George "Gogu" Constantinescu (1881 - 1965)
Romanian scientist, engineer and inventor. During his career, he registered over 130 inventions. He is the creator of the Theory of Sonics, a new branch of continuum mechanics, in which he described the transmission of mechanical energy through vibrations. He discovered that these phenomena had their analogies not only with the properties of sound waves and the laws of harmony, but also with AC electrical circuits. Prototypes of rock drills working on the percussion system and polyphase rotary systems were already being demonstrated by 1913.
Born in Craiova and settled in the United Kingdom from 1912, Constantinescu was an honorary member of the Romanian Academy.
Among his inventions are a mechanical torque converter, a sonic engine and a hydraulic machine-gun synchronizer (or interrupter gear) - which allowed airplane-mounted-guns to shoot between the spinning blades of the propeller). The Constantinesco synchronization gear (or "CC" gear) was first used operationally on the D.H.4s of No. 55 squadron R.F.C. from March 1917, during World War I, and rapidly became standard equipment, replacing a variety of mechanical gears. It continued to be used by the Royal Air Force until World War II - the Gloster Gladiator being the last British fighter to be equipped with "CC" gear. After WWI Constantinesco had an idea for a low cost "peoples' car" which would travel 100 km miles on 2.5 litres of petrol at the most commonly used road speeds of 50 to 70 km per hour. He considered that this performance and low cost could be achieved by using a cheap 500 cc single cylinder two stroke air cooled engine together with his unique Torque Converter transmission which would eliminate the conventional gear box and clutch. Experience in this field could then be applied to the transmission of much higher powers in heavy vehicles such as railway locomotives. The car was displayed at London and Paris Motor shows in 1925 and attracted more than one hundred articles in world press. General Motors acquired a licence to build the car in 1926. Unfortunately development of the transmission stopped as there was no need for infinitely variable transmission while car engines were large (4-5 litres) and had plenty of torque. His torque converter was however used in self propelling railcars.
He was the designer of the Constantinesco, a French-manufactured car, and of the Constanţa Mosque (a project completed by the architect Victor Ştefănescu).