Corliss, George Henry

Corliss, George Henry

(1817–88) inventor, manufacturer; born in Easton, N.Y. Educated in local schools and at Castleton Academy, Vt., he opened a boot store in Greenwich, N.Y., in 1842. Two years later he went to work for a steam engine manufacturer in Providence, R.I. He designed many improvements—in particular, a governor to control valves—that led to greater efficiency and economy of operation in steam engines. In 1848 he established his own company to make the products of his inventiveness; the Corliss Steam Engine Co. built many of the country's largest engines. His 1,400-horsepower Corliss Engine powered the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition of 1876, driving all the exhibit machinery during six months of continuous operation.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.