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William A. Morgan

mechanical engineer and rocket scientist, was born John W. Blanton in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of John O. and Carolyn Blanton.

Blanton attended Purdue University in Indiana, graduating with a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1943. He began his career at Bell Aircraft Corporation in Buffalo, New York, where he worked from 1943 to 1945 and from 1950 through 1956. Initially involved in the research and development of gas and rocket engines, Blanton helped develop the X‐1, which on 14 October 1947 became the first aircraft to break the sound barrier in a human‐operated, level flight.

Two years after marrying Corinne Jones of Mississippi in 1943, Blanton was named the chief engineer of thermo and fluid dynamics at Frederick Flader Incorporated, in Buffalo, New York, where he worked for five years. In 1956 he joined General Electric in Evendale Ohio and continued to make ...

Article

Robert C. Hayden

mechanical engineer and inventor, was born in Nashville, Tennessee, the son of Dr. David Nelson Crosthwait and Minnie Harris. He attended elementary school and graduated from high school in Kansas City, Missouri.

Crosthwait received a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University in 1913. That same year he began lifelong employment with the C. A. Dunham Company (later Dunham-Bush) in Chicago, where he distinguished himself nationally in the field of heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) technology. By 1915 he had been appointed to the position of engineering supervisor, and by 1919 he had risen to the position of research engineer. In 1920 Crosthwait received an MS in Engineering from Purdue.

In 1925 Crosthwait became director of research at Dunham, overseeing heat-transfer research, steam-transport research, and temperature-control systems. In 1930 he was designated a senior technical consultant and adviser at Dunham-Bush. Crosthwait married E. Madolyn Towels in 1930 ...

Article

Aaron Myers

The son of national deputy Antônio Pereira Rebouças, André Rebouças was born in Cachoeira, Bahia. After studying math and engineering at Rio De Janeiro's military school, he traveled and studied in Europe. Upon returning to Brazil, he became an adviser and strategist during the Paraguayan War (1864–1870). Rebouças then supervised several engineering projects, including the construction of railroads and docks in Rio de Janeiro. Rebouças's engineering achievements won him the respect of the royal family. He later became a professor of botany and math at the city's Polytechnic School, where he established an abolitionist society in 1883.

Rebouças conducted most of his abolitionist work behind the scenes, rarely addressing audiences. He organized abolitionist meetings and associations, and inspired readers with his antislavery literature and propaganda. Rebouças cofounded the Sociedade brasileira contra a escravidão (Brazilian Antislavery Society) in Rio de Janeiro in 1880 ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

a skilled toolmaker and mechanical engineer who spent nearly half a century working in the Soviet Union, was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to an Octavia Robinson, from Dominica, and a Jamaican father, who moved the family to Cuba when Robinson was six and a half years old, deserting his wife and son soon after. There is some uncertainty as to his precise date of birth. When he entered Ellis Island in May 1923, he was recorded as twenty‐two years old. When he returned to the United States in 1933 to visit his mother, his date of birth was recorded as 22 June 1900. His autobiography implies a birth date of 1907, while other sources provide dates of 1904 and 1906.

In the 1980s Robinson recalled that racism had little impact as he was growing up in Cuba where he learned English at home Spanish and French ...

Article

Lisa M. Bratton

Tuskegee Airman and prisoner of war, was born Luther Henry Smith Jr. in Des Moines, Iowa, the second child of Luther Henry Smith Sr., a black-eyed pea salesman, and Ida. His father's sales territory included the Midwest, and visiting Des Moines, Iowa, he found that since there were so few African Americans, the effects of segregation and discrimination were minimal and opportunities for economic progress were strong. Smith's mother was from Dubuque, Iowa. Her father had been a trader who later made his home in Des Moines. Smith's parents met in 1918.

Young Luther exhibited an interest in aviation as a child At the age of seven he drew a picture of an airplane and showing it to his second grade teacher announced that it was a picture of the airplane in which he planned to fly his family to Africa At the age of ...

Article

Ronald E. Mickens

mathematician and engineer, was born in Chicago, the son of J. Ernest Wilkins, a prominent lawyer, and Lucile Beatrice Robinson, a schoolteacher with a master's degree. Wilkins developed an intense interest in mathematics at an early age, and with the encouragement and support of his parents and a teacher at Parker High School in Chicago, he was able to accelerate his education and finish high school at the age of thirteen. After graduation, he was immediately accepted by the University of Chicago, where he was the youngest student ever admitted by that institution. Within five years, Wilkins received three degrees in Mathematics, a BA in 1940, an MS in 1941, and a PhD in 1942. He was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa in 1940 and Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society, in 1942 While at the university he was university table tennis champion ...

Article

Gary L. Frost

mechanical and electrical engineer and inventor, was born in Columbus, Ohio. Nothing is known of Woods's parents except that they may have been named Tailer and Martha Woods. The effects of racism in Columbus, shortly before and during the Civil War, were somewhat blunted by the economic influence of a sizable African American population, which included artisans and property holders, and by growing sympathy among whites for abolitionism. Only a few years before Woods's birth, the city established a system of segregated schools for black children, which provided him an education until he was ten years old.

Like almost all American engineers during the nineteenth century, Woods obtained his technical training largely through self-study and on-the-job experience, rather than from formal schooling. Sometime after 1866 he began apprenticing as a blacksmith and machinist probably in Cincinnati where several decades earlier German immigrants had established a flourishing machine tool ...

Article

Gary L. Frost

Granville Woods was born in Columbus, Ohio. Nothing is known of Woods's parents except that they may have been named Tailer and Martha Woods. The effects of racism in Columbus, shortly before and during the Civil War, were somewhat blunted by the economic influence of a sizable African American population, which included artisans and property holders, and by growing sympathy among whites for abolitionism. A few years before Woods's birth, the city had established a system of segregated schools for black children, which provided him an education until he was ten years old.

Like almost all American engineers during the nineteenth century, Woods obtained his technical training largely through self-study and on-the-job experience, rather than from formal schooling. Sometime after 1866 he began apprenticing as a blacksmith and machinist, probably in Cincinnati where several decades earlier German immigrants had established a flourishing machine tool industry Machinists considered ...