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Carl J. Blom; Hydraulic, Nuclear Pump Designer

Carl Johan Blom, 100, a Norwegian-born engineer who held a dozen patents for pumps involved in hydraulic and nuclear power. Born in the seaside town of Horton, Blom followed family tradition and went to sea in the merchant marine at age 15 on a wooden sailing ship bound for Australia. The ship ran Germany’s World War I blockade of England only to founder in a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico, prompting the family to end Blom’s shipping career. After studying diesel engineering in Trondheim, Norway, Blom worked his way to California and started working as a plumber’s assistant. He then joined other engineers at Byron Jackson Pump Co. in Berkeley, moving easily into hydraulic engineering. After becoming a naturalized American citizen and working for a few years in Oregon, Blom returned to Byron Jackson as chief engineer in its headquarters in Los Angeles. In the 1940s, Blom designed six behemoth pumps for the Grand Coulee Dam project on the Columbia River in Washington state. As nuclear power was developed at the end of World War II, Blom also began designing and building zero-leakage pumps for nuclear submarines and later to cool commercial nuclear reactors. Blom officially retired in 1964 as vice president-engineering, after his company became a division of Borg Warner Corp. He continued working as a consultant on new pump designs for another decade. On March 23 in Rosemead.


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