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Osborne Reynolds

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Professor Osborne Reynolds (1842-1912), Professor of Engineering at Manchester University

1842 Born in Belfast


1912 Obituary [1]

OSBORNE REYNOLDS, F.R.S., LL. D., M. Inst. C.E., was born at Belfast in 1842, and was educated at Redham Grammar School, Essex.

He was apprenticed at the works of Mr. Edward Hayes, and shortly afterwards proceeded to Queens College, Cambridge, graduating as a high wrangler in 1867, and being elected a Fellow of his College. He then entered the office of Messrs. Lawson and Mansergh, being engaged on work in connection with sewage disposal.

Dr. Reynolds' reputation, however, rested mainly on his great scientific attainments, and the work which he carried out in the development of engineering and physical science whilst holding the Chair of Engineering at Owens College, where he remained for nearly 40 years.

Amongst his earlier papers was one dealing with the "Racing of Screws," read before the Institution of Naval Architects, in 1873, and one on the effect of air in " blanketing " the tubes of a surface condenser, and thereby diminishing its efficiency. The transmission of heat from gases flowing through tubes, and the creeping of belts, also formed the subjects of papers read by him in the following year.

Perhaps the best known scientific work carried out by Dr. Reynolds was that on the motion of water in parallel channels, using threads of coloured water to show the character of the fluid motions. In the year 1875, he patented the compound turbine pump, which has played a considerable part in engineering progress in this direction. Amongst his other work in the application of science to engineering problems the use of small scale tidal models of estuaries for the investigation of the probable effects of alterations in their form, or of purposed training works, aroused great attention, and this method has been adopted by many engineers in dealing with problems of this nature.

He was elected an Honorary Member of the Liverpool Engineering Society on 2nd February, 1881, and his death occurred on 21st February, 1912.


1913 Obituary [2]

PROFESSOR OSBORNE REYNOLDS, M.A. (Cantab.), LL.D. (Glasgow), F.R.S., born in Belfast in 1842, died at Watchet, Somerset, on the 21st February, 1912.

He was educated at Dedharn Grammar School, Essex, and at Queens’ College, Cambridge, graduating as a high Wrangler in 1867. He had previously served a short apprenticeship in the works of Mr. Edward Hayes, of Stony Stratford, and after leaving college, he entered the London office of Messrs. Lawson and Mansergh.

He was elected a Fellow, and afterwards Honorary Fellow, of his College, and in 1868 he was appointed to the Chair of Engineering at Owens College, Manchester, which he occupied for nearly 40 years.

During his long and brilliant occupancy of this Chair, he organized the famous Whitworth laboratories and made many very valuable contributions to science, especially to mechanical science. His investigations have been embodied in more than seventy Papers and larger works, chiefly contributed to the Proceedings of the principal scientific societies. Among the more important may be mentioned his researches on the Racing of Screws, the Motion of Water in Parallel Channels, the Flow of Gases, the Theory of Lubrication, the Action of Sand and Granular Media, and the Creeping of Belts.

To this Institution he delivered in 1883 a Lecture on “The General Theory of Thermo-Dynamics,” and contributed a Paper on "The Theory of the Indicator and Errors in Indicator Diagrams," which was awarded a Telford premium. Probably his most remarkable work was that on the “The Sub- Mechanics of the Universe,” published by the Royal Society in 1903. In 1875 he patented the compound turbine pump, which has found extended application in recent years.

Dr. Reynolds was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1877, and subsequently became a Member of the Council. He served as a Sectional President of the British Association in 1887, and in the following year received the Royal medal of the Royal Society.

Dr. Reynolds was elected a Member of The Institution on the 4th December, 1883.


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