||This article possibly contains original research. (November 2013)|
2 July 1759|
Warren, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States
|Died||20 January 1849
Belfast, Maine, United States
|Nationality||United States of America|
|Fields||high-pressure steam engine|
Nathan Read (2 July 1759 – 20 January 1849) was a United States engineer and steam pioneer.
Nathan Read was the true inventor of the high-pressure steam engine in 1789, this was twelve years before the steam-engine was known to be used in the form of a high-pressure engine, and led a great revolution in steam power to navigation and land-transport.
Early life and family
Nathan Read was born in Warren, Massachusetts, on 2 July 1759. His ancestors came from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, northeast England. His father, Reuben Read, was an officer in the Revolutionary service and his mother, whose maiden name was Tamison Eastman, was first cousin to Major-General Nathaniel Greene, of Rhode Island.
In 1774, Nathan Read commenced his preparatory studies for college. At the close of the summer vacation of 1777, he became a member of Harvard University.
At Harvard, Read studied medicine and graduated in 1781. He taught school in Beverly and Salem and was elected a tutor in Harvard University. After graduated, he became a scholar until 1783. Then, he was elected a tutor and continued his labors as such where he continued until 1787.
As an apothecary
High-pressure steam engine
From October 1788, Nathan Read quit the last work and began to made a number of improvements of the steam engine. He built the tubular boiler, a new kind of steam boiler. He then made efforts on improve the function of the steam cylinder, and placed it in a horizontal position so the engine could sustain much higher pressure than ever before, that is to say, Read invented the high-pressure steam engine, a new kind steam engine, different from James Watt's old engine. Read made the engine more convenient and portable, also much lighter and safer. The most important was that the new engine needed much less room and fuel than the old one. Read was succeeded in reconstructed steam engine, he modified the Watt engine to a high-pressure engine, and could be widely used in new fields, such as steamboat and locomotive.
Use in transportation
To prove the useful of the high-pressure steam engine, Read made several models of steamcar and steamboat in 1790. Read's experiment was very succeeded; it proved that the engine he built functioned well. He also devised the true inventor of the chain-wheel to using paddle wheels to propel the steamboat, and set up a shipbuilding factory with his friends in 1796.
Several years later, Read made another important innovation, he developed a new machine, which could be cutting and heading nails at one operation. It was patented on January 8, 1798.
He developed a style of rotary steam engine in 1817.
In agricultural areas, he had more inventions and plans, such as threshing machine, thrashing machine, different forms of pumping engines and a new kind of windmill. Came up with a plan for using the expansion and contraction of metals, multiplied by levers, widely used in winding up clocks and other purposes. He patented some of them, but mainly used in agricultural fields and never patented.
Nathan Read married Miss Elizabeth Jeffrey in October 1790.
Read was elected as a Federalist to the Sixth Congress to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of Samuel Sewall; he was reelected to the Seventh Congress and served from November 25, 1800, to March 3, 1803. He was not a candidate for renomination in 1802. In 1803, he was judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Essex County. In 1807, he moved to Belfast, Maine, and was judge of the county court of Hancock County that year. He was instrumental in establishing Belfast Academy and served as trustee for forty years. He died near Belfast; interment was in Grove Cemetery, Belfast.
- Nathan Read at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Engines of our Ingenuity No. 2089 NATHAN READ by John H. Lienhard
- Nathan Read his invention of the multi-tubular boiler and portable high-pressure engine, and discovery of the true mode of applying steam-power to navigation and railways. A contribution to the early history of the steamboat and locomotive engine, 1870