Historic mechanical engineering landmarks are the machines, systems, and devices that have helped shape our civilization, both in industry and in our personal lives. From marine steam engines to food processing equipment, manufacturing plants, postage meters, medical equipment, nuclear power plants, and collections of professional and technical museums, the objects presented in these pages are quite diverse.
They can be found in all regions of the United States and elsewhere. The range of importance is equally broad, from Thomas New comen’s steam engine (1712), which had a major impact on the advent of the Industrial Revolution, to the Saturn V rocket (1967). While by no means a comprehensive list, these landmarks represent what mechanical engineering professionals, through the eyes of ASME International (American Society of Mechanical Engineers), consider to be rare and significant achievements.
About the Book
From Thomas New comen’s steam engine (1712), which launched the Industrial Revolution, to the Saturn Vrocket (1967), the book describes and, where possible, illustrates historical mechanical engineering landmarks that represent the achievements of mechanical engineers over the past 250 years. Some of them are familiar to all, such as xerography, Sikorsky’s helicopter, and the Disney land monorail.
Others, like Owens’ AR bottle-making machine and Jacks on Ferry’s shot tower, have served behind the scenes or been superseded. The landmarks are grouped into categories such as machine production, power transmission, mineral extraction and refining, food processing, environmental control, transportation, biomedical engineering, and communications and data processing.
Each section is presented in an essay that helps place each landmark in the context of its technical and general history. While some of these landmarks have not remained intact, some can be visited and travel information is provided. The machines that shape our society tell us about an important aspect of human history and how technology has influenced it.