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Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N. J.
By FRANKLIN DER. FURMAN, M. E.
OF TECHNOLOGY, the first technical school for instruction in
the subject of Mechanical Engineering, was established in 1871 through the munificence of Mr. Edwin A. Stevens, who was the surviving member of a family trio that will ever rank among the greatest of the world's pioneer engineers.
A Family of Engineers A word, in passing, may not be amiss to indicate what these three men (Col. • John Stevens and his two sons, Robert L., and Edwin A.) accomplished, and how substantial a foundation they laid for the prestige that is attached to the name of Stevens. Before the close of the eighteenth century Col. John Stevens was engaged in steamboat construction, and, in the year 1804—three years before Fulton's Clermont was started as a commercial enterprise-operated a steam propeller boat on the Hudson River. His early plans, however, were many years in advance of the mechanic's art; and the propeller, now so universally employed, did not come into successful use for a long time after. In 1807 he had under construction the paddle-wheel vessel Phænix in his own shops at Hoboken; but Fulton in that year imported an engine built in England by Watt, and placed it in the Clermont, thus being the first to make practical application of side-wheel boats. By this act Fulton secured exclusive rights to the waters of New York State for steam navigation. Thus prohibited from operating his steamboats in home waters, Colonel Stevens sent the Phænix around to Philadelphia in 1809, under the supervision of his son, Robert L. Stevens. This was the first steam vessel to brave the fury of old ocean. “For the resolute, there is ever the open sea.”
While the construction of the Erie Canal was under discussion by the legis
lators of New York State in 1812, Col. John Stevens earnestly petitioned them to construct a railroad instead of the canal, and ventured to predict that an average speed of thirty miles per hour could be attained, and that sixty miles might be. Twenty years later he built, as a private venture, on his own estate in Hoboken, the first locomotive and railroad track in America. This was soon followed by the construction of the Camden & Amboy Railroad, now a part of the Pennsylvania System.
During the war with England in 1813, Robert L. Stevens invented the elongated shell to be fired from cannon. In 1814 Col. John Stevens projected the circular iron fort to be revolved by steam; and under his direction his son Edwin carried on experiments to determine the results of firing cannon against iron plates, as a result of which the Stevens brothers conceived the plan of applying iron plating to war vessels. In 1841 they entered into negotiations with the United States for the first armor-plated battleship.
Such were some of the inventions and enterprises of the Stevens family of engineers. But this is not all, for in the development of their comprehensive plans in those early days, it was necessary to invent many objects of detail which of themselves are of no small importance. Thus, when Col. John Stevens invented the tubular boiler, and applied the principle of the screw to propeller blades in order to carry on his experiments in navigation, there was no patent protection in this country; and so, on his petition, the Patent Law of April 10, 1790, was founded. In order to carry on the work of railroad development, Robert L. Stevens invented, in 1830, the T-rail and the railroad spike which are now in universal use for track construction on steam roads. It was R. L. Stevens who used steam expansively, in 1815; who
MAIN BUILDING, STEVENS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, HOBOKEN, NEW JERSEY. is not the purpose of this article to enter Augustus Henderson, M. E., the sole into any further detail of their engineer member of the first class of 1873, and the ing work. This digression is made, first, first person to receive legally the degree to show that the establishment of the of Mechanical Engineer. Stevens Institute of Technology as a Dr. Henry Morton was early engaged school of Mechanical Engineering was a as President by the Trustees; and he fitting outgrowth of the busy and suc aided largely in laying down the plans cessful lives of three pioneer engineers ; for the new institution, and in selecting and secondly, to record a matter of public the first faculty. This was a most iminterest not generally known.
portant task, for, while there were tech
nical schools in this country and abroad, Founding of the Institute
they were devoted mostly to Civil EngiEdwin A. Stevens died in 1868, leav neering. There was no course anywhere ing in his will a block of land adjoining in Mechanical Engineering after which the family estate at Castle Point, Hobo to pattern. Under these circumstances ken, N. J.; $150,000 for the erection of a the outline on which the work of the new building; and $500,000 as an endowment institution was laid down by the Trustees fund for an "institution of learning.” and President Morton was most remark
On the third Monday in September of able, for nothing that they prescribed the year 1871, the Trustees, having erect has, in these thirty-three years, been ed a suitable building and assembled a found useless in a thorough course of in
those who have gone beyond, builded so well that nowhere can progeny be found better fitted than their own; and so the sons of Stevens have, in the main, been chosen to carry on their work. The names of the men who thus originated and carried on the early development of the course are of men who achieved, principally through their work while at the Stevens Institute of Technology, high places in their respective lines. These men were:
Henry MORTON, Ph. D., President.
