engineering

Johann Philipp Reis Demonstrates the first Telephone

Johann Philipp Reis Demonstrates the first Telephone

On October 26, 1861, German teacher and inventor Johann Philipp Reis, presented his telephone system at the ‘Physikalischen Verein zu Frankfurt am Main‘. Although it did not convince his contemporaries, his invention marks a milestone in telecommunications. Early Life and First Projects Philipp Reis was born on January 7, 1834 in Gelnhausen, Germany in a Jewish family as son of a baker. Reis’s mother died while he was an infant, and he…
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Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials

Stephenson’s Rocket wins the Rainhill Trials

On October 8, 1829, George Stephenson‘s steam locomotive ‘The Rocket‘ won The Rainhill Trials, an important competition in the early days of steam locomotive railways, run in Rainhill, Lancashire (now Merseyside) for the nearly completed Liverpool and Manchester Railway. “George Stephenson told me as a young man that railways will supersede almost all other methods of conveyance in this country — when mail-coaches will go by railway, and railroads will become the…
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The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

The Sputnik Shock and the Start of the Space Race

On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union shocked the western world by announcing the first successful launch of an artificial satellite orbiting the earth – Sputnik 1. Prelude – The International Geophysical Year The 1950’s were politically difficult times for the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1952, the International Council of Scientific Unions declared the time lasting from July 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958 as the International Geophysical Year…
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Transatlantic Telecommunication Via Voice

Transatlantic Telecommunication Via Voice

On September 25, 1956,  the world’s first submarine transatlantic cable for telephony TAT-1 (Transatlantic No. 1) was inaugurated. It was laid between Gallanach Bay, near Oban, Scotland and Clarenville, Newfoundland between 1955 and 1956 by the cable ship Monarch. You might wonder that is was only possible to route a call between Europe and the United States before the mid 1950s, well at least by cable. Don’t you at least remember some…
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The Opening of the Panama Canal

The Opening of the Panama Canal

On August 15, 1914, the very first ship, the cargo ship SS Ancon passed the newly built Panama Canal. Unfortunately, in the same month, World War I started fighting in Europe and the official opening ceremony had to be postponed until 1920. The Panama Canal is an 82 km long ship canal in Panama that connects the Atlantic Ocean (via the Caribbean Sea) to the Pacific Ocean and therefore also a key conduit…
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The Man Who Shrank the Globe – Frank Whittle

The Man Who Shrank the Globe – Frank Whittle

On August 9, 1996 the British Royal Air Force engineer officer Sir Frank Whittle passed away. He was best known for inventing the turbojet engine for which he received the knighthood in 1948. Well, that’s what it was bloody well designed to do, wasn’t it? – Frank Whittle Thanks to Whittle’s father Moses, Frank was able to get an early insight in the field of engineering and mechanics. The family bought a company…
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Mary Had a Little Lamb – Edison and the Phonograph

Mary Had a Little Lamb – Edison and the Phonograph

On July 18, 1877 Thomas A. Edison conceived the first idea for his phonograph, the very first mechanical tool for recording and reproducing (replaying) sound. The phonograph also was the invention that first gained him public notice. Only a Byproduct Actually, the phonograph was intended as a byproduct of Edison’s efforts to “play back” recorded telegraph messages and to automate speech sounds for transmission by telephone. The recordings of the first phonograph…
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John A. Roebling – The Father of the Brooklyn Bridge

John A. Roebling – The Father of the Brooklyn Bridge

On June 12, 1806, engineer John Augustus Roebling was born. He was best known for the design of the Brooklyn Bridge. Sadly Roebling passed away 14 years before the famous bridge in New York City City was opened. Born in Mühlhausen, Thuringia John A. Roebling was born in Mühlhausen, he spent all his school life in Thuringia and later enrolled at the Bauakademie in Berlin. He studied architecture, bridge construction, dyke construction,…
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The Opening of The Golden Gate Bridge

The Opening of The Golden Gate Bridge

On May 27, 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco spanning over the opening of the San Francisco Bay and connecting the city with Marin County was opened for public traffic. When the planning for the bridge started back in 1916 many experts said that a bridge couldn’t be built across the 6,700 ft (2,042 m) strait. It had strong, swirling tides and currents, with water 372 ft (113 m) deep at the center of…
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Thomas Savery and the Invention of Steam Power

Thomas Savery and the Invention of Steam Power

At about 1650, English inventor and engineer Thomas Savery was born. Savery invented the first commercially used steam powered powered device, a steam pump which is often referred to as an “engine“. Savery‘s “engine” was a revolutionary method of pumping water, which solved the problem of mine drainage and made widespread public water supply practical. Rowing of ships with greater ease… Thomas Savery became a military engineer and was promoted to Captain in…
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