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Charles Babbage

bornactivedied
1791, DEc 261815-18711871, Oct 18
an English polymath. A mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer, Babbage is best remembered for originating the concept of a programmable computer. Considered by some to be a "father of the computer", Babbage is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex designs. His varied work in other fiel...
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John Barber

borndied
17341793
an English coalmaster and inventor. He was born in Nottinghamshire, but moved to Warwickshire in the 1760s to manage collieries in the Nuneaton area. For a time he lived in Camp Hill House, between Hartshill and Nuneaton, and later lived in Attleborough. He patented several inventions between 1766 and 1792, of which the most remarkable was one for a gas turb...
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Cross-listed in ClergyWriters

Edward Barlow

aka: Booth
borndied
16391719
an English priest and mechanician. Barlow invented the rack and snail striking mechanism for striking clocks about 1676. This was a great improvement over the previous mechanism used in striking clocks, the count wheel. This invention was afterwards applied to pocket watches. He wrote several treatises on religion and mechanics.
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Wilhelm Bauer

borndied
1822, Dec 231875, Jun 20
a Bavarian inventor and engineer who built several hand-powered submarines. Wilhelm Bauer was born in Dillingen in the Kingdom of Bavaria. His father was a sergeant of a Bavarian cavalry regiment. Because of this, Wilhelm Bauer, after an apprenticeship as a wood turner, also joined the army. Working as an artillery engineer, he witnessed the German/Danish wa...
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Cross-listed in Naval

Francis Beaufort

borndied
1774, May 271857, Dec 17
an Irish hydrographer and officer in the Royal Navy. Beaufort was the creator of the Beaufort Scale for indicating wind force. During these early years of command, Beaufort developed the first versions of his Wind Force Scale and Weather Notation coding, which he was to use in his journals for the remainder of his life. From the circle representing a weather...
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Cross-listed in WritersScientists

Marcellin Berthelot

borndied
18271907
a French chemist and politician noted for the Thomsen-Berthelot principle of thermochemistry. He synthesized many organic compounds from inorganic substances, providing a large amount of counterevidence to the theory of Jöns Jakob Berzelius that organic compounds required organisms in their synthesis. He is considered as one of the greatest chemists of all ...
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Sir Henry Bessemer

borndied
1813, Jan 191898, Mar 15
an English inventor, whose steel-making process would become the most important technique for making steel in the nineteenth century for almost one century from 1856 to 1950. He also played a significant role in establishing the town of Sheffield as a major industrial centre. Bessemer had been trying to reduce the cost of steel-making for military ordnance, ...
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Henry Blair

borndied
18071860
the second African American inventor to receive a patent. He was born in Glen Ross, Maryland, United States in 1807. His first invention was the Seed-Planter, patented October 14, 1834, which allowed farmers to plant more corn using less labor in a smaller amount of time. On August 31, 1836 he obtained a second patent for a cotton planter. This invention wor...
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Lyman Reed Blake

borndied
1835, Aug 241883, Oct 3
an American inventor who devised a sewing machine for sewing the soles of shoes to the vamp of the shoe. Born in South Abington, Massachusetts, Blake started off in the shoemaker business at a young age, first working for his brother Samuel. Blake later worked in inventor Isaac Singer's company, Singer Corporation, setting up sewing machines in shoe factorie...
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Jean-Pierre Blanchard

aka: François
bornactivedied
1753, Jul 41784-18081809, Mar 7
a French inventor, best known as a pioneer in balloon flight. Blanchard toured Europe, demonstrating his balloons. He holds the record of first balloon flights in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, and Poland. Among the events that included demonstrations of his abilities as a balloonist was the coronation of Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II as King of Bohemia ...
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Thomas Blanchard

borndied
1788, Jun 241864, Apr 16
an American inventor who lived much of his life in Springfield, Massachusetts, where in 1819, he pioneered the assembly line style of mass production in America, and also invented the major technological innovation known as interchangeable parts. Blanchard worked, for much of his career, with the Springfield Armory. In 1825, Blanchard also invented America's...
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John Blenkinsop

borndied
17831831, Jan 22
an English mining engineer and an inventor of steam locomotives, who designed the first practical railway locomotive. From 1808 he became agent to Charles John Brandling, who owned collieries on his Middleton estate near Leeds and whose family came from Felling. From then until his death, Blenkinsop lived at Middleton Hall on Town Street, Middleton, built in...
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Gail Borden

borndied
1801, Nov 91874, Jan 11
a native New Yorker who settled in Texas in 1829, where he worked as a land surveyor, newspaper publisher, and inventor; he is most known as the developer of condensed milk in 1853. Borden coplotted the cities of Houston and Galveston in 1836. Having returned to the New York area to market another product, he set up factories for condensed milk in Connecticu...
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Cross-listed in Writers

