William Hale (British inventor)
Hale was born in Colchester, England in 1797. He was self-taught although his grandfather, the educator William Cole, is believed to have tutored him. By 1827 he had obtained his first patent; he also won a first class Gold Medal of the Royal Society of Arts in Paris for his paper on ship propulsion using an early form of jet propulsion.
In 1844, Hale patented a new form of rotary rocket that improved on the earlier Congreve rocket design. Hale removed the guidestick from the design, instead vectoring part of the thrust through canted exhaust holes to provide rotation of the rocket, which improved its stability in flight.
These rockets could weigh up to 60 pounds and were noted for their noise and glare on ignition.
Hale rockets were first used by the United States Army in the Mexican–American War of 1846-1848. Although the British Army experimented with Hale rockets during the Crimean War they did not officially adopt them until 1867.
- Frank H. WinterThe First Golden Age of Rocketry: Congreve and Hale Rockets of the Nineteenth Century (Washington and London: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1990), 321p. illus. ISBN 0-87474-987-5
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