Timetable: Development of the Propeller
|400 BC||Archytas, disciple of Pythagoras, puts an inclined plane on a cylinder.|
|220 BC||Archimedes uses screws to lift water.|
|1480-1510||Leonardo da Vinci sketches a helicopter, using a screw, as well as an rotating spit, driven by a screw.|
|1680||Robert Hooke notes that vanes of a windmill could be used to move water.|
|1752||Bernoulli suggests propelling boats using «vanes set at an angle of 60º to both the arbor and the keel».|
|1770||James Watt proposes a screw propeller, though opposed to use his steam engines on board ships.|
|1776||David Bushnell uses a propeller to drive his submarine Turtle. In contrast to the illustration showing a screw, the propeller was made of single blades.||
|1784||The Frenchman Vallet propels a boat with a propeller mounted above the boat, in the following year he uses a three bladed propeller mounted below a balloon.|
|1786||A.J.P. Paucton publishes his «Théorie de la vis d´Archimède» and proposes a horizontal axis rotor for propulsion.|
|1798||Robert Fulton experiments with a four bladed propeller on a ship.|
|1800||Edward Shorter patents the «perpetual sculling machine». Two years later, HMS Dragon, powered by 8 men at a capstan, achieves 1.5 knots.|
|1829||The Morgan wheel is patented, using Hooke's windmill idea, with feathering vanes.|
|1815||Richard Trevithick designs a propeller with blades placed obliquely on a cylinder, powered by a steam engine.|
|1816-1846||Patents for propellers are granted at least to John Millington, Charles Cummerow, Julius Pumphrey , Bennet Woodcroft, Francis Pettit Smith, John Ericsson, James Lowe, George Blaxland. All these patents are for marine usage and lead to several lawsuits in England.|
|1843||Sir George Cayley designs an ingenious convertiplan, equipped with four rotors and twin propellers.|
|1865||Rankine develops his momentum theory.|
|1878||William Froude develops the blade element theory.|
|1900-1905||The Wright brothers design and test propellers systematically and succeed in 1903, performing their famous first powered flights.|
|1907||Lancaster publishes his «Aerodynamics», including a theory of optimum propellers.|
|1910||Coanda tests his piston engine powered jet unit.|
|1919||Ludwig Prandtl and Albert Betz calculate optimum propellers, having minimum induced loss.|
|1919||Fixed pitch propellers with metal blades enter service.|
|1924||The constant speed propeller is patented by Dr. H. S. Hele-Shaw and T. E. Beacham.|
|1932||Variable pitch propellers are introduced into air force service.|
|1935||Constant speed propellers become available.|
|1939||The Heinkel He 178 makes the first flight of a turbo jet driven airplane.|
|1945||The first turboprop engines are tested by Rolls-Royce on a Gloster Meteor.||RB50 Trent|
|1980s||GE/NASA UDF||NASA and industry perform tests with high speed propellers (propfans and unducted fans) for transport aircraft.|
|2002||You read this table about propellers and ... nothing happens.|
Last modification of this page: 08.09.03
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