2a ch2-3a ch2-4a ch2-5a ch2-6a ch2-7a ch2-8a ch2-9a ch2-10a ch2-11a ch2-12a

For more cartoons, visit the Hall of Humor page here.