Mechanical Engineers

A mechanical engineer is a specialist in all fields related to machines, kinematics, thermodynamics and tools. One of the oldest disciplines of engineering, mechanical engineering is one of the largest producers of engineers around the world today, closely followed by civil and aeronautical engineers. Working as a mechanical engineer is known to be an enriching and rewarding experience and the job description involves working to plan, build and examine motor-powered vehicles, manufacturing plants, airplanes, industrial equipment, cybernetics and much more. These engineers are in a highly lucrative position and considering that mechanical engineering is an extraordinarily comprehensive field, the engineer can specialize in a number of areas including, applied mechanics, bioengineering, manufacturing engineering and nuclear engineering to name a few. The oldest documented mechanical engineers can be traced back to Ancient Greece and can be seen in the works of Archimedes. Zhang Heng, the inventor of the seismometer and the water clock, lived between the periods of 78-139 AD, who left behind a great legacy related to ‘mechanics’ around the world. Here is a compilation of a list of famous mechanical engineers, learn more fascinating facts and details about them with their biographies that include trivia, interesting facts, timeline and life history.
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 1 Jim Lovell

Jim Lovell.
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Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: March 25, 1928
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Retired American astronaut Jim Lovell commanded the iconic Apollo 13 mission and was one of the first three human beings to fly to the Moon, orbit it, and get back to Earth. He had also been a US Navy captain. Following his retirement, Lovell launched a restaurant in Lake Forest.

 2 James Watt

James Watt.
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Famous As: Inventor of Steam Engine
Birthdate: January 19, 1736
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Greenock, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Died: August 25, 1819
Eighteenth-century Scottish inventor James Watt developed the Newcomen steam engine, by inventing the Watt steam engine, which brough about the Industrial Revolution in Britain and the world. He also co-owned the firm Boulton and Watt and laid down concepts such as horsepower and the watt, the SI unit of power.

 3 Frederick Winslow Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor.
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Famous As: Mechanical Engineer
Birthdate: March 20, 1856
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 21, 1915

American inventor, mechanical engineer and an accomplished tennis and golf player, Frederick Winslow Taylor, regarded as the father of scientific management, sought to improve industrial efficiency. His approach on scientific management, referred to as Taylorism, has significantly influenced development of industrial engineering and production management. His monograph, The Principles of Scientific Management, laid out his views on principles of scientific management.

 4 George Stephenson

George Stephenson.
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Famous As: Father of Railways
Birthdate: June 9, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wylam
Died: August 12, 1848

 5 Rudolf Diesel

Rudolf Diesel.
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Famous As: Inventor of Diesel Engine
Birthdate: March 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1913

Rudolf Diesel was a German mechanical engineer and inventor best remembered for inventing the Diesel engine. After Diesel's demise, his engine became an important substitution for the steam piston engine. The engine became widespread in applications, such as agricultural machines, submarines, ships, and trucks. His life inspired the 1942 biographical film Diesel, in which he was played by Willy Birgel.

 6 Nikola Tesla

Nikola Tesla.
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 10, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Smiljan, Croatia
Died: January 7, 1943

Inventor, engineer and futurist, Nikola Tesla, is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A prolific inventor, he had around 300 patents for his inventions. Even though he earned a considerable amount of money, he had poor money management skills and died a poor man.

 7 Thomas Massie

Thomas Massie
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: January 13, 1971
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Huntington, West Virginia, United States

Conservative libertarian Republican Thomas Massie is the US Representative from Kentucky's 4th district. Born to a beer distributor, he studied mechanical engineering at MIT and also co-owned a start-up. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he earned Donald Trump’s ire when he opposed a stimulus package to boost the American economy.

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 8 Sandford Fleming

Sandford Fleming
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: January 7, 1827
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Died: July 22, 1915

 9 Michael Teutul

Michael Teutul
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Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: November 26, 1978
Sun Sign: Sagittarius

American television personality Michael Teutul started working at his family company Orange County Iron Works at age 14. He worked as assistant general manager of Orange County Choppers, founded by his father Paul Teutul Sr., but was eventually forced out. Michael is known for his features in TV shows like American Chopper and American Chopper: Senior vs. Junior.   

