Palmer, Henry Robinson

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b. 1795 Hackney, London, England
d. 12 September 1844
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English civil engineer and monorail pioneer.
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Palmer was an assistant to Thomas Telford for ten years from 1816. In 1818 he arranged a meeting of young engineers from which the Institution of Civil Engineers originated. In the early 1820s he invented a monorail system, the first of its kind, in which a single rail of wood, with an iron strip spiked on top to form a running surface, was supported on posts. Wagon bodies were supported pannier fashion from a frame attached to grooved wheels and were propelled by men or horses. An important object was to minimize friction, and short lines were built on this principle at Deptford and Cheshunt. In 1826 Palmer was appointed Resident Engineer to the London Docks and was responsible for the construction of many of them. He was subsequently consulted about many important engineering works.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1831. Vice-President, Institution of Civil Engineers.
Bibliography
1821, British patent no. 4,618 (monorail).
1823, Description of a Railway on a New Principle…, London (describes his monorail).
Further Reading
Obituary, 1845, Minutes of Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers 4. C.von Oeynhausen and H.von Dechen, 1971, Railways in England 1826 and 1827, London: Newcomen Society (a contemporary description of the monorails). M.J.T.Lewis, 1970, Early Wooden Railways, London: Routledge \& Kegan Paul.
PJGR

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

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