Holly, Birdsill

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b. Auburn, New York, USA
d. 27 April 1894 Lockport, New York, USA
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American inventor of water-pumping machinery and a steam heating system.
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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.
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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).
RLH

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

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