Parsons, Sir Charles Algernon, 1854–1931, British engineer. He invented a revolutionary steam turbine that bears his name. His first turbines were constructed to drive generators to produce electricity. In 1897, Parsons constructed the Turbinia, the first vessel to be propelled by turbines. The ship's amazing speed immediately claimed attention and led to the construction of many turbine-propelled warships for the British navy. Parsons also invented a device for improving phonographs, pioneered in aviation, and produced a nonskid device for automobile tires.
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