Engineering Timeline AD

Engineering timeline BC

Please note that the following table may well be missing some important developments. We would be pleased to receive comments, corrections and suggestions.

Engineering Timeline AD
00030 Blast furnace developed during Han dynasty in China. Du Shi used a waterwheel to power bellows to blow air into the bottom of the furnace.
0010-0070 Hero (Heron) of Alexandria experiments with steam and wind power and devises some forms of steam power and writes a number of texts about mechanics, geometry, optics and measurement.
0047 Romans build Fosseway in England
0100 Pantheon built in Rome and Hadrian’s Wall in Britain
0100 Roman roads stretch from England to Egypt
0105 Paper making in China during Han dynasty
0105 Roman bridge built over River Tagus
0150 Galen wrote on anatomy, physiology, pharmacology and philosophy and his anatomy based on the dissection of monkeys was uncontested until by Vesalius in 1543
0220 During Han dynasty Zhuge Liang designed hot air balloon to carry an oil lamp to confuse the enemy in war
0350 Coal rather than charcoal used to cast iron sparing so many trees from being felled during Song dynasty
0400 A Roman book De rebus bellicis (On the things of war) refers to an ox powered paddle wheel boat.
0400 Vegetius Renatus writes De Re Militari (Concerning Military Matters) with illustrations of catapults, rams, cannons, grenades, scaling ladders, water-raising machines, a clepsydra or water-clock, diving equipment, bridges, rafts and a pneumatic bed .
0500 The Avars of western Asia introduced metal stirrups into saddlery.
0610 The Grand Canal built to link the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers in China
0675 Bishop Biscop employed French workmen to glaze the windows of a monastery in Monkwearmouth, England
0700 First evidence of so-called wootz crucible steel in India
0800 First practical windmills developed in Persia
0950 Chinese Qiao Weiyue credited with devising the two level pound lock for canals.
0950-1050 Development of cannon by Song dynasty in China
0960 – 1279 Lodestone used as compass for navigation during Song dynasty
100 First known depiction of stern mounted rudder during Han dynasty, China
1000 Arzachel was a Moor eminent in Spain produced astronomical tables using decimal fractions
1041-49 Movable type invented by Pi Sheng in China. Individual characters were in baked clay and set in a frame
1050 Alhazen (965-1040) an Arabic physicist made contributions to optics
1065 Eilmer of Malmesbury, an English monk, attempts flight by jumping off the top of the tower at Malmesbury Abbey and survived but broke both legs
1085 Paper made in Spain
1088 The first university established in Bologna, Italy
1100s During 12th century – Windmills used to pump water and grind grain.  Military use of gunpowder in China. The magnetic compass, known to the Chinese 1160 B.C., comes into Europe, via the Arabs.
1147 Reported use of wood cuts for elaborate initial capital letters appeared in a Benedictine monastery at Engelberg
1150 Paper making firmly established in Spain.
1176 The first stone London Bridge built.
1180 Oldest known depiction of stern mounted rudder in Europe
1185 Windmill built in Weedley, Yorkshire, England
1185 Bridge at Avignon 900 m long, collapsed 40 years later, rebuilt with 22 stone arches, only four now remain
1190 First paper mill in France at Hérault.
1195 Reported use of magnetic compass in England
1200 Mechanical clocks invented
1200s During 13th century – Tempera method of painting using an emulsion of water and egg gradually superceded encaustic to become the principal medium for medieval religious paintings.
1234-1280 First spinning wheels developed in Baghdad, China and Europe
1241 Chinese hot-air lanterns used in the Battle of Legnica during the Mongol invasion of Poland.
1247 Earliest recorded use of gunpowder in west when cannon used in the siege of Seville
1267 Roger Bacon writes Opus Majus (Greater Work) on natural science from grammar and logic to physics and philosophy.

Describes recipe for gunpowder.

1269 Petrus Peregrinus, a French scholar, described the pivoted magnetic compass
1270 Vitellio,a Pole, wrote a treatise on lenses, Roger Bacon used parts of glass spheres to help people read
1272 Machines for twisting silk thread developed in Lucca and Bologna, Italy
1285 Spectacles developed in Italy first worn by monks and scholars – inventor unknown
1289 Block printing appeared in Ravenna, Italy
1290 More navigation in winter months due to use of magnetic compass and much more accurate portolan charts (Italian – related to ports) resulted in increasing movement of shipping both for trading and raiding.
1290 One of first paper mills north of Alps opened in Ravensburg, Germany


During 14th century – Mechanical clock becomes common. Water-power used to create draft for blast furnace: makes cast iron possible. Treadle loom (inventor unknown) . Invention of rudder and beginning of canalization. Improved glass-making.
1300 Wooden type used in Turkey
1309 Petrus de Crescentiis wrote first printed text on agriculture
1315 Beginnings of scientific anatomy through dissection of dead human body by Raimondo de Luzzi of Bologna.
1320 Water-driven iron works, near Dobrilugk, Germany
1322 Sawmill at Augsburg, Germany
1326 Pictorial evidence of cannon used in or near Florence
1328 English cleric Thomas Bradwardine develops the idea of a ratio of unlike quantities such as velocity
1330 Wooden riverside crane built at Luneburg, Germany
1338 First known naval battle with cannon at start of Hundred Years War between England and France
1345 Public clocks began to appear with division of hours and minutes into sixties
1350 Beginnings of Italian Renaissance
1350 Rudolph of Nuremberg used water power and cam shaft driven benches to draw wire
1370 Heinrich von Wyck perfected a mechanical clock in Paris
1373 First pound lock in Europe built in the Netherlands at Vreeswijk.
1375 By this time the use of paper for most literary purposes was established
1380 Iron bloomeries become larger and hotter using waterwheels to power bellows
1382 A giant cannon firing 220 pound granite ball built by Philippe van Artevelle in Belgium and used in the siege of Audenarde
1390 Metal type developed in Korea
1390 Paper mill built in Nuremberg to meet growing demand
1400s During 15th century – Use of wind-mill for land drainage. Invention of turret windmill. lntroduction of knitting. Iron drill for boring cannon. Trip-hammer. Two-masted and three-masted ship.
1402 Flemish brothers Jan and Herbert van Eyck demonstrated that oil paints are superior to egg tempera (an emulsion of water and egg).
1405 German military engineer Konrad Kyeser von Eichstadt writes Bellifortis (War Fortifications), the first fully illustrated manual of military technology in which he describes weapons such as trebuchets, battering rams, movable portable bridges, cannons, rockets, chariots, ships, mills, scaling ladders, incendiary devices, crossbows, and instruments of torture and the diving suit.
1409 First book using movable type published in Korea.
1418 Earliest known wood engraving in Augsburg, Germany
1420 Ulugh Beg Observatory in Samarkand, Uzbekistan built – one of the finest in the Islamic world but destroyed in 1449 and rediscovered in 1908
1420 Sawmill established in Madeira
1420 Italian engineer Giovanni de la Fontana constructed a velocipede (early pedal driven vehicle) with four wheels and a loop of rope connected by gears
1420 Giovanni de la Fontana publishes Bellicorum instrumentorum (War instruments) with descriptions of siege engines, fountains and pumps, lifting and transporting machines, defensive towers, dredges, combination locks, battering rams, scaling ladders, measuring instruments etc
1423 Earliest European woodcut or woodblock print made
1430 An unknown Hussite (Czech) engineer sketches the first windmill with a moveable turret and sails mounted on a fixed tower.
1435 The Italian Leon Battista Alberti writes about perspective using a mathematical approach.
1436 Italian sailor and cartographer Andreas Bianco produced navigation charts on ten leaves of vellum
1436 Florence Cathedral consecrated with its dome engineered by Filippo Brunellesco.
1438 Italian engineer Mariano Jacopo Taccola produces a vertical axis windmill.
1439 Johannes Guttenberg invented mass produced moveable type and used oil based ink to print books in a printing press that lead to mass communication.
1446 Earliest known copperplate engraving.
1457 First record in France of a wagon ‘hung on springs’ for personal transport.
1471 Cannon balls made of iron, sometimes red hot, were being used.
1472 A German merchant and astronomer Bernard Walther and Germa mathematician and astronomer Johannes Muller built an Observatory in Nuremberg.
1472-1519 Leonardo da Vinci made the following inventions, centrifugal pump, dredge for canal-building, polygonal fortress with outworks, breech-loading cannon, rifled firearms, antifriction roller bearing, universal joint, conical screw, rope-and-belt drive, link chains, submarine-boat, bevel gears, Spiral gears, Proportional and paraboloid Compasses, Silk doubling and winding apparatus, spindle and flyer, parachute, lamp-chimney, ship’s log, standardized mass-production house
1475 First matchlock for firing a hand held firearm
1481 Italians Dionisio and Petro Domenico build a canal with pound locks.
1491 First blast furnace in England on the Weald of Sussex
1492 German mariner and astronomer Martin von Behaim produced the oldest surviving globe of the world in Nuremberg
1500 Tinning for preservation of iron. Wind­ mills of 10 H.P. become common. Much technical progress and mechanization in mining industries, spread of blast-furnaces and iron-moulding. Introduction of domestic clock.
