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A History of UK Engineering

Even though the field of engineering is much appreciated, it is equally overlooked especially considering that it is to thank for some of the greatest achievements in the history of the UK.  Engineering has not always been what we know of it today and has come a long way. Here is a quick walk down memory lane to have a look at the history of engineering and what its earliest forms were like.

A History of UK Engineering

Earliest Examples and Etymology

The concept of engineering has been in existence for a long time. Today, engineering is best described as the application of mechanical solutions and skills to build things and solve different problems, and the same description can be used in the ancient world.

One of the best examples of engineering in the ancient times was the use of levers which is also one of the earliest forms of engineering. The wheel and its many uses is also another perfect example of engineering from the ancient times. While during the earliest inventions the term engineering had not yet been coined, the term itself has its roots dating back to the year 1325.

The first definition of the term was simply a person who operates an engine. During those days, the term ‘engine’ largely referred to military machines, and in most instances, these included a siege engine, a catapult or a trebuchet.

Formal and Organised History of UK Engineering

narrow and shallow definition that engineering had in its earlier days, it has come a long way with numerous achievements and has become broadly used and practised. By the 19th century and in particular the Victorian times, engineering was one of the most exceptional fields with tremendous achievements.

Because of its impact around this era, engineering started becoming better organized and professional with the Institution for Civil Engineers being the first established professional engineering organization and was established in 1818.

There are several other institutions that quickly followed suit to continue with the professionalising of engineering and also in a bid to maintain the high standards in the UK. Through this framework, the field of engineering and some of the greatest engineers in the history of the UK were able to flourish.

The Greatest Engineers in the UK

The UK is not short of great men who excelled in the field of engineering, and a quick roundup of the history of engineering would not be complete without the honourable mention of some of the greatest minds in engineering.

 

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Brunel was born in 1806 and is easily one of the most popular engineers in the UK in his time. He was the mind behind great creations of his era like the Great Western Railway and also the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Robert Stephenson

Robert Stephenson

Stephenson and Brunel were born around the same time and was the son of George who had played a significant role in the building of railways. Stephenson went on to make a name for himself as one of the greatest engineers of his time because of his contribution to the locomotive design and railway development.

Barnes Wallis

Barnes Wallis

While the former two built their reputation in the 19th century, Barnes contributions were in the 20th century. He is credited for building the bouncing bomb which played a critical role in WWII and is also the inspiration behind the Hollywood film ‘The Dambusters.’

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