Reynolds, Edwin

Reynolds, Edwin
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b. 1831 Mansfield, Connecticut, USA
d. 1909 Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
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American contributor to the development of the Corliss valve steam engine, including the "Manhattan" layout.
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Edwin Reynolds grew up at a time when formal engineering education in America was almost unavailable, but through his genius and his experience working under such masters as G.H. Corliss and William Wright, he developed into one of the best mechanical engineers in the country. When he was Plant Superintendent for the Corliss Steam Engine Company, he built the giant Corliss valve steam engine displayed at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition. In July 1877 he left the Corliss Steam Engine Company to join Edward Allis at his Reliance Works, although he was offered a lower salary. In 1861 Allis had moved his business to the Menomonee Valley, where he had the largest foundry in the area. Immediately on his arrival with Allis, Reynolds began desig-ning and building the "Reliance-Corliss" engine, which becamea symbol of simplicity, economy and reliability. By early 1878 the new engine was so successful that the firm had a six-month backlog of orders. In 1888 he built the first triple-expansion waterworks-pumping engine in the United States for the city of Milwaukee, and in the same year he patented a new design of blowing engine for blast furnaces. He followed this in March 1892 with the first steam engine sets coupled directly to electric generators when Allis-Chalmers contracted to build two Corliss cross-compound engines for the Narragansett Light Company of Providence, Rhode Island. In 1893, one of the impressive attractions at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago was the 3,000 hp (2,200 kW) quadruple-expansion Reynolds-Corliss engine designed by Reynolds, who continued to make significant improvements and gained worldwide recognition of his outstanding achievements in engine building.
Reynolds was asked to go to New York in 1898 for consultation about some high-horsepower engines for the Manhattan transport system. There, 225 railway locomotives were to be replaced by electric trains, which would be supplied from one generating station producing 60,000 hp (45,000 kW). Reynolds sketched out his ideas for 10,000 hp (7,500 kW) engines while on the train. Because space was limited, he suggested a four-cylinder design with two horizontal-high-pressure cylinders and two vertical, low-pressure ones. One cylinder of each type was placed on each side of the flywheel generator, which with cranks at 135° gave an exceptionally smooth-running compact engine known as the "Manhattan". A further nine similar engines that were superheated and generated three-phase current were supplied in 1902 to the New York Interborough Rapid Transit Company. These were the largest reciprocating steam engines built for use on land, and a few smaller ones with a similar layout were installed in British textile mills.
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Further Reading
Concise Dictionary of American Biography, 1964, New York: C.Scribner's Sons (contains a brief biography).
R.L.Hills, 1989, Power from Steam. A History of the Stationary Steam Engine, Cambridge University Press (provides a brief account of the Manhattan engines) Part of the information for this biography is derived from a typescript in the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC: T.H.Fehring, "Technological contributions of Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley industries".
RLH

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

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