1500s During 16th century – German locksmith and watchmaker Peter Henlein made one of the first portable clocks often worn as pendants. It is not known who developed the mainspring that made watches possible
1500 Italian Giovanni Cavallino invented the first sowing machine.
1500 First modern lock gates installed in a canal in Milan
1500 First wheel-lock possibly by an unknown German – a friction-wheel mechanism to cause spark to fire a firearm.
1508 The German Lucas Cranach the Elder developed the chiaroscuro (different colours) woodcut conceived for two blocks
1518 Anton Platner, a goldsmith, constructed a fire engine in Augsberg, Germany
1524 The earliest known depiction of a chaff-cutting machine for fodder is a woodcut from Augsberg
1530 Johan Jurgen of Germany invents a foot-driven spinning wheel
1533 Dutch mathematician and cartographer Gemma Frisius described the method of triangulation for surveying
1534 Spanish navy captain Blasco de Garay substituted a paddle wheel for oars
1535 Italians Guglielmo de Lorena and Francesco del Marchi develop the first one man diving bell
1536 German Daniel Hopfer was the first to use etching in printmaking.
1539 Alessandro Piccolomini produces first printed star atlas
1540 The snaplock used in Germany in which a spring-powered cock strikes a flint
1543 The Italian Andreas Vesalius publishes book on human anatomy – regarded as the father of the subject.
1544 German Sebastian Munster publishes Cosmographia an early description of the world including maps, geography, customs, flaura and fauna and was so popular it went through 24 editions.
1544 Michael Stifel, a German monk, elaborated on the use of algebraic symbols
1545 Amhroise Pare was French barber who became a surgeon with several innovations including ugature (tight compression then bound) for bleeding vessels after amputation
1546 Rail-way used in German mines
1548 Large hydraulic wheel raised river water to supply towns in Augsburg.
1550 A snaphance lock for firing a gun developed possibly Dutch.
1551 Plane table for surveying described by Abel Foullon in Paris.
1552 Frenchman Brulier develops a machine for rolling iron
1553 The idea of using a clock to determine longitude suggested by Dutchman Gemma Frisius although clocks at that time were not sufficiently accurate
1558 Venetian Cardinal Daniello Barbaro placed a lens in a camera obscura
1560 First scientific society Accademia Secretorum Naturae meets in Naples
1565 Conrad Gesner of Zurich describes a pencil of graphite in a wooden casing
1569 First industrial exhibition held at the Rathaus, Nuremberg
1570 The Miquelet lock for firing muskets
1570 Andrea Palladio publishes his four books of architecture and founded an architectural movement we call Palladianism.
1571 English mathematician and surveyor Leonard Digges first describes a theodolite
1572 Mercator’s map of the world begun
1578 Frenchman Jacques Besson creates a semi-automatic screw lathe in which the operator only had to pull and release a cord
1582 Pope Gregory XIII introduces the Gregorian calendar in Italy, Portugal and Spain (other coutries much later e.g. UK and America in 1752)
1582 Dutch engineer Peter Morice developed one of the first pumped water suppy systems for London powered by an undershot water wheel.
1585 Flemish mathematician and engineer Simon Stevin established the use of the decimal system but with an unwieldy notation
1586 A loom in which in which several webs could be woven at one time developed in Dantzig (now Gdansk Poland) by Anton Möller
1586 Simon Stevin develops the basis for the triangle of forces – the basis of statics
1589 Clergyman William Lee devised the first stocking frame knitting machine in Nottinghamshire, England
1590 Dutch spectacle maker Zacharius Jansen developed the first microscope
1595 Design for metal bridges-arch and chain (Veranzio)
1595 Venetian Fausto Veranzio publishes a book with drawings of both suspension and cable-stayed bridges


During 17th century – Water wheels of 20 HP. introduced: transmission by means of reciprocating rods over distance of one-quarter mile. Glass hothouse comes into use. Foundations of modem scientific meth· od. Rapid developments in physics.
1600 Englishman William Gilbert publishes a treatise on magnetism and electricity
1602 Galileo Galilei discovers the usefulness of a swinging pendulum for keeping time
1603 The Italian science Accademia dei Lincei founded in Rome
1605 Galileo formulates the concept of inertia and the basis of what became Newton’s first law of physics
1605 Huntingdon Beaumont, an English aristocrat, used flanged wheels on rails to carry wagons of coal in Nottingham.
1608 The lens maker Hans Lippershey credited by some with making the first telescope
1610 Frenchman Marin le Bourgeoys made the first firearm with flintlock
1610 Flemish chemist Jan Baptist Van Helmont described the idea of gases as distinct from atmospheric air
 1614 Scottish mathematician John Napier publishes the first table of logarithms.
1615 Dutch mathematician Willebrord Snell van Roijen was first to emply triangulation over distances of around 80 miles – the first geodetic or spherical surveying,
1617 English mathematician Henry Briggs converted Napier’s logarithms into base 10.
1617 John Napier creates an adding machine
1618 David Ramsay and Thomas Wildgoose obtain patent for a new engine to plough ground without horses or oxen.
1619 Englishman Dudd Dudley was one of the first to turn coal into coke and use it to smelt iron
1619 The first patent for clay-working machine to make bricks granted.
1620 English clergyman Edmund Gunter produces a surveyors chain for measuring distances.
1620 Dutchman Cornelius Drebbel built the first navigable submarine that stayed submerged for three hours at a depth of 4 to 5 metres and travelled from Westminster to Greenwich and back in London.
1624 The Statute of Monopolies was the first expression of English patent law though it was abused by monarchs
1627 Gunpowder first used for mine blasting in Hungary
1628 Englishman William Harvey established that blood circulates around the body pumped by the heart.
1630 Englishman David Ramsey is granted a patent for various applications of steam
1632 Construction of Taj Mahal begins – it took 20 years to complete
1635 The Banqueting House, Whitehall, London opened – designed by Inigo Jones on Palladian principles
1636 French lawyer and mathematician Pierre de Fermat publishes work that later leads to infinitesimal calculus. Fermat’s principle of least time later formed the basis of Hamilton’s principle of stationary action
1636 German Daniel Schwenter developed described a pen with two quills that later became the fountain pen and a scioptic ball which was a universal joint allowing swivelling anywhere is a wide arc.
1636 John Van Berg produced a thresher with several cranked flails.
1636 Austrian Joseph Locatelli developed the first European drill for sowing seeds a spoonful at a time.
1642 The Briare Canal opened – built to join the Seine and Loire in France.
1643 Italian Evangelista Torricelli invents the mercury barometer
1645 French mathematician Blaise Pascal presents his first calculating machine to the general public after testing many prototypes
1646 German priest Athanasius Kircher describes a magic lantern or image projector.
1647 Johannes Hevelius describes a military periscope in Danzig (Gdansk, Poland)
1647 Calculation of focusses of all forms of lenses
1653 Englishman Gabriel Plat describes dibbling as method of sowing wheat to increase yield.
1654 German Otto von Guericke described the physics of a vacuum and invented a vacuum pump
1654 Blaise Pascal laid the groundwork for the development of probability theory
1657 Robert Hooke and Christiaan Huygens separately develop the balance spring to control the balance wheel in clocks
1658 Dutchman Christiaan Huygens invents the pendulum clock
1658 Dutch naturalist, Jan Swammerdam is the first person to observe red blood cells under the microscope
1660 Royal Society founded in London
1660 A covered four wheeled horse drawn carriage called the Berlin designed and built
1663 English Marquis Edward Somerset invented a device that was a prototype for what would become a steam engine
1665 Englishman Robert Hooke describes a multitude of pores in cork which he called cells. He did not realise they were alive.
1665 The first introduction in England of strips of steel to act as springs on a wagon.
1667 Paris Observatory founded
1668 Sir Isaac Newton invented a reflecting mirror telescope
1669 John Worlidge suggested a seed drill later built by Jethro Tull in 1701
1671 Dutch politician Jan de Witt uses probability in his treatise on life annuities
1671 Sir Isaac Newton set out his calculus of fluxions or infinitesimal calculus. But it was not published until 1736
1671 Englishman Sir Samuel Morland developed a speaking trumpet – an early form of megaphone
1672 Flemish Father Ferdinand Verbiest experimented with steam and designed a small steam propelled trolley
1674 Dutchman Antonie van Leeuwenhoek was the first to observe microorganisms bacteria and protozoa.
1675 Royal Greenwich Observatory founded in London
1675 Gottfried Leibniz publishes his theory of infinitesimal calculus
1676 Danish astronomer Ole Røemer estimates the speed of light.
1678 M. de Gennes designed a power loom in Paris
1678 Robert Hooke defined the law of linear elasticity now known as Hooke’s Law which he stated rather briefly as ‘As the extension, so the force’.
