Brayton, George Bailey

b. 1839 Rhode Island, USA
d. 1892 Leeds, England
American engineer, inventor of gas and oil engines.
During the thirty years prior to his death, Brayton devoted considerable effort to the development of internal-combustion engines. He designed the first commercial gas engine of American origin in 1872. An oil-burning engine was produced in 1875. An aptitude for mechanical innovation became apparent whilst he was employed at the Exeter Machine Works, New Hampshire, where he developed a successful steam generator for use in domestic and industrial heating systems. Brayton engines were distinguished by the method of combustion. A pressurized air-fuel mixture from a reservoir was ignited as it entered the working cylinder—a precursor of the constant-pressure cycle. A further feature of these early engines was a rocking beam. There exist accounts of Brayton engines fitted into river craft, and of one in a carriage which operated for a few months in 1872–3. However, the appearance of the four-stroke Otto engine in 1876, together with technical problems associated with backfiring into the fuel reservoir, prevented large-scale acceptance of the Brayton engine. Although Thompson Sterne \& Co. of Glasgow became licensees, the engine failed to gain usage in Britain. A working model of Brayton's gas engine is exhibited in the Museum of History and Technology in Washington, DC.
1872, US patent no. 125,166 (Brayton gas engine).
July 1890, British patent no. 11,062 (oil engine; under patent agent W.R.Lake).
Further Reading
D.Clerk, 1895, The Gas and Oil Engine, 6th edn, London, pp. 152–62 (includes a description and report of tests carried out on a Brayton engine).

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

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