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Ambrose Swasey

Born: 19-Dec-1846
Birthplace: Exeter, NH
Died: 15-Jun-1937
Location of death: Exeter, NH
Cause of death: Pneumonia
Remains: Buried, Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, NH

Gender: Male
Religion: Baptist
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Inventor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Warner and Swasey Company and Observatory

Ambrose Swasey worked as a machinist until his early 30s, when he teamed with his friend and fellow machinist Worcester Reed Warner (1846-1929) to establish the Warner & Swasey Company, which became a leading manufacturer of telescopes, lathes, and tools. At its peak the company manufactured 60% of all U.S. turret lathes, and for its high quality it was known as "the Tiffany of turret lathes". Though telescopes were only a small portion of their business -- motivated more by Swasey's fascination with astronomy than by profit potential -- W&S equipped virtually all the major observatories of its time, and Swasey himself made numerous improvements to telescope technology. With Warner, Swasey also endowed the Warner and Swasey Observatory at Case Western Reserve University. He patented an improved protractor, a feed mechanism for screw machines, and invented the epicycloidal milling machine for producing true gear curves, which was instrumental in development of early automatic transmissions. After its founders' deaths, the Warner & Swasey Company was merged into Bendix in 1980, then sold twice and finally closed in 1992.

Father: Nathaniel Swasey (farmer, b. 1800, d. 1890)
Mother: Abigail Chesley Peavey Swasey
Wife: Lavinia Marston Swasey (d. 22-Jan-1913, no children)

    High School: Phillips Exeter Academy
    Administrator: Trustee, Denison University (1897-1937)
    Administrator: Trustee, Case Western Reserve University (1908-13, 1930-37)

    National Inventors Hall of Fame
    Hoover Medal 1936
    ASME Medal 1933
    John Fritz Medal 1924
    Pratt & Whitney Machinist (1868-80)
    Exeter Machine Works Apprentice Machinist (1865-68)
    American Association for the Advancement of Science
    American Astronomical Society
    American Philosophical Society
    American Society of Mechanical Engineers President (1904-05)
    Cleveland Chamber of Commerce President (1905)
    Cosmos Club
    National Academy of Sciences 1922
    National Research Council
    Royal Astronomical Society
    Young Men's Christian Association Trustee (1912-37)
    Asteroid Namesake 992 Swasey
    Lunar Crater Swasey (5.5 S, 89.0 E, 13 km diameter)
    English Ancestry

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