1679-1681 The first modern tunnel constructed for commercial transportation was the Malpas tunnel on the Languedoc Canal in France – 515 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 27 feet high.
1680 Christiaan Huygens explores the idea of a gun powder engine – a type of internal combustion engine using gun powder at is fuel
1680 Horse drawn waggons on wooden railways used to transport coal on Tyneside England.
1680 Frenchman Denis Papin invented a steam digester – a type of pressure cooker with a safety valve in London
1682 The Canal du Midi opened in France after 15 years work
1683 Louis XIV’s military engineer and a Marshall of France Marquis de Vauban publishes a practical manual on fortifications.
1683 Ashmolean Museum founded in Oxford, England
1684 The Machine de Marly was a large pumping system of 14 large waterwheels built to take water from the Seine and deliver to the Palace of Versailles
1685 Cornelius Meyer invents a power dredge used to construct canals and dykes in Holland
1687 Sir Isaac Newton laid the foundations for classical mechanics with his three laws of motion and universal gravitation
1687 Second world International Exposition held in Paris
1688 John Clayton distilled gas from coal.
1697 Johan van Hoorn published one of the first text books on obstetrics in Sweden
1698 Thomas Savery creates the first practical steam engine to pump water from mines.
1700s During 18th century – Rapid improvements in mining and textile machinery. Foundation of modern chemistry
1700 Christopher Polhem of Sweden founded a factory for mass production of simple articles (such as pans, bowls, scissors as well as some more sophisticated items,) based on water power.
1701 Jethro Tull invents the seed drill to drill holes and plant seeds all at once
1701 Johannes Muller in Holland used moveable type and then cemented it into a solid plate using a mastic to create a technique call sterotyping
1707 Denis Papin develops an improved steam engine
1707 English physician Sir John Floyer developed a pulse watch to measure pulse rate more accurately
1708 English Quaker Abraham Darby I uses wet sand for iron casting.
1709 Abraham Darby I uses coke rather than charcoal in a blast furnace
1710 Sir Christopher Wren rebuilt 52 London churches after the Great Fire and designed St Paul’s Cathedral on Ludgate Hill.
1712 English iron maker Thomas Newcomen creates a steam engine to pump water from flooded mines in Devon
1714 Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit develops a mercury thermometer.
1714 Englishman Henry Mill patents the first typewriter.
1715 The first revolving stages called bun-mawashi, were developed by Denshichi Nakamura in Japan
1715 Swiss mathematician Johann Bernoulli formalised the treatment of virtual work
1717 German Johan Schulze discovered that that light not heat was the reason why substances mixed with silver nitrate darkened – thus he laid the foundations for photography.
1719 Jacob Christoph Le Blon invented a system for three and four colour printing from metal plates (one per colour).
1720 The post-chaise four wheeled closed carriage provided the first mode of reasonably comfortable travel overland in France
1724 General Wade begins building roads in the Scottish Highlands.
1725 Scottish goldsmith William Ged invented stereotype which is a printing plate cast in a mould
1725 Basile Bouchon in Lyon, France invented a way of controlling a loom with a perforated paper tape.
1725 Scottish goldsmith William Gled invented a stereotyping process in which a whole page of type is cast in a single mould.
1727 English clergyman Stephen Hales was the first person to measure blood pressure
1730 Joseph Foljambe of Rotherham invented the iron mouldboard and landside plough in Nottingham, England.
1733 Englishman John Kay invented the flying shuttle for a weaving loom.
1733 Abraham de Moivre produced the first version of the central limit theorem of probability theory.
1736 Clockmaker John Harrison developed a chronometer to determine longitude
1736 Joshua Ward began to manufacture sulphuric acid in London
1738 Englishmen Lewis Paul and John Wyatt patented the first roller spinning machine to draw wool before spinning.
1738 Possible first cast iron rails used at Whitehaven, England.
1738 Daniel Bernoulli set out his principle that the speed of a incompressible fluid results in a decrease in potential energy.
1739 David Hume introduced the ‘is/ought’ problem – that fact doesn’t tell us what ought to be done – and argued that induction cannot be justified rationally but results from ‘constant conjunction’.
1740 Benjamin Huntsman first European casting of steel in a crucible in Sheffield, England.
1742 Swedish astronomer proposed 100 degrees between freezing and boiling points of water.
1743 Jean-Baptiste le Rond d’Alembert describes the dynamic analogue to the principle of virtual work
1745 First technical school at Braunschweig, Germany
1748 Lewis Paul of Birmingham, England invented a carding machine for disentangling, cleaning and intermixing wool.
1749 Leonhard Euler provides an analysis of the resistance of water to ships
1750 The Westminster Bridge opened – the second bridge over the River Thames in London – designed by Swiss engineer Charles Labelye.
1752 American Benjamin Franklin demonstrated that lightening is electricity by flying a kite in a thunderstorm.
1756 John Smeaton experimented with limestone and additives to lay the basis for the later development of Portland cement.
1757 Leonhard Euler analysed the instability of a strut and defined the maximum load at which buckling occurs – we now call the Euler load.
1757 Sankey Canal opened – principle engineer Henry Berry
1759 John Smeaton designed and built the Eddystone Lighthouse just off Plymouth, England – modelled on the shape of an oak with dovetailed granite blocks and his new concrete.
1759 Jedediah Strutt invented the Derby Rib machine to knit ribbed stockings.
1760 First wooden railways reinforced with iron bars in Coalbrookdale, England.
1761 John Smeaton first used air pumps with pistons worked by water wheels to considerably increase blast furnace production of pig iron.
1761 The Bridgewater Canal, the first ‘pure’ canal (i.e. where needed rather than extending a river) in England, connecting Runcorn and Leigh opened – designed by James Brindley.
1763 Slide rest lathe to produce precision parts developed by Jacques de Vaucanson
1763 Englishman Richard Price presented the work of clergyman Thomas Bayes and what we now call Bayes Theorem for updating probabilities.
1764 James Hargreaves invented the spinning jenny.
1765 James Watt improved the Newcomen steam pumping engine with separate condenser.
1766 Pierre Le Roy made the first modern chronometer
1766 Leonhard Euler introduces a version of Young’s modulus 80 years before Thomas Young
1767 Cast iron rails produced at Coalbrookdale, England
1769 Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot built the first self-propelled steam powered vehicle
1769 Richard Arkwright and John Kay develop the spinning frame which became the water frame in Cromford, England when powered by a water wheel
1770 Cast iron wheels used for coal wagons.
1770 Last bloomery for smelting iron in England closes
1770 Richard Edgeworth anticipates the caterpillar track ‘a cart that carries its own road’ but didn’t develop it successfully.
1775 John Wilkinson designs a water powered machine to bore cast iron cylinders
1776 Thomas and George Cranege used a reverberatory furnace to convert pig iron into wrought iron.
1776 Marquis de Jouffroy d’Abbans invented the first steamboat in France
1778 Joseph Bramah obtained a patent for a water closet.
1778 Wolfgang von Kempelem developed a machine that could reproduce the sounds of words.
1778 Antoine Lavoisier recognised and named oxygen and hydrogen and provided the fisrst formulation of the law of conservation of mass
1779 Abraham Darby and John Wilkinson make and build the first cast iron bridge at Coalbrookdale, England
1779 Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule a machine to spin cotton and other fibres.
1780 Luigi Galvani discovered that when copper and zinc are connected to different parts of a frogs leg then the leg contracts. He called it ‘animal electricity’
1781-1786 James Watt patented a steam engine that produced continuous rotatory motion.
1782 The Montgolfier brothers invent the hot air balloon in France
1783 Henry Cort patents the puddling process for refining iron ore
1784 James Small developed the modern style iron swing plough in Scotland
1784 Joseph Bramah designed a security lock resistant to picking and tampering
1784 The first mail coach in England leaves Bristol for London – a new era of quicker transport.
1784 The Eider canal connecting the North and Baltic Seas constructed
1785 Honore Blanc pioneered the use of interchangeable parts for muskets.
1785 First steam engine powered a spinning mill at Papplewick, near Nottingham, England
1785 Edmund Cartwright developed a power loom
1785 Frenchman Claude Louis Berthollet developed sodium hypochlorite as a bleaching agent.


Joseph Bramah proposed the idea of moving ships by a propeller but did not use it
1785 Charles Augustin de Coulomb publishes his discoveries about electricity and magnetism
1786 Andrew Meikle in Scotland, designed and built the first successful threshing machine
1787 John Wilkinson built the first iron boat.
1787 John Fitch tested a steamboat on the Delaware River, USA
1787 Pont de la Concorde opened in Paris designed by Jean-Rodolphe Perronet
1788 Ricard Edgeworth design smaller railway wagons and made cast iron plates on wooden rails practicable.
1788 Joseph Lagrange published a comprehensive reformation of mechanics – now termed Lagrangian mechanics..
1789 William Jessop appointed chief engineer to Cromford Canal Company in Derbyshire England and in 1790 he helped form the Butterley Iron Works in Derbyshire
1790 Nicolas Le Blanc produced sodium carbonate from sodium chloride
1790 Thomas Saint invented the first sewing machine with a chain stitch.
1791 John Barker described the principle of gas turbine and took out a patent.
1792 Scotsman William Murdoch used gas for domestic lighting.
1792 Frenchman Claude Chappe developed a semaphore systems based on shutter positions of inter-visible towers
1793 American Eli Whitney patented a cotton gin which greatly speeded up removing seeds from cotton fibre.
1794 The Ecole Polytechnique founded in Paris
1794 Philip Vaughan created the first design for a ball bearing in Carmarthen, Wales.
1794 Conservatoire Nationale des Arts et Metiers  founded in Paris
1795 Joseph Bramah patents the hydraulic press – the hydraulic equivalent of a lever
1795-1809 Nicolas Appert invented airtight preserving of food in Paris.
