Media Contact
March 16, 2009


As part of the Gordon Library Speaker Series, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will host a talk by world-famous inventor and emeritus trustee Howard G. Freeman '40, who will speak about his inventions that revolutionized fire fighting on naval vessels and at airports. He will also discuss his founding of Jamesbury Corp. in Worcester, which manufactured a ball valve he invented, as well as his current experiments on growing algae.


After earning a degree in mechanical engineering at WPI, Howard G. Freeman (pdf, 3mb) began his lifelong work as an inventor and entrepreneur, earning many patents along the way. During World War II, he invented the Waterfog nozzle, which made it possible to fight oil fires on ships by creating a mist of seawater. The invention is credited with saving dozens of ships and thousands of lives. When the Waterfog nozzle proved ineffective against the gasoline fires caused by kamikaze aircraft crashing onto the decks of aircraft carriers, Freeman invented a nozzle that could create a fog of fire-fighting foam. That technology later became standard equipment on crash trucks used to fight aircraft fires at airports, saving many more lives. In 1954, Freemen founded Jamesbury Corp. in Worcester to manufacture a high-performance ball valve he invented. The company would become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of valves.

WPI's Fire Protection Engineering Department and Gordon Library are the event's sponsors.


Monday, March 23: 4-5 p.m.; reception to follow.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Gordon Library, third floor, 100 Institute Road, Worcester, Mass.