Glosten, Naval Architect, 1918 to 2010

Monday, March 01, 2010
Photo courtesy The Glosten Associates

Lawrence Robert “Larry” Glosten, founder of The Glosten Associates, a Seattle naval architecture firm, died February 22, 2010 in his home on Bainbridge Island, Wash. He was 91.

Glosten graduated from Webb Institute of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering in 1940. He subsequently served as a Ship Repair Officer and dockmaster at the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard during the early months of World War II. His naval duty included assignment to the Bureau of Ships Preliminary Design Division and, later, to the Bikini Atoll atomic weapon tests.  He left active duty in 1946, but continued to served in the Naval Reserve, retiring with the rank of Captain USNR in 1978.

Upon moving to Seattle in 1953, he entered a partnership with Phillip Spaulding and Robert Herbert.  His own consulting practice was established in 1958 as L.R. Glosten, Naval Architect & Marine Engineer. 

Glosten established a personal reputation for honesty, integrity, and adherence to the highest ethical standards.  He was a strong supporter of the education and professional development of younger engineers.  Within his firm, he encouraged broad-minded inquiry, technical innovation, and publication of technical research and engineering advances.  Glosten contributed many important papers to the body of technical literature, but was most proud of his work related to business ethics.

Glosten was a leader in a number of innovative programs contributing to the science of naval architecture and marine engineering.  Most notable was his work on the instrumentation platform for Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which became world-famous as FLIP, the cylindrical vessel able to float vertically or horizontally.  Other significant projects for which he gained considerable acclaim were the submersible Hughes Mining Barge used to recover a cold war era Russian submarine, and his patented Sea-Link push barge linkage.

For many years, Glosten was a guest lecturer and advisor to his alma mater, Webb Institute.  In 1990, the Webb Alumni Association recognized his service to his profession and his Alma Mater with the William Selkirk Owen Award.  In 1997, they further recognized his achievements with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

Glosten was a Life Fellow of the Society of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering (SNAME), where he participated in the technical, educational, and licensing committees of the Society.  SNAME awarded him the David W. Taylor Medal for notable achievement in naval architecture in 1988.  He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1990, where he served as a resource on issues affecting the marine community. 

Glosten served as Chairman of the Board of The Glosten Associates through 2000.  After retirement, he and his wife his wife Lois Peterson “Pete” Glosten continued to host the firm’s annual picnic to meet the newest Glosten Associates.
Glosten is survived by his wife of 64 years, Pete, his three children,  Lawrence Robert Glosten, Jr., Dr. Beth Glosten, and Barbara Radovich, and his three grandchildren.  Contributions in his name can be sent to the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation (1301 Sylvan Way, Bremerton, WA 98310, or to the Glosten Scholars Endowment at Webb Institute of Naval Architecture (298 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove, NY 11542-1398,

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