Tag: Inventors & Inventions

Frederick Grinnell

Frederick Grinnell was an industrialist and president of the firm that bears his name. As President of the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company that later became the Grinnell Corporation, he patented the automatic sprinkler and emerged as the acknowledged world leader in automatic fire protection. He was instrumental in organizing the National Fire Protection

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Zachariah Allen

Zacharian Allen, 1795-1882, was a lawyer, inventor, and civic leader of the nineteenth century. One of his most notable inventions was the home hot-air furnace. He also originated the Providence Water Works and is credited with introducing the first vehicles to the Providence Fire Company. Allen was also instrumental in setting up the mutal fire

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Dr. Harry Kroll

Dr. Harry Kroll worked as one of the world’s leading scientist and research chemists. He holds fifty-one world patents issued by the United States, Great Britain, Canada, Germany, and France. As senior scientist for Technic, Inc., in Cranston, he has done extensive cancer research, having worked as an American Cancer Society Fellow and earlier with

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Sol Koffler

The late Sol Koffler, was the inventor and manufacturer of the internationally famous Tourister Luggage. Although active in Jewish affairs, his philanthropy transcended all race, religion, or color.

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George H. Corliss

George H. Corliss, 1817-1888, was the developer of the steam engine. The famous gigantic engine built by Corliss won a first prize at the Paris Exposition of 1867 as well as many other awards.

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Norman Stephen Taber

Norman S. Taber is Rhode Island’s greatest home-grown track star. He was a Providence native and a dominant runner for Brown University, Class of 1913. Taber emerged as a top runner in 1910 when he finished third in the IC4A championship mile for Brown University. Missing the 1911 season, he re-emerged in 1912, finishing sixth

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William Claggett Sr.

William Claggett (1696-1749) was born in England or Wales, the son of a baker about whom little else is known. As a youth, he migrated with his family to Boston, served an apprenticeship to clockmaker Benjamin Bagnall, and at age nineteen, married Mary Armstrong in a ceremony presided over by Cotton Mather. His son William,

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Joseph Brown

Joseph Brown (1733-1785), the son of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, was a noted businessman, scientist, professor, and architect, and one of the famous Brown brothers who dominated civic life in Providence during the second half of the eighteenth century. Although he was a successful merchant and the manager of his family’s spermaceti candle

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Moses Brown

Moses Brown (1738-1836), a prominent Providence merchant, reformer, and philanthropist, was one of the five Brown brothers, a group that included John, Joseph, Nicholas, and James, the eldest, a twenty-six-year-old ship captain when he died at sea in 1751. They were the children of Captain James Brown and Hope Power, the great-granddaughter of Nicholas Power,

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David Wilkinson

David Wilkinson (1771-1852) a Pawtucket native, was a successful Industrial Revolution-era inventor and mill owner. When an historical movement is particularly successful, it is logical that there would be many claims of authorship. This is certainly true of the Industrial Revolution and the beginnings of the American factory system. At the center of the Industrial

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Arnold Buffum

Arnold Buffum, hatmaker, inventor, and abolitionist, was the second son among William Buffum’s and Lydia Arnold’s eight children. He was born on December 13, 1782, and raised in a farmhouse near Smithfield’s Union Village, now part of North Smithfield. Arnold’s childhood home, called the William Buffum House for his Quaker father, who built it, still

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Charles I. D. Looff

Charles I.D. Looff was an American master carver and builder of hand-carved carousels and amusement rides. During his lifetime, he built over 40 carousels, amusement parks, roller coasters, and Ferris wheels. He built the first carousel at Coney Island in 1876. One of his carousels inspired Walt Disney to build Disneyland and Disneyworld. Disneyland has

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Dr. Ramon Guiteras

Dr. Ramon Guiteras, founder of the American Urological Association, surgeon, statesman, and sportsman, was the most prominent Rhode Islander of Latin American heritage at the turn of the 20th century. He was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, on August 17, 1858, to Ramon and Elizabeth Manchester (Wardwell) Guiteras. His grandfather sailed from Spain to Cuba,

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Dr. John William Keefe

State and national eminence in the medical profession came to Dr. John W. Keefe of Providence, Rhode Island, through his exceptional skill as a surgeon and his many notable and humane achievements in a career in which his service in his chosen profession was distinguished for nearly half a century. He was a founder of

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Vice Admiral Harold G. Bowen Sr. USN

Harold Gardiner Bowen Sr. was a United States Navy Vice admiral, former head of the Office of Naval Research, and a mechanical engineer. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, and he was the namesake of the USS Bowen. He was born in Providence, Rhode Island, on November 6, 1883, to Amos Miller Bowen

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Walter Scott

The steps leading to the invention of an American cultural original, the diner eatery, began in Providence through the initiative of Walter Scott. He was born on November 28, 1841 in Cumberland, the son of lawyer Joseph A. Scott and Juliet Howland Scott. By age eleven Scott was peddling candy, fruit, and newspapers on the

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Henry M. Leland

Henry Leland approached his boss at Brown & Sharpe with a preposterous proposal: He planned to quit his job and move west to begin a business, and he wanted to take one of his best co-workers with him. To start his new business he would need to borrow $2,000, the current equivalent of $50,000; he

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Simon Willard Wardwell

Simon Wardwell, 1849-1921, was a 19th-century visionary industrialist, patenting numerous machines for improving the manufacture of textiles and clothing items. The manufacture of textile machines in the Blackstone Valley was a crowded field, not for the faint of heart; it was like making cars in Detroit or steel in Pittsburgh. However, for Simon Willard Wardwell,

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Domina C. Jalbert

Mr. Domina Jalbert was a world renowned researcher and inventor of parachutes, sails, and kites. He was born in Quebec but lived for many years in Woonsocket, RI. He was the designer of the Dolly Spinnaker for the yacht Stars & Stripes, which won the 1987 America’s Cup. He was a track star in his

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Joseph R. Brown

Joseph R. Brown, (1810-1876) was a mechanical genius who co-founded Brown & Sharpe Mfg. Co. which became one of the leading manufacturers of machine tools.

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