Doane, Thomas

Doane, Thomas
b. 20 September 1821 Orleans, Massachusetts, USA
d. 22 October 1897 West Townsend, Massachusetts, USA
American mechanical engineer.
The son of a lawyer, he entered an academy in Cape Cod and, at the age of 19, the English Academy at Andover, Massachusetts, for five terms. He was then in the employ of Samuel L. Fenton of Charlestown, Massachusetts. He served a three-year apprenticeship, then went to the Windsor White River Division of the Vermont Central Railroad. He was Resident Engineer of the Cheshire Railroad at Walpote, New Hampshire, from 1847 to 1849, and then worked in independent practice as a civil engineer and surveyor until his death. He was involved with nearly all the railroads running out of Boston, especially the Boston \& Maine. In April 1863 he was appointed Chief Engineer of the Hoosac Tunnel, which was already being built. He introduced new engineering methods, relocated the line of the tunnel and achieved great accuracy in the meeting of the borings. He was largely responsible for the development in the USA of the advanced system of tunnelling with machinery and explosives, and pioneered the use of compressed air in the USA. In 1869 he was Chief Engineer of the Burlington \& Missouri River Railroad in Nebraska, laying down some 240 miles (386 km) of track in four years. During this period he became interested in the building of a Congregational College at Crete, Nebraska, for which he gave the land and which was named after him. In 1873 he returned to Charlestown and was again appointed Chief Engineer of the Hoosac Tunnel. At the final opening of the tunnel on 9 February 1875 he drove the first engine through. He remained in charge of construction for a further two years.
Principal Honours and Distinctions
President, School of Civil Engineers.
Further Reading
Duncan Malone (ed.), 1932–3, Dictionary of American Biography, New York: Charles Scribner.

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

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