Herbert F. Moore (1875-1942)

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1907-1914, Assistant Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, University of Illinois
1914-1944, Research Professor of Engineering Materials, University of Illinois


Professor Herbert F. Moore, born in 1875, can be called the savior of American railroads. In the early 1900s, many railroads were having problems with their tracks shattering from fissures in the steel. Over twelve thousand rails failed per year costing a fortune in repairs, damaged goods, and human lives. For many years, nobody was able to determine the cause, and the greatest progress was the development of a detector car that was able to detect a potential rail failure with the use of gyroscopes.

Moore was an Assistant Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (1907-1914) and a Research Professor of Engineering Materials (1914-1944) at Illinois. In 1930, Moore, who began research of metal fatigue in 1919 and was considered an expert, was approached by the Rail Manufacturer’s Technical Committee and given a grant to attempt to find the cause of the rail failures.

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