90 forum posts
Has anyone read this?
Exactly: How Precision Engineers Created the modern world. By Simon Winchester.
Have just ordered it and am looking forward to reading it...
|paul rayner||09/10/2019 16:54:10|
|134 forum posts|
yes it's a great book, I borrowed this from the listening library a while ago, not just about engineering though.
well worth a read
|Brian Sweeting||09/10/2019 19:13:07|
|386 forum posts|
Looks interesting, just reserved it at our local library.
|Howard Lewis||09/10/2019 20:18:47|
|2452 forum posts|
If it were not for Engineers, particularly British ones, the world, as we know it today, would not exist.
Among the things that British Engineers and inventors gave the world are;
Textile machinery (Hargreaves etc ); Steam engines (Savery, Watt, etc ), and if you include Steam Turbines, Parsons.
Rail traction and railways (Trevithick, Stephensons etc
Radar, (Watson Watt )
Gas Turbines (Whittle and those who followed on, such as Rolls Royce with the single crystal turbine blade )
Tarmac Roads (MacAdam )
The list goes on and on!
As a nation, we are superb at inventing things, but for mass production we have to turn to other nations, sadly.
|Geoff Theasby||09/10/2019 21:56:31|
|595 forum posts|
I have it, although under its previous title, The Perfectionists. Don't be fooled into buying it twice.
254 forum posts
Why "particularly British" ?
Do you seriously believe that Britain (Gt), is the only country to have contributed to the technological evolution of the human race ?
Do I really need to give you examples, Howard ?
Edited By Daniel on 09/10/2019 22:33:26
Edited By Daniel on 09/10/2019 22:47:39
Edited By Daniel on 09/10/2019 22:52:19
Edited By Daniel on 09/10/2019 23:00:27
1280 forum posts
3785 forum posts
But don't forget they also invented Lucas electrics and the oil leak.
More seriously, all those things would have been invented by someone else if the Brits had not done it first. Most were a product of their times: the need or want for the invention was there, the materials needed to make it were recently available, the base technology was there (eg stationary steam engine preceded Stephenson and Trevethick's efforts) and the money to do the development was around.
Often simultaneous "inventions" happened in several places within short time of each other with the inventors not knowing of each others' work. Just they were working towards the same goals with the same base technology and materials available to them. EG powered aircraft. A german guy in Pittsburgh was airborne a couple years before the Wrights. And guys in Europe and Australia were making tentative hops, skips and jumps about the same time. So had the Yanks not taken out the "first" trophy, someone else would have done so shortly after.
And the Brits at one stage excelled at mass production, eg late 19th century through to the 1970s. But they never seemed to have the working capital for new and huge machinery and the "think big" the Yanks had. Was interesting to read in Exactly/Perfection that it was actually the Yanks at Springfield Armory who pioneered mass production techniques.Their inventions were soon embraced and even improved upon in UK and Europe though.
I thouroughly enjoyed the book. Highly recommend it.
|Russell Eberhardt||10/10/2019 11:38:12|
2499 forum posts
Another interesting book by the same author is "Bomb, Book, and Compass". Well worth a read.
|983 forum posts|
And were it not for Ingineers (particularly British ones), any sort of C*** we produced had a ready export market to the far flung limits of the "British Empire". Until the late nineties, many of the British companies we supplied to had the "You should be honoured to supply to us" mindset.
Edit, we have NEVER excelled at mass production. WE have the unfortunate habit of constantly trying to improve products whilst in manufacture.
Edited By Circlip on 10/10/2019 12:59:18
|Tim Stevens||10/10/2019 13:43:28|
1101 forum posts
Oh dear! Tarmac roads were not invented or introduced by Macadam. The improvements to our road network which started about 1750 relied on Telford, Macadam, and several others, but they all used stone in various forms, but NO TAR. The resulting surfaces were 'water-bound' - ie stuck together by dampness. In other words dusty in the summer, and muddy in the winter. The surface was maintained by constant attention from 'lengthsmen' filling holes with new stone, and levelling the ridges, and promoted by the use of steel horse-shoes and carriage and wagon tyres which ground the stones to ever finer dust.
Only from about 1900 when motoring involved speeds over 15 mph, and rubber tyres, did the problems become unbearable, and the use of tar as a binder (adhesive) was found to be a big help. Tar was a waste by-product of turning coal into gas (for lighting etc) and coke (for heating). The term 'Tarmac' was applied to a further development, in which crushed slag from steel works was used instead of stone for metalling, and this when coated with tar proved to be a very useful, long-lasting, and cheap surfacing material. It was patented, of course, and the term 'Tarmac' was applied to the patented compound.
So - a new product which relied entirely on the waste from other processes - clever indeed. Just like Marmite - but can you tell us of any others?
Edited By Tim Stevens on 10/10/2019 13:45:16
3785 forum posts
Fluoride waste from fertilizer manufacturing used to fluoridate drinking water to reduce dental cavities.
Solid waste from sewage treatment plants sold as fertilizer.
Peanut shells from food processing and bark chips from lumber mills sold as garden mulch.
And sausages... let's not even go there.
|Gerard O'Toole||10/10/2019 14:25:43|
|3 forum posts|
"and if you include Steam Turbines, Parsons.."
Many of his early designs can be seen in the ancestral home, Birr Castle, Ireland, where the large ( mirror diameter of 7 feet ) astronomical telescope of the 3ed earl can also be seen
|Speedy Builder5||10/10/2019 14:55:33|
|1842 forum posts|
If an engineer had invented Brexit, would we be out with a deal by now?
|not done it yet||10/10/2019 16:16:40|
|3576 forum posts|
Let’s avoid discussing brexit. It is too political! Politics and religion are two topics to avoid on forums.
|An Other||10/10/2019 18:06:05|
|136 forum posts|
According to Wikipedia:-
'The first gas turbine to successfully run self-sustainingly was built in 1903 by Norwegian engineer Ægidius Elling.'
'it was German inventor Christian Hülsmeyer who first used them to build a simple ship detection device'
Many so-called' inventions are developed simultaneously by different people, who build on ideas which existed long before the invention, and either the technology was not available to make them work, or the idea was not taken up in the first instance.
As a counterpoint to a list of successful "Brit" inventions, I am sure all of you can think of British inventions and developments which went nowhere - the aviation industry has many examples.
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