1796 German Johann Senefelder developed the printing technique of lithography
1796 James Parker patented a method for making cement.
1799 Sir George Cayley set out the principles of a fixed wind flying machine and designed the first glider to carry a human being aloft.
1799 Humphry Davy noted the anaesthetic effects of nitrous oxide
1799 Charles Tennant discovered and took out a patent for bleaching powder.
1800 Henry Maudslay develops the screw-cutting lathe.
1800s During 19th century – Enormous gains in power conversion. Mass-production of textiles, iron, steel, machinery. Railway building era. Foundations of modern biology and sociology.
1800 Alessandro Volta developed the Voltaic pile from the Galvanic cell – the basis of an electrical battery.
1801 The Charlotte Dundas designed by William Symington and built at Grangemouth, England was the first practical steamboat
1801 Irishman James Finley designed and built the first modern suspension Bridge in Fayette County, Pennsylvania, USA
1802 Public horse drawn rail-way opened to transport goods between Wandsworth and Croydon, England
1802 Joseph Bramah invents a planing machine
1803 William Horrocks improves the Cartwright power loom.
1804 Richard Trevithick developed the first high pressure steam engine and built the first full scale steam locomotive in Wales.
1804 Joseph Jacquard developed a loom for complex patterns using punched cards based on the 1725 method introduced by Bouchon.
1804 American Oliver Evans designed and built an amphibious steam powered vehicle
1804 John Stevens tests a steamboat with the first twin screw propellers in USA
1807 American engineer Robert Fulton designed a side-paddle steamboat built in New York
1807 Isaac de Rivaz in Paris invented a hydrogen powered internal combustion engine and fitted it into a vehicle.
1807 Englishman Thomas Young recorded the movements of a tuning fork on a kymograph – the forerunner of the phonograph.
1807 The world’s first horse drawn rail-way or tramway opened in Swansea, Wales.
1809 Joseph Bramah invents a fountain pen
1809 Carl Friedrich Gauss introduced the statistical method of least squares, maximum likelihood and the normal distribution.
1813 William Hedley designed and built his Puffing Billy an early steam locomotive running on smooth rails at Wylam Colliery near Newcastle upon Tyne, England
1814 Friedrich Koenig and Andreas Bauer invented a steam powered printing press in London
1814 George Stephenson introduces the first practical steam locomotive
1814 Pierre Simon Laplace set out the basics of a theory of probability
1816 Robert Salmon patented a tedder for spreading the grass during hay making.
1816 Rene Laennec invents the stethoscope in France.
1816 John McAdam built the first roadway with a camber which became known as ‘macadam’.
1817 The German draisine (or dandy-horse) developed as the archetype for a bicycle with the two in-line wheels propelled by the rider by pushing along the ground
1818 American Eli Whitney invents a milling machine.
1819 John Rennie completed a cast iron bridge over the River Thames at Vauxhall London.
1820 Englishman Warren de la Rue developed an incandescent lamp.
1820 Englishman George Rennie built a planer with a moveable bed.
1820 Andre Ampere researched the link between electricity and magnetism.
1820 American Ithiel Town patented a wooden lattice truss bridge in Connecticut.
1821 Aaron Manby constructs the first sea going iron steam boat in England
1821 Frenchman Claude Louis Navier formulated a general theory of elasticity. In 1826 he formulated the concept of the statical indeterminacy of structures.
1822 Scientific Congress at Leipzig
1822 Michael Faraday and James Stodart made small quantities of alloy steel.
1822 Charles Babbage publishes a proposal for difference engine – a mechanical forerunner of the computer but strictly for calculating with numbers.
1822 American Jacob Perkins made an experimental high pressure steam engine but it wasn’t practical at that time.
1822 The Caledonian canal opened – linking the east and west coasts of Scotland, designed by English engineer Thomas Telford.
1822 Frenchman Joseph Fourier introduced observed that some functions can be represented by a series of sines of multiples of a variable – we now call Fourier series
1823 Claude Navier introduced viscosity into fluid flow equations first presented by Leonhard Euler
1824 Joseph Aspdin patented Portland cement.
1824 William Sturgeon made the first electromagnet
1824 Frenchman Sadi Carnot publishes his ideal cycle of expansion and contraction of a gas such as steam – we now know as the Carnot Cycle
1825 The 363 mile Erie Canal linking the Hudson River to Lake Erie opened.
1825-1843 Marc Isambard Brunel and Thomas Cochrane build the first tunnel under a navigable river – the River Thames in London
1825-1863 The Stockton and Darlington Railway was the world’s first public railway.
1826 Scottish engineer Thomas Telford completes two suspension bridges in Wales over the Menai Straits and at Conwy
1826 Menai Bridge opened designed by Thomas Telford with William Provis as site engineer – who then wrote an extensive account of the works
1827 Walter Hancock built a small ten-seater steam bus.
1827 William Tierney Clark designed the first suspension bridge over the River Thames at Hammersmith.
1827 Georg Ohm formulated his law relating the current flowing in a resistor to the voltage.
1827 French mathematician Augustin Louis Cauchy wrote a rigorous definition of stress.
1827 Siméon Poisson describes the ratio of transverse to axial strain now known as Poisson’s ratio
1827 William and Thomas Cubitt established their building contracting company that built Covent Garden in 1830 and many other notable buildings in London
1828 Patrick Bell a Scottish minister invented a reaping machine.
1828 James Nielson, a Scot, invented a hot-blast process to increase the efficiency of smelting iron.
1828 The Institution of Civil Engineers founded in 1818 given a Royal Charter in which Civil Engineering was first formerly defined by Thomas Tredgold
1829 Englishman Sir Goldsworthy Gurney ran his steam powered road vehicle from London to Bath and back.
1829 The locomotive designed and built by George and Robert Stephenson called The Rocket defeated rivals in trials in Rainhill, near Liverpool, England
1829 Louis Braille published his first book of raised dots for the blind.
1829 The first UK water filtration plant built for the Chelsea Waterworks, Company, London.
1829 Barthelemy Thimonnier invented a sewing machine that became widely used.
1829 Frenchman Claude Genoux invented the papier mache method of stereotyping for printing.
1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway opened.
1830 Thomas Cochrane patented a technique of using compressed air in tunnels and caissons to exclude water.
1830 The cottage industry could no longer compete with factory production
1830 Isambard Kingdom Brunel wins the design competition for a bridge over the River Avon at Clifton, Bristol, England.
1831 Michael Faraday discovers electromagnetic induction – the basis for electrical motors.
1831 Joseph Gillot patents a process for making steel pens in large quantities.
1831 Chloroform synthesised
1832 New York had its first horse drawn rail-way or tramway
1832 The Göta Canal designed by English engineer Thomas Telford opened allowing ships between Gothenberg on the North Sea and the Baltic.
1832 Benoit Fourneyron developed the waterwheel into a more efficient water turbine
1832 Hippolyte Pixii, a Frenchman, builds the first primitive dynamo.
1833 The first long distance railway in the USA opened in South Carolina.
1833 Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber created the first electromagnetic telegraph
1833 Irishman William Hamilton reformulated Newtonian mechanics.
1834 Cyrus McCormick granted a patent for a reaping machine in USA
1834 Michael Faraday publishes the laws of electrolysis.
1834 German Moritz Hermann von Jacobi used battery cells to power a boat carrying 14 passengers in Russia
1834 Friedlieb Runge identified aniline dye in coal tar.
1834 Jacob Perkins made a workable refrigerator
1834 William Horner produces the Zoetrope – a toy with a rotating drum that appeared to make moving pictures.
1834 American Thomas Davenport developed a battery powered small model car.
1834-1840 Charles Babbage conceives an analytical engine which is the basis of a more general purpose computing engine – one seventh of the engine was built.
1835 Frost and Stutt develop an elevator or lift for a factory.
1835 Belgian Adolphe Quetelet applies statistical method to social sciences.
1836 American Samuel Colt patents a revolver mechanism that enables a gun to be fired multiple times without reloading.
1837 Godefroy Engelmann of France awarded a patent for chromolithography in which a picture is printed in tints and colours by repeated impressions.
