Mr. Free Piston
"Mr. Free Piston": Dipl. Ing. ETH Robert Huber, 1901 - 1995
"That spring (1924), a French inventor (Pescara) came to Stodola looking for a "bright young man" to engineer some of his revolutionary ideas on a light propelling plant for a helicopter.
It was fortunate that Pescara, the dreamer and glib-tongued persuader, chose Huber the engineer, who was young and capable and devoid of any inhibitions on the constructional details to be used in developing the new free piston machinery.
Under his supervision, over twenty-five different sizes and types of free piston machinery were designed and seventeen were built and tested" -
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF NAVAL ENGINEERS, 1950
Robert Huber's Curriculum Vitae
Robert Huber born 7th of July, 02.30 p.m.
Moving from Freienstein to Rorbas, Switzerland
Primary school in Freienstein, Switzerland
Secondary school in Freienstein, Switzerland
High-school in Zurich, Switzerland
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology ETH Zurich, Mechanical engineer
Raul Pateras Pescara built the first airworthy helicopter. To save weight, he had the idea to drive the rotor by blowing compressed air throug nozzles at the hollow blade ends. To get a lightweight compressor, he wanted to build a crankless motor that produces the compressed air with a reciprocating motion. In this way, he invented the Pescara free-piston engine. A first engine called AC-1 was built in Paris, but never tested.
Raul Pateras Pescara receives a worldwide patent on "Auto Compresseurs Pescara"
1924: Pescara meets Huber at the ETH Zurich.
Robert Huber at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich: July-March assistance at Professor Aurel Stodola. Professor Stodola was Huber's main teaching degree in thermal machines. Stodola was a consultant engineer for Pescara. Huber constructed the first opposite free-piston engine AC-2 running on petrol. The plans were sent to Paris to build the engine.
July - February: Robert Huber at Imperial College of Science and Technology, London, UK
From Summer: SLM Winterthur, Switzerland
From Autumn: Societé Industrielle Pescara in Meudon-Val-Fleury, France (Paris office).
The prototype AC-2 is completed by the end of year. Tests starting from December
1927 Birth of the Free Piston Engine
Moving to Maison Breguet, rue Didot, Paris (aircraft manufacturer). Construction of the "AC-3 Maison Breguet" (same construction as AC-2, but running on Diesel instead of petrol). Engine runs from late March
Pescara founded "Fabrica National de Automobiles" in Barcelona, Spain, construction of "Nacional Pescara"
Moving to Barcelona to "Fabrica National de Automobiles". Construction of "AC-4 Maison Breguet", test runs until 1931
Entrance of Huber's brother Oscar R. Ulrich in the society
Escape from Barcelona to France (Upcoming elections, fear of takeover by the communists). Quartered at factory Automobiles Voisin, Issy les Moulineaux (Pescara was main shareholder)
Moving to Maison Breguet, rue Didot, Paris
R. Huber reads a book by Prof. Lomonosov about diesel locomotives. There was a proposal by Petro Shelest to drive turbines via compressed air > initial impetus for free-piston gas turbines
Construction and test of AC-5 "Maison Breguet"
Construction and test of AC-6 "Maison Breguet"
Construction of LC-1 “Société Alsacienne de Construction Mechanique” SACM Mulhouse (Pneumatic operation of a steam locomotive).
