BC - A Greek philosopher and mathematician,
Hero, invented a toy
(Aeolipile) that rotated on top of a boiling pot of water. This caused
a reaction effect of hot air or steam that moved several nozzles arranged
on a wheel. This works when one understands the Third Law of Motion - Every
action produces a reaction ... equal in force and opposite in direction.
1232 - Chinese began to use
as weapons. The invention of gun powder uses the reaction principle to
move rockets foward.
1500 - Leonardo
da Vinci drew a sketch of a device, the chimney jack, that rotated
due to the effect of hot gases flowing up a chimney. It looked like a device
that used hot air to rotate a spit. The hot air came from the fire and
rose upward to pass through a series of fan like blades that turned the
1629 - Giovanni Branca developed
a stamping mill, that used jets of steam to rotate a turbine that then
rotated to operate machinery.
1678 - Ferdinand Verbiest
built a model carriage that used a steam jet for power.
1687 - Sir
Isaac Newton announces the three laws of motion. These form the basis
for modern propulsion theory.
1791 - John Barber received
the first patent for a basic turbine engine. His design was planned to
use as a method of propelling the 'horseless carriage.' The turbine was
designed with a chain-driven, reciprocating type of compressor. It has
a compressor, a combustion chamber, and a turbine.
1872 - Dr. F. Stolze designed
the first true gas turbine engine. His engine used a multistage turbine
section and a flow compressor. This engine never ran under its own power.
1903 - Aegidius Elling of
Norway built the first successful gas turbine using both rotary compressors
and turbines- the first gas turbine with excess power.
1897 - Sir
Charles Parson patented a steam turbine which was used to power a ship.
1914 - Charles Curtis filed
the first application for a gas turbine engine.
1918 - General Electric company
started a gas turbine division. Dr. Stanford A. Moss developed the GE turbosupercharger
engine during W.W.I. It used hot exhaust gases from a reciprocating engine
to drive a turbine wheel that in turn drove a centrifugal compressor used
1920 - Dr. A. A. Griffith
developed a theory of turbine design based on gas flow past airfoils rather
than through passages.
1930 - Sir
Frank Whittle in England patented a design for a gas turbine for
propulsion. The first successful use of this engine was in April, 1937.
His early work on the theory of gas propulsion was based on the contributions
of most of the earlier pioneers of this field.
At the same time as Frank Whittle was working in Great Britain, Hans
von Ohian and Max Hahn, students in Germany developed and patented
their own engine design.
1939 (August) - The aircraft
company Ernst Heinkel Aircraft flew the first flight of a gas turbine jet,
1941 - Sir Frank Whittle
designed the first successful turbojet airplane, the Gloster Meteor, flown
over Great Britain. Whittle improved his jet engine during the war, and
in 1942 he shipped an engine prototype to General Electric in the United
States. America's first jet plane was built the following year.
1942 - Dr. Franz Anslem developed
the axial-flow turbojet, Junkers Jumo 004, used in the Messerschmitt Me
262, the world's first operational jet fighter.
After W.W.II, the development of
jet engines was directed by a number of commercial companies. Jet engines
soon became the most popular method of powering airplanes.