 10 Albert Göring

Albert Göring
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Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: March 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Friedenau
Died: December 20, 1966
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 11 Eugene Stoner

Eugene Stoner
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Famous As: Designer
Birthdate: November 22, 1922
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Gosport, Indiana, United States
Died: April 24, 1997

Eugene Stoner is largely remembered for developing the ArmaLite AR-15 rifle, which was a forerunner of the M16 rifle used by the American military. Though he didn’t have any formal education beyond high school, Stoner, like his Russian counterpart, Mikhail T. Kalashnikov, revolutionized the arms industry with his inventions.

 12 Sergei Krikalev

Sergei Krikalev
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Famous As: Cosmonaut
Birthdate: August 27, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Saint Petersburg, Russia

 13 Martin Heinrich

Martin Heinrich
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: October 17, 1971
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Fallon, Nevada, U.S.

Apart from being the US senator from New Mexico, Martin Heinrich is also the vice chair of the Joint Economic Committee. The son of working-class parents, Heinrich was the first from his family to graduate. A mechanical engineer, he had launched his own firm before joining politics.

 14 Ursula Burns

Ursula Burns
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Famous As: Businesswoman
Birthdate: September 20, 1958
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: New York

Ursula Burns made history when she became the CEO of Xerox, becoming the first African-American female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Raised by a working-class single mother, Burns grew up to graduate as a mechanical engineer. She has led the American STEM Education Coalition and served various corporate boards.

 15 Ralph H. Baer

Ralph H. Baer
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: March 8, 1922
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Rodalben, Germany
Died: December 6, 2014

Born to a German Jewish family, Ralph H. Baer and his family escaped to New York later. He went from working in a factory to becoming an engineer. While working at Sanders Associates, he developed the idea of playing games on TV and later created the first video game console.

 16 George Pullman

George Pullman
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: March 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brocton, New York, United States
Died: October 19, 1897

One of his parents’ 10 children, George Pullman initially took over his father’s carpentry business and secured contracts with New York for the Erie Canal project. The founder of the Pullman sleeping car and a company town, Pullam was criticized for using the military to violently end the 1894 Pullman Strike.

 17 Frederick McKinley Jones

Frederick McKinley Jones.
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: May 17, 1893
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: February 21, 1961

Best known for inventing an automatic refrigeration system used in long-haul trucks, Frederick McKinley Jones was orphaned at age 7. He quit school as a child and took up menial jobs. After briefly serving the army, he focused on inventing machine parts and ended up with over 60 patents.

 18 Granville Woods

Granville Woods.
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: April 23, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: January 30, 1910

Granville Woods was 10 when he began working at a machine shop, while continuing his studies at a night school. He grew up to become a steam locomotive engineer and earned the nickname the Black Edison for his countless inventions, most of which were related to electrical systems for railways.

 19 Henry Gantt

Henry Gantt
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 20, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Calvert County
Died: November 23, 1919

Best known for creating the Gantt Chart, a management tool used for scheduling tasks, mechanical engineer Henry Gantt had been a disciple and colleague of Frederick W. Taylor. He also prepared ground for the Human Relations School of management and spoke about the social responsibility of business.

 20 William George Armstrong, Baron Armstrong

William George Armstrong, Baron Armstrong
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: November 26, 1810
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom
Died: December 27, 1900

 21 Roger Boisjoly

Roger Boisjoly
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Famous As: Mechanical Engineer
Birthdate: April 25, 1938
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Lowell, Massachusetts, United States
Died: January 6, 2012

A miller’s son, Roger Boisjoly excelled in tennis while in school and eventually grew up to become a mechanical engineer and an aerodynamicist. As part of the Morton Thiokol team that designed the Space Shuttle Challenger, he correctly predicted that its faulty design could cause an explosion, but was ignored.

 22 Bob Behnken

Bob Behnken
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Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: July 28, 1970
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Saint Ann, Missouri, United States

NASA astronaut Bob Behnken has also served as a colonel in the U.S. Air Force. He was the mission specialist on both the STS-123 and STS-130 space flights. The Air Force Achievement Medal winner is married to astronaut K. Megan McArthur. He also holds a radio license.

