James B. Francis and the Northern Canal

by Patrick M. Malone, Slater Mill Historic Site, Pawtucket, RI, USA,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Boston's Water Resource Development: Past, Present, and Future


Lowell became America's first great industrial city because of the power of the Pawtucket Falls and the efforts of an amazing group of engineers, industrialists, and workers. James B. Francis, agent and chief engineer of the Proprietors of Locks and Canals, was one of the finest civil engineers of the nineteenth century. The construction of the Northern Canal and its turbine-powered gatehouse was his most impressive achievement. When completed in 1848, this ambitious project set new engineering standards and introduced the famous 'Francis Turbine' to the world.

Subject Headings: Industries | Canals | Turbines | Water resources | Historic sites | Occupational safety | Locks (waterway) | Construction management | Massachusetts | United States

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