Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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HASWELL, Charles Haynes, civil engineer, born in New York city, 22 May, 1809. He was educated at the high school of Jamaica, L. I., and in a classical school in New York city. From his boyhood he showed great interest in mechanics, and he entered in 1825 the steam engine factory of James P. Allaire, where he remained for several years. In 1836 he was appointed chief engineer in the United States navy, and was then the only one of that grade. He was a member of the board that designed the steam frigates "Missouri" and "Mississppi." An engineer corps having been organized in 1839, he was promoted to the rank of engineer-in-chief in 1844, and held that office until 1850, when, in consequence of failing health, he left the service. Subsequently he travelled in Europe, and on his return settled in New York, and resumed the practice of his profession. He designed and constructed the first practicable steam launch in 1837, and was the first to put zinc into a marine steam boiler or the hold of an iron steam vessel in order that the galvanic action of the salt water and copper might be exhausted on the zinc, in preference to the iron. As engineer of the state quarantine commission he designed and directed the completion of Hoffman island and its buildings in the lower bay of New York, and while in the employ of the New York department of public charities and corrections designed and built the crib bulkhead at Hart's island. He was a trustee of the New York and Brooklyn bridge in 1877-'8; and in addition to membership in all of the principal engineering societies in the United States, he is a member of the institutes of civil engineers and of naval architects in Great Britain. Mr. Haswell has published "Mechanic's and Engineer's Pocket Book" (New York, 1844; 51st ed., 1887); "Mechanic's Tables" (1856); "Mensuration and Practical Geometry" (1858); "Book keeping" (1871); and has in manuscript (1887) a "History of the Steam Boiler and its Appendages" and "Reminiscences of New York from 1816 to 1835."
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