Rankine, William J. Macquorn (1820 - 1872)

Index to poems


Inventor, civil engineer, and molecular physicist, William John Macquorn Rankine was born July 5, 1820, in Edinburgh. After he was educated at the University of Edinburgh, he became surveyor on waterworks and railways in Dublin and Drogheda in Ireland and later for the Caledonian Railway. During this time he made valuable contributions to the understanding of axle fatigue. From 1848, Rankine dedicated himself to study of thermodynamics and published over 150 scientific papers, especially on the conversion of work into heat, and vice versa. The model of events in this conversion is called the Rankine cycle. Created a fellow, Royal Society of Edinburgh, in 1849 and a fellow, Royal Society, in 1853, he was given the Queen Victoria chair of civil engineering and mechanics at Glasgow University in 1855. He wrote many standard textbooks for the period. He died on December 24, 1872, in Glasgow.

  • B., G. C. [biography] The Dictionary of National Biography. Vol. XVI. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Rankine, William John Macquorn. A Manual of Applied Mechanics. London: Griffin, 1864. 3rd edn. TEM R Gerstein Library
  • --. A Manual of Civil Engineering. 5th edn. London: Griffin, 1867. TE. R. Gerstein Library
  • --. A Manual of Machinery and Millwork. London: Griffin, 1869. TEM Ran Gerstein Library
  • --. Songs and Fables. Illus. by F.B. Glasgow: J. Maclehose, 1874. 11652.e.19 British Library; PR 5209 R3S6 Robarts Library
  • --. Useful Rules and Tables Relating to Mensuration, Engineering, Structures, and Machines. London: Griffin, 1866. TE. R Gerstein Library
Given Name: 
William John Macquorn
Family Name: 
Birth Date: 
July 5, 1820
Death Date: 
December 24, 1872


Literary Period: 
Literary Movement: