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Simon Ingersoll

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Simon Ingersoll (March 3, 1818 – July 24, 1894)[1] was an American farmer and inventor most notably responsible for having developed a drill that replaced hand drilling and made tunneling and mining applications less expensive and more efficient.[2] Ingersoll is an inductee into the Mining Hall of Fame and Construction Equipment Hall of Fame.

Contents

[edit] History

[edit] Ingersoll's Early Life

Ingersoll was born in Stanwich, Connecticut, where he received an informal grade school education.[3] Throughout his life, he received patents for several inventions, including a steam engine shaft in 1858.[4] Over the following decade, he developed other small implements including a scale, a friction clutch, and a gate latch.[5] Despite these inventions, Ingersoll, far from wealthy, continued to work as a farmer to support his family.

[edit] The Ingersoll Rock Drill

In 1870, Ingersoll accepted a contract to design a drill able to work on rock.[6] He based his work out of a New York machine shop owned by Jose F. de Navarro. By the following year, Ingersoll had developed and patented a rock drill; however, it proved not to be sufficiently strong for New York’s streets.[7] Henry Clark Sergeant, a partner in de Navarro’s machine shop, saw an opportunity to improve upon Ingersoll’s drill, making it more resistant to breakage by separating it into two components. Following this enhancement, Sergeant convinced de Navarro to purchase Ingersoll’s patent. This event led to the 1874 development of the Ingersoll Rock Drill Co.; Sergeant served as the company’s president.[8] Though Ingersoll was responsible for the initial development, he continued to live in virtual poverty, relying on the sale of his remaining patents for the survival of his family until his death in 1894.[9]

[edit] Ingersoll’s Contributions

Though Ingersoll was never rewarded with the life of a successful inventor, his drill was a significant development. The new tripod-mounted drill used less manpower, was faster, and had a longer life—it led to the increased the productivity of excavation applications where workers were previously only able to dig eight- to ten-foot holes per day.[10] It was regarded as one of the most useful appliances in railroad building applications.[11]

The Ingersoll rock drill is recognized as the pioneer of the rock drill market. Derivatives of his drill have been useful in excavation, mining, tunneling, and highway construction.[12] Modern versions of Ingersoll’s design are commonly used on practically every construction and excavation site worldwide.[13]

Ingersoll’s invention, paving the way for Ingersoll Rock Drill Company, eventually led to the establishment of Ingersoll Rand Co.Ltd. IR, though it no longer produces drills, is a successful machinery and industrial equipment company in the markets of climate control, industrial solutions, infrastructure, and security and safety.[14]

[edit] References

  1. Simon Ingersoll. Hall of Fame Inventors, 2008-09-29.
  2. Simon Ingersoll. Hall of Fame Inventors, 2008-09-29.
  3. Simon Ingersoll. Hall of Fame Inventors, 2008-09-29.
  4. Simon Ingersoll. Hall of Fame Inventors, 2008-09-29.
  5. Simon Ingersoll. Hall of Fame Inventors, 2008-09-29.
  6. History of Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd. References for Business, 2008-09-29.
  7. History of Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd. References for Business, 2008-09-29.
  8. History of Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd. References for Business, 2008-09-29.
  9. History of Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd. References for Business, 2008-09-29.
  10. Simon Ingersoll. Cool Stuff and the Incredible Feats of Construction, 2008-09-29.
  11. Ingersoll, Simon. ASME, 2008-09-29.
  12. Simon Ingersoll. Hall of Fame Inventors, 2008-09-29.
  13. Simon Ingersoll. Cool Stuff and the Incredible Feats of Construction, 2008-09-29.
  14. History of Ingersoll-Rand Company Ltd. References for Business, 2008-09-29.