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LeGrand Skinner Obituary

Modified on 2019/01/07 13:17 by Joel Havens Categorized as Biographies

      LeGrand Skinner, president and founder of the Skinner Engine Co., Erie, Penn., died on 09 May , at Cambridge Springs, Penn., after a lingering illness. He was born in Pooleville, Madison County, N. Y., 23 May, 1845.

      In 1868, Mr. Skinner designed and built his first steam engine in a little shop near Morrisville. In 1871, he began the manufacture of engines in Chittenango, New York, and on 03 July, 1873, established a small manufacturing plant in a rented shop in Erie, Penn. The venture was a success and he was forced to move to larger quarters, and, in 1875, he formed a partnership with Thomas Wood, and the firm of Skinner & Wood manufactured these engines until it was dissolved in 1883, Mr. Skinner purchasing his partner's interest. For the next two years Mr. Skinner conducted the business alone, but in 1885 the Skinner Engine Co. was incorporated with Mr. Skinner as president.

      With the advent of the high-speed automatic engine, he invented an automatic oiling system, which delivered oil to all bearings, filtered it and separated it from any entrained water that might leak into the engine frame through the stuffing boxes. It is believed that this was the first self-contained oiling system consisting of a pump, filter and water separator, to be placed on a steam engine.

      The later generation will best remember LeGrand Skinner from his invention of the "Universal Unaflow" engine, which has for its central feature a new form of poppet valve which will remain steam-tight under variable temperature conditions. He combined this with a new design of auxiliary exhaust valve which he located away from the hot steam-heated ends of the cylinder so as to avoid thermal losses.

      Many of his patents are on improved designs of unaflow engines, his latest effort having been a design to compensate for errors in valve timing induced by longitudinal cylinder expansion in large unaflow engines.

      The personnel of the Skinner Engine Co. will remain the same as it has been for the last five years since Mr. Skinner's retirement from active business on account of advancing years and ill health. Since that time the active management of the business has been in charge of his son, A. D. Skinner, who has been closely associated with his father during the last thirty years in the development and conducting of the business.

Information Sources

  • Southern Engineer, V37 , Jul 1922, pg. 69

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