engineering

Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Railroad and Steamship Empire

Cornelius Vanderbilt’s Railroad and Steamship Empire

On May 27, 1794, American business magnate and philanthropist Cornelius Vanderbilt was born. Vanderbilt’s wealth was build on railroads and shipping. He was also the patriarch of the Vanderbilt family and one of the richest Americans in history. “Let them do what I have done.” – Cornelius Vanderbuilt Cornelius Vanderbilt – Starting a Ferry Business Cornelius Vanderbilt was born as the fourth child and second son of Cornelius and Phebe Vanderbilt (née Hand). Vanderbilt left…
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Hideo Shima and the Bullet Train

Hideo Shima and the Bullet Train

On May 20, 1901, Japanese engineer Hideo Shima was born. Shima was the driving force behind the building of the first bullet train, the Shinkansen, linking Tokyo and Osaka in Oct 1964. Shima also led Japan‘s space development programme until 1977 at Japan’s National Space Development Agency. The Son of a Railway Engineer Hideo Shima was born in Osaka as the son of a prominent railway engineer and educated at the Tokyo…
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Betamax and the Legendary Video Format Wars

Betamax and the Legendary Video Format Wars

On May 10, 1975, Sony released a consumer-level analog videocassette magnetic tape recording format called Betamax. Today, the format is obsolete, having lost the videotape format war to VHS with Betamax recorders ceased production in 2002. A Brief History of Video Recording The first efforts at video recording, using recorders similar to audio recorders with fixed heads, were unsuccessful. The problem was that a video signal has a much wider bandwidth than…
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Andrew Meikle and the Threshing Machine

Andrew Meikle and the Threshing Machine

On May 5, 1719, Scottish mechanical engineer Andrew Meikle was born. Meikle is best known for inventing the threshing machine, a device used to remove the outer husks from grains of wheat. The mechanization of this process took much of the drudgery out of farm labour. A Brief History of the Threshing Machine Threshing refers to the mechanical process of separating the grains during the harvest of threshed crops. The straw (long…
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Fritz von Opel and the Rocket Car

Fritz von Opel and the Rocket Car

On May 4, 1899, German automotive industrialist Fritz von Opel was born. Von Opel was the grandson of Adam Opel, founder of the Opel company. He was a pioneer in experiments with rocket propulsion for automobiles and aircraft. On 11 Apr 1928, at Berlin, together with Max Valier and Friedrich Wilhelm Sander, he tested the first manned rocket automobile, the Opel-RAK1. The Heir of an Automobile Company Fritz von Opel was the grandson of…
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Clarence Mackay connected the World

Clarence Mackay connected the World

On April 17, 1874, American financier Clarence Hungerford Mackay was born. Mackay was chairman of the board of the Postal Telegraph and Cable Corporation and president of the Mackay Radio and Telegraph Company. He supervised the completion of the first transpacific cable between the United States and the Far East in 1904. He laid a cable between New York and Cuba in 1907 and later established cable communication with southern Europe via the…
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Frank Stephen Baldwin and the Pinwheel Calculator

Frank Stephen Baldwin and the Pinwheel Calculator

On April 10, 1838, American inventor Frank Stephen Baldwin was born, who invented a pinwheel calculator in 1874. He started the design of a new machine in 1905 and was able to finalize its design with the help of Jay R. Monroe who eventually bought the exclusive rights to the machine and started the Monroe Calculating Machine Company to manufacture it. Frank Stephen Baldwin, Engineer Baldwin was born in New Hartford, Connecticut.…
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Sir Joseph William Bazalgette and the Great Stink of 1858

Sir Joseph William Bazalgette and the Great Stink of 1858

On March 28, 1819, British civil engineer Joseph William Bazalgette was born. As chief engineer of London‘s Metropolitan Board of Works Bazalgette‘s major achievement was the creation in response to the Great Stink of 1858 of a sewer network for central London which was instrumental in relieving the city from cholera epidemics, while beginning the cleansing of the River Thames. From Railway Projects to London’s Sewers Joseph William Bazalgette was mainly educated at home…
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The Windsurfer Sailboard – The Invention of a New Sport

The Windsurfer Sailboard – The Invention of a New Sport

On March 27, 1968, Hoyle Schweitzer and Jim Drake filed a patent application for a “Wind-Propelled Apparatus”, the first U.S. patent for the Windsurfer sailboard: a surf-board with a sail on a mast articulated by a universal joint to the board. The rider can thus hold the boom and adjust the angle of the sail to control acceleration, turning and tacking, without need of a rudder or steering mechanism. Windsurfing Windsurfing, as…
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Daniel Quare and the Repeating Watch Movement

Daniel Quare and the Repeating Watch Movement

On March 21, 1724, English clockmaker and instrument maker Daniel Quare passed away. He is best known for his invention of a repeating watch movement in 1680 and a portable barometer in 1695. Daniel Quare – A Brother of the Clockmaker’s Company Daniel Quare was probably born in 1648, but the sources differ. He was admitted a brother of the Clockmakers’ Company in April 1671. When Quare started his career, the pendulum…
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