Dates of Inventions, Discoveries and other Developments.
This section complements the pen portraits ‘Great Engineers and Pioneers and their Education’ on this website.
Again it must be stressed that the industrial revolution was driven by craftsmen like James Watt, self- taught business people like Matthew Boulton and artisans like Henry Maudslay. It did not develop from London or through royal patronage but from Cities like Glasgow, Manchester and Birmingham. The universities played little part it its creation as many of the inventors and individuals never attended formal educational institutions and as the history of technical education identifies dissenting academies, mechanics’ institutions and working men’s clubs etc. made important contributions to their education as did the apprenticeship schemes active at that time. However the majority were self-taught and possessed a remarkable inherent, innate talent and outstanding manual skills.
It will further expanded.
1658: Clock balance spring. Robert Hooke.
1698: First attempt to use steam power. Thomas Savery.
1671: Silk spinning machine. Edmund Blood.
1678 Coke to smelt introduced by a number of people including Clement Clerke.
1701/08: Machine seed drill. Jethro Tull.
1709: Improved iron smelting process. Abraham Darby – Coke fuelled furnaces used by Abraham Darby of Coalbrookdale.
1712 Steam engine. Thomas Newcomen and Thomas Savery.
1721: First mechanised water-powered silk mill at Derby. John Lombe.
1728: Ship chronometer. John Harrison.
1730 First successful iron plough introduced by Joseph Foljambe Rotherham.
1732: Threshing machine. Michael Menzies.
1733: Flying shuttle (weaving). John Kay.
1740s Crucible steel techniques introduced by Benjamin Huntsman.
1743: Wool carding machine. David Bourne.
1744 Integrated brass mill in operation in Bristol.
1743: Compound lever. John Wyatt.
1746: Production of sulphuric acid by the lead chamber process. John Roebuck.
1758: First threshing machine.
1761: Bridgewater Canal opened Worley to Manchester – James Brindley.
1764/65: Spinning jenny – patented in 1770. James Hargreaves.
1769: Hydraulic spinning frame-spinning frame or water frame patented. Richard Arkwright.
1774: Leeds and Liverpool canal opened.
1775: First efficient steam engine improved Newcomen engine. James Watt.
1778: Improved flush toilet. Joseph Braham. Mortise tumbler invented. Robert Barron.
1779: First steam powered mills utilises Hargreave’s and Arkwright’s machines. Samuel Crompton.
1783: Improved iron manufacturing processes – rolling and puddling in 1784. Henry Cort.
1784: Invention of secure locks. Joseph Brahm.
1784: Threshing machine invented. Andrew Meikle.
1785: Vertical power loom patented. Edmund Cartwright.
1786: Two man operated loom patented. Edmund Cartwright.
1787 First iron boat built by John Wilkinson.
1789: Thames and Severn canal opened.
1791 First compound steam engine introduced by Cornish engineer Jonathon Hornblower.
1792: First domestic gas lighting system in Redruth Cornwall. William Murdock.
1793/1803: The Dee and Cierog iron aqueducts. Thomas Telford.
1795: Hydraulic press – first demonstration by Joseph Bramah. Soho Foundry opened by Boulton and Watt.
1799 Eddystone Lighthouse completed by John Smeaton stood until 1882.
1800: Development of bleaching powder. Charles Tennant.
1801/04: Steam locomotive. Richard Trevithick.
1802 High pressure steam engine patented by Richard Trevithick.
1803 Ploughshare of chilled cast irob developed by Robert Ransome of Clipswich, Suffolk.
1805-1806 Steam dredger used on various river beds and docks by Richard Trevithrick. Pontcysylltau (Llangollen, Wales) opened for business by Thomas Telford.
1810 Chain bridge design patented by Samuel Brown.
1811 Plymouth breakwater started completed in 1838! John Rennie.
1812 Richard Trevithvick adapted steam engine to work at a pressure of 40 pounds per square inch.
1813: Mine safety lamp. Humphrey Davy and George Stephenson. Improved loom patented by Samuel Horrock.
1813: Improved loom developed. Samuel Horrocks.
1816: First ‘macadamised’ road surface. Improved smelting process introduced by Joseph Hall of Tipton – greatly improved Henry Cort method of puddling.
1818: Middleton milling machine. Robert Johnson and Simeon North.
1819 First steamship in the world to enter to enter sea-going service the Rob Roy by William Denny of Dumbarton.
1821: Demonstration of the principle of the electric motor through electro-magnetic rotation. Michael Faraday:
1824: Chemical process patented for making Portland cement. Joseph Aspdin.
1825: Invention of the tunneling shield. Marc Brunel. Darlington-Stockton railway opened by George Stephenson.
1828 Hot blast furnace patented by James B Neilson
1830 George and Robert Stephenson worked together on the London-Birmingham railway. R Stephenson produced his Planet locomotive – 4 wheel design 2-2-0.
1831: Electric generator. Michael Faraday.
1832 Sheet glass produced by Chance Brothers (Techniques discovered in Europe).
1833/34: Differential calculating machine. Charles Babbage.
1834: Accurate measuring machine constructed to measure one-millionth of an inch. Joseph Whitworth.
1834: The photographic process discovered. Fox Talbot.
1838 First successful screw steamer Archimedes launched by the Rennie Brothers at Millwall in November.
1839: Introduction of photographic paper. Fox Talbot.
1840 Manufacture of ferro-manganese by David Mushet – an excellent wearing resistance material.
1841: Standard thread accepted. Joseph Whitworth.
1843: First cement underwater tunnel opened– Thames Tunnel.
1846 First hydraulic crane produced by William Armstrong.
1849 Steam plough patented by James Usher of Edinburgh.
1850 Britannia Bridge, Menai Straits, Anglesey by Robert Stephenson.
1851 Hydraulic accumulator invented by William Armstrong.
1853: Piloted glider. George Cayley.
1854: Invention steel converter. Henry Bessemer.
1855 Joseph Whitworth produced a measuring machine capable of detecting a difference of a millionth part of an inch.
1856: Production of aniline dyes. William Perkin. First practical commercial refrigeration system patented in England by James Harrison.
1857 New improved regenerative furnace invented by Friedrich Siemens.
1861 Siemens furnace first used for glass manufacture.
1862 Titanic Steel and Iron Company founded by Robert Mshet.
1873: Explanation of electromagnetism and waves. James Clerk Maxwell.
1884 Steam turbine engine patented by Charles Parsons.
1887 Large-scale manufacture of manganese steel in Sheffield by Robert Hadfield.
1894: Last major canal built in Britain – Manchester Ship Canal.
1896 First vessel propelled by turbines – Charles Parsons.