Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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LE VAN, William Barnet, engineer, born in Easton, Pennsylvania, 3 June, 1829. He was educated in his native town, and then served an apprenticeship as a machinist and draughtsman in the Novelty ironworks, New York city. Subsequently he became an engineer in the service of Howland and Aspinwall, then the largest steamship owners in the United States, and later formed a similar connection with the Collins steamship line. In 1854 he settled in New York as a consulting engineer, but in 1857 removed to Philadelphia, where he has since been engaged in designing, constructing, and superintending different kinds of machinery, especially those of his own invention. These include his grate-bar, which is of such durability as to outlast three sets of the ordinary bars, and also effects a great saving in fuel. In 1859 he introduced a steam engine governor that is now well known for its simplicity, efficiency, and economy. His more recent inventions are a self-recording steam engine indicator and glass water gauge, an improved stationary engine, a telescopic hydraulic lift, and an improved boiler and brick settings. For many years he held the office of Philadelphia agent of the Corliss steam-engine company of Providence, Rhode Island, and did much toward introducing their engine among manufacturers. Mr. Le Van is a member of the Franklin institute and of the American society of mechanical engineers, to the journal and proceedings of which he has contributed papers of technical value. He is also the author of "Useful Information for Engineers, Boiler Makers, and Firemen, with Facts and Figures" (Philadelphia, 1876), and "The Steam Engine Indicator and its Use" (1884).
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