Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ALLEN, Zaehariah, inventor, born in Providence, Rhode Island, 15 September 1795; died 17 March 1882. He was descended from one of the early settlers of Providence and was son and heir of a wealthy merchant. Fie was graduated at Brown in 1815, was admitted to the bar in 1817, and in 1822 engaged in manufacturing. He did much as a capitalist to promote the industries of Rhode Island, and was the inventor of the automatic cut-off valve for the steam engine, extension rollers, an improved fire engine, and a hot-air furnace. He also devised a storage reservoir for waterpower, and first suggested the system of mutual insurance adopted by New England mill-owners. He was for many years president of the Rhode Island Historical Society. He published, on returning from Europe in 1825, the "Practical Tourist," a treatise on "Practical Mechanics," speculative works on physical science entitled "Philosophy of the Mechanics of Nature" (1851), and " Solar Light and Heat" (1879), and articles on the history of Rhode Island. See " Memorial " of Mr. Allen by Amos Perry (1883).
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