 23 Franklin Chang Díaz

Franklin Diaz.
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Famous As: Former NASA Astronaut
Birthdate: April 5, 1950
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: San José

Franklin Chang Díaz is a Costa Rican American physicist, mechanical engineer, and former NASA astronaut. He is credited with founding the Ad Astra Rocket Company where he currently serves as the CEO. On May 5, 2012, Franklin Chang Díaz was inducted into the NASA Astronaut Hall of Fame.

 24 Ben Chifley

Ben Chifley
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Famous As: Politician
Birthdate: September 22, 1885
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia
Died: June 13, 1951

 25 Marc Isambard Brunel

Marc Isambard Brunel
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: April 25, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hacqueville, Normandy, France
Died: December 12, 1849

French-British engineer Marc Isambard Brunel is best known for constructing the Thames Tunnel and had been the chief engineer of New York City. He had also spent time in a debtor’s prison for his association with loss-making projects. He was the father of renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

 26 Hugo Junkers

Hugo Junkers
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: February 3, 1859
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Rheydt, Rhine Province, Kingdom of Prussia
Died: February 3, 1935

 27 John Garand

John Garand
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Famous As: Designer
Birthdate: January 1, 1888
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: St. Rémi, Quebec, Canada
Died: February 16, 1974

One of his parents’ 12 children, Canadian-born John Garand moved to the U.S. with his father and siblings after his mother’s death. He went from working in a textile mill as a child to creating the semi-automatic rifle M1 Garand, used widely by the U.S. military in World War II.

 28 Ben Rich

Ben Rich
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Famous As: American engineer
Birthdate: June 18, 1925
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Manila, Philippines
Died: January 5, 1995

Known as "the father of stealth," Ben Rich made a significant contribution to the development of the F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter-bomber. Throughout his stint at Lockheed’s Skunk Works, he helped develop numerous military planes. The UCLA alumnus later received the Distinguished Service Cross for his work.

 29 Nigel Gresley

Nigel Gresley
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 19, 1876
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Edinburgh
Died: April 5, 1941

 30 Harry Ferguson

Harry Ferguson
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Famous As: Mechanic
Birthdate: November 4, 1884
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Dromore, Northern Ireland
Died: October 25, 1960

 31 Henry M. Leland

Henry M. Leland
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Famous As: Machinist
Birthdate: February 14, 1843
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Vermont, United States
Died: March 26, 1932

While initially working in the machine plants and firearms industries, Henry M. Leland gradually mastered the art of toolmaking and manufacturing. He later revolutionized the auto industry and was the man behind the car brands Cadillac and Lincoln. He introduced inventions such as the electric starter and the V-8 engine.

 32 Charles Algernon Parsons

Charles Algernon Parsons
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 13, 1854
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: London, England
Died: February 11, 1931

 33 Ludwig Prandtl

Ludwig Prandtl
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Famous As: Physicist, Mechanical engineer, University teacher
Birthdate: February 4, 1875
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Freising
Died: August 15, 1953

 34 Alfred Vail

Alfred Vail
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Famous As: Machinist
Birthdate: September 25, 1807
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Morristown, New Jersey, United States
Died: January 18, 1859

Alfred Vail, along with Samuel F.B. Morse, revolutionized the American telegraph system. Though initially interested in theology, he changed his career path after meeting Morse. Some scholars believe Vail and Morse had both contributed equally for the development of the Morse code but was not valued.

 35 Karl Terzaghi

Karl Terzaghi
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Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: October 2, 1883
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Prague, Czechia
Died: October 25, 1963

The pioneer of soil mechanics, Karl Terzaghi was the son of an army lieutenant-colonel and studied in a military boarding school, where he developed his passion for geography. He eventually graduated as a mechanical engineer. He later also taught at MIT and penned iconic works such as Erdbaumechanik.

 36 Carl von Linde

Carl von Linde
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Famous As: Scientist
Birthdate: June 11, 1842
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Berndorf, Germany
Died: November 16, 1934

 37 Max Faget

Max Faget
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Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: August 26, 1921
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Dangriga, Belize
Died: October 9, 2004

Recipient of the ASME Medal, Belizean-born American mechanical engineer Max Faget, considered an engineering genius, began research for human spaceflight during his time at the NACA. He was the principal designer of the Mercury spacecraft and also worked on the Gemini and Apollo vehicles and the Space Shuttle and retired from NASA as chief of engineering and operations.  

