Figure 1-4.--Newton's steam wagon.
Englishman, Sir Frank Whittle. His patent was
for a jet aircraft engine. Whittle used his own
ideas along with the contributions of other
scientists. After several failures, he came up with
a working GTE.
Figure 1-2.--da Vinci's chimney jack.
The United States did not go into the GTE
field until 1941. General Electric was then
awarded a contract to build an American version
of the British-designed Whittle aircraft engine.
The engine and airframe were both built in 1 year.
The first jet aircraft was flown in this country in
In late 1941 Westinghouse Corporation was
awarded a contract to design and build the first
all-American GTE. Their engineers designed
Figure 1-3.--Branca's jet turbine.
minor changes, are the basis for most modern gas
turbines in use today.
of Leonardo da Vinci (around 1500 A.D.) (fig.
1-2) and Giovanni Branca (in 1629) (fig. 1-3).
Marine Gas Turbine Engine
In the 1680s Sir Isaac Newton described the
Using a GTE to propel a ship goes back to
laws of motion (discussed in GSE3/GSM3,
1937 when a Pescara free piston gas engine was
volume 1, chapter 4). All devices that use the
used experimentally with a GTE. The free piston
theory of jet propulsion are based on these laws.
engine, or gasifier (fig. 1-5), is a form of diesel
Newton's steam wagon is an example of the reac-
engine. It uses air cushions instead of a crankshaft
tion principle (fig. 1-4).
to return the pistons. It was an effective producer
In 1791 John Barber, an Englishman, sub-
of pressurized gases. The German navy used it in
mitted the first patent for a design that used the
their submarines during World War II as an air
thermodynamic cycle of the modern GTE. This
design was also suggested for jet propulsion.
two small vessels powered by a free piston
engine/GTE combination. In 1957 the liberty ship
William Patterson went into service on a
transatlantic run. It had six free piston engines
The patented application for the GTE as we
driving two turbines.
know it today was submitted in 1930 by another