Gaskill, Harvey Freeman

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b. 19 January 1845 Royalton, New York, USA
d. 1 April 1889 Lockport, New York, USA
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American mechanical engineer, inventor of the water-pumping engine with flywheel and reciprocating pumps.
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Gaskill's father was a farmer near New York, where the son attended the local schools until he was 16 years old. At the age of 13 he already showed his mechanical aptitude by inventing a revolving hayrake, which was not exploited because the family had no money. His parents moved to Lockport, New York, where Harvey became a student at Lockport Union School and then the Poughkeepsie Commercial College, from which he graduated in 1866. After a period in his uncle's law office, he entered the firm of Penfield, Martin \& Gaskill to manufacture a patent clock. Then he was involved in a planing mill and a sash-and-blind manufactory. He devised a clothes spinner and a horse hayrake, but he did not manufacture them. In 1873 he became a draughtsman in the Holly Manufacturing Company in Lockport, which made pumping machinery for waterworks. He was promoted first to Engineer and then to Superintendent of the company in 1877. In 1885 he became a member of the Board of Directors and Vice-President. But for his untimely death, he might have become President. He was also a director of several other manufacturing concerns, public utilities and banks. In 1882 he produced a pump driven by a Woolf compound engine, which was the first time that rotary power with a crank and flywheel had been applied in waterworks. His design was more compact, more economical and lower in cost than previous types and gave the Holly Company a considerable advantage for a time over their main rivals, the Worthington Pump \& Machinery Company. These steam pumps became very popular in the United States and the type was also adopted in Britain.
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Further Reading
As well as obituaries appearing in many American engineering journals on Gaskill's death, there is an entry in the Dictionary of American Biography, 1931, Vol. VII, New York, C.Scribner's Sons.
RLH

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

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