Francis A. Pratt (1827 – 1902)
A mechanical engineer and inventor, Francis Ashbury Pratt was born in Woodstock, Vermont on February 15, 1827. Pratt’s inventions included a metal-planing machine (1869), gear cutter (1884), and milling machine (1885). He had designed the milling machine for the George S. Lincoln Company of Hartford, Connecticut. It became known as the Lincoln Miller and is recognized as the most important American machine tool of the late 1800s. The Lincoln Miller witnessed sales of 150,000.
Francis Pratt teamed up with Amos Whitney in 1860 to co-found Pratt & Whitney, which was designed to manufacture machine tools. They also manufactured tools to make sewing machines and gun making machinery for the Union Army during the Civil War.
Pratt is also credited with promoting interchangeable parts and being instrumental in bringing about the adoption of a standard system of gauges in the United States and Europe.
Pratt died just five days short of his 75th birthday on February 10, 1902 in Hartford, Connecticut. In 2010, Pratt & Whitney celebrated its 150th anniversary.
Encyclopedia Britannica Online. Francis Ashbury Pratt. Accessed at http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/1384479/Francis-Ashbury-Pratt on August 30, 2010.
Wikipedia. Francis A. Pratt. Accessed at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Francis_A._Pratt on August 30, 2010.
Photo Credit: Francis A. Pratt, Public Domain