engineering

Plastic Fantastic – Leo Baekeland and the Beginning of the Plastic Age

Plastic Fantastic – Leo Baekeland and the Beginning of the Plastic Age

On November 14, 1863, Belgian-born American chemist Leo Henricus Arthur Baekeland was born. His invention of Bakelite, an inexpensive, nonflammable, versatile, and popular plastic, marked the beginning of the modern plastics industry. Back in the eighties and nineties, the phrase plastic-fantastic was coined to describe a cheap item that more than often broke when you started using it because the early day plastic was so brittle. However, bakelite was different… The Velox Photography Paper The…
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Adolphe Sax and the Invention of the Saxophone

Adolphe Sax and the Invention of the Saxophone

On November 6, 1814, Belgian musical instrument designer and musician Antoine-Joseph “Adolphe” Sax was born. Besides playing flute and clarinet, he is well known for having invented the saxophone.Sax became something of a footnote in history after his creation was almost forgotten after his death, until it was revived by jazz musicians who barely remembered his name.[2] Back in the time when I was a student, I remember one fellow student who ‘polluted’ the air of the…
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Alexander Lippisch and the Delta Wing Design

Alexander Lippisch and the Delta Wing Design

On November 2, 1894, German pioneer of aerodynamics and aviation Alexander M. Lippisch was born. He made important contributions to the understanding of flying wings, delta wings and the ground effect. His designs of tailless and delta-winged aircraft in the 1920s and 1930s were important in the development of high-speed jet and rocket airplanes. His most famous design is the Messerschmitt Me 163 rocket-powered interceptor. Alexander Lippisch – First Aircraft Designs Alexander…
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Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

Jean-Rondolphe Perronet and the Bridges of Paris

On October 27, 1708, French architect and structural engineer Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was born. He is best known for his many stone arch bridges, among them his most popular work, the Paris Pont de la Concorde. “Great bridges being monuments which serve to make known the grandeur and genius of a nation, we cannot pay too much attention to means for perfecting their architecture; this may be varied in treatment, but there must…
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Charles Joseph Minard and the Art of Infographics

Charles Joseph Minard and the Art of Infographics

On October 24, 1870, French civil engineer Charles Joseph Minard passed away. He is best noted for his ground breaking inventions in the field of information graphics. Charles Joseph Minard – Early Years Charles Joseph Minard was born on March 27, 1781, in Dijon, in the parish of Saint-Michel, France, as the son of Pierre Etienne Minard, a clerk of the court and an officer of the secondary school, and his wife…
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Samuel Alderson and the Crash Test Dummies

Samuel Alderson and the Crash Test Dummies

On October 21, 1914, US-american engineer Samuel W. Alderson was born. He is best known for his development of the crash test dummy, a device that, during the last half of the twentieth century, was widely used by automobile manufacturers to test the reliability of automobile seat belts and other safety protocols. Samuel Alderson Education Samuel W. Alderson attended several colleges including Reed College, California Institute of Technology, and the University of…
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Squire Whipple – The Father of the Iron Bridge

Squire Whipple – The Father of the Iron Bridge

On September 16, 1804, US-American civil engineer Squire Whipple was born. He who provided the first scientifically based rules for bridge construction and has become known as the father of iron bridge building in America. The Civil Engineer Squire Whipple was born in Hardwick, Massachusetts in 1804 the son of a farmer. He was exposed to construction sites and materials from early age, since his father designed, built and ran a cotton-spinning…
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Enabling Radio Broadcast of Sound – Lee De Forest and the Audion

Enabling Radio Broadcast of Sound – Lee De Forest and the Audion

On August 26, 1873, American inventor Lee de Forest was born. He is credited more than 180 patents. In 1906, de Forest invented the Audion, the first triode vacuum tube and the first electrical device which could amplify a weak electrical signal and make it stronger, making radio broadcasting, television, and long-distance telephone service possible, among many other applications. Lee De Forest – A Young Inventor Lee De Forest was born in Iowa to…
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E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

E.F. Codd and the Success of the Relational Database Model

On August 23, 1923, English computer scientist Edgar Frank “Ted” Codd was born. His main achievement besides many contributions to computer science was the invention of the relational model for database management, the theoretical basis for relational databases. “At the time, Nixon was normalizing relations with China. I figured that if he could normalize relations, then so could I.” — E. F. Codd [5] When you talk about databases today, usually you…
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Paul Nipkow and the Picture Scanning Technology

Paul Nipkow and the Picture Scanning Technology

On August 22, 1860, German engineer Paul Gottlieb Nipkow was born. He is best known for having conceived the idea of using a spiral-perforated disk (the Nipkow disk), to divide a picture into a matrix of points, and became an early television pioneer. “Finally, on Christmas Eve 1883, when I was sitting in Philippstrasse in Berlin without a tree and without candles, everything was put down on paper[,] and somehow I managed…
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