The Cyclopædia of American Biography/Main, Charles Thomas

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The Cyclopædia of American Biography  (1918) 
James E. Homans, editor
Main, Charles Thomas

MAIN, Charles Thomas, engineer, b. in Marblehead, Mass., 16 Feb., 1856, son of Thomas and Cordelia (Reed) Main. His father's professional activities as a machinist and engineer may be held to account in part for his early displayed fondness for scientific subjects and general work in mathematics. He obtained his preliminary education in the schools of Marblehead, and later entered the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, Mass., where he was graduated B.S. in 1876. Following his graduation he spent three years (1876-79) as assistant in the laboratories of the institute, thereby perfecting himself in the practical work of his profession. In October, 1879, at the age of twenty-one, in order to still further improve both his technical and practical knowledge, he became a draftsman in the extensive plant of the Manchester Mills, at Manchester, N. H., remaining there until 1 June, 1881, when he began work as engineer in the Lower Pacific Mills at Lawrence, Mass. In this capacity he served until 1885, when his abilities won him promotion to the position of assistant superintendent of the mills. In 1886 he was made superintendent, and so continued until 1 Jan., 1892, when he resigned, to enter upon general engineering practice. Since that time Mr. Main has been identified as engineer and designer with some of the most important industrial construction work in the East, and has designed and constructed many industrial plants the cost of which has mounted far into the millions of dollars. Notwithstanding his many professional activities he has always been interested in the problems of municipal and local government, and has held numerous public offices and appointments. During his residence in Lawrence, Mass., he served as a member of the board of aldermen; was a member of the school board of Lawrence in 1890, and a trustee of the Public Library Association in 1891. He has for some years maintained his residence in Winchester, Mass., and from 1895 to 1906 served as a member of its water and sewer board. He is the author of several papers on steam power, water power, ventilation of industrial properties, mill construction, etc., and is the originator of numerous devices and inventions, notably of a receiver pressure register for compound engines, which he perfected in 1884. Mr. Main is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers of which he is the manager; past president of the Boston Society of Civil Engineers; member of the National Association of Cotton Manufacturers, New England Water Works Association, Corporation of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Society of Arts, of Boston; also of the Exchange, Engineers', and Technology Clubs of Boston; Engineers' Club of New York and Calumet Club of Winchester. He married 14 Nov., 1883, Elizabeth F. Appleton, of Somerville, Mass. They have three children: Charles Reed, Alice Appleton, and Theodore Main.