Matthew Piers Watt Boulton

aka: M.P.W. Bolton
borndied
18201894
a British classicist, elected member of the UK's Metaphysical Society, an amateur scientist and an inventor, best known for his invention of the aileron, a primary aeronautical flight control device. He patented the aileron in 1868, some 36 years before it was first employed in manned flight by Robert Esnault-Pelterie in 1904. His Times obituary described hi...
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Cross-listed in Writers

William Bourne

aka: of Gravesend
borndied
1535 ca1582
an English mathematician, innkeeper and former Royal Navy gunner who presented the first design for a navigable submarine and wrote important navigational manuals. In 1574, he produced a popular version of the Martín Cortés de Albacar's Arte de Navegar, entitled A Regiment for the Sea. Bourne was critical of some aspects of the original and produced a manu...
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James Boyd

bornactivedied
unknown1820sunknown
an immigrant from Ireland living in Boston, received a patent for a cotton-webbed fire hose that was lined with rubber inside of it.
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Seth Boyden

borndied
1788, Nov 171870, Mar 31
an American inventor. He worked as a watchmaker and moved to Newark, New Jersey. Boyden perfected the process for making patent leather, created malleable iron, invented a nail-making machine, and built his own steamboat. He is also credited with having invented a cut off switch for steam engines and a method for producing zinc from ore. At the time of his d...
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Cross-listed in WritersScientists

Robert Boyle

borndied
1627, Jan 251691, Dec 31
an Anglo-Irish natural philosopher, chemist, physicist and inventor born in Lismore, County Waterford, Ireland. Boyle is largely regarded today as the first modern chemist, and therefore one of the founders of modern chemistry, and one of the pioneers of modern experimental scientific method. He is best known for Boyle's law. Among his works, The Sceptical C...
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Cross-listed in WritersEducators

Louis Braille

borndied
1809, Jan 41852, Jan 6
a French educator and inventor of a system of reading and writing for use by the blind or visually impaired. His system remains known worldwide simply as braille. Blinded in both eyes as a result of an early childhood accident, Braille mastered his disability while still a boy. He excelled in his education and received scholarship to France's Royal Institute...
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Joseph Bramah

borndied
1748, Apr 131814, Dec 9
an English inventor and locksmith. He is best known for having invented the hydraulic press. He can be considered one of the two fathers of hydraulic engineering. In London, Bramah worked for a Mr. Allen, installing water closets (toilets) which were designed to a patent obtained by Alexander Cumming in 1775. He found that the current model being installed i...
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Cross-listed in AstronomersWritersScientists

David Brewster

borndied
1781, Dec 111868, Feb 10
a Scottish physicist, mathematician, astronomer, inventor, writer, historian of science and university principal. Most noted for his contributions to the field of optics, he studied the double refraction by compression and discovered the photoelastic effect, which gave birth to the field of optical mineralogy. For his work, William Whewell dubbed him the "Fa...
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Isaac Briggs

borndied
17631825
an American engineer, surveyor and manufacturer during the Early Republic. On 1 February 1788, the Georgia legislature awarded Augusta inventor William Longstreet and his associate Isaac Briggs a patent for a steam engine. It is the only patent issued by the state because this was before the adoption of the Federal Constitution. In 1807 their engine was used...
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Edwin Beard Budding

borndied
17951846
an engineer from Stroud, England, was the English inventor of the lawnmower (1830) and adjustable spanner (1842). Budding had the idea of the lawnmower after seeing a machine in a local cloth mill which used a cutting cylinder (or bladed reel) mounted on a bench to trim the irregular nap from the surface of woollen cloth and give a smooth finish. Budding's m...
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Cross-listed in Scientists

Robert Bunsen

borndied
1811, Mar 301899, Aug 16
a German chemist. He investigated emission spectra of heated elements, and discovered caesium (in 1860) and rubidium (in 1861) with the physicist Gustav Kirchhoff. Bunsen developed several gas-analytical methods, was a pioneer in photochemistry, and did early work in the field of organoarsenic chemistry. With his laboratory assistant, Peter Desaga, he develo...
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Henry Burden

borndied
1791, Apr 221871, Jan 19
an engineer and businessman who built an industrial complex in Troy, New York called the Burden Iron Works. Burden's horseshoe machine, invented in 1835, was capable of making 60 horseshoes a minute. His rotary concentric squeezer, a machine for working wrought iron, was adopted by iron industries worldwide. His hook-headed spike machine helped fuel the rapi...
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Cross-listed in Governance

William Austin Burt

borndied
1792, Jun 131858, Aug 18
an American inventor, legislator, surveyor, and millwright. He was the inventor, maker and patentee of the first typewriter constructed in America. He is referred to as the "father of the typewriter". Burt also invented the first workable solar compass, a solar use surveying instrument, and the equatorial sextant, a precision navigational aid to determine wi...
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Cross-listed in Governance

David Bushnell

borndied
1740, Aug 301825 ca
an American inventor, a patriot, a scholar, and a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He had invented the first submarine to be used in battle. Bushnell is credited with creating the first submarine ever used in combat, while studying at Yale in 1775. He called it Turtle because of its look in the water. His idea of using water as ballast for submerging...
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