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George Brayton (October 3, 1830 – December 17, 1892) was born in Rhode Island, son of William H. and Minerva (Bailey) Brayton[1]. He was an American mechanical engineer who lived with his family in Boston, and who is noted for introducing the continuous combustion process that is the basis for the gas turbine, and which is now referred to as the Brayton cycle.

Brayton's Ready Motor[]

In 1872 Brayton patented a two-stroke kerosene stationary engine known as Brayton's Ready Motor,[2] which had one cylinder for compression, a combustion chamber, and a separate cylinder in which the products expanded for the power stroke. It bore a marked resemblance to a steam engine with its rocking beam and flywheel. His engine needed no spark plug - it had a continuously burning flame to ignite each cycle of the engine.[3] He demonstrated that prolonging the combustion phase of the cycle, by injecting fuel at a controlled rate, produced more power per unit of fuel consumed. However, much of the efficiency gained by this method was lost due to the lack of an adequate method of compressing the fuel mixture prior to ignition.

Brayton's engine was displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia in 1876 and for a few years was well regarded, but within a short time the Otto engine became more popular. However, it was considered the first safe and practical oil engine and also served as inspiration to George B. Selden.

A Brayton Engine is preserved in the Smithsonian in the American History museum, and a later Brayton engine which powered one of John Philip Holland's early submarines is preserved in the Paterson Museum in the Old Great Falls Historic District of Paterson, New Jersey.[4]


External links[]

  1. Hopkins, Hannah Clarke Bailey, Records of the Bailey family : descendants of William Bailey of Newport, R.I., chiefly in the line of his son, Hugh Bailey of East Greenwich, R.I. Providence, R.I.: unknown, 1895, p. 75-6.
  2. "IMPROVEMENT IN GAS-ENGINES (Patent no. 125166)". Google Patent Search. http://www.google.com/patents?id=vWlxAAAAEBAJ&dq=george+brayton+1872. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  3. "George Brayton's Engine". Today In Science History. http://www.todayinsci.com/B/Brayton_George/BraytonGeorgeEngine2.htm. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
  4. "Holland Submarines". Paterson Friends of the Great Falls. http://patersongreatfalls.com/0325pgf/00a.cgi?cr=12a01a00&hd=dhd&ft=dft. Retrieved 2007-07-29. 
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