1837 Samuel Morse patented a code signalling system
1837 Thomas Davenport obtained a patent for an electric machine
1837 William Cooke and Charles Wheatstone patent a telegraph system which used a number of needles on a board to point to letters. The first system was installed on a London railway
1837 Scottish inventor Robert Davidson built the first electric locomotive
1837 The first trains run between London and Birmingham designed by Robert Stephenson.
1838 Scottish engineer James Naysmyth sketches an idea for a steam hammer. Francois Bourdon builds a steam hammer of similar design in France.
1838 German Carl von Steinheil used the ground as a return conductor of an above ground telegraph and reduced the cost of wire by a factor of two.
1838 Welsh physicist William Gove wrote about his first fuel cell.
1838 William Barnett patents a two-cycle gas engine.
1838 John Ericsson designed the US Navy’s first screw propelled steam frigate.
1838 The first steam ship crossed the Atlantic taking 19 days
1839 German physicist Christian Schönbein also invents a fuel cell
1839 Josiah Heath patented the use of manganese and carbon in steel to make it more malleable.
1839 Prussian Moritz von Jacobi develops electrotype to form metal parts to reproduce a model.
1839 In Paris Louis Daguerre produced images on silver palted sheets of copper called daguerreotype.
1840 Sir William Grove invented one of the first incandescent electric lights.
1841 William Fox Talbot developed callotype – an early photographic process.
1841 Julius von Mayer, a German and one of the founders of thermodynamics enunciated a version of the first law of thermodynamics – that energy can neither be created nor destroyed.
1841 Englishman Sir Joseph Whitworth developed a standard system for screw threads
1842 Scottish engineer James Nasmyth patented and built a steam hammer
1843 H. R. Palmer, the inventor and patentee of corrugated iron assists the building of a corrugated iron roof for a station on the East Counties Railway
1843 Englishmen William Henson and John Stringfellow invented a flying machine they called the Aerostat.
1843 Charles Thurber invented and patented a typewriter.
1843 Dr Montgomery reports on gutta percha as a substitute for rubber
1843 Elijah Galloway patented Kamptulicon a floor covering made from powdered cork and natural rubber.
1843 John Bodmer patented a mechanical stoker to feed fuel into a furnace of a locomotive which was an improvement of an earlier version patented in 1934..
1843 The steamship the Great Britain launched – the first iron steam ship designed for transatlantic passenger crossings by English engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
1844 Charles Goodyear patented a process for producing vulcanised rubber.
1844 Alfred Donne embraced the daguerreotype and created microphotographs.
1844 John Roebling designed and built the first suspension bridge with steel cables in Pittsburgh
1844 American Horace Wells pioneered the use of nitrous oxide as a dental anaesthetic.
1844 In Germany Friedrich Keller patented a wood-pulp grinding machine
1845 Austrian Michael Thonet made the first bentwood chairs.
1845 William Miller presents diagrams of flame spectra.
1845 Thomas Wright devised an arc lamp in which carbon flat discs rotated by clockwork.
1845 Elias Howe creates a high speed sewing machine.
1845 Robert Thomson patented the pneumatic tyre in the UK
1845 The Hungerford Railway Bridge over the River Thames opened in London – designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
1845 Englishman Thomas Young defined the linear ratio of stress to strain for a material – now known as Young’s modulus.
1845 Sir George Stokes began to develop Navier’s work on the viscous flow of a fluid – we know as the Navier-Stokes Equations.
1845 Julius Weisbach proposed the basis of what we now call the Darcy-Weisbach equation for flow in pipes.
1845 German Gustav Kirchoff formulated his electrical circuit laws
1845 Auguste Fabry fan used a lobe pump with two interlocking sets of blades rotating in opposite directions to ventilate a mine in Belgium
1846 Richard Hoe designed rotary printing press. In New York
1846 John Warren, an American surgeon allowed William Morton to provide ether anaesthesia during a minor operation.
1846 Italian chemist Ascanio Sobrero invents nitroglycerine.
1846 Christian Schönbein discovers gun-cotton or nitrocellulose.
1847 Scottish medical doctor James Young Simpson uses chloroform as an anaesthetic
1847 American Moses Farmer constructed an electro-magnetic locomotive
1847 American James Bogardus patents the use of cast iron for buildings
1847 German Hermann von Helmholtz formulated the law of the conservation of energy now known as the first law of thermodynamics.
1847 The Dee Bridge collapsed designed by Robert Stephenson due to a phenomenon, unknown at the time, of lateral torsional buckling of the bridge beams
1847-1849 Charles Babbage produces difference engine number 2 with an output device.
1848 German chemist Rudolph Böttger developed the safety match.
1848 William Thomson proposed and absolute scale of temperature.
1849 Leon Foucault makes an arc light in Paris.
1849 The Széchenyi Chain Bridge in Budapest, Hungary, designed by the English engineer William Tierney Clark opened.
1849-1860 Scot William Macquorn Rankine developed the theory of thermodynamics
1850 The Britannia Bridge opened – a box girder railway bridge built over the Menai Straits in Wales designed by Robert Stephenson
1850 German Rudolf Clausius stated the first and second laws of thermodynamics
1850 The Angers Bridge in France due to resonance caused by marching soldiers
1851 Hermann von Helmholtz developed an ophthalmoscope.
1851 Crystal Palace. First International Exhibition of Machines and the Industrial Arts (Joseph Paxton)
1851 American Charles Page develops an electric motor capable of powering a 10 ton locomotive at 30 km/h.
1851 Isaac Singer granted a USA patent for an improved sewing machine
1851 Sir Joseph Paxton designed the Crystal Palace for the Great Exhibition in London.
1852 Charles Shepard constructed an electric clock at Greenwich
1852 American clock makers Aaron Dennison and Edward Howard mass produced watches with interchangeable parts.
1852 Elisha Otis develops the first safety elevator
1852 William Thomson formulated the second law of thermodynamics
1853 Julius Gintl in Vienna found a way to send two telegraph messages in opposite directions down the same wire
1853 The hypodermic syringe invented
1855 David Hughes telegraph allowed messages to be sent as text rather than Morse code.
1855 800 H.P. water turbine installed in Paris
1855 Sir William Armstrong developed a breech-loaded heavy gun
1855 Barré de Saint Venant stated what we now call Saint-Venant’s Principle regarding the different effects of statically equivalent loads at large distances from the load in a structure
1856 French chemist Henri Deville produced the first industrially made aluminium.
1856 Henry Bessemer invented the Bessemer process for the mass production of steel from pig iron
1857 Science Museum founded in London.
1857 Henry Darcy formulated what we now call Darcy’s law to describe flow through sand.
1858 Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ship the Great Eastern launched.
1858 Britain and North America linked by the first telegraph cable
1858-1863 Belgian engineer Etienne Lenoir developed the internal combustion engine and patented it in 1860 – it was the first to be a commercial success – he sold about 350 Hippomobiles that ran on hydrogen gas for the first time in 1863
1859 English engineer Joseph Bazalgette, as chief engineer of the London Metropolitan Board of Works designed the underground sewerage system for the city.
1859 The first steam propelled iron clad warship launched by the French Navy.
1859 Edwin Drake drills the first oil well in Pennsylvania.
1859 French physicist Gaston Plante invents a rechargeable lead-acid battery.
1859 The first refrigeration system using gaseous ammonia developed by Ferdinand Carré of France.
1860 Edouard-Leon Scott de Martinville invents the phonautograph and records the human voice for the first time.
1860 Italian Antonio Pacinnotti developed a dynamo with a smooth current using a commutator of many segments.
1860s A velocipede bicycle created from a draisine or dandy-horse
1861 Mechanical ship’s log (recording the distance sailed) patented by Thomas Walker
1861 American Richard Gatling invents the machine gun.
1862 The ironclad USS Monitor launched – designed by John Ericsson for the US Navy.
1862 Austrian Christian Reithmann filed a patent for an internal combustion engine which may have been four-stroke.
1862 Frenchman Alphonse Eugene Beau de Rochas originated the principle of the four-stroke internal combustion engine.
1863 The Metropolitan railway opens the first underground railway in London
1864 Belgian chemist Ernest Solvay developed an ammonia-soda process for the industrial production of sodium carbonate
1864 French physicist Louis Ducos du Hauron patented but did not build a device for taking and projecting motion pictures and then developed a process for colour photography in 1869
1864 Louis Pasteur pasteurized wine to kill bacteria.
1864 A Frenchman possible Ernest Michaux or Pierre Lallemant) attaches pedals to the front wheels of a velocipede.
1864 The Clifton Suspension Bridge, Bristol, England opened. Initially designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel but redesigned and built after his death by English engineers William Barlow and John Hawkshaw.
1864 Karl Culmann describes the methods of graphical statics
1865 Linus Yale created the Yale cylinder lock.
1865 German Carl Siemens developed the open hearth furnace to produce steel.
1865 Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell developed Maxwell’s equations for electromagnetism and unified the models of electricity magnetism and light.
1865 Aime and Rene Olivier travelled from Paris to Avignon in eight days on a velocipede with pedals
1866 Werner von Siemens, Sir Charles Wheatstone and Samuel Varley all independently developed and announced their electrical generator or dynamo.
