Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology

By Lance Day; Ian McNeil | Go to book overview

P

Pääbo, Max

b. Estonia

fl. 1950s Sweden


Estonian inventor of one of the most successful looms, in which the weft is sent across the warp by a jet of air.

The earliest patent for using a jet of air to propel a shuttle across a loom was granted to J.C. Brooks in 1914. A different method was tried by E.H. Ballou in 1929, but the really important patent was taken out by Max Pääbo, a refugee from Estonia. He exhibited his machine in Sweden in 1951, weaving cotton cloth 80 cm (31 1/2 in.) wide at a speed of 350 picks per minute, but it was not widely publicized until 1954. One shown in Manchester in 1958 ran at 410 picks per minute while weaving 90 cm (35 1/2 in.) cloth. His looms were called 'Maxbo' after him. They had no shuttle; instead a jet of air drove a measured amount of weft drawn from a supply package across the warp threads. Efficient control of the airstream was the main reason for its success; not only was weaving much quicker, but it was also much quieter than traditional methods, and as the warp was nearly vertical the looms took up little space. Manufacture of these looms in Sweden ceased in 1962, but development continued in other countries.


Further Reading
J.J. Vincent, 1980, Shuttle less Looms, Manchester (a good account of the development of modern looms).

RLH


Page, Charles Grafton

b. 25 January 1812 Salem, Massachusetts, USA

d. 5 May 1868 Washington, DC, USA


American scientist and inventor of electric motors.

Page graduated from Harvard in 1832 and subsequently attended Boston Medical School. He began to practise in Salem and also engaged in experimental research in electricity, discovering the improvement effected by substituting bundles of iron wire for solid bars in induction coils. He also created a device which he termed a Dynamic Multiplier, the prototype of the auto-transformer. Following a period in medical practice in Virginia, in 1841 he became one of the first two principal examiners in the United States Patent Office. He also held the Chair of Chemistry and Pharmacy at Columbian College, later George Washington University, between 1844 and 1849.

A prolific inventor, Page completed several large electric motors in which reciprocating action was converted to rotary motion, and invested an extravagant sum of public money in a foredoomed effort to develop a 10-ton electric locomotive powered by primary batteries. This was unsuccessfully demonstrated in April 1851 on the Washington-Baltimore railway and seriously damaged his reputation. Page approached Thomas Davenport with an offer of partnership, but Davenport refused.

After leaving the Patent Office in 1852 he became a patentee himself and advocated the reform of the patent procedures. Page returned to the Patent Office in 1861, and later persuaded Congress to pass a special Act permitting him to patent the induction coil. This was the cause, after his death, of protracted and widely publicized litigation.


Bibliography
A number of Page's papers were reprinted in Sturgeon's Annals of Electricity, London, 1837-9.
1867, History of Induction: The American Claim to the Induction Coil and its Electrostatic Developments, Washington, DC.

Further Reading
R.C. Post, 1976, Physics, Patents and Politics, New York (a biography which treats Page as a focal point for studying the American patent system).
--1976, 'Stray sparks from the induction coil: the Volta prize and the Page patent, Proceedings

-535-

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Biographical Dictionary of the History of Technology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgements xi
  • How to Use the Dictionary xiii
  • A 1
  • B 33
  • C 122
  • D 187
  • E 228
  • F 247
  • G 277
  • H 315
  • German Organic Chemist. 347
  • I 368
  • J 374
  • K 391
  • L 412
  • Bibliography 418
  • M 451
  • N 513
  • O 528
  • P 535
  • Q 582
  • R 583
  • S 619
  • T 689
  • U 721
  • V 722
  • W 734
  • X 778
  • Y 779
  • Z 785
  • Index by Subject Area 790
  • Index of Topics 808
  • Index of Names 823
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