Block, Leo 1920–
Block, Leo 1920–
PERSONAL: Born June 15, 1920, in Russia; naturalized U.S. citizen; married; wife's name Shirley Mae. Ethnicity: "Russian." Education: University of Southern California, B.Eng. (cum laude), M.S.; also attended Naval War College. Politics: "Conservative." Religion: Eastern Orthodox. Hobbies and other interests: Sailing his thirty-foot sloop, history.
CAREER: Writer, engineer, and historian. Rheem Manufacturing, design and development engineer for forced-air and gravity furnaces in South Gate, CA, and Chicago, IL, 1948–50; Holly Co., Pasadena, CA, design engineer of wall heaters, floor furnaces, forced-air furnaces, and air conditioning equipment, 1952–58; Day and Night—Payne, La Puente, CA, project engineer for advanced engineering of gas-fired, forced-air furnaces, water heaters, and air conditioning units, 1958–60; Transicold Corp., Montebello, CA, chief engineer of refrigeration for long-haul trailers, 1960–65; Raypak, Inc., Westlake Village, CA, vice president of operations and of engineering for gas-fired boilers, water heaters, and swimming pool and spa heaters, 1976–83; consultant to gas appliance manufacturers and expert witness in technical litigations regarding carbon monoxide poisoning, 1983–. Waste King Universal Corp., engineering manager for gas cooking appliances, 1959–60, 1965–66; holder of more than twenty U.S. patents and several foreign patents. Coneyo Valley Chamber of Commerce, member of board of directors. Military service: U.S. Navy; became chief petty officer. U.S. Naval Reserve; became captain. U.S. Coast Guard, licensed captain for 100-ton vessels, both power and sail.
MEMBER: American Society of Gas Engineers.
AWARDS, HONORS: International Appliance Technical Conference Award, 1990, as coauthor of technical paper "Thermophotovoltaics: A New Cogeneration Technology for Gas Appliances."
Diesel Engines: A Boat Owner's Guide to Operation and Maintenance, Cornell Maritime Press (Centreville, MD), 1991.
To Harness the Wind: A Short History of the Development of Sails, Naval Institute Press (Annapolis, MD), 2003.
Contributor to professional journals and boating magazines, including Sea, Indoor Air Review, Custom Builder, Yachting, Gas Industries, Appliance Engineer, and Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Pacific Destroyer: The Enlisted Man's Life aboard a U.S. Navy Fleet Destroyer in World War II.
SIDELIGHTS: Leo Block told CA: "In 1990 books about diesel engines described how to overhaul and rebuild diesel engines, but a boat owner needed a book, written in non-technical language, that described how to operate and maintain a diesel engine to minimize the need for costly repairs. My first book, Diesel Engines: A Boat Owner's Guide to Operation and Maintenance, was published in 1991 to fill this need. The next printing will include descriptions of electronic diesel engines that feature a computer-controlled fuel injection system.
"After formal retirement, I became an avid sailor, and history was always my avocation. This resulted in my second book, To Harness the Wind: A Short History of the Development of Sails. This book explains, in layman's language, how today's sails originated and describes the development of the two classic sailing rigs: the 'square rig' and the 'fore-and-aft rig.'"