THE W.H. ALLEN DESK

As a result of the library’s recent refurbishment and re-opening as the Library and Members’ Hub, visitors coming to view our archives will now be working on the desk used by engineer William Henry Allen in his office at the Queen’s Engineering Works in Bedford. Allen’s company, WH Allen and Sons, were best known as the leading British manufacturer of marine auxiliary machinery for the … Continue reading THE W.H. ALLEN DESK

JAMES NASMYTH AND THE STEAM HAMMER

James Nasmyth’s Steam Hammer This model, in the IMechE’s collection, is made to 1/8th scale and based on the steam hammer made at Nasmyth’s works in Patricroft, Manchester. It shows the hammer with the self-acting improvement patented in June 1847. Through harnessing the power of steam Nasmyth’s hammer revolutionised existing mechanised hammers leading to both reduction in costs and improvements in quality of forging iron. … Continue reading JAMES NASMYTH AND THE STEAM HAMMER

An aluminium alloy camshaft cover being poured in the foundry.

THE NAPIER AERO ENGINE IN THE MAKING

D. Napier and Son Ltd. was a British engineering company best known for manufacturing and later designing automotive and aeronautical engines during the first half of the 20th century. One of the company’s most successful engines was the Lion, a 12-cylinder W12 configuration aero engine which was first produced in 1917 and continued to be manufactured into the 1930s. The Lion was a versatile engine … Continue reading THE NAPIER AERO ENGINE IN THE MAKING

IMechE membership register showing the handwritten entry for A. C. Hobbs.

THE IMECHE, THE GREAT EXHIBITION AND THE GREAT LOCK PICKING DEBATE

Between 1st May and 15th October 1851, the “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations” more commonly known as the “Great Exhibition” took place in Hyde Park. The Great Exhibition offered the opportunity for many eminent engineers and engineering firms to display the products of their labour to the world. The occasion of the Great Exhibition prompted the Institution’s first London based … Continue reading THE IMECHE, THE GREAT EXHIBITION AND THE GREAT LOCK PICKING DEBATE

THE IMECHE LIBRARY IN 1899

The Library at One Birdcage walk not only retains many of its original architectural features dating back to the opening of the building in 1899, but also some of its collections! 120 years to the day since the official opening, we’re reflecting on what the Library was like at that time. The Institution of Mechanical Engineers was founded in Birmingham in 1847 to “give an … Continue reading THE IMECHE LIBRARY IN 1899

Front cover of the programme for the opening ceremony for One Birdcage Walk Sticky post

120 YEARS SINCE ONE BIRDCAGE WALK’S OPENING CEREMONY

The 16th and 17th May 2019 mark the 120th anniversary of the Opening Ceremony of 1 Birdcage Walk, home today to the IMechE. This blog post uses material from our archive to reveal more about the Opening Ceremony and the planning behind it. A rapidly growing membership meant that the Institution’s needs could no longer be met in its temporary locations first in Birmingham, then in … Continue reading 120 YEARS SINCE ONE BIRDCAGE WALK’S OPENING CEREMONY

First production Lanchester, 1900

LANCHESTER, THE AUTO PIONEER

Frederick William Lanchester (1868-1946) is well-known in automotive circles as an early innovator. His Pendulum Accelerometer is one of many items he gave to IMechE archive. Designed and constructed by him, and used by Daimler and Company, for the testing of brakes and accelerators (patented 1890). 100s of Lanchester drawings, as well as photos & written works are online. In late 1888, Lanchester was working … Continue reading LANCHESTER, THE AUTO PIONEER

SF Edge leaving Athy control, Napier racing car, 1903 for the 4th Gordon Bennett Trophy.

SEARCH THE IMECHE ARCHIVE: HOW-TO VIDEOS

These three short videos demonstrate how to search the archival collections, how to find historical member records and how to access images from the archive online. Searching the archive: Searching for historical members: Finding historical images:   Archive, Institution of Mechanical Engineers Continue reading SEARCH THE IMECHE ARCHIVE: HOW-TO VIDEOS

Parsons 5kw turbogenerator set model, c1880

THE DYNAMISM OF CA PARSONS

Charles Algernon Parsons spent a lot of time in his father’s workshop (3rd Earl of Rosse, astronomer) listening to the many scientists who visited and observing his father’s work. He studied maths at Cambridge University. In 1884 he went to work for Clarke, Chapman, and Company, manufacturers of electric dynamos. Realising that a significant amount of energy was being lost between the engine and the dynamo, … Continue reading THE DYNAMISM OF CA PARSONS

Engineering workshop model section, based on Royal Arsenal works, c1893-1910

A MODEL WORKSHOP

Our engineering model used to be owned by Hiram Maxim (1840-1916), who was best known as the inventor of the Maxim gun (the first portable fully automatic machine gun). After he died in 1916, his widow Lady Sarah gifted it to IMechE. In 1885, Maxim had introduced his invention at IMechE in the paper, Description of the Maxim automatic machine gun. Watch the workshop running & view … Continue reading A MODEL WORKSHOP