Birdsill Holly

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Birdsill Holly (November 8, 1820 - April 27, 1894) was an inventor. Holly was born in Auburn, New York. He spent his early years in Seneca Falls, New York, a major center of water powered industries. His first patented invention was a rotary water pump.


An 1869 patent model Birdsill Holly fire hydrant in situ

His father was a mechanic, who died at the age of 37. After his fathers death, Birdsill dropped out of school and became an apprentice for a cabinet-maker and subsequently a machinist. After a brief stint as a superintendent and a shop owner in Uniontown Pennsylvania, he became a partner at Silsby, Race and Holly, where he would invent the Silsby steam fire engine. He left Seneca Falls in 1851 for Lockport, New York, where he established Holly Manufacturing. He is known for inventing the rotary pump and district heating. He was also a key person in the invention of the Sybill steam engine, which became the first non-man-powered fire engine. In 1863, Holly built the Fire Protection and Water System, which used pumps powered by water-turbines and steam-engines, to bring water to fire hydrants around town. After improving on this invention, he patented it in 1869.


Birdsill Holly died on April 27, 1894 at 7pm. He had suffered from a long illness and the cause of death was listed as heart failure.


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