engineering

My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

My Hovercraft is full of Eels’

Royal Marine LCAC(LR) Hovercraft Image: UK Ministry of Defence On December 12, 1955, English engineer Christopher Cockerell filed the patent for his new invention, the hovercraft, a craft capable of traveling over land, water, mud or ice and other surfaces both at speed and when stationary. “My hovercraft is full of eels”…”Ahh matches!”. Many of you may know these famous sentences by Monty Python’s Flying Circus in ‘the Hungarian Phrase Book’. However,…
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The Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge On December 8, 1864, the Clifton Suspension Bridge spanning the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was openend for the public. Although Brunel was not able to see the bridge in operation anymore during his lifetime, the Clifton Suspension bridge was the first major commision of the famous engineer of the Great Western Railroad and the then largest steamships in the world. In the…
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John Boyd Dunlop and the Inflatable Tire

John Boyd Dunlop and the Inflatable Tire

John Boyd Dunlop (1840-1921) On Dezember 7, 1888, Scottish inventor John Boyd Dunlop patented the pneumatic or inflatable tire. His invention is considered one of the basic building blocks of the automobile manufacturing industry. Today, over 1 billion tires are produced annually in over 400 tire factories. John Boyd Dunlop was born in 1840 on a farm in Dreghorn, North Ayrshire, Scotland, what is now the eastern outskirts of the town of Irvine.…
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The Russian Space Shuttle

The Russian Space Shuttle

On November 15, 1988, the Soviet space shuttle Buran took off for its one and only spaceflight. This remains the only Soviet space shuttle that was launched into space, as the Buran program was cancelled in 1993. Even though the Soviet’s space-craft program started officially in the 1950’s, not a single project came into production and was organized sporadically only. The very first steps towards the Buran program were taken when the…
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The Dream of the Largest Aircraft ever built

The Dream of the Largest Aircraft ever built

H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose” On November 2, 1947, business magnate, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, film maker and philanthropist Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Spruce Goose or H-4 The Hercules; the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built. Howard Robard Hughes, Jr. was an American business magnate, investor, aviator, aerospace engineer, film maker and philanthropist. But, moreover he was also one of the wealthiest people in the world. Already in…
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The Birth of the Internet

The Birth of the Internet

On October 29, 1969, the very first message between two distant computer nodes, from the Network Measurement Center at the UCLA’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and SRI International (SRI) was sent. This is to be considered the birth of the ARPANET, which should become the Internet. What was the reason for the development of the Internet? Especially in the 1960s, when computers were absolutely not widespread or ubiquitous as today.…
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Chuck Yeager – Breaking the Sound Barrier

Chuck Yeager – Breaking the Sound Barrier

On October 14, 1947, US American test pilot Charles “Chuck” Yeager was the first to officially break the sound barrier with a rocket powered test aircraft Bell X-1, reaching a supersonic speed peak of Mach 1.06. Education and Military Career Charles Yaeger was born in 1923 and grew up as a curious child, hunting, fishing and hiking. Even though his overall achievements at school were only average, he excelled in everything that…
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You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet – The Movies started Talking

You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet – The Movies started Talking

The first feature-length motion picture withsequences of synchronized speech:‘The Jazz Singer’ from 1927 On October 6, 1927, the first feature-length motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences, The Jazz Singer premiered. With its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system it heralded the commercial ascendance of the “talkies” and the decline of the silent film era. We all know that it started with the silent films already at the end of the 19th century as a simple…
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John Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Atanasoff and the first Electronic Digital Computer

John Vincent Atanasoff (1903-1995) On October 4, 1903, American physicist and inventor John Vincent Atanasoff was born. He is best known for being considered as one of the inventors of the electronic digital computer. Even computer scientists most probably haven’t heard anything of this computer pioneer. Of course you will have heard about Alan Turing or John von Neumann, who are traditionally referenced as being the fathers of the computer. Maybe, when…
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Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey and the Telescope

Hans Lippershey(1570 – 1619) On October 2, 1608,  German-Dutch lensmaker Hans Lippershey applied to the States-General of the Netherlands for a patent for his instrument “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby”. Even though scientists of the 12th century never heard of telescopes and most of them did not know specific laws of optics, the started laying the foundations for telescopes as we know them today. Ptolemy already began…
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