From 1833 Sir Henry Bessemer lived in Islington at 15 Northampton Square, on the site today is the main entrance of City, University of London. Today, a Blue Plaque for Bessemer is being unveiled by the Mayor of Islington. This will be accompanied by an exhibition which will focus on the history of Northampton Square, Bessemer’s life and his invention of the revolutionary Bessemer Process, as well … Continue reading SIR HENRY BESSEMER


Creating a virtual archive for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers IMechE’s Virtual Archive In conjunction with Townsweb The vast archive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) spans over 150 years in scope and is of National importance. So we were privileged to be selected by the Institution to build a Virtual Archive portal and publish their prestigious holdings online. Above image: Napier Deltic engine, … Continue reading CREATING A DIGITAL ARCHIVE

Christian Friedrich Lautenschlager in a Mercedes in the 1914 French Grand Prix


Planes, trains and automobiles: mechanical engineering archives now online Over 1900 images from the archives and historic book collection of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) are now available online via VADS. From pictures of experimental cars, aeroplanes, engine designs, engineers portraits, railway locomotives and much more. Highlights include works of art of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, images of Napier engines, design drawings of … Continue reading IMAGE LIBRARY ONLINE

British tank factory, 1917


“It was a weapon designed for one simple task: crossing the killing zone between trench lines and breaking into enemy defenses [sic].” (1) Today marks the 100th anniversary of the first tanks used in combat during World War One The Mark I British ‘landship’ was introduced at the battle of Flers-Courcelette ten weeks into The Somme  Organized in secret, the plan went awry when the … Continue reading 100 YEARS OF THE TANK

Visits made by members of the Institution of St Louis, Festival Hall and Cascades


The Louisiana Purchase Exposition, or St. Louis World’s Fair, was an international event held in St. Louis in 1904. We know many Members of IMechE were planning on attending because James Rowan wrote to the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Secretary to suggest that their attendance would be a good opportunity for the two Institutions to hold a joint summer meeting in Chicago. A … Continue reading MEET ME IN ST LOUIS

Sir William Anderson


This week marks 180 years since the birth of William Anderson, a past president of our Institution. Born in St Petersburg on the 5th January 1835, Anderson came to the UK in 1849 to study applied sciences at Kings College, London. Upon graduation, he travelled to Manchester to be a pupil of Sir William Fairbairn at the Canal Street Works. Anderson then moved to Dublin … Continue reading ANNIVERSARIES SERIES-Sir William Anderson


    Frank Ewart Smith (1897-1995) was Deputy Director of Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), he then went on to work with the NHS and undertook work as a Fellow of the Royal Society. During the Second World War he worked on armaments, especially the PIAT (Projector, Infantry, Anti-Tank portable weapon). Smith was also Vice President of the IMechE. His archive is now catalogued and open … Continue reading FRANK EWART SMITH

Engineers at War: from home front to battle front


Engineers at War: from Home Front to Battle Front On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, the guns of the Western Front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare. Engineers were involved in the conflict at every level, both at home and abroad. The First World War arguably represents the largest seismic shift of the … Continue reading ENGINEERS AT WAR: FROM HOME FRONT TO BATTLE FRONT

Before and after alterations made to Boulton & Watt valves. From the beautifully illustrated notebooks of Henry Wright.


It would be a fair bet to assume that the vast majority of mechanical engineers have heard and know something of James Watt but what of his somewhat overshadowed partner Matthew Boulton? Since 1825 Watt has been honoured in Westminster Abbey, now Boulton is to receive the same recognition. So who is Matthew Boulton? The son of a Birmingham manufacturer of small metal products, Boulton … Continue reading MATTHEW BOULTON

Steam turbine blades from an early sketch by Sir Charles Parsons

OBJECTS OF ENGINEERING-steam turbine notebook

Charles Algernon Parsons, Steam Turbine Notebook, 1894-1897  Last time we looked at the unconventional side of Parsons inventiveness (his quest for diamonds), this time we look at the work he is best known for. Parsons’ notebook features notes, calculations and sketches by Parsons on experimental parallel-flow (or axial-flow steam turbines) and related material. It is fully readable on our virtual archive. Best known for his … Continue reading OBJECTS OF ENGINEERING-steam turbine notebook