Monday, 24 November 2014

Inside one of the facility's many laboratories

October 1933: The Post Office Research Station

By Jon Excell

The Engineer reported on the opening of an r&d centre that played a starring role in some of the UK telecomms industry’s defining moments

An overhead view of the facility

October 1960: High speed wind tunnels

By Jon Excell

In October 1960, The Engineer reported on the opening of two new high speed wind tunnels at the Warton Aerodrome, near Preston. 

fire engines

September 1914: Electric emergency vehicles

By Stuart Nathan

Electric vehicles were being used by the emergency services a century ago, and were seen as the best technological option

Fisher's Washing Machines

September 1860: Fisher’s washing machine

By Jon Excell

Nearly half a century before the world’s first electric domestic washing machine was introduced The Engineer reported on a novel domestic washing machine that employed a strikingly different concept to today’s rotary machines.

David Hughes

July 1878: The invention of the microphone

By Stuart Nathan

Two prolific inventors, one still famous today, the other less so, clashed in the The Engineer over the invention of one of the key technologies of the modern world.

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July 1873: High speed rail

By Jon Excell

An editorial from the early days of The Engineer illustrates our long-held obsession with rapid train travel

Christopher Cockerell, inventor of the hovercraft, pushing his prototype machine

June 1959: The birth of the hovercraft

By Jon Excell

Fifty five years ago this week The Engineer reported on the development of the first hovercraft

The rotorcyle hovers above London

May 1958: the collapsible helicopter

By Jon Excell

Small enough to be carried benath an aricraft’s wing or on a car’s roof rack the Hiller XROE 1 rotorcycle  - a collapsible singe-seat helicopter - generated great excitement when it was demonstrated in London in 1958.

Inflexible

April 1874: The 81-ton gun

By Stuart Nathan

Britain’s largest guns to date were designed for shipboard use aboard the Royal Navy’s latest warships

Deptford Generating Station is widely acknowledged as being the first modern power station

This week in 1930: Ferranti's legacy

By Jason Ford

Today marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti, the prolific electrical engineer who held 176 patents and was instrumental in bringing electricity generation to London.

hindenberg1

March 1936: First flight of the Hindenberg

By Stuart Nathan

The maiden test flights of the Zeppelin Hindenberg gave no hint of the disaster to come

U-boat

March 1917: Submarine warfare

By Stuart Nathan

As the First World War raged and following a shock attack on neutral merchant ships, the government was anxious to quell public concern about the threat to shipping posed by German U-boats

Sponsorship opportunity: Graduate Skills Roundtable

Central London, March 27th, 10.30 am

The firing of the first test missile from trials ship HMS Girdle Ness

​This week in 1959: A rare sighting of the Seaslug

By Jon Excell

The Engineer gets its first look at the The Armstrong-Whitworth “Seaslug”, the UK Navy’s first guided surface to air missile

tram1

January 1886: Blackpool’s electric trams

By Stuart Nathan

Blackpool had the first electric tram system in the UK, and it survived the vogue for removing tram systems in the 1960s. But its original technology had problems with the British seaside weather.

The Meteor set a world speed record of 606mph in November 1945

January 1946: waiting in the wings

By Jon Excell

Experimental jet-propelled aircraft were at an advanced stage of developement in the early 1940s but failed to have an impact on the outcome of the war

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This week in 1939: protective works on underground railways

By Jason Ford

The daily commute on London Underground took on a terrifying new  challenge in 1939 when the capital’s subterranean commuters ran the very real risk of being drowned during their journey.

centurion

November 1950: The Centurion Tank

By Stuart Nathan

The Engineer’s visit to the production line of Britain’s heaviest tank to date marvelled at the production process, but could have had no clue as to what a formidable machine it would turn out to be.

