William Hale (British inventor)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

William Hale (21 October 1797 – 30 March 1870),[1] was a British inventor and rocket pioneer.

William Hale
Hale rotary rocket mit Plan.jpg
Hale rotary rocket
Born21 October 1797 (1797-10-21)
Died30 March 1870(1870-03-30) (aged 72)
CitizenshipBritish subject
Known forInvention of the rotary rocket


Hale was born in Colchester, England in 1797.[2] He was self-taught although his grandfather, the educator William Cole, is believed to have tutored him.[3] 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.[3]


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.[1]

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.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Smithsonian article on Hale rockets". Archived from the original on 2007-08-18.
  2. ^ "Hale, William". www.encyclopedia.com.
  3. ^ a b "International Space Hall of Fame biography of Hale".
  • 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

External links[edit]