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British Industrial History

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Arturo Caprotti

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Arturo Caprotti (1881-1938)


1938 Obituary [1]

ARTHUR CAPROTTI invented in 1915 the poppet valve gear, for steam locomotives, which is associated with his name. After extended trials on the Italian State Railways, the valve gear was fitted to a large number of Italian locomotives and was later adopted by numerous railways throughout the world. Mr. Caprotti subsequently founded a company for the development of his invention, the British headquarters being established in Westminster, and he was a director of the company from its inception.

He was born at Moscazzano, Italy, in 1881, and received his education at the Technical School and the University of Pavia; subsequently he studied mathematics and mechanical engineering at the Royal Polytechnic School, Turin, and graduated in 1904. He then entered the Florentia motor car factory in Florence and took charge of the designing office, afterwards being promoted to be works director.

From 1906 to 1908 he collaborated with Mr. Musante in Genoa, on designing and experimenting with a reversible internal combustion engine. During the next seven years he turned his attention to reinforced concrete work, and took charge of the mechanical equipment for the construction of a section of the Apulian acqueduct. He was later employed for two years as designer and director for reinforced concrete constructions in Padua, carried out by the Societa Edile Littoranea, and in 1911 he went into business on his own account as a contractor for reinforced concrete constructions in Lucca, and was so engaged until he invented his poppet valve gear.

In 1929 he was elected a Member of the Institution. His death occurred in Milan on 9th February 1938.


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