Sylvanus Albert Reed


Sylvanus Albert Reed
Born8 April 1854
Died1 October 1935 (1935-11) (aged 81)
Resting placeAll Saints Memorial Church Cemetery, Navesink New Jersey
Latitude: 40.39812, Longitude: -74.02139
EducationA.B. and Ph.D. Columbia College, M.E School of Mines
Spouse(s)Elmina Wilshire Pomeroy (1868-1897)
Parent(s)Sylvanus Reed, Caroline Gallup Reed
RelativesAnna Reed, sister William Barclay Parsons (engineer), Brother-in-law

Sylvanus Albert Reed (8 April 1854 – 1 October 1935) was an American aerospace engineer who developed the modern metal aircraft propeller.

Early life and career

Reed Graduated from Columbia University in 1874.[1] He worked as an engineer specializing in electrical signals for railroad safety until retirement in 1912.[2]

Later career

In 1915 Reed experimented with metal propellers using a 10 hp electric engine driving propellers up to 19,000 rpm. He researched propeller shapes and materials that could withstand tip speed up to Mach 1.35. In 1920 he was encouraged by the local police to move his experiments from his attic and rented a shop at the Curtiss aircraft company's Garden City factory. He invented the Reed Metal Propeller, testing it in August 1921 on a Curtiss K-6 powered Standard. It was developed for use on the PW-8 and Curtiss D-12 powered Hawk.[3] He won the 1925 Collier Trophy for his development of the Reed Aeronautic Propeller.[4] In December 1934 Reed donated an endowment to the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences creating an annual award for the winner of "Experimental or theoretical investigations have a beneficial influence on the development of practical aeronautics".[5]

In 1881 he became a hereditary member of the Rhode Island Society of the Cincinnati. Reed died in 1935.[6]


  1. ^ Sylvanus Albert Reed (1874). Columbia College History of the Class of 74.
  2. ^ Roger Ward (December 1958). "The Propeller Pioneer". Flying Magazine.
  3. ^ James R. Hansen. The Bird Is on the Wing: Aerodynamics and the Progress of the American Airplane. p. 86.
  4. ^ Ritchie Thomas. "Sylvanus Albert Reed Inventor". AAHS Summer 1992: 103.
  5. ^ "This Month in Exploration - December". Retrieved 29 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  6. ^ "Find A Grave". Retrieved 29 April 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links