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Alexander Lyman Holley

Alexander Lyman Holley (Lakeville, Connecticut, July 20, 1832 - Brooklyn, New York, January 29, 1882) was an American mechanical engineer, inventor, and founding member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He was considered the foremost steel and plant engineer and designer of his time, especially in regard to applying research to modern steel manufacturing processes.[1]

BiographyEdit

Born in Lakeville, Connecticut in 1832, Holley attended Brown University. During his early 20s, Holley was a close friend of Zerah Colburn, the well-known locomotive engineer and journalist/publisher.[1]

In 1857, the two visited Britain and France and compiled a report for the presidents of American railroads, The Permanent Way published in 1858. In 1860, the two traveled together on the maiden voyage of Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Great Eastern. Holley's most famous book, A treatise on ordnance and armor published in 1865, followed a visit he made to Britain in 1863 when he again met Zerah Colburn.

Holley was a creative inventor, who received 15 patents in the US. Ten of those fifteen were for improvements in the Bessemer process, of which he had purchased the rights in England in 1863 and brought to the United States. He soon designed and built Bessemer plants in Troy, New York, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, and Braddock, Pennsylvania. He planned or was consulted on a dozen others.

Holley has been president of the American institute of mining engineers, and vice-president of the American society of civil engineers. In 1880 Holley chaired the first meeting of the founders of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in the offices of the American Machinist on 16 February. Afterwards he served as vice-president of the American society of mechanical engineers.[1]

LegacyEdit

The Holley medal is given out by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in his honor. He received many honors, including being made an honorary member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1892; and in 1890 a monument was unveiled in Washington Square Park, New York bearing a bust of him.[2]

Publications, a selectionEdit

Publications about Alexander Lyman Holley, his life and work
  • American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers; Holley, 1832-1882. Memorial of Alexander Lyman Holley, C. E., LL. D., president of the American institute of mining engineers, vice-president of the American society of civil engineers, vice-president of the American society of mechanical engineers ...etc., etc. Born July 20, 1832. Died January 29, 1882. 1884.
  • Thomas J. Misa, A Nation of Steel: The Making of Modern America, 1865-1925 (1995): chapter on Holley and Bessemer process online
  • John Mortimer, Zerah Colburn: The Spirit of Darkness Arima Publishing ISBN 1-84549-024-X

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c ASME History and Heritage (1980). Mechanical Engineers in America Born Prior to 1861: A Biographical Dictionary. ASME, New York. Library of Congress No. 79-57364.
  2. ^ "Living and Dead Honored", New York Times, October 3, 1890, pg 5

External linksEdit