24-hour endurance record, SF Edge

GORDON BENNETT!

At the turn of the twentieth century, motor-racing was fraught with danger.  Races took place on the long, straight, main roads between cities and were impossible to police.  Hazards included spectators on the road, non-race traffic and poor quality roads.  The particularly disastrous 1903 Paris to Madrid race almost ended the sport, when as many as ten casualties (among both participants and spectators) led to … Continue reading GORDON BENNETT!

Clearing up in the town of Soissons after bombing, September 1914 (photo by Fred Davidson)

PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE TRENCHES

Andrew Davidson’s grandfather, Fred, took into the trenches with him a foldable camera. The small, portable, foldable camera was one of the great advances in technology that followed the Edwardian era. For young men obsessed with the latest ‘gadgets’ in an age of invention – motorbikes, cars, planes – it became an affordable must-have, with its ability to take snapshots quickly on small rolls of … Continue reading PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE TRENCHES

Latest project before painting.

CHERRY HILL

Cherry Hinds Hill is a well-known name to those in the model engineering world and her models are considered remarkable for their quality. The Duke of Edinburgh Challenge Trophy and the Championship Cup has been won by Cherry 9 times. Yet she has always maintained a low profile-she has allowed her work to speak for her. Cherry’s models are based on both historic working engines … Continue reading CHERRY HILL

BOOK REVIEW: Jet Flight

Henry Davies, work experience student, reviews a book from the library’s Archive Gallery. Jet Flight, John Grierson, 1946 On my work experience at the IMechE I spent a day in the library and for part of the day I was privileged enough to visit the upper level of the library where I found and read a number of very interesting books from the dawn of … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Jet Flight

WOMEN RIDERS

Kitty May Brunell was one of a clutch of women motorsport riders in the 1920s-1930s. Born in 1911, Kitty grew up surrounded by racing. Her father was Bill Brunell (officially William Joseph Brunell), a well-known photographer of motorsports. Her mother was Katie Margaret Meech. Brunell officially began rallying in 1928, she was only seventeen at the time, but it seems she stopped around 1933. Despite … Continue reading WOMEN RIDERS

Ambulance car in ditch (Paul Cadbury papers)

FRIENDS AMBULANCE UNIT

“Altogether the Buicks (the last model of ambulance they used, presumably supplied by the Americans) gave good service, but I shudder to think what would have happened had the war lasted another year. Two years would seem to be about the maximum with an American chassis over war time roads.” When we think of engineering and engineers in the context of war, normally we conjure … Continue reading FRIENDS AMBULANCE UNIT

SIR HENRY BESSEMER

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

Women factory workers 1917

CLAUDIA & VERENA

Magnificent Women and their Revolutionary Machines Guest blog from Henrietta Heald Loughborough University’s Pioneering Women: There must be some sort of creative magic in the air of Loughborough. This thought occurred to me last week when I heard that two 16-year-old schoolboys from the Leicestershire town had been jointly awarded the title Young Engineer of the Year. Sankha Kahagala-Gamage and David Bernstein won the prize for inventing a vest … Continue reading CLAUDIA & VERENA

CREATING A DIGITAL ARCHIVE

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

Sailing chariot

BOOK REVIEW: Mathematical Magick

Laura Beduz, Librarian, reviews a historical book from the Library’s special collections. Mathematical Magick, John Wilkins, 1680 This is one of the earliest books on mechanical engineering housed in the Institution Library. It was published in London in 1680 and was presented to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers by Henry Adams on the 11th Aug 1921. In this work, John Wilkins describes the “mechanical arts”, … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: Mathematical Magick