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


On the 21st June 1945 Sir Frank Whittle made the first public presentation of the jet engine in the lecture theatre at the Institutional of Mechanical Engineers. Interactive timeline on the invention & development of the jet engine available online now!   Frank Whittle was a 21 year old cadet at RAF College Cranwell when he wrote his revolutionary thesis ‘Future Developments in Aircraft Design’. In … Continue reading BIRTH OF THE JET AGE

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


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

Happy Christmas Eve! 'The Christmas Tree', by Albert Chevallier Tayler, 1911.


2014 has been a year of great activity in the archive, pathing the way for exciting developments in 2015. This year cannot go past without mentioning those who lost their lives, while members of this Institution, during the First World War. We have commemorated them in a number of ways, through our Honour Roll and Engineers at War: from Home Front to Battle Front exhibition. … Continue reading 2014 REVIEW


    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

Vickers VA-3B 001


Hovercrafts, or Air-Cushioned Vehicles (ACV), are used throughout the world: as ferries, for people and goods; as survey vehicles in scientific and rescue work; to provide disaster relief; as coastguard vehicles; for military and militaristic survey applications; in sport; and for industrial applications. Like Hoover and Stove the name Hovercraft has become a generic term for ACV’s but it is in fact the product name … Continue reading HOVERCRAFT AND POST-WAR BRITAIN

Menu signed by members of Lemon's Directorate at the Air Ministry, 1938


Sir Ernest John Hutchings Lemon, OBE (9 Dec 1884 – 15 Dec 1954) was the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway (LMS) and later one of its three Vice-Presidents. Lemon was made Director-General of Aircraft Production for the RAF, he made crucial improvements to aircraft production which resulted in the UK being able to defend its skies. He was responsible for … Continue reading LEMON PAPERS

Illustration of how the bomb works


In 1965 the Institution recognised the talent and contribution of Dr Barnes Neville Wallace by awarding him an honorary fellowship. Wallace had achieved something many had thought impossible, even preposterous, and designed not only a bomb that bounced but that sunk at the exact right depth to break the mighty walls of Germany’s Ruhr dams. Wallis was generally regarded as a far-fetched thinker but his … Continue reading BOUNCING THE BOMB