engineering

John Ericsson – Inventions in the Age of Steam Power

John Ericsson – Inventions in the Age of Steam Power

On July 31, 1803, Swedish-American inventor John Ericsson was born. Ericsson is regarded as one of the most influential mechanical engineers ever. Ericsson collaborated on the design of the steam locomotive Novelty, which competed in the Rainhill Trials on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, won by George Stephenson‘s Rocket.[4] In America he designed the US Navy’s first screw-propelled steam-frigate USS Princeton, in partnership with Captain Robert Stockton as well as the first…
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The Volkswagen Beetle – It’s Ugly But It Gets You There

The Volkswagen Beetle – It’s Ugly But It Gets You There

On July 30, 2003, the very last Volkswagen Beetle was produced, manufactured in Puebla, Mexico. With 21,529,464 produced from 1938 to 2003, the Beetle is the longest-running and most-manufactured car of a single platform ever made. Currently, German automobile industry and especially Volkswagen worldwide is in the focus of public attention due to manipulations of the emission control system on their Diesel cars. Potentially, the famous Volkswagen Beetle had produced much more…
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The Citroën 2CV – A Car like no Other

The Citroën 2CV – A Car like no Other

On July 27, 1990, the very last Citroën 2CV rolled off the Portuguese production line in Mangualde. From 1948 to 1990 more than 3.8 million of the air-cooled front-engine, front-wheel-drive economy car were produced. Michelin and Citroën During the 1930s, Michelin took over the Citroën company and the new management ordered a new market survey. It was found that France had a large rural population not able to afford cars. Therefore, a design for…
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Gaspard de Prony and the Prony Brake

Gaspard de Prony and the Prony Brake

On July 22, 1755, French mathematician and hydraulic engineer Gaspard Clair François Marie Riche de Prony was born. De Prony is best known for his efforts in the mechanization of calculations as well as for his invention of the eponymous “brake” to measure the performance of machines and engines. Mathematics vs a Legal Career Gaspard de Prony’s family name was Riche, the de Prony title having been bought by his parents. De…
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Charles Momsen and the Momsen Lung

Charles Momsen and the Momsen Lung

On June 21, 1896, American inventor and navy officer Charles Bowers Momsen was born. Momsen was an American pioneer in submarine rescue for the United States Navy, and he invented the underwater escape device later called the “Momsen lung“. Charles Momsen – From Naval Academy to Submarine Captain Charles Momsen entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1914 but was not able to complete his education there due to a cheating scandal. He then…
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The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

The Rotary Plane of Engelbert Zaschka

On June 19, 1926, German engineer, designer aviation pioneer Engelbert Zaschka filed a patent on his “Hubschraubenflugzeug” (Zaschka Rotary-Wing Airplane), a predecessor of today’s helicopter. He also constructed a large human-powered aircraft and produced some interesting unorthodox designs for automobils and motorcycles. Born on September, 1,  1895 in Freiburg im Breisgau, Engelbert Zaschka grew up in a family of musucians. His father taught music and was part of the Freiburg city orchestra and…
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John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

John Henry Pepper and Pepper’s Ghost

On June 17, 1821, British inventor John Henry Pepper was born. Pepper is primarily remembered for developing the projection technique known as Pepper’s ghost, building a large-scale version of the original concept invented by Henry Dircks, the Dircksian Phantasmagoria. Furthermore, he toured the English-speaking world with his scientific demonstrations. He also entertained the public, royalty, and fellow scientists with a wide range of technological innovations. John Henry Pepper – A Great Science…
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Alan Griffith and the Theoretical Foundation of the Turbojet Engine

Alan Griffith and the Theoretical Foundation of the Turbojet Engine

On June 13, 1883, British engineer Alan Arnold Griffith was born. Griffith is best known for his work on stress and fracture in metals that is now known as metal fatigue, as well as being one of the first to develop a strong theoretical basis for the jet engine. Griffith‘s advanced axial-flow turbojet engine designs, were integral in the creation of Britain‘s first operational axial-flow turbojet engine in 1941. Alan Arnold Griffith earned his…
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The Legendary Swiss Army Knife

The Legendary Swiss Army Knife

On June 12, 1897, the original Swiss Army knife was registered with the patent office as The Officer’s and Sports Knife. This knife featured a second smaller cutting blade, corkscrew, and wood fiber grips. Everybody knows the famous “Swiss Army knife”. But, what’s the history behind? The term “Swiss Army knife” was coined by American soldiers after World War II due to the difficulty they had in pronouncing “Offiziersmesser”, the German name.…
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The Magnificent Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

The Magnificent Aircraft of R. J. Mitchell

On May 20, 1895, English aeronautical engineer and aircraft designer Reginald Joseph Mitchell was born. Mitchell worked for Supermarine Aviation. Between 1920 and 1936 he designed many aircraft and is best remembered for his racing seaplanes, which culminated in the Supermarine S.6B, and the iconic Second World War fighter, the Supermarine Spitfire. R.J. Mitchell joined the Supermarine Aviation Works at Southampton in 1917. Two years later, he was appointed Chief Designer, then Chief…
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