13.6.1854 London/UK - 11.2.1931 Kingston/JM
Charles Algernon Parsons graduated in 1876 as a mathematician from Cambridge University. After having served an apprenticeship for three years, he joined a firm in Leeds and in 1883 became a partner of a firm in Gateshead-on-Tyne. In 1893 Parsons turned his attention to the development of the marine turbine and the experimental vessel Turbinia was launched in 1894. The Turbinia was only 30 m long with a beam of 3 m and a draught of 1 m developing 2,000 HP with three turbines and a speed of over 40 knots; she was the fastest vessel afloat. The turbine was introduced in the Navy in 1902 and the first vessels for transatlantic service were used from 1904. Later, the two express Cunarders Mauretania and Lusitania demonstrated a splendid performance of these famous vessels. Parsons was an Honorary Vice-president of the Institution of Naval Architects from 1899, a Fellow of the Royal Society from 1898; he received the Kelvin Medal in 1926 and he was created a Member of the Order of Merit in 1927. Parsons passed away during a sea trip to Jamaica.
From 1883 Parsons commenced experiments with the steam turbine which destined to place him among the foremost inventors of all times. The initial experiments gave encouraging results, but the engines were somewhat wasteful of steam. Further research led to the elimination of this defect and an efficient engine showing economy of steam consumption was produced. The first steam turbine was of about 10 HP only and ran at 18,000 rpm. Size and efficiency were rapidly increased and turbines soon became used in considerable numbers for electric power generation. In 1889 Parsons founded his own turbine and dynamo works in Heaton, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. The dissolution of the partnership deprived him of his patent rights, but he continued for five years a series of experiments to produce a radial flow turbine, although recognizing that his original invention based on a parallel flow system, was preferable. Several improvements were made so that when the patent rights were recovered in 1894 a great advance resulted.
Anonymous (1931). Sir Charles Algernon Parsons. Trans. Society Naval Architects and Marine Engineers 39: 409-413.
Anonymous (1931). The Hon. Sir Parsons. Trans. Institution Naval Architects 78: 340-344. P Anonymous (1932). Hon. Sir Parsons. Minutes Proc. Institution Civil Engineers 232: 451-454. Appleyard, C. (1933). Charles Parsons: His life and work. Constable: London. P
Parsons, C.A. (1906). The steam-turbine. Minutes Institution of Civil Engineers 163: 167-239. Parsons, G.L., ed. (1934). Scientific papers and addresses of Parsons. University: Cambridge.

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