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Josef Ressel

Josef Ressel

Joseph Ludwig Franz Ressel (29 June 1793 - 9 October 1857) was a forest warden and the inventor of the ship's propeller.

Ressel was born in the Austrian monarchy in Chrudim, Bohemia. His father was a German native speaker, while his mother's mothertongue was Czech. After studying in Linz and Vienna he worked for the Austrian government as a forest engineer in the more southern parts of the monarchy, including in Motovun, Istria (modern-day Croatia). He worked in Landstrass (Kostanjevica on the Krka river in Carniola in modern-day Slovenia), where he tested his ship propellers for the first time. In 1821 he was transferred to Trieste (modern-day Italy), the biggest port of the Austrian Empire where his tests were successful. He was awarded the propeller patent in 1827. He modified a steam-powered boat Civetta by 1829 and test-drove it in the Trieste harbor at six knots before the steam conduits exploded. Because of this misfortune, the police banned further testing.

As early as 1804, the American John Fitch is credited with a screw propeller, which was unsuccessful. In 1836, the Englishman Francis Pettit Smith tested a screw propeller similar to Ressel's. The first cross-Atlantic journey of a ship powered by a screw-propeller was in 1839, with Ressel's screw improved by the Swedish engineer John Ericsson. The propeller screw design stabilized in the 1880s.

Among other Ressel's inventions are pneumatic post and ball and cylinder bearings. He was granted numerous patents during his life.

He died in Ljubljana, and was buried in the St. Christopher Cemetery in the Bežigrad district.

Literature

  • Erhard Marschner: "Josef Ressel. Erfinder der Schiffsschraube - Seine Vorfahren und Nachkommen" [Josef Ressel. The inventor of the ship propeller - its ancestors and descendants], 1979, ISBN 3-7686-6016-8.
  • Václav Gutwirth: "Vynálezce Josef Ressel" [Inventor Josef Ressel], 1943, Prague.
  • Jiří Charvát, Pavel Kobetič et al.: "Josef Ressel a Chrudim" [Josef Ressel and Chrudim], 1986, published by the Chrudim Regional Museum. The museum keeps collection of porpotions about Ressel.

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