1867 Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel invented dynamite.
1867 French gardener Joseph Monier made pots and troughs with iron mesh embedded in concrete – one of the first examples of reinforced concrete.
1867 Christopher Sholes with Samuel Soule and Carlos Glidden and later James Denmore developed a typewriter which when marketed in 1874 had most of the features we associate with a modern typewriter.
1867 Germans Nikolaus Otto and Eugen Langen improved on the Lenoir engine
1868 Wilhelm Zenker explained how light falling on silver chloride produced wave patterns of colour.
1868 A company called Micaux et Cie started mass producing bicycles.
1868 Robert Mushet invented tungsten steel – the first steel hard enough for machine tools.
1869 The Suez Canal opened linking the Mediterranean sea to the Red Sea developed by Ferdinand Vicomte de Lesseps a French diplomat.
1869 Russian Dmitri Mendeleev and German Lothar Meyer independently set out the basic ideas for the periodic table.
1869 American John Wesley Hyatt simplified the production of celluloid.
1869 William Perkin filed a patent to produce alizarin a madder lake pigment
1870 Edmund DeSmedt laid the first true asphalt paving in Newark, USA
1870 Austrian Siegfried Marcus used a gasoline powered engine in a simple handcart.
1870 Austrian Julius Hock built a gasoline fuelled engine.
1870 Frenchman Jean Martin Charcot used hypnotism in neurology.
1870 German Carl Linde discovered a refrigeration cycle and invented the first industrial air separation and gas liquefaction processes.
1871 German Karl Weigert was the first to stain bacteria with dyes.
1871 Frenchman Alphonse Penaud used twisted rubber to power a model aircraft.
1872 Brooklyn Bridge opened in New York but not to traffic until 1883
1872 George Brayton introduced the constant pressure engine and the Brayton thermodynamic cycle for gas turbine engines.
1872 The first modern stadium built for the Lansdowne Football Club in Dublin, Ireland – the brainchild of Henry Dunlop
1872 Marie Celeste found abandoned in the Atlantic Ocean off the Azores.
1873 George Westinghouse patents his air brake for trains.
1873 Italian Carlo Castigliano writes his dissertation in which he sets out his theorems to determine the internal forces in a linear statically indeterminate structure which we now call Castigliano’s theorems.
1873 Gabriel Lippmann, born in Luxembourg, developed a capillary electrometer which was used as the first ECG machine
1874 H Solomon introduces pressure cooking.
1875 John Wright installs America’s first electric arc street light in Philadelphia
1876 Franz Rings and Herman Schumm developed the Otto Silent engine based on the Otto Cycle of four strokes.
1876 A new building designed by Gustave Eiffel and Louis Boileau was built for Le Bon Marche in Paris. This was a shop founded by Aristide Boucicaut in 1852 which eventually became the first ever modern department store.
1876 Otto and Langen produced a four-cycle internal combustion engine.
1876 Alexander Graham Bell aided by Thomas Watson, developed and patented the electric telephone.
1876 A swing bridge over the River Tyne connecting Newcastle upon Tyne and Gateshead with machinery produced by Sir William Armstrong.
1877 Thomas Edison patented the microphone.
1877 Englishmen Arthur Downes and Thomas Blunt showed that sunlight could prevent the growth of bacteria.
1877 Joseph Coleman designed a compressed air machine for use in refrigeration based on the Brayton cycle in reverse.
1877 Thomas Edison creates the first phonograph.
1877 Austrian Wilhelm Kress designs a model flying machine.
1877 Emile Reynaud introduces his praxinoscope for motion pictures.
1878 Englishman Eadweard Muybridge captures moving pictures on an adapted version of Horner’s zoetrope which he called a zoopraxinoscope
1878-9 Sir William Siemens took out patents for electric arc furnaces for making steel.
1879 Werner von Siemens presented the first electric railway in which power was supplied through the rails.
1879 Thomas Edison experimented to find the carbon filament for a light bulb.
1879 Karl Benz built a stationary single cylinder two stroke engine
1879 The Tay Railway Bridge in Scotland designed by Sir Thomas Bouch collapsed
1879 The first automatic telephone patented by brothers Daniel and Thomas Connolly and Thomas Tighe in North America.
1880 Standard time (GMT) received Royal assent in UK to be followed by USA in 1883.
1880 Cup and cone ball-bearings used in bicycles in USA
1880 Wener von Siemens develops the first electric elevator for an exhibition in Mannheim, Germany.
1880 Joseph Swan patenets his first incandescent electric light bulb.
1881 Werner von Siemens introduced the Elektromote, an electric bus powered by an overhead power line
1881 French brothers Albert and Gaston Tissandier demonstrated the world’s first electric powered flight by attaching an electric motor to a dirigible balloon.
1882 Thomas Edison builds the first central power station in the USA.
1882 Frenchman Etienne Marey developed a chronophotographic gun that could take 12 consecutive frames a second recorded on the same picture.
1882 German Christian Otto Mohr devised a graphical method for representing stress in there dimensions which we now call Mohr’s Circle.
1883 Nikola Tesla conceived the poly-phase induction motor
1883 Brooklyn Bridge opened in New York – designed and constructed initially by John Roebling, then after an accident with the help of his wife Emily and after his death by his son Washington Roebling.
1883 Osborne Reynolds popularised the use of a ratio first introduced by Sir George Stokes to characterise different flow regimes which we now call Reynolds number.
1884 Austrian Carl Koller discovered that a few drops of cocaine in a patients cornea made it immobile and insensitive to pain.
1884 German Ottmar Mergenthaler invented a linotype machine to set up complete lines of type for printing.
1884 American Lester Pelton invented the Pelton water wheel as an impulse water turbine.
1884 German Max Duttenhofer invented smokeless gunpowder
1884 Sir Charles Parsons invented the steam turbine
1884 German Paul Nipkow developed a way of rotating a disc and transmitting pictures over a wire
1884 American George Eastman patented the first film in roll form.
1884 Emil Berliner,a German working in USA patented a hard rubber disc for recording sound
1884 Sir Hiram Maxim developed the recoil operated first machine gun – the Maxim Gun.
1885 Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach designed the pre-cursor of the modern petrol (gasoline) engine which they fitted to a two wheeler (the first motor cycle) then to a stagecoach and a boat.
1885 The first steel framed skyscraper built in Chicago.
1885 Karl Benz created a two seater vehicle with single cylinder four stroke engine using petrol.
1885 Isaac Singer patents the Singer Vibrating Shuttle which was the world’s really practical machine for domestic use
1886 America Charles Hall and, independently, Frenchman Paul Heroult developed an electrolysing process for the large scale production of aluminium.
1886 Ernst von Bergmann pioneered aseptic (disease free, sterile) surgery
1886 Herbert Akroyd Stuart invented the hot bulb or heavy oil engine.
1886 Heinrich Muller-Breslau develops a method for finding the influence of a structural beam
1886 William Ayreton and John Perry relate the elastic critical stress of a buckling beam to the failure stress allowing for a lack of straightness
1886 The Severn Tunnel linking the South West of England with Wales opened to carry the railway.
1887 Construction of Kiel Canal linking the North and Baltic Seas began – opened in 191895
1887 Gustav de Laval patented a centrifugal milk-cream separator and an early milking machine in 1894.
1887 Gustav de Laval built an impulse steam turbine based on an hourglass shaped nozzle.
1887 Heinrich Hertz demonstrated the existence of electro-magnetic waves
1887 American Tolbert Lanston demonstrated his monotype machine for printing – a key board produced punched cards which controlled an associated machine for fashioning types from strips of metal.
1887 Scottish born John Dunlop developed the pneumatic tyre for bicycles.
1888 George Eastman developed the Kodak camera based on roll film.
1888 Austrian Siegfried Marcus built his second car with an internal combustion engine.
1888 Thomas Edison and William Dickson start to develop a moving picture camera.
1889 Comte de Chardonnet developed artificial silk.
1889 Gustave Eiffel built the Eiffel Tower in Paris
1889 Singer produce the first electric sewing machines.
1889 Friedrich Engesser published his modified Euler formula for the buckling of a strut.
1890 The first AC power station opened in Deptford, London – designed by Englishman Sebastian Ziani de Ferranti.
1890 German Ludwig Brieger names poisons from organisms as toxins.
1890 Edouard Branly developed the first radio wave detector.
1890 Large cantilever suspended span railway bridge over the Firth of Forth near Edinburgh, Scotland opened – designed by English engineers Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker.
1891 Thomas Edison and William Dickson produce the kinetograph a forerunner of the modern film projector.
1891 Frenchman Edouard Michelin produced a detachable tyre for bicycles.
1891 The first submerged oil wells drilled in Ohio, USA.
1892 Frenchman Leon Bouly develops the cinematograph a motion picture camera and projector.
1892 American William Burroughs invented a ‘calculating machine’.
1892 Thomas Willson discovered a process for making calcium carbide used to make acetylene and calcium cyanamide.
1892 Edward Bevan, Charles Cross and Clayton Beadle took out a patent for rayon – the first manufactured fibre dubbed an artificial silk.