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November 1913: Flight - It’ll never take off

By Jon Excell

A decade on from the Wright Brothers’ powered flight landmark The Engineer was unconvinced that aviation had much of a future as a civilian mode of transport.

telegraph pic 1

November 1887: The writing telegraph

By Stuart Nathan

The lack of written records from telephone calls led to the invention of a contraption which allowed handwriting to be sent down the wires

arm2

November 1917: prosthetic arms for war casualties

By Stuart Nathan

Even in the darkest days of the First World War, engineers were involved in caring for the wounded, as well as building the instruments of warfare itself

The 1382ft Electropult track

October 1946  - Westinghouse unveils the Electropult

By Jon Excell

Yet to make their mark in military or civil aerospace, electromagnetic launch systems were already under development over sixty years ago

Difference Engine

October 1871: Obituary of Charles Babbage

By Stuart Nathan

Charles Babbage may now be famous as the father of computing, but to his contemporaries at The Engineer he was a difficult, forbidding figure better known for his failures than his successes

HRcrop

October 1935: Harry Ricardo on the petrol engine

By Stuart Nathan

Sir Harry Ricardo was an important figure in the development of internal combustion engines, and he shared his memories of the early years of motoring in The Engineer

Fokker D VII

October 1918: Meet the Fokker

By Jon Excell

With the First World War almost over The Engineer looked in detail at The Fokker Single-Seater Biplane: a German fighter designed to replace Fokker’s rather accident-prone triplane.

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September 1856: Jourbert and Bourdier’s improvements in motive power engines

By Jason Ford

A certain degree of pleasure appears to have been derived in dismissing the efforts of two engineers as fanciful indulgance.

In its day the New Brighton lifeboat was the most powerful vessel of its kind in the world

September 1923: The world’s most powerful lifeboat

By Jon Excell

A new lifeboat for New Brighton was the most advanced of its kind in the world

Great Eastern

September 1865: The failure of the Atlantic Telegraph Cable

By Stuart Nathan

The attempt to lay a new telegraph cable across the Atlantic after the first one failed was fraught with problems. The Engineer was completely baffled.

RMS Oceanic

September 1899 - The world's largest ship

By Jon Excell

Built for the White Star Line, the RMS Oceanic was the world’s largest ship. The Engineer reported on her maiden voyage.

Cody

August 1909: First passenger flight

By Stuart Nathan

The flamboyant showman behind Britain’s early aviation history featured fleetingly in our pages

After a year-long trial the Marconi system was chosen

This week in 1936 - the dawn of TV broadcasting

By Jon Excell

The Engineer paid a visit to London’s Alexandra Palace to examine a trial of television broadcasting technology

Abbey Mills plan

August 1867: ‘A dainty palace of machinery’

By Stuart Nathan

The ornate Abbey Mills pumping station, part of Joseph Bazalgette’s emblematic London sewer engineering project, still draws the eye in East London, and in 1867 The Engineer waxed lyrical about it.

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This week in 1884: The dynamite gun

By Jason Ford

Our predecessors were far from impressed by the development of a gun designed to fire projectiles filled with dynamite or nitro-glycerine.

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This week in 1894 - the world's first motoring competition

By Stephen Harris

The Engineer reported from a French contest that showcased the latest technology in the field of horseless carriages.

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This week in 1909: Latham's cross channel flight attempt

By Jon Excell

Hubert Latham’s pioneering attempt to fly across the channel was unsuccessful, but at least he became the first person land a plane on a body of water

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This week in 1884: Excavating the Panama Canal

By Stephen Harris

The Engineer’s report on the machines used to create one of the modern engineering wonders of the world included hints at some of the terrible troubles it would go on to face.

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July 1916 - A women's engineering works

By Jason Ford

By the middle of the First World War the outlook for female workers had changed to such an extent that two company directors proposed a factory staffed by women only

Rutherford

June 1920: Electrons and The Engineer

By Stuart Nathan

The first glimpses of the world inside the atom set The Engineer on a speculative path, replete with digs at pure scientists and science fiction writers and hope of new materials and inexhaustible power

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This week in 1943: Repairing damaged WW2 aero-engines

By Stephen Harris

The Engineer reported on the Bristol Aeroplane Company’s efforts to restore bomber engines damaged by enemy action or crash landings.

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This Week in 1916: The training of maimed soldiers

The Engineer reported how one Frenchman was determined to get maimed soldiers working again after serving in the First World War

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This week in 1883: Opening of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York

By Stephen Harris

The Engineer gave a detailed report of both the engineering behind the bridge that began the architectural transformation of New York and the tragic circumstances of its construction.

mclaren1

May 1955 - The British motorsport industry

By Jon Excell

Stirling Moss’s victory in the Mille Miglia prompted The Engineer to indulge in some harsh criticism of the British motorsport sector

Titanic

May 1912: The Titanic Inquiry

By Stuart Nathan

A letter to The Times from an eminent naval architect triggered a thoughtful article in The Engineer on compromise, risk and safety following the Titanic disaster

The Hindenburg

May 1937 - The Hindenburg disaster

By Jon Excell

The destruction of the Hindenburg brought the age of the airship to a shocking close. In 1937 The Engineer reported on the design and construction techniques behind this iconic aircraft.