ALFRED M. MAYER, Ph. D., Professor of Physics.
Starting with this faculty and with these subjects, the Institute has grown and broadened, always increasing its efficiency as the new facts resulting from discovery and investigation developed, until now its work might be briefly outlined as follows, taking the enumeration in the order of the departments mentioned above:
*Lieut-Col. H. A. Hascall was originally engaged as Professor of Mathematics; but, on account of ill-health, he taught only a few months. At the end of the first year he was succeeded by Professor Wood, who was the first to arrange the detail plan for this course.
The Various Departments
In the Department of Experimental In the Department of Physics, the first Engineering, the students, having been two years are given to instruction in the drilled in the principles underlying enseveral branches of Physics by means of gineering practice, are required to perexperimental lectures, recitations, and form, or to witness, experiments illustratlaboratory exercises. In the Department ing these principles. The exercises which of Experimental Engineering, the stu each student has to make, include the dents are then carried forward in this taking of data and making calculations subject during the last two years.
therefrom: they now number over 50, The Department of Mechanical Engi and cover the various types and forms neering, so comprehensive at the start, of the steam engine, the gas engine, soon grew to bounds beyond efficient con boilers, pumps, compressors, blowers,
trol under one head, so that to-day there
in its place the Departments of Engineering Practice and
Experimental Engineering, each carrying
subdivided branches of work. In the former department, the students are carried through a very thorough course of instruction in the general principles controlling the action and generation of heat, and the power and economy of prime movers. They are also instructed in the general principles governing the design and operation of various other machines and mechanisms, such as pumping engines, air compressors, and refrigerating machines.
etc.; they also include a number of ex-
Allied with the Department of Engi to Descriptive Geometry; Analysis of neering Practice is the course in Shop Mechanical Movements; Valves, Valve Work, in which the students are carried Diagrams, and Valve Gears; practical through a carefully graduated set of ex Machine Design; and practice in Steel ercises in Carpentry, Blacksmithing, Pat Construction Work. It is recognized that tern-Making, Foundry-Practice, and in this department the instruction must, Steam-Fitting
to a maximum degree, combine theory and practice; so the instructors aim to keep in touch with modern shop practice, and to give to the students that which will be the most useful when they enter upon their professional careers. The work of this department is carefully coördinated with that of the several Engineering Departments.
In the Department of Chemistry the students are grounded in the fundamental principles of the subject by means of experimental lectures and recitations supplemented with a thorough laboratory course in Engineering Chemistry.
The Department of Languages provides courses in French (or Spanish) and German. These languages have a practical value to the engineer in his professional work, and also afford that
kind of mental discipline and culture The Department of Mathematics pro
which mathematical and physical science, vides a thorough training in the prin
if followed exclusively, would fail to ciples of Mathematics, with various and
supply: numerous applications to practical engineering problems. Special attention is given in the first two years to the mathematical consideration of elementary Mechanics, and in the last two years to more advanced work in the same line. This work is made to coördinate with the work in the Department of Physics during the first two years, and with the several Engineering Departments during the last two years. It is held that in confining the work of this department as far as possible to practical problems, the students are rendered more efficient, and they gain greater confidence in the use of Mathematics.
The Department of Mechanical Drawing has enlarged upon its original scope, and is now known as the Department of Mechanical Drawing and Designing, The title of the original Department of which better describes the work conduct Belles-Lettres is now changed to the Deed at the present day. The students are partment of English and Logic. Its purfirst taught the efficient use of drawing pose has ever been to furnish the means instruments. The course then car of cultivating the use of appropriate and ries them through the theoretical and accurate language in speaking and writpractical requirements of the modern ing, of becoming acquainted with the drafting room. Special attention is given principles of Logic, and of increasing by