 38 Gerald Carr

Gerald Carr
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: August 22, 1932
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Denver, Colorado, United States

Mechanical and aeronautical engineer Gerald Carr is best remembered for commanding the Skylab 4 mission, which proved that it was possible for humans to live in space for a long period of time. He and his crew also studied Comet Kohoutek. He later formed a company that assisted in space station designing.

 39 Christopher Cockerell

Christopher Cockerell
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 4, 1910
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Cavendish Avenue, London, England
Died: June 1, 1999

 40 Henry Maudslay

Henry Maudslay
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Famous As: Innovator
Birthdate: August 22, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Woolwich, England
Died: February 14, 1831

 41 Robert Thirsk

Robert Thirsk
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Famous As: Astronaut
Birthdate: August 17, 1953
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New Westminster, Canada

Canadian astronaut Robert Thirsk made history when he became the first person to receive a degree from space when he was awarded an honorary degree while on a space mission. He also boasts of an MIT Sloan MBA. A mechanical engineer, he had initially also studied medicine.

 42 Joseph Engelberger

Joseph Engelberger
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Famous As: Physicist
Birthdate: July 26, 1925
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York City, United States
Died: December 1, 2015

Known as the Father of Robotics, Joseph Engelberger went down in history as the developer of the first industrial robot in the U.S., the Unimate, which was installed in a GM plant. His book Robotics in Practice is classic in the field of robotics and has been translated in multiple languages.

 43 Kumar Bhattacharyya, Baron Bhattacharyya

Kumar Bhattacharyya, Baron Bhattacharyya.
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Famous As: Life peer
Birthdate: June 6, 1940
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Dhaka

 44 Karsten Solheim

Karsten Solheim
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Famous As: Businessman
Birthdate: September 15, 1911
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Bergen, Norway
Died: February 16, 2000

From working in the family shoe shop to becoming an accomplished golf club designer and businessman, life of Karsten Solheim has been truly inspiring. He worked at Convair and General Electric before founding the American sports equipment manufacturing company PING. He also remained a driving force behind creation of the biennial golf tournament for professional women golfers, the Solheim Cup.  

 45 Gustaf Dalén

Gustaf Dalén .
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Famous As: Inventor of Automatic Regulators, AGA Cookers, Dalen Light
Birthdate: November 30, 1869
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Stenstorp, Västergötland, Sweden
Died: December 9, 1937

Gustaf Dalén was an industrialist, engineer, and inventor. The AGA cooker and the Dalén light are among his most prominent inventions. He was a long-term CEO of the AGA company. He received over 100 patents during his lifetime. He received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1912 for his invention of a special kind of automatic regulator.

 46 Duan Zhengcheng

Duan Zhengcheng
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: June 15, 1934
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Zhenjiang, China
Died: February 15, 2020

 47 Jacob Perkins

Jacob Perkins
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Famous As: Inventor
Birthdate: July 9, 1766
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newburyport, Massachusetts, United States
Died: July 30, 1849

Known as the father of the refrigerator, American inventor, mechanical engineer and physicist Jacob Perkins made several useful mechanical inventions. He created improved nail machines and some of the best steel plates for engraving, invented a bathometer, became the first person in Britain to use a uniflow steam engine, and most notably built the world’s first working vapor-compression refrigeration system.

 48 Daniel Goldin

Daniel Goldin
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Famous As: Administrator of NASA
Birthdate: July 23, 1940
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: New York City, New York, United States

NASA administrator Daniel Goldin was the man behind the “faster, better, cheaper” programs that redefined American space projects. Though considered egocentric by many, he proposed innovative techniques involving nanotechnology and biotechnology for the development of space science in the U.S. Following his retirement, he devoted himself to robotics research.

 49 Nils Bohlin

Nils Bohlin
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Famous As: Mechanical Engineer
Birthdate: July 17, 1920
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Härnösand, Sweden
Died: September 21, 2002

 50 Gustaf de Laval

Gustaf de Laval
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: May 9, 1845
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Blasenborg, Sweden
Died: February 2, 1913
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