BOOK REVIEW: A square deal all round

This month we have a book review by David Andrews, member of the IMechE Engineering Heritage Awards Committee. David reviews A square deal all round, which tells the story of the famous company Perkins Engines. The title is a pun on the Perkins logo, which is made up of circles intersecting a square. He recommends the book as: “engineers can always learn something from studying the … Continue reading BOOK REVIEW: A square deal all round

WWI engineering workshop


This week marks 100 years since (some) women got the vote in this country. It is also 100 years since a woman first presented a paper at the Institution. Olive Monkhouse talked about The Employment of Women in Munitions Factories. World War I brought with it a huge increase in demand for munitions, at the same time the workforce was reduced by men signing up … Continue reading EMPOWERING WOMEN



The modern engineer can research and record engineering ideas using mobile devices and camera phones, as well as more traditional methods. In the 19th century engineers carried notebooks and a pencil to sketch designs on the move.  A man who exemplifies the image of the Victorian engineer as artist is David Joy, born in Leeds in 1825.  A collection of his drawings and his diary … Continue reading DAVID JOY


Storey’s Gate Tavern once stood where IMechE’s London Headquarters now stands. It is home to the only known portrait of a remarkable engineer, Joseph Bramah. It is fitting that this is its location, as it is thanks to Bramah and his patented beer pump that customers can today enjoy a fresh drink from the beer tap! Bramah was born in Stainborough, Yorkshire, 13 April 1748 … Continue reading JOSEPH BRAMAH


In the Archive at IMechE we have several letters by Bessemer, available to researchers. One discusses the affinity of phosphorus and iron and the separation of the two. Email us to enquire. He became a member of IMechE in 1861. Bessemer is most widely known for the process named for him. Born in Hertfordshire in 1813 to a French engineer father, he showed an interest … Continue reading SIR HENRY BESSEMER

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

Queen Mary under construction


80 years since the Queen Mary’s maiden voyage: documenting the construction and launching the RMS Queen Mary It’s 80 years since the maiden voyage of Cunard’s flagship liner, the Queen Mary, which held the transatlantic speed record from the 1930s to the 1950s. The IMechE library team has been cataloguing printed manuscripts ranging from the 19th to the 21st century,  and one of these is … Continue reading QUEEN MARY

Prosthetic Arm


Our Engineering history timeline needs you! Covering c6000 BD-2014 AD we highlight key moments of invention and leaps forward in engineering. Now, we want you to tell us what key inventions we have missed. All we need is the date of the invention etc and some brief details. Engineering has been an integral factor throughout history and a crucial instrument of change and development, from the … Continue reading ENGINEERING TIMELINE

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