Sir Charles Algernon Parsons, O.M. (June 13, 1854 – February 11, 1931) was an Irish engineer, best known for his invention of the steam turbine.
He was a younger son of the famous astronomer Lord Rosse, and was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and St. John's College, Cambridge. He worked as an engineer on dynamo and turbine design, and power generation, with great influence on the naval and electrical engineering fields. He also developed optical equipment, for searchlights and telescopes.
He established an eponymous company, the Parsons Marine Steam Turbine Company, in Newcastle Upon Tyne and became famous when his turbine powered yacht, Turbinia was sailed at speed through a Royal Navy fleet inspection in Portsmouth, right in front of Queen Victoria, to demonstrate the great potential of the new technology. Today, Turbinia is housed in a purpose-built gallery at the Discovery Museum, Newcastle.
He was knighted in 1911, and made a member of the Order of Merit in 1927.
He won the Rumford Medal in 1902.
His company still survives in the Heaton area of Newcastle and is now part of Siemens, a German conglomerate. Sometimes referred to as Siemens Parsons, the company recently completed a major redevelopment programme, reducing the size of its site by around three quarters and installing the latest manufacturing technology.