Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FRANCIS, Jalnes Bieheno, civil engineer, born in Southleigh, Oxfordshire, England, 18 May 1815 he was educated at Radley Hall and Wantage academies, Berkshire, and, after gaining a practical knowledge of civil engineering, came to the United States in April 1833. On his arrival he secured employment on the New York, Providence, and Boston railway, in 1834 went to Lowell as assistant engineer on the hydraulic and other works, and in 1837 was appointed chief engineer of locks and canals on Merrimack River. In 1845 he was appointed agent of the canal company, and continued in that capacity and i as chief engineer until he was retired from active duty in 1884. At present (1887) he is the consulting engineer in all-important work connected with the hydraulic improvements of Lowell. Mr. Francis may be regarded as the founder of a new school of hydraulic engineers. In gauging the flow of water, by weirs and floating tubes, the volumes treated by him have been unparalleled, and he has reduced the possible error from the ten per cent often allowed in previous experiments, to two per cent. He was president of the American society of civil engineers from November 1880, till January 1882, and, besides his contributions to periodical technical literature, has published "Lowell Hydraulic Experiments" (New York, 1855; enlarged ed., 1868), and "The Strength of CastIron Pillars" (1865).
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