First conception of a 300 hp free-piston engine for gas turbines G20 "Alsthom Belfort," was never built
Pescara granted a license to "Société de Construction Mechanique Alsacienne" SACM, Paris
Construction of AC-8 "Alsthom Belfort"
Conception of a 2500 hp free-piston engine for gas turbines GT-42/50 "Alsthom Belfort", but was never built
Relocation to Bureau de Clichy, construction of the AC-12 "Alsthom Belfort". Financing through private "Union d'Electricité"
"Alan Muntz and Co, Ltd", Browell Lane, Feltham, Middx. England receives a license for the British Commonwealth territories, Ireland, and Egyt
Construction of AC-10, AC-24 and G-30 "Alsthom Belfort", AC-13 "Alsthom SIGMA"
The "Bureau Technique Pescara" creates a subsidiary company:
"Société d'Etudes et des Participations" SEP, 12 rue Diday, Geneva, Switzerland
SEP assigns a sub-license for all applications to "Société Générale Industrielle de Mécanique Appliquée" SIGMA, 61 Ave. F.D. Roosevelt, Paris 8e. SIGMA is in consequence partly responsible for the further development of the free piston machines
Construction of S-13, AC-26 and AC-30 "Alsthom Belfort"
World's First Free-piston generator with two G-30 and alternator, 800 KW1939
Change of the name "Bureau Technique Pescara" to "Societe d'Etudes et Mécanique Enérgetiques" SEME, 61 Ave. F.D. Roosevelt, Paris 8e
Construction of the GS-30 "Alsthom-SIGMA" and GS-18 "Alsthom Belfort"
Escape to Narbonne and on to Lyon
Accommodation at “Société Industrielle Générale de Mecanique Appliquée”, SIGMA, Venisseux, Lyon
SEP takes over the 1934 license assigned to SACM
12 August, marriage with Ursula Meyer (31.01.1915 - 25.12.1996)
Together with two Swiss engineers, R. Huber moves to Geneva in an office belonging to the "Union d'Electricité"
SEP assigned a sublicense to "Chantiers de l'Atlantique", Paris for marine and stationary applications
Construction of the AC-26h "SIGMA Lyon" that was destroyed during bombing of SIGMA facilities
Construction of the first GS-34 "SEME-SIGMA"
"Electricité de France" EdF takes over "Union d'Electricité" (nationalization)
R. Huber returns to Paris Neuilly in an EdF building
"Electricité de France" EdF first SIGMA order: 1400 KW power plant
SEP assigns sublicense to "Chantiers et Ateliers Augustin-Normand", Le Havre for marine applications
SEP assigns sublicense to "Regie Nationale des Usines Renault", Billancourt, Seine (in collaboration with "Forges de la Loire") for locomotive applications
Moving to Malmaison, France
S.E.P. assigns sublicense to "Ateliers et Chantiers de la Seine Maritime", Paris for marine applications
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to Charles D. Holmes and Co. Ltd, Hull, Yorks. for marine and industrial applications
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "Smith's Dock Co. Ltd", Middlesbrough, Yorks. for marine and industrial applications
Construction of the "Hyprex Engine" G-10 "SEME-GMCo" for the XP 500 Firebird
S.E.P. assigns sublicense to "Forges et Chantiers de la Mediterannee", Paris for marine applications
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "Mackay Industrial Equipment, Ltd", Feltham, Middx. exclusively for compressor applications
SEP assigns sublicense to "Demag Aktiengesellschaft", Duisburg Germany for all applications
SEP assigns sub license to "Werkspoor NV", Amsterdam, for marine and industrial applications (in collaboration with Amsterdamsche Droogdok)
SEP assigns sublicense to "General Motors Corporation", Detroit
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "Associated British Engineering Co. Ltd", London for industrial, marine, and locomotive applications
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "Alexander Stephen and Sons Ltd", Glasgow for industrial and marine applications
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "General Motors Corporation", Detroit
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "National Gas and Oil Engine Co. Ltd", Ashton under Lyne, Lancs. for industrial, marine, and locomotive applications
Alan Muntz assigns sublicense to "Lithgow Power Development Co. Ltd", Greenock, Scotland for industrial and marine applications
Robert Huber goes to Japan (NKK)
R. Huber finished activities for SIGMA
Robert Huber constructed the EMO150, a free-piston linear generator in cooperation with the "Société des Générateurs Jarret", France
R. Huber constructed the RH40, successor to the GS34. RH40 is simply constructed, has a higher performance and improved thermo-dynamic properties. The engine was never built but the thermodynamic calculation and several plans survived.
"Société Industrielle Générale de Mecanique Appliquée”, SIGMA ceases its activities
Robert Huber wrote his extensive biography
Robert Huber left this world behind on April 7th, 1995