1892 Rudolf Diesel patents his internal combustion engine.
1892 Herbert Akroyd Stuart builds a diesel engine.
1894 Charles Jenkins created the phantoscope the first moving picture of the modern type
1894 London’s Tower bridge opened – designed by English engineer Sir John Wolfe Barry.
1895 French brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière took over Bouly’s cinema tograph and patented their own version.
1895 Otto Hoffman by-product coke oven plant constructed in Germany
1895 The first kinetoscope parlour or movie theatre opened in New York.
1895 Wilhelm Roentgen produced and detected X Rays
1896 Siemens completed an underground railway in Budapest
1896 Siemens AEG a three phase express railcar reached 206 km/h
1896 American Samuel Langley designed and flew briefly a steam-driven unmanned flying machine called the aerodrome
1896 French scientist Antoine Becquerel discovered radio activity in which atoms emit radiation
1896 The first revolving stage in Europe in Munich
1897 Marconi sends Morse code wireless signals
1897 German Walther Nernst invented an electric lamp known as the Nernst lamp
1897 Frenchman Joseph Boussinesq published his theory of swirling fluids which laid the basis for the study of turbulence.
1898 Disc records were first made of ‘shellac’
1898 Carl Auer von Welsbach develops a electric light bulb with a metal osmium filament.
1898 Marie and Pierre Curie discover radium and coined the term radioactivity.
1898 Sir Ebenezer Howard founded the garden city movement – a method of urban planning.
1899 Serbian American Mihajlo Pupin greatly extended the range of long distance telephone communication using loading coils.
1899 Max Planck laid the foundations of quantum theory
1900s During the 20th century – General introduction of scientific and technical research laboratories
1900 Frederick Taylor and Maunsel White invented a high-impact tungsten carbide tool steel.
1900 German Ferdinand Zeppelin first tested a dirigible air ship.
1901 National Bureau of Standards founded in the United States
1901 The Engineering Standards Committee set up – became the British Standards Institution (BSI) in 1931.
1901 USA National Bureau of Standards set up.
1902 The Aswan Dam opened in Egypt across the River Nile – designed by English engineer Sir William Willcocks.
1903 Charles Manly modified an engine developed by Stephen Balzer to create the first purpose built aeroengine.
1903 Dutchman Willem Einthoven invents a electrocardiograph for recording electrical impulses within the heart muscle.
1903 Brothers Orville and Wibur Wright made the world’s first successful controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight.
1903 American Michael Owens opens his company for making glass bottles automatically.
1904 American Benjamin Holt develops the first crawler tractor with a caterpillar tread
1904 Charles Rolls and Henry Royce meet in Manchester and launch their first car.
1906 The Simplon tunnel opened between Switzerland and Italy.
1906 Reginald Fessenden made first transatlantic two way transmission of Morse code
1906 Reginald Fessenden broadcast the human voice.
1906 Leo Baekeland first patents Bakelite and the age of plastic begins
1907 Rolls Royce build their most famous car, the Silver Ghost, in Derby, England.
1907 The first Quebec Bridge collapsed designed by Theodore Cooper. In 1916 a second accident occurred as the central suspended span was being lifted into place.
1908 The first Model T Ford rolled off the production line in Detroit, USA.
1909 Charles Saunders distributes Marquis wheat to farmers on the norther great plains
1909 Louis Blériot is the first to fly across the English Channel.
1911 Ukrainian Stephen Timoshenko publishes his first of many books on structural mechanics.
1913 Henry Ford designed his first assembly line for making automobiles
1913 Richard von Mises formulates what we now call the von Mises yield criteria for materials
1914 The Panama Canal connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans opened in Panama – with chief engineer John Stevens.
1914 First working Sonar (Sound navigation and ranging) systems developed by Reginald Fessenden in USA
1914 Panama Canal opened
1916 American William Boeing flew an aircraft built by himself and then set up his own company in Seattle, USA with George Westervelt.
1917 Frenchman Paul Langévin invented the quartz sandwich transducer for transmitting sound underwater
1917 Austrian Johann Radon describes a transform which later became important in tomography – the creation of an image from cross sectional scans of an object.
1919 First aeroplane crash in Italy killing all people on board.
1920 First scheduled radio broadcasts take place in USA.
1920s First suggestions of a quantitative approach to risk assessment at Bell Telephone Systems.
1921 Frank Knight publishes his book Risk, Uncertainty and Profit
1924-1960 Hungarian-American Theodore von Kármán developed the theory of fluid flow
1925 Werner Heisenberg publishes his theory of quantum mechanics
1925 Austrian Karl von Terzhagi lays down the foundations for soil mechanics.
1925 Andrew Robertson modified the Ayrton Perry formula of 1886 to create the Perry-Robertson formula for the buckling of struts
1926 Scottish engineer John Logie Baird demonstrates colour television.
1926 South African statesman Jan Smuts proposes a theory of holism
1927 American Charles Lindbergh fliew solo across the Atlantic
1927 Werner Heisenberg publishes his uncertainty principle
1928 George Eastman exhibits the first colour motion pictures
1928 French engineer Eugene Freyssinet pioneered pre-stressed concrete.
1928 Russian Sergei Sokolov first suggested that flaws in metal could be detected by variations in ultrasonic energy
1929 Kodak introduce 16mm colour film
1929 Sir Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin.
1929 HM Airship R100 first flew but later scrapped after R101 crashed.
1929 Mark Lidwell described an electrical apparatus to drive the heart for use during emergencies
1930 English woman Amy Johnson flies from England to Australia in 19 days
1930 Swiss engineer Robert Maillart designed the innovative reinforce concrete arch Salginatobel Bridge
1930 HM Airship R101 crashed in France on its maiden flight to India.
1930 Hardy Cross published the moment distribution method for finding the internal bending moments in a statically indeterminate structural framework
1930-1937 Sir Frank Whittle developed the turbojet engine
1931 Englishman Geoffrey De Havilland designed the Tiger Moth
1931 The George Washington Brisge is opened in New York – designed by
1931 Kurt Gödel published his incompleteness theorems of mathematics.
1932 John Cockcroft and Ernest Walton became the fisrt to split an atom
1932 The Sydney Harbour Bridge is opened – designed by
1932 John Von Neumann laid down the foundations of ergodic theory, a framework for quantum mechanics and of cellular automata.
1932 Albert Hyman in New York developed a heart pacemaker weighing 7.2 kg
1935 First practical Radar (Radio detection and ranging) systems developed by Englishman Robert Watson-Watt.
1936 Hoover Dam opened in Arizona, designed by a joint venture called Six Companies Inc.
1936 The Spitfire has its first test flight
1937 Alan Turing described the properties of a logically possible computer known as the Turing Machine
1937 The Golden Gate Bridge opened in San Francisco
1938 Hungarian Lajos Biro invented and patented the ball point pen
1939 The first practical helicopter tested – designed by American Igor Sikorsky
1939-1945 Construction in USA of all welded Liberty Ships for the war effort but many broke up at anchor through brittle fracture.
1940 John Fleetwood Baker designed the Morrison (sometimes Anderson) shelter used in the UK during WWII to shelter people from bomb explosions.
1940 The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapsed dramatically – nick-named ‘Galloping Gertie’ because of it violent oscillations.
1941 Howard Florey developed and used penicillin as an antibiotic
1941 Sir William Halcrow set up an engineering consultancy in transport, water, tunnelling and maritime engineering.
1942 German engineer Fritz Pfleumer invented magnetic recording tape.
1942 First man made nuclear reactor built in the USA.
1942 Enrico Fermi and team achieve the first nuclear chain reaction.
1942 Karl Dussik in Vienna began to detect brain tumours using ultrasound with a through-transmission technique – a first attempt at scanning.
1943 The world’s first programmable, electronic digital computer used for wartime coding at Bletchley Park, England.
1943 Sir Barnes Wallis developed a bouncing bomb used on air raid on dams in Germany
1943 Americans Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts laid the foundations for the development of neural nets
1944 The Gloster Meteor flies with  a jet engine developed by Sir Frank Whittle
1944 The Messerschmitt fighter bomber introduced the jet engine into combat
1945 Nuclear weapons dropped on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
1945 Wernher von Braun moves to the USA to develop the German V2 rocket into an intercontinental ballistic missile
1945 Dorothy Hodgkin described the molecular structure of penicillin.
1946 Ove Arup & partners formed
1947 William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain developed the transistor at Bell Laboratories, USA.
1947 Denis Gabor created the first hologram
1947 Polish American Alfred Freudenthal laid the basis for a theory of structural reliability
1948 Norbert Wiener introduced Cybernetics as the control of systems
1949 Technique of radio carbon dating is developed.
1950 Austrian Ludwig von Bertalanffy publishes his general systems theory
1950 George Ludwig in New York made a ultrasonic locator available commercially.
1950-60 Jon Turner at Boeing USA and then John Argyris, Ray Clough, Harold Martin, L J Topp and Olgierd Zienkiewicz developed and promoted the finite element method of structural analysis.
