engineering

Isaac Singer and the Sewing Machine

Isaac Singer and the Sewing Machine

Woman working with singer machine (ca. 1914) Image Source: Library of Congress On July 23, 1875, American inventor, actor, and entrepreneur Isaac Merrit Singer passed away. He made important improvements in the design of the sewing machine and was the founder of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Isaac Merritt Singer was born in 1811 in Pittstown, New York and worked as a mechanist, starting from the age of 12. He joined a traveling…
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Rube Goldberg’s complicated Machines

Rube Goldberg’s complicated Machines

Rube Goldberg (1883–1970) in 1916 On July 4, 1883, American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor Reuben Garrett Lucius “Rube” Goldberg was born. He is best known for a series of popular cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways. Goldberg received many honors in his lifetime, including a Pulitzer Prize for his political cartooning in 1948. Reuben Lucius Goldberg was born July 4, 1883, in San Francisco, California,…
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Hermann Oberth’s Dream of Space Travel

Hermann Oberth’s Dream of Space Travel

On June 25, 1894, Austro-Hungarian-born German physicist and engineer Hermann Oberth was born. He was the first, who when thinking about the possibility of spaceships grabbed a slide-rule and presented mathematically analyzed concepts and designs. Maybe you have already heard of the ‘Oberth Effect‘. In interplanetary spaceflight, the Oberth effect is used in a powered flyby where the application of an impulse, typically from a rocket engine, close to a gravitational body can…
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The First US Space Station Skylab

The First US Space Station Skylab

On May 25, 1973, the first crew of astronauts reached the US space station Skylab. Skylab was the very first US space station and orbited Earth from 1973 to 1979. Already in the 1950s it was expected by space scientists, that a space station would be a necessary step in space exploration. Wernher von Braun envisioned a very large space station with room for about 80 people including astronomers, meteorologists and soldiers to guard…
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The Antikythera Mechanism – an Ancient Analog Computer

The Antikythera Mechanism – an Ancient Analog Computer

On May 17, 1902, Greek archaeologist Valerios Stais discovers the Antikythera mechanism, an ancient mechanical analog computer, designed to predict astronomical positions and eclipses. The famous mechanism was discovered in a shipwreck near the Greekisland of Antikythera. In October 1900, a group of sponge divers discovered the wreck and retrieved a great number of artifacts dating back to the end of the second century BC, which included bronze and marble statues, pottery,…
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The Kinetoscope and Edison’s Wrong Way to Invent the Cinema

The Kinetoscope and Edison’s Wrong Way to Invent the Cinema

On April 14, 1894, chief engineer William K. L. Dickson in the team of Thomas Alva Edison, presents the newly invented Kinetoscope, an early motion picture exhibition device designed for films to be viewed by one individual at a time through a peephole viewer window at the top of the device. Ok, according to Edison, the cinema would never have become the silver screen you know, but would have remained a cheap fairground…
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Herman Hollerith and the Mechanical Tabulator

Herman Hollerith and the Mechanical Tabulator

On February 29, 1860, American statistician and inventor Herman Hollerith was born. He is best known for his invention of the mechanical tabulator based on punchcards to rapidly tabulate statistics from millions of pieces of data. He was the founder of the Tabulating Machine Company that later merged to become IBM. Hollerith is widely regarded as the father of modern automatic computation. Herman Hollerith was born the son of German immigrant Prof.…
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The first Modular Space Station – Mir

The first Modular Space Station – Mir

On February 19, 1986, the main module of Russian MIR Space Station was launched from Baikonur, Russia. MIR was the first modular space station and operated in low Earth orbit from 1986 to 2001. In 1976, MIR was authorized in order to design an improved model of the Salyut space stations. By early 1984, work on MIR had halted while all resources were being put into the Buran programme in order to prepare the Buran spacecraft for…
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The Letters of Giambattista Bodoni

The Letters of Giambattista Bodoni

Giambattista Bodoni (1749 – 1813) On February 16, 1749, Italian typographer Giambattista Bodoni was born. He also was a type-designer, compositor, printer and publisher. Bodoni designed many type-faces, each one in a large range of type sizes. He is even more admired as a compositor than as a type-designer, as the large range of sizes which he cut enabled him to compose his pages with the greatest possible subtlety of spacing. In…
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America’s First Movie Studio – the Black Maria

America’s First Movie Studio – the Black Maria

On February 1, 1893, America’s First Movie Studio, Thomas Edison’s Black Maria was opened. The Black Maria movie production studio was located in West Orange, New Jersey. But, Black Maria did not produce for the big screen. It was still the times of the so-called kinetoscope, a one person viewing machine, where only one person was able to watch the movie through a peephole viewer window at the top of the device.[1] The…
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