Seismic Damper Technology

Inducted In: 2015, Public Safety

Image of Taylor Device Seismic Damper
Induction year:
Inducted individuals:
Douglas P. Taylor
Inducted organizations:
Taylor Devices, Inc.
NASA Kennedy Space Center

In the 1960’s, Taylor Devices was awarded a NASA contract to develop a system to safely disengage hoses and mechanical gear jettisoned off of launch vehicles.

These first motion dampening systems were hydraulic dampers controlled by electronic valves.  While this approach safely contained the motion of the gear, the system itself was complex and prone to reliability issues.

A brief partnership with Honeywell to develop a high-speed analog computer using oil-based hydraulics ended quickly with the advent of transistors. However, it was this research that led to the discovery of fluidics-based control systems. This concept was then used to create a new launch-platform dampening system using a compressible fluid capable of operating at transonic and supersonic velocities.

Improvements continued, and in 1972 the system controlled swing arms on the Space Shuttle launch platform. Today, this technology is still in use to protect equipment on the International Space Station.

In the 1990’s, a commercial application was developed to protect buildings and bridges from the destructive vibrations induced by earthquakes. These seismic dampers proved far more effective than the best stress-relieving technologies used at the time. Today, the technology is successfully defending hundreds of buildings and bridges around the world against the effects of high winds and earthquakes.

The Millennium Bridge in London, is one of many applications for a structure that utilized Taylor’s seismic dampers. In addition, the Buddhist HQ in Taiwan and the Seattle Elevated High Rail both used the Lock-up devices to allow unrestricted motion when the bridge structure slowly expands and moves, allowing the structure to withstand harsh input energy and reduce harmful deflections, forces and accelerations.

Both 432 Park Avenue in New York City as well as Cumberland River pedestrian bridge in Nashville, Tennessee applied Tuned mass dampers to reduce acceleration when subjected to high winds as well as reducing human and pedestrian induced vibrations within bridges, stadiums and theatres.

Other notable installations in the U.S. include the Los Angeles City Hall, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, four elementary schools for the Ceres Unified School District in Ceres, Calif., and at North American Air Defense Command at the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station.

There have also been installations in China, Taiwan, Japan, Australia, UK, UAE/Dubai, Mexico, Romania, New Zealand, South Korea, Italy, Indonesia and more.  Taylor Device’s Seismic dampers are continuously involved with many applications around the world to help maintain stability, safety, and reliability for a variety of different structures in the case of an environmental situation.

This Space Technology Hall of Fame inductee is also a Certified Space Technology (

To learn more about the Space Certification Program visit

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