An aluminium alloy camshaft cover being poured in the foundry.


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

First production Lanchester, 1900


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.


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

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


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


Launched on 31st January, The Watercolour World showcases the pre-photographic world in over 80,000 images, including several 100 items from our archives. So come and take a tour around a vanishing world without even leaving your seat! Here are some of our IMechE favourites, explore our images for yourself: And from around the site: Archives, Institution of Mechanical Engineers Continue reading MECHANICAL WATERCOLOURS


Photographs of James Watt ‘s parallel eidographs have been found during the cataloguing and conservation of recently discovered photos at IMechE. These curious objects was designed to copy and create sculpture. Watt developed the machines at his home, Heathfield Hall. The photos were found with letters about the machine, they are freely available online. Watt developed two sculpture-copying machines; one for same size copies and one for … Continue reading WATT’S EIDOGRAPH


Sunday marks 100 years since the end of the First World War. The War created a seismic shift culturally, politically, geographically and technologically – its ramifications are still being felt. The necessity of the War brought with it huge advances in all sectors of engineering. Over the last 4 years we have been looking at how engineering and the War impacted each other. Engineers at War: from Home … Continue reading FIRST WORLD WAR


Man’s fascination with Mars goes back millennia. Mars is also one the few heavenly bodies on which we see surface features; these have inspired the imagination of everyone from scientists, to artists, to writers. The records of Martian observation date back to the 2nd millennium BC when Egyptian astronomers observed the planet and recorded its position. It was portrayed on the ceiling of the tomb … Continue reading REACH FOR THE STARS

WWI engineering workshop


International Women in Engineering Day is a global celebration of women past, present and future. As was the case in many professions, female pioneers in mechanical engineering had to work hard to break into a male dominated profession. The issue of women members was first raised in the Institution of Automobile Engineers (IAE) in May 1907. Miss Cleone de Heveningham Benest (1880-1963) wrote to find out … Continue reading CELEBRATING WOMEN

Viaduct across the Sankey


George Stephenson is rightly known as a great engineer. He is primarily associated with railways but he was active in other areas – there were lively debates, encompassing supporter’s gatherings, witness statements and letters, discussing whether he or Humphrey Davy invented the safety lamp. Here at IMechE, we hold a large collection of Stephenson material, both for George and Robert, and their companies – including … Continue reading STEPHENSON ONLINE