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BEACH, Alfred Ely [1826-1896] -- American inventor, publisher, and patent lawyer, 1853 Crystal Palace Exposition Gold Medal

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1853 Crystal Palace Exposition Gold Medal (in New York City, for typewriter)

Wiki: Alfred Ely Beach Wiki

Beach was born in Springfield, Massachusetts and was the son of a prominent publisher, Moses Beach. Alfred Beach worked for his father until he and a friend, Orson Desaix Munn I, decided to buy Scientific American, a relatively new publication. They ran Scientific American until their deaths decades later, and it was carried on by their sons and grandsons for decades more. Munn and Beach also established a very successful patent agency. Beach patented some of his own inventions, notably an early typewriter designed for use by the blind. After the Civil War he founded a school for freed slaves in Savannah, the Beach Institute, which is now the home of the King-Tisdell Cottage Foundation.

Beach's most famous invention was New York City's first subway, the Beach Pneumatic Transit.

By the 1860s traffic in New York was a nightmare, especially along the central artery, Broadway. Beach was one of a few visionaries who proposed building an underground railway under Broadway to help relieve the traffic congestion. The inspiration was the underground Metropolitan Railway in London but in contrast to that and others' proposals for New York, Beach proposed the use of trains propelled by pneumatics instead of conventional steam engines, and construction using a tunnelling shield of his invention to minimize disturbing the street.

Beach operated his demonstration railway from February 1870 to April 1873. The tunnel was completely within the limits of the present day City Hall station under Broadway, a distance of some 300 feet. WIKI

Obituary

Death of Alfred E Beach  -30-
 

Chronology

1846/06
Beach & Munn purchase Scientific American magazine
1847
Invention: Typewriter for the blind
1852
Scentific American Patent Agency
1860c
Invention: Cable traction system for streetcars
1865
Invention: Tunneling shield
1865
Invention: Pneumatic transit system
1867
Demonstrated pneumatic people moving system
1868
Pneumatic Dispatch Company (president)
1870/02/26
Invention: NYC first subway

Associated

  • Father: BEACH, Moses Yale [1800-1868] American inventor and publisher
  • Son: BEACH, Frederick Converse [1848-1918] American inventor, editor

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