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 Vincis Helicopter 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.

Turtle - Cross Section.

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 old screw propellers 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. Cayleys Convertiplane
1865 Rankine develops his momentum theory.
1878 Froudes blade element sketch 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: 21.05.18

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