Whitehead, Robert

SUBJECT AREA: Weapons and armour
[br]
b. 3 January 1823 Bolton-le-Moors, Lancashire, England
d. 19 November 1903 Shrivenham, Wiltshire, England
[br]
English inventor of the torpedo.
[br]
At the age of 14 Whitehead was apprenticed by his father, who ran a cotton-bleaching business, to an engineering firm in Manchester. He moved in 1847 to join his uncle, who was the Manager of another engineering firm, and three years later Whitehead set up on his own in Milan, where he made mechanical improvements to the silk-weaving industry and designed drainage machines for the Lombardy marshes.
In 1848 he was forced to move from Italy because of the revolution and settled in Fiume, which was then part of Austria. There he concen-. trated on designing and building engines for warships, and in 1864 the Austrians invited him to participate in a project to develop a "floating torpedo". In those days the torpedo was synonymous with the underwater mine, and Whitehead believed that he could do better than this proposal and produce an explosive weapon that could propel itself through the water. He set to work with his son John and a mechanic, producing the first version of his torpedo in 1866. It had a range of only 700 yd (640 m) and a speed of just 7 knots (13 km/h), as well as depth-keeping problems, but even so, especially after he had reduced the last problem by the use of a "balance chamber", the Austrian authorities were sufficiently impressed to buy construction rights and to decorate him. Other navies quickly followed suit and within twenty years almost every navy in the world was equipped with the Whitehead torpedo, its main attraction being that no warship, however large, was safe from it. During this time Whitehead continued to improve on his design, introducing a servo-motor and gyroscope, thereby radically improving range, speed and accuracy.
[br]
Principal Honours and Distinctions
Order of Max Joseph (Austria) 1868. Légion d'honneur 1884. Whitehead also received decorations from Prussia, Denmark, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
Further Reading
Dictionary of National Biography, 1912, Vol. 3, Suppl. 2, London: Smith, Elder.
CM

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

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Whitehead, Robert — ▪ 2003       Canadian born theatrical producer (b. March 3, 1916, Montreal, Que. d. June 15, 2002, Pound Ridge, N.Y.), was honoured with a special Tony Award in 2002 for his nearly 60 years of presenting serious dramas works by modern playwrights …   Universalium

  • Robert Whitehead (Ingenieur) — Robert Whitehead …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Whitehead (Derbyshire) — Robert Whitehead = Robert Whitehead (1856 to 1938)was an english land owner, businessman and Justice of the Peace(1915 1916). He was chairman or director of many business in the area including Cammell Laird shipbuilders, Staverly Coal and Iron… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert Whitehead — (1823 1905) Robert Whitehead, ingénieur anglais, né à Bolton (Lancashire) le 3 janvier 1823[1], est le concepteur de la première torpille navale autopropulsée (1866) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Robert G. Whitehead — Robert George Whitehead (October 31, 1916 – February 22, 2007) was a businessman in Texas who created Quaker House Products, Inc., which produces and markets the first aid ointment known as Blue Star . Some 50 million jars are sold annually in… …   Wikipedia

  • Robert A. Weinberg — Robert Allan Weinberg (* 11. November 1942 in Pittsburgh) ist ein amerikanischer Molekularbiologe. Weinberg ist Professor für Biologie und Daniel K. Ludwig Professor für Krebsforschung am Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Whitehead — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), britischer Philosoph und Logiker Annie Whitehead (* 1955), britische Jazzposaunistin Chad Whitehead (* 1987), australischer Badmintonspieler Dean Whitehead (* 1982),… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Robert Allan Weinberg — (* 11. November 1942 in Pittsburgh) ist ein US amerikanischer Molekularbiologe. Weinberg ist Professor für Biologie und Daniel K. Ludwig Professor für Krebsforschung am Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts sowie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Whitehead Alenia Sistemi Subacquei — (WASS) ist ein italienisches Rüstungsunternehmen der Finmeccanica Gruppe. Es produziert Torpedos, Torpedoabwehrsysteme und Sonare. Der Sitz des Unternehmens ist heute in Livorno, weitere Produktionsanlagen und Niederlassungen befinden sich in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Whitehead — can refer to:People* Alan Whitehead, a British Member of Parliament * Alfred North Whitehead (1861–1947), a British philosopher and mathematician * Axle Whitehead (b. 1980), 2003 Australian Idol contestant * Cortlandt Whitehead (1842–), bishop *… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.