Documentary History of American Water-works

Introduction Historical Background Chronology Geography Biography Technology Ownership and Financing General Bibliography

Biography of American Water-Works

The people who designed, built, and operated water-works faced enormous challenges.   Brief biographies of those who were involved in multiple systems or were otherwise notable will be included here, while others are noted on pages for individual systems.

Ball, Jonathan 1797-1868 Inventor and manufacturer of cement-lined wrought-iron pipe; promoted water systems in order to spur sales of his pipe.
Ball, Phinehas 1824-1894 Worcester; founded the Union Water Meter Company
Battin, Joseph 1807-1893 Buffalo; Elizabeth; sought water works franchises in several cities; invested in Jonathan Ball's Patent Water and Gas Pipe Company.
Birkinbine, Henry Peter Miller 1819-1886 Germantown (erected first stand-pipe in America, 18510; West Philadelphia; York; chief engineer of Philadelphia Water Department 1858-1861 and 1864-1866.    Prepared reports on water supply of Harrisburg, Reading, Allentown, Lebanon, Lancaster, Bethlehem, and other cities.
Cassin, Isaac Sharpless 1826-1897 Bio; Grave, Philadelphia
Chesbrough, Ellis Sylvester 1813-1886 Boston; Chicago; and many other cities.  ASCE Obit
Davis, John 1770-1864 Philadelphia; Baltimore
Eastman, Cyrus 1787-1862 Natchez; Manchester
Emes, Luther 1760-1827 Boston; Keene, Lansingburgh, New York.
Erdman, Frederick 1791-1862 Philadelphia; Harrisburg; Lancaster; Alexandria; Frederick; University of Virginia
Gilman, Benjamin Clark 1763-1835 Portsmouth: Exeter: Boston: Salem: New London.
Graff, Frederick 1775-1847 Philadelphia; consulting on 37 other systems.
Graff, Jr., Frederick 1817-1890 Philadelphia; also engineered several other systems after 1872, superintendent in Philadelphia from 1847 to 1856 and again from 1867 to 1872
Hermany, Charles 1830-1908 Louisville; Cincinnati; Bowling Green; Frankfort
Jervis, John Bloomfield 1795-1885 New York City Croton Aqueduct; Boston Cochituate Aqueduct
Latrobe, Benjamin 1764-1820 Philadelphia; New Orleans.  Architect of the U.S. Capital and many other buildings.
Leach, Caleb 1755-1837 Plymouth; Boston, Philadelphia, New York City.  1797 patent for machine to bore wooden logs for pipe
McAlpine, William Jarvis 1812-1890 Buffalo, Albany; Brooklyn, Chicago; New Bedford; Norfolk; Hartford; Buffalo; Troy; Schenectady; New York City; Burlington, Vermont; Manchester; New Hampshire; Wilmington, Delaware.; San Francisco.  Also Toronto and Montreal, Canada.
Meigs, Montgomery Cunningham 1816-1892 Washington Aqueduct
Prescott, Benjamin 1755-1825 Northampton; Albany.  Later superintendent of the Springfield Arsenal.
Scowden, Theodore Ransom 1815-1881 Cincinnati; Madison, Indiana; Cleveland; Louisville;  Dubuque; Newport, Kentucky; Sidney, Ohio; San Francisco
Stein, Albert 1785-1874 Lynchburg; Richmond; Nashville; New Orleans; Mobile.

2018 Morris A. Pierce