Cecil, Revd William

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b. 1792 England
d. 1882 England
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English inventor of a gas vacuum engine.
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Admitted to Magdalene College, Cambridge, in 1810, Cecil was elected a Fellow in 1814. The son of an Anglican priest, he was himself ordained in 1820; he devoted his life to the Church of England, but he also showed a commendable aptitude for technical matters. His paper on a means of motive power, presented to the Cambridge Philosophical Society in 1820, created immense interest. A working model of his engine, using hydrogen as fuel, was demonstrated during the presentation. The operating principle required that a vacuum be produced in a closed cylinder by quenching a burning flame, the pressure difference between the vacuum and atmosphere then being used to produce the working stroke. Cecil's engine was never manufactured in any number, but the working principle was adapted by other pioneers, namely Samuel Brown, in 1824, and, more successfully, Otto- Langen in 1867.
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Bibliography
1820, "On the application of hydrogen gas to produce a moving power in machinery", Transactions of the Cambridge Philosophical Society 1(2):217–39.
Further Reading
John Venn, Alumni Cantabrienses Part II (1752–1900): p. 567.
KAB

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

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