1951 John Hopps designed a heart pacemaker
1952 Daniel Drucker and William Prager formulated the Drucker-Prager yield criterion for plastic yielding of a material.
1952 Englishman John Wild and John Reid publish techniques to determine the structure of biological tissue using echo-ranging
1953 Francis Crick and James Watson discover the double helix structure of DNA
1953 First hydrogen bomb is exploded
1953 Ultrasound used to treat rheumatic arthritis in Colorado, USA.
1953 B Pollak first describes tomography which he called planography.
1953 The ferry MV Princess Victoria sank in the North Channel after leaving Stranraer, Scotland.
1954 Nuclear power first used to generate electricity in the USSR
1954 John Fleetwood Baker (later Lord Baker), Michael Horne, Jacques Heyman publish a plastic theory of structural collapse
1954 Americans Theodore Hueter and Richard Bolt publish a book on ultrasonic engineering.
1954 A de Havilland Comet crashes due to metal fatigue.
1955 Swiss Heinz Isler designs his first thin concrete shell roof.
1956 Calder Hall nuclear power station opened in England.
1956 The first transatlantic telephone cable laid
1956 Artificial Intelligence became an academic discipline of computer science with work by Americans Marvin Minsky, John McCarthy, Claude Shannon and Nathan Rochester.
1957 USSR spacecraft puts a dog into space
1957 American Earl Bakken produced the first battery operated wearable heart pacemaker.
1957 American Walton Lillehei implanted the first myocardial wire but still needed mains supply. That year a little girl dies due to a power supply failure.
1957 Earl Bakken adapted a transistorised metronome invented at MIT Radiation Labs during WW2. Lillehei used it on a small girl immediately
1958 Jack Kilby at Texas Instruments USA made the first integrated circuit.
1958 Suede Ake Senning implanted the first heart pacemaker in a patient
1958 Scotsmen Ian Donald, John McVicar and Tom Brown publish a paper on investigating abdominal masses by pulsed ultrasound. The next year they started to detect fetal heads and then the study of fetal growth.
1959 The first Hovercraft crosses the English Channel
1959 USSR spacecraft orbits the moon.
1959 American Daniel Drucker proposed mathematical criteria that restrict possible non-linear stress-strain relations for a solid material
1959 American William Greatbach patented the implantable pacemaker.
1959 First unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or drones) of the modern era developed.
1961 Yuri Gagarin became the first man to travel in space.
1964 The Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opnes in New York
1965 Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei Leonov walks in space for more than 10 minutes
1965 Iranian/American Lotfi Zadeh published his first paper proposing fuzzy sets and fuzzy logic
1965 BP Sea Gem was the first British offshore oil rig and the first disaster when it collapsed
1965 Three out of a group of eight cooling towers collapsed at Ferrybridge, England.
1966 A USSR spacecraft achieved a soft landing on the moon.
1967 Jack Kilby files for a patent of the first hand held electronic calculator.
1968 One of the first skyscrapers with a trussed ‘tube’ structure opened – the John Hancock Centre in Chiacago – designed by structural engineer Fazlur Khan
1968 A block of flats (apartments) at Ronan Point in London partially collapsed. The technical enquiry lead by Sir Alfred Pugsley produced far reaching changes for the treatment of wind loads and for the robust design of buildings in the UK
1968 Stuart Campbell described fetal cephalometry (measurement of growth).
1969 The Anglo-French airliner Concorde made its first test flight
1969 Neil Armstrong sets foot on the moon
1970 The Cleddau Bridge at Milford Haven, Wales and the Westgate Bridge in Melbourne Australia collapsed – two of the three box girder bridges designed by Freeman Fox and Partners with Chief Engineer Oleg Kerensky.
1970 Stephen Wiesner laid out ideas that could lead to quantum computing
1971 Jack Benjamin and Allin Cornell wrote the first comprehensive text on probability and statistics for civil engineers
1971 Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanning developed by American Paul Lauterbur and Englisman Peter Mansfield.
1971 CT (X ray computed tomography) scanner invented by Sir Geoffrey Hounsfield and Allan Cormack introduced into medical practice for the first time.
1972 German Frei Otto designed the membrane structure for the roof of the Munich Olympic Arena.
1973 The first mobile cellular phone demonstrated
1973 Sydney Opera House opened – engineering design by Ove Arup
1975 Rasmussen Reactor Safety study published based on probabilistic risk assessment.
1975 Bill Gates founded Microsoft with Paul Allen
1976 The first Apple personal computer launched.
1976 Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs found Apple Computers
1976 The CN Tower Toronto opened. Wind effects were engineered by Alan Davenport who went on to be responsible for analysing the wind effects on many tall buildings and bridges
1976 MV Derbyshire sank south of Japan due to structural failure.
1976 The earthen Teton Dam in Idaho, USA failed as it was being filled
1979 A DC 10 aircraft crashed minutes after take-off due to faulty maintenance.
1979 The nuclear reactor at Three Mile Island, Pennsylvania, USA suffered meltdown.
1980 The Society for Risk Analysis formed.
1980 Russian Yuri Manin proposed the idea of a quantum computer
1980 Structural failure of ship tanker Energy Concentration in Rotterdam.
1981 The Humber Bridge opened in England
1981 A footbridge in the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City collapsed.
1984 The Carsington Dam in Derbyshire failed partially.
1984 One of the world’s worst man-made disasters occurred in Bhopal India when a gas explosion caused the leak of noxious chemicals
1984 A methane gas explosion destroyed a waterworks valve house at Abbeystead, Lancashire, England – the gas had seeped from coal deposits.
1986 US Space Shuttle Challenger explodes less than two minutes after takeoff.
1986 The nuclear reactor at Chernobyl in Ukraine exploded
1986 Patent for 3D printing granted to Charles Hull in USA
1987 The first virtual reality machines developed
1987 Capsize of ferry Herald of Free Enterprise soon after leaving Zebrugge harbour, Belgium – bow doors not properly closed
1988 Oil Rig Piper Alpha destroyed by fire in the North Sea.
1989 The oil tanker Exxon Valdiz ran aground spilling devastating amount of oil.
1989 An earthquake caused a section of the upper deck of the Oakland Bay Bridge, in San Francisco to collapse onto the lower section.
1990 Logitech introduce first digital camera
1990 The first world wide web site published.
1990 The Leaning Tower of Pisa closed. It was opened again in 2008 after an international team of experts including English Engineer John Burland made it safe from collapse.
1992 The Puente del Alamillo bridge in Seville opened – concept design by Spanish engineer and architect Santiago Calatrava
1993 Work begins in China on the Three Gorges Dam.
1994 The first DVD introduced
1994 The tunnel under the English Channel linking England and France is opened
1994 Bluetooth wireless communication conceived for short distances
1995 GPS (Global Positioning Systems) became operational for civilian use
1997 Train crash at Southall, London after train passed a signal.
1998 Construction of the International space station begins
1998 The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge opened in Japan
1998 Google founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin
1999 Train crash at Ladbroke Grove London after train passed a signal.
2000 The Millennium Dome (really a tent) opened the structure designed by Buro Happold lead by English engineer William Liddell
2000 Toyota released the Prius the first hybrid saloon car in USA
2001 Construction of The Palm Islands of Dubai on reclaimed land
2001 Eric Schmidt becomes CEO of Google
2001 The World Trade Centre collapsed after an attack by terrorists now well known as 9/11. The structure was designed by American engineer Leslie Robertson.
2004 The Millau Viaduct France opened – designed by French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux
2004 Launch of Facebook social networking service
2004 Researchers extract single atom thick graphene
2004 Opportunity robotic rover lands on Mars and still active in 2017
2005 Airbus A380 made a first test flight
2005 Nanotechnology
2005 Researchers develop a semi-conductor chip that may pave the way for quantum computing
2006 China’s Three Gorges Dam is completed
2006 Launch of Twitter news and social networking service
2007 I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, USA collapsed
2009 CERN restarts the Hadron Collider
2010 An explosion destroyed BP’s Deepwater Horizon Oil  rig
2010 Burj Khalifa building in Dubai opened. It is 828 meters high with 163 floors.
2011 Swedish surgeons use a patients stem cells to coat a plastic replica of his wind pipe and transplant it.
2011 The nuclear power station at Fukushima, Japan was severely damaged by a tsunami.
2012 NASA landed science laboratory on Mars
2012 London 2012 Olympics building programme on time and on budget using new thinking about explicit collaboration.
2012 3D printing became widely available
2012 The Shard skyscraper opened in London
2014 The European Space Agency’s Philae lander leaves the spaceship Rosetta and lands on the surface of a comet
2016 MIT creates first five-atom quantum computer
2016 Drones with GPS trackers become available for hobbyists
2016 Virtual reality headsets become widely available

Engineering timeline BC