DFR Sphere

A look inside the Dounreay Fast Reactor

By Stuart Nathan

The first images from inside the Dounreay Fast Reactor since it was constructed in the 1950s have been obtained. In 1955, The Engineer reported on the concepts behind the reactor, and how it was built to be safe — but not to be dismantled.

Rover BRM gas turbine car

This week in 1965 - the Rover-BRM gas turbine car

By Jon Excell

This article from April 1965 reports on the Rover BRM Gas Turbine car, which was poised to become the first gas-turbine powered vehicle to officially compete in the Le Mans 24 hours race. 

The “self-propelled war car” was designed by Frederick Richard Simms,

This week in 1902: the first armoured car

By Stephen Harris

One of the earliest precursors to the tank may have resembled an upturned bathtub but it impressed the Edwardian Engineer nonetheless.

Earthquake

April 1884 - The great English earthquake

By Jon Excell

In April 1884 The Engineer was picking over the aftermath of  one of the UK’s biggest ever seismic events: the great English earthquake.

wembley1

April 1923: Wembley Stadium

By Stuart Nathan

The building of the original Wembley Stadium was a feat of — literally — military precision, including formation marching. It was also unthinkably fast by today’s standards, as Stuart Nathan explains.

1856 plan for channel tunnel

This week in 1875: the Channel Tunnel

By Jon Excell

First proposed in 1802, then alternately rejected and resurrected over the course of the following two centuries, the Channel Tunnel was back on the agenda in 1875.

tower subway walker

March 1869: The Tower Subway

By Stuart Nathan

Before Tower Bridge took its place on the London skyline, people had to go underground to cross the river. The Engineer described the construction of the now-forgotten Tower Subway, a forerunner of the modern deep-level Tube. Stuart Nathan reports

Built by the UK's General Electric Company, it was Japan's first nuclear reactor

March 1959: Japan's first nuclear power station

By Jon Excell

The Engineer’s 1959 article on Japan’s first nuclear power station, is a poignant reminder of both the UK’s diminished expertise in this area, and the impact of the 2011 Fukushima crisis.

WAGR

March 1963: The Windscale AGR

By Stuart Nathan

At the beginning of the Swinging 60s, The Engineer reported on the commissioning of the UK’s experimental gas-cooled nuclear reactor. Almost 50 years later, we were there when it became the first reactor to be fully decommissioned.

longitude

February 1857: Time for a change? Probably not

By Stuart Nathan

While always championing innovation, The Engineer hasn’t always been in favour of change for change’s sake — and it could be pretty scathing when the mood took it, as this mid-19th century review demonstrates

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This week in 1961: shaping London's skyline

By Jon Excell

Feb 1961, and The Engineer took a look at the proposed design of a structure which has become one of London’s best-known landmarks: the building known today as the BT tower.

perseus

This month in 1955: the steam catapult

By Stuart Nathan

The Engineer reports on the first test of an important new technology: the steam catapult

Women

Women engineers in the 1920s

By Jon Excell

January 1920. And the pages of The Engineer were ablaze with an ill-tempered debate on female engineers which illustrates dramatically how much industry - and The Engineer itself - has changed over the last century.

taybridge

January 1880: The aftermath of the Tay Bridge Disaster

By Stuart Nathan

Immortalised in popular memory by a famously terrible poem, the collapse of the Tay Bridge in Scotland was a terrible event which caused almost palpable shock in TheEngineer

TE TfL

January 1863: London underground pioneer John Fowler

By Stephen Harris

To mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the London Underground The Engineer looks back to 1863 and a speech given to mark the occasion by John Fowler, chief engineer on the first line.

Iron Lung Machine

December 1956: improving iron lungs

By Stuart Nathan

One of Britain’s most prominent automotive engineers turned his attention to allieviating the suffering of polio victims at the height of epidemics during the 1950s

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Poll

With police this week warning a House of Lords committee that off-the-shelf “drones” are being used to harass people, there are growing calls for tighter regulations to prevent criminal use of the technology. Are these concerns justified? With which of the following statements do you most strongly agree?