Curtis patented the first U.S. gas turbine in 1899. Among his other achievements, the Curtis steam turbine of 1896 required one tenth the space and weighed one eighth as much as machines it replaced. He sold the rights to the turbine to GE in 1901. In 1910 he was awarded the Rumford Premium by the American Academyfor Arts & Sciences for his improvement of the steam turbine. He then studied the “scavenging” (removal of burned gases from cylinders) of two-stroke diesel engines and patented the Curtis system of scavenging in 1930. Historians also credit Curtis with inventing the propulsion mechanism used in certain naval torpedoes. He received the first annual award from the Gas Turbine Power Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 1948. In 1950 he received the Holley Medal from ASME, also for his gas turbine work.
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