Purvis, Frank Prior

Purvis, Frank Prior
SUBJECT AREA: Ports and shipping
b. 18 April 1850 London, England
d. 20 February 1940 Seaford Downs, England
English naval architect.
Despite being one of the youngest entrants to the South Kensington School of Naval Architecture, Purvis obtained both a Whitworth Exhibition and a Scholarship. Upon graduating he commenced a career in shipbuilding that involved him in military, civil and research work in Scotland, England and Japan. Initially he worked in Robert Napier's shipyard on the River Clyde, and then in the London drawing offices of Sir Edward Reed, before joining the staff of the Admiralty, where he assisted William Froude in his classic ship experiments at Torquay. After a short spell with Sir William Pearce at Govan, Purvis joined William Denny and Bros and with his recently gained knowledge of hydrodynamics helped set up the world's first commercial ship model tank at Dumbarton. His penultimate appointment was that of Shipbuilding Partner in the Scottish shipyard of Blackwood and Gordon.
In 1901 he became Professor of Naval Architecture at the Imperial University of Tokyo (succeeding Percy Hillhouse, who had become Naval Architect of Fairfield and later became Professor at Glasgow University) and it was in this role that Purvis was to achieve distinction through developing a teaching course of the highest order. It is accepted that his influence on the Japanese shipbuilding industry was profound. After nineteen years of service he retired to the United Kingdom.
Purvis presented several papers to the Institution of Naval Architects and to the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland, and in 1900 he assisted in the preparation of the Ships and Shipbuilding supplement to Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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