Holly, Birdsill

b. Auburn, New York, USA
d. 27 April 1894 Lockport, New York, USA
American inventor of water-pumping machinery and a steam heating system.
Holly was educated in mechanics and millwrighting work. He was an indefatigable inventor and took out over 150 patents for his ideas. He became Superintendent and later Proprietor of a millwrighting shop in Uniontown, Pennsylvania. Then at Seneca Falls, New York, he began manufacturing hydraulic machinery with the firm of Silsby, Race \& Holly. He made the Silsby fire-engine famous through his invention in 1852 of a rotary pump which was later developed into a steam fire pump. In 1866 he introduced at Lockport, New York, a pressurized water-supply system using a pump rather than an elevated reservoir or standpipe. While this installation at Lockport was powered by a water-wheel, a second one in Dunkirk, New York, used steam-driven pumps, which had a significant effect on the history of steam pumping engines.
Further Reading
Obituary, 1894, Engineering Record 29.
Obituary, 1894, Iron Age 53.
I.McNeil (ed.), 1990, An Encyclopaedia of the History of Technology, London: Routledge (mentions his work on water supply).

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

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