engineering

Thomas Telford – the Colossus of Roads

Thomas Telford – the Colossus of Roads

On August 9, 1757, Scottish civil engineer, architect and stonemason Thomas Telford was born. After establishing himself as an engineer of road and canal projects in Shropshire, he designed numerous infrastructure projects in his native Scotland, as well as harbors and tunnels. Such was his reputation as a prolific designer of highways and related bridges, he was dubbed The Colossus of Roads (a pun on the Colossus of Rhodes), and,…
The Inventions of John Ericsson

The Inventions of John Ericsson

On July 31, 1803, Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson was born. Ericsson regarded as one of the most influential mechanical engineers ever. Ericsson collaborated on the design of the steam locomotive Novelty, which competed in the Rainhill Trials on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, won by George Stephenson’s Rocket. In America he designed the US Navy’s first screw-propelled steam-frigate USS Princeton, in partnership with Captain Robert Stockton as well as the…
The Volkswagen Beetle – It’s Ugly But It Gets You There

The Volkswagen Beetle – It’s Ugly But It Gets You There

On July 30, 2003, the very last Volkswagen Beetle was produced, manufactured in Puebla, Mexico. With 21,529,464 produced from 1938 to 2003, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Currently, German automobile industry and especially Volkswagen worldwide is in the focus of public attention due to manipulations of the emission control system on their Diesel cars. Potentially, the famous Volkswagen Beetle had produced…
The Citroën 2CV

The Citroën 2CV

On July 27, 1990, the very last Citroën 2CV rolled off the Portuguese production line in Mangualde. From 1948 to 1990 more than 3.8 million of the air-cooled front-engine, front-wheel-drive economy car were produced. During the 1930s, Michelin took over the Citroën company and the new management ordered a new market survey. It was found that France had a large rural population not able to afford cars. Therefore, a design for…
Charles B. Momsen and the Momsen Lung

Charles B. Momsen and the Momsen Lung

On June 21, 1896, American inventor and navy officer Charles Bowers Momsen was born. Momsen was an American pioneer in submarine rescue for the United States Navy, and he invented the underwater escape device later called the “Momsen lung“. Charles Momsen entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1914 but was not able to complete his education there due to a cheating scandal. He then pursued another appointment to the Academy and…
The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

On June 19, 1926, German engineer, designer aviation pioneer Engelbert Zaschka filed a patent on his “Hubschraubenflugzeug” (Zaschka Rotary-Wing Airplane), a predecessor of today’s helicopter. He also constructed a large human-powered aircraft and produced some interesting unorthodox designs for automobils and motorcycles. Engelbert Zaschka grew up in a family of musucians. His father taught music and was part of the Freiburg city orchestra and his mother was a singer. However, Zaschka…
John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

On June 17, 1821, British inventor John Henry Pepper was born. Pepper is primarily remembered for developing the projection technique known as Pepper’s ghost, building a large-scale version of the concept by Henry Dircks. Furthermore, he toured the English-speaking world with his scientific demonstrations. He also entertained the public, royalty, and fellow scientists with a wide range of technological innovations. John Henry Pepper was highly influenced by the teachings of…
Alan Arnold Griffith and the Turbojet Engine

Alan Arnold Griffith and the Turbojet Engine

On June 13, 1883, British engineer Alan Arnold Griffith was born. Griffith is best known for his work on stress and fracture in metals that is now known as metal fatigue, as well as being one of the first to develop a strong theoretical basis for the jet engine. Griffith‘s advanced axial-flow turbojet engine designs, were integral in the creation of Britain‘s first operational axial-flow turbojet engine in 1941. Alan Arnold Griffith…
The Swiss Army Knife

The Swiss Army Knife

On June 12, 1897, the original Swiss Army knife was registered with the patent office as The Officer’s and Sports Knife. This knife featured a second smaller cutting blade, corkscrew, and wood fiber grips. Everybody knows the famous “Swiss Army knife”. But, what’s the history behind? The term “Swiss Army knife” was coined by American soldiers after World War II due to the difficulty they had in pronouncing “Offiziersmesser”, the…
The Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

The Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

On May 20, 1895, English aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer Reginald Joseph Mitchell was born. Mitchell worked for Supermarine Aviation. Between 1920 and 1936 he designed many aircraft and is best remembered for his racing seaplanes, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the iconic Second World War fighter, the Supermarine Spitfire. R.J. Mitchell joined the Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton in 1917. Two years later, he was appointed Chief Designer,…
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