Parsons 5kw turbogenerator set model, c1880


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

Flying testbed B2 Canberra WK163 fitted with a NSc D1-2 Double Scorpion rechargeable booster rocket. Stamped on rear - Napier Luton Airport, Neg no 22641, and Secret.


Whether you are in Dundee, Devises, Doha or Delhi you can now gain access to key items held in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers archive collection, all for free, just by going online. Curated from our extensive physical collections, our Virtual Archive showcases a selection of models, items, drawings, notebooks, photographs and documents about the history of engineering and the Institution. We have captured 3D … Continue reading VIRTUAL ARCHIVE: ENGINEERING HISTORY ONLINE

Steam turbine blades sketch by Sir Charles Parsons


The Institution has an illustrious list of over 200 Honorary Fellows, 1866 onwards, drawn from across the disciplines of science and engineering (called Honorary Members until 1968, Fellows thereafter). Almost a quarter were also our President. From 22 countries, they represent the international nature of engineering, including Gustav Eiffel (civil engineer) from France: others hail from China, Japan, New Zealand, America, India and the Netherlands. Inventive … Continue reading HONORARY FELLOWS


Announcing the launch of our new and improved archive catalogue, archive cat. Archive cat provides a gateway to 1000’s of records charting the history of the Institution and of mechanical engineering; the archive is open to all. Railway engineering, manufacturing, power plant development and automobile development are particularly well represented through personal and company papers. Personal papers of prominent mechanical engineers include those of George … Continue reading ARCHIVE CATALOGUE

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

Parsons diamonds


Charles Algernon Parsons’ diamonds Although best known as the inventor of the steam turbine (a notebook about which we hold), Parsons also spent 40 years and a lot of money attempting to make diamonds. The results of his experiments were presented to the Royal Society in 1907 in a paper entitled ‘Some Notes on Carbon at High Temperatures and Pressures‘. In 1797 it was discovered … Continue reading OBJECTS OF ENGINEERING-black diamonds

Fuselage Arrangement of the Experimental Aeroplane E28:39 from The First James Clayton Lecture: The Early History of the Whittle Jet Propulsion Gas Turbine Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers June 1945 152: 419-435


Since 1847 Proceedings from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers meetings have been published. As the successor body of the Institutions of Automobile and Locomotive Engineers the collection covers the full range of mechanical engineering expertise (see below for a full list of titles). This vast archive of over 150 years worth of engineering knowledge is available to view in our Library at 1 Birdcage Walk or online … Continue reading IMechE PROCEEDINGS