Rafter, George W

From History of Hydrology Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search


George W. Rafter

Photograph needed


George W. Rafter 1851 (Orleans, New York) - 1907 (Karlsbad, Austria)


George W. Rafter, son of John and Eleanor (Willson) Rafter, was born in Orleans, New York. On his father's side he was descended from a Scotch-Irish settler of Northumberland County, Pennsylvania; on his mother's, from James Willson, a pioneer settler of Cherry Valley, New York. After the death of John Rafter, when his son was seven years old, his widow sold the water-power at Orleans which had been the main source of the family's income, but the purchasers had difficulties because of the irregularity of the water flow, and several times the property reverted to Mrs. Rafter. This experience of his boyhood may have influenced George's later choice of career.

He received his education in the public schools of Phelps, New York, in the old Canandaigua Academy, and at Cornell University, where he was enrolled for a short time.

In 1872 he married Alyda Kirk, of Phelps, who died in May 1907. They had two daughters.

He began his engineering career in 1873 by part-time work in the City Surveyor's office at Rochester, New York. Simultaneously he studied architecture and in addition taught mathematics in a private school.

In 1876 he became assistant engineer of the Rochester water works, and then for two years practised as a consulting civil engineer. In this capacity he served the Rochester & Lake Ontario Railway Company.

From 1880 to 1882 he was employed by the Texas & Pacific and Missouri Pacific railways, for the former road supervising the water supply piped across the Staked Plains. Then followed a year in the construction of water works at Fort Worth, Tex. Back in New York State (1883 - 90), he served as assistant engineer of the Rochester water works and engineer of the Fredonia water works.

Hydrological Achievements[edit]

In 1883, he surveyed Honeoye Lake for use as a storage reservoir for water power for Rochester mills.

In 1890, while acting chief engineer of the Rochester water works, he inaugurated an original scheme for throttling down certain districts when a water famine threatened, distributing the insufficient supply so as to preserve public health and minimize discomfort. He designed sewage disposal plants at Albion, Holley, Lawrenceville, and Geneva, New York, and the West Virginia State Hospital for the Insane; and water works at Berwick and Nescopeck, Pennsylvania; and served as consulting engineer for the Warsaw (N. Y. ) Water Company. In collaboration with M. N. Baker, he published Sewage Disposal in the United States (1894), which became a standard textbook in the field. For a time he was sanitary expert to the Boston water works, and during this period collaborated with Prof. William T. Sedgwick in developing the Sedgwick-Rafter method of water analysis.

In 1893, he entered the employ of the State of New York to study especially the problems of river control; he devised a system of storage reservoirs to regulate the flow of the Genesee and Hudson rivers, notably the reservoir at Schroon Lake, and superintended the construction of the dam which formed Indian Lake in a tributary of the upper Hudson.

In 1902 he was made a member of the newly founded state Water Storage Commission. Sent abroad in 1894 to study movable bridges and to investigate high masonry dams, he made reports to the state engineer of New York on these subjects. In charge of water-supply investigation for the federal board of engineers on deep waterways (1898 - 99), he made surveys and estimates for a ship canal from Lake Ontario through Oneida Lake down the Mohawk to the Hudson River. This elaborate undertaking included a plan for great reservoirs and a ninety-mile water-supply canal or an alternate twenty-eight-mile tunnel, also pioneer study of the application of hydraulic formulas to heavy flows over weirs. Rafter himself considered his investigation of the hydraulics of the Hemlock Lake reservior in the Rochester watersupply system his most important work, because of the reforms it brought about.

After 1900, he engaged in private consulting practice. His report on Hydrology of the State of New York (1905) is recognized as authoritative on matters relating to stream flow.

He was one of the first engineers to use the microscope in the study of the biology of water supplies, writing several papers in connection with this subject.


Reference Material[edit]

Taken from https://prabook.com/web/george.rafter/3769848

Selected Publications[edit]

In all, he was sole or joint author of some 175 books and papers in addition to innumerable professional reports.


Rafter, G.W. and Baker, M.N., 1893. Sewage disposal in the United States. D. Van Nostrand Company.

Rafter, G.W., 1896. Mechanics of ventilation (No. 33). D. Van Nostrand.

Rafter, G.W., 1897. Sewage irrigation (No. 3). Govt. Print. Off.,.

Rafter, G.W., 1900. The microscopical examination of potable water (No. 103). D. Van Nostrand Company.

Rafter, G. W., 1903, The Relation of Rainfall to Run-Off. US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC

Rafter, G. W. The Treatment of Septic Sewage


Rafter, G.W., 1889. On the fresh water algae and their relation to the purity of public water supplies. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 21(2), pp.483-504.

Rafter, G.W., 1889, January. On the Best Technique for High-Power Photo-Micrography. In Proceedings of the American Society of Microscopists (Vol. 11, pp. 112-114). American Microscopical Society, Wiley.

Rafter, G.W., 1892. On the Measures for Restricting the Use and Waste of Water, in force in the City of Rochester, NY. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 26(1), pp.23-28.

Rafter, G.W., 1892. On the Hydraulics of the Hemlock Lake Conduit of the Rochester, NY, Water Works. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 26(1), pp.13-22

Sears, A.F., Nichols, O.F., Rowe, S.M., Barley, J.B., LeBaron, J.F., Crowell, J.F., Anderson, L., Barlow, J.Q., Kingman, L., Stanton, R.B. and Whinery, S., 1892. Discussion on Cañons of The Colorado. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 26(1), pp.332-362.

Rafter, G.W., 1896. On Lake Erie as a Water Supply for Towns on Its Borders. Buffalo Medical Journal, 36(1), p.10.

Rafter, G.W., 1899. On The Theory of Concrete. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 42(2), pp.104-116.

Rafter, G.W., 1900. On the flow of water over dams. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 44(2), pp.220-314.

Rafter, G.W., 1900. On the flow of water over dams. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 44(2), pp.220-314.

Sibert, W.L., Watt, D.A., Wisner, G.Y., Watt, J.M., Nelles, G.T., North, E.P., Whinery, S., Rafter, G.W., Belzner, T., Hall, W.M. and Thomas, B.F., 1902. Discussion on Improvement of Rivers. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 49(3), pp.266-329.

Whipple, G.C., Kuichling, E., Rafter, G.W., Johnson, W.S., Maignen, J.P.A., Potts, C., Pratt, R.W., Alvord, J.W., Gregory, J.H., Clark, H.W. and Winslow, C.E.A., 1906. Sewage Disposal. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 57(2), pp.91-140.

Swain, G.F., Bouton, H., Rafter, G.W., Marburg, E., Wialliians, G.H., Landreth, O.H., Green, B.R., Wendt, E.F., Talbot, A.N., Coates, F.R. and Jones Jr, B., 1906. Engineering Education. Transactions of the American Society of Civil Engineers, 57(2), pp.141-180.