Great Engineers & Scientists Blog

Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

So who do you think of when you hear "Great Engineer"? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add him or her to the pantheon. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Loammi Baldwin Jr.: 19th Century American Civil Engineer

Posted January 02, 2013 3:46 PM by SavvyExacta

Loammi Baldwin Jr. and his five brothers worked with their civil engineer father Loammi Baldwin Sr. on the ten-year construction of the Middlesex Canal. He later constructed Fort Strong in Boston Harbor as well as the Milldam in Boston and Union Canal in Pennsylvania.

Baldwin Jr. was born in Massachusetts on May 16, 1780 and graduated from Harvard College in 1800. From a young age he was mechanically inclined and followed in his father's civil engineering footsteps. Loammi Baldwin Sr. took all five of his sons with him while he worked on the Middlesex Canal. Baldwin Jr. was about 14 at the time.

Despite his interest in engineering, Baldwin Jr. entered a law practice in Groton after graduation and later struck out on his own. Civil engineering called him back as he developed distaste for the legal profession and he began studying public works in England.

Upon his return from Europe, Baldwin Jr. established his own civil engineering firm. He mainly worked on public improvements such as roads, canals, and docks. Some of his projects included:

  • Fort Strong in Boston Harbor
  • Naval dry docks in Charlestown, Massachusetts (1827-1834) and Norfolk, Virginia (built from the same plans)
  • Pennsylvania Union Canal
  • Harrisburg Canal
  • Holworthy and University Halls at Harvard

In addition he designed numerous bridges, canals, and a marine railway. He was involved in the planning of the Bunker Hill Monument in 1825 and his choice of the obelisk was selected for use in the site.

Baldwin worked to find a way to introduce pure water to the city of Boston. He was named Engineer of Improvements for the city of Boston. After his death of a stroke at age 58 on June 30, 1838, his brother James continued his work toward a safe water supply for Boston. Loammi Baldwin Jr. kept detailed diaries, sketchbooks, and log books that can be accessed via the libraries linked below.

Resources: Harvard University Library; Wikipedia - Loammi Baldwin, Jr.; The Winterthur Library




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