engineering

Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

Ulman Stromer and the First Paper Mill North of the Alpes

On January 6, 1329, German long-distance trader, factory owner and councillor of Nuremberg Ulman Stromer was born. Stromer established the very first permanent paper mill north of the Alpes, at the Pegnitz river not far from the city of Nuremberg. Paper Predecessors The story of paper as a writing material dates back to ancient times. Papyrus as its predecessor was introduced in Egypt most probably already in the 3rd millenium BCE. Papyrus differs from…
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Oscar Niemeyer – The Visionary Architect of Brasilia

Oscar Niemeyer – The Visionary Architect of Brasilia

On December 15, 1907, famous Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, who is considered to be one of the key figures in the development of modern architecture was born. Niemeyer was best known for his design of civic buildings for Brasília, a planned city which became Brazil‘s capital in 1960, as well as his collaboration with other architects on the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. “I deliberately disregarded the right angle and…
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Hedy Lamarr – a Hollywood Star Invents Secure Communication Technology

Hedy Lamarr – a Hollywood Star Invents Secure Communication Technology

On November 9, 1913, Hollywood movie star Hedy Lamarr was born, co-inventor of an early form of the spread spectrum communication and frequency hopping, necessary for wireless communication from the pre-computer age to the present day. Family Background Ok, I assume that you are not necessarily familiar with spread spectrum communications technology. But, maybe you are wondering even more about a movie star diva of Hollywood’s Golden Age, who should be responsible for the…
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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 winning the Rainhill Trials

Stephenson’s Rocket winning 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. Connecting Atlantic and Pacific 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…
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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 An Early Interest in Engineering Frank Whittle was born in Earlsdon, Coventry, UK. Thanks to Whittle’s father Moses, Frank was able to get an early…
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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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