Parshall, Ralph L. (Ralph Leroy), 1881-1959.

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Ralph Leroy Parshall, engineer, contributed significantly to the field of irrigation engineering with the development of a flow-measuring devide that became known as the Parshall flue and continues to be widely used today. Parshall served as instructor and then assistant professor at the Colorado Agricultural College between 1904 and 1913. In 1913 he was appointed assistant engineer and director of irrigation investigations with the Division of Irrigation, Soil Conservation Service U.S> Department of Agriculture then housed at the college. In 1918 he became director of the program and served in that capacity until his retirement in 1948. While Parshall's flue was his most notable work, he also investigated a number of irrigation related problems, designing and vuilding various irrigation recording instruments and meters. Parshall participated in surveys and planning for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and he was survey supervisor for an investigation of snow measurement methods in the 1940s.

From the description of Ralph L. Parshall Collection, 1902-1992. (Poudre River Public Library District). WorldCat record id: 61312927

Ralph Leroy Parshall, engineer, contributed significantly to the field of irrigation engineering with the development of a flow-measuring device that became known as the Parshall flume and continues to be widely used today. A Colorado native, Parshall was born in Golden on July 2, 1881. He received his B.S. in civil and irrigation engineering from Colorado Agricultural College in 1904. During the summers of 1906 and 1907 he pursued graduate work at the University of Chicago. At the Colorado Agricultural College he was an instructor in physics and civil engineering between 1904 and 1909 and then assistant professor from 1909 to 1913. In 1913 he was appointed assistant engineer and director of irrigation investigations with the Division of Irrigation, Soil Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture then housed at the college. In 1918 he became director of the program and served in that capacity until he retired in 1948 with the title of Senior Engineer. Even in retirement he continued as researcher, consultant, and sometimes lecturer at the college.

While Parshall's flume was his most notable work, he also investigated a number of irrigation related problems. He designed and built various irrigation recording instruments and meters, such as those used in concert with the Parshall flume, and developed sand traps such as the vortex tube and riffle deflector. Parshall participated in surveys and planning for the Colorado-Big Thompson Project, and during the 1940s was survey supervisor for an investigation of snow measurement methods and work relating water content of the snow pack to irrigation water supply.

Parshall was honored as a Life Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, as well as a Life Member of the Colorado Society of Engineers. He was also honored with a lifetime achievement award from the Alumni Association of the Colorado Agricultural College in 1942. He received a special citation and medal from the United States Department of Agriculture at his retirement in 1948, and a gold medal award from the Colorado Engineering Council in 1949.

Parshall married Florence May Stuver in 1906 and had two sons: Maxwell and Deane. Ralph Parshall died in Fort Collins, Colorado, on December 29, 1959.

Maxwell Parshall was born in Colorado on March 11, 1907. He attended the Colorado Agricultural College and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, receiving his B.S. in chemistry from MIT in 1929. After graduation he worked in Colorado, first for the State Dairy Commission and later for the U. S.Department of Agriculture. In 1937 he began working at the Colorado State College at Fort Collins, serving with the Civil Engineering Department and for a number of years heading the weather station there. He remained at the College for more than 30 years. Parshall died in Billings, Montana, on January 30, 1996.

From the guide to the Ralph L. Parshall Collection, 1902-1992, 1921-1961, (Colorado State University Water Resources Archive)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Parshall, Ralph L. (Ralph Leroy), 1881-1959. Ralph L. Parshall Collection, 1902-1992. Colorado State University, Morgan Library
creatorOf Ralph L. Parshall Collection, 1902-1992, 1921-1961 Colorado State University Water Resources Archive
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Colorado Agricultural College. corporateBody
associatedWith Colorado Agriculture College. corporateBody
associatedWith Parshall, Maxwell. person
associatedWith Parshall, Maxwell. person
associatedWith Rohwer, Carl. person
associatedWith United States. Dept. of Agriculture. Division of Irrigation. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Fort Collins (Colo.)
Colorado--Fort Collins
Fort Collins (Colo.)
Colorado
Subject
Snow surveys
Parshall flume
Irrigation engineers
Weirs
Flumes
Occupation
Irrigation engineers--Colorado--Fort Collins
Activity

Person

Birth 1881

Death 1959

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