Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ANDREWS, William Draper, inventor, born in Grafton, Massachusetts, 23 May 1818. In 1828 the family removed to Needham. He was in a country store at Newtown Lower Falls for a year, and then removed to New York, where he was variously employed until 1840, when he became connected with a wrecking company. While he was thus engaged his attention was directed to pumping apparatus, and in 1844 he invented the pioneer centrifugal pump, which was patented in 1846. By this invention the saving of imperishable goods on abandoned wrecks was made possible. Its mode of action consisted in forming channels through sand-bars on ocean coasts, and in making earth excavations in and under water. This pump was subsequently introduced and extensively manufactured in England as the Gwynne pumi). A few years later he invented and patented the anti-friction centrifugal pump, which has been used all over the world. He also invented three other distinct styles and various modifications of centrifugal pumps, of which that known, as the "Cataract" is the most valuable. In all, Mr. Andrews has received twenty-five United States and nine foreign patents on pumps, oscillating steam-engines, boilers, friction and differential power-gearing, siphon gang-wells and attachments, balanced valves, safety elevators, and other similar inventions. During the civil war each of the United States monitors was provided with centrifugal pumps and engines. These were made to discharge thirty tons of water a minute, and arranged to fill compartments, thereby partially submerging the monitor, so that in ease of grounding in dangerous proximity to an enemy they could be lightened by pumping, backed off, and resubmerged in a few minutes. The pumps made by Mr. Andrews have been used in creating channels through the sand-bars at the mouth of St. John's River, Fla., Cape Fear river, North Carolina, and the Mississippi river. The system of gangs of tube-wells patented by him has been extensively used in cities. During the unprecedented draught of the summer and autumn of 1885, a series of four plants of gang-wells, furnished by Mr. Andrews to the city of Brooklyn, yielded for some time a daily average supply of 25,000,000 gallons of water, reaching as high as 27,000,000 gallons in a single day, 18,400,000 gallons being their contracted delivery. Mr. Andrews has received numerous medals and diplomas for his inventions, both in this country and abroad.
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