Mechanical engineering became a field during the industrial revolution in Europe around the 18th century. Its roots and development go back several thousand years and around the world. Applications of mechanical engineering can be found from ancient and medieval times throughout the world.
Ancient Greek technology that was developed from around 300 BC to 150 AD was used for more than a thousand years. It impacted the Western civilization and included things like cranes, screws, odometers, wheelbarrows, parchment, crossbows, torsion catapults, and many more items. Greek engineers were the pioneers in automated propulsion before the Industrial Age with watermills, windmills, and steam engines. A couple notable mechanical engineers are Archimedes and Heron of Alexandria. China and Islam were both major factors in the history of mechanical engineering as well.
Archimedes (c. 287 BCE – c. 212 BCE) was a great contributor to engineering. His curriculum vitae consisted of three dozen new tools and weapons. That being said, you would expect him to be the image of engineering in his day. He was not. He loathed these things. His inventions were out of necessity and his heart belonged to mathematical abstractions.
Heron of Alexandria (c. 10 CE – c. 70 CE) was a beautiful mind in engineering. He wrote books on engineering which were used during medieval times. His most important invention was the Aeolipile. It was the first steam turbine. He also invented automated machines for temples, surveying tools, and military machines and weapons. Heron was also called Michanikos, the Greek word for engineer.
Zhang Heng (78-140 AD) was a scientist during the Eastern Han Dynasty. He was the creator of the ancient seismograph; it was over 1,700 years before a similar instrument was invented in Europe. He also created the world’s first celestial globe rotated by hydraulic motive power. This had an enormous effect on mechanical engineering.
Ma Jun (220-265 AD) was a Chinese mechanical engineer during the Three Kingdoms era of China. He invented the south pointing chariot, a compass vehicle with no magnetic function. It was operated by differential gears. It was revolutionary for his time. He was known as one of the most brilliant mechanical engineers of his day.
Su Song (1020-1101 AD) was a Chinese polymath with specializations in many areas, one being mechanical engineering. He engineered a water-driven astronomical clock tower in medieval Kaifeng which featured the oldest known endless power-transmitting chain drive.
Around the 12th century the most outstanding Muslim mechanical engineer was Al-Jazari. In 1206 he wrong a book on engineering entitled, “Al-Jami Bain Al-llm Wal-Amal Al-Nafi Fi Sinat’ at Al-Hiyal” in Arabic. It contained treasures on theoretical and practical mechanics. He describes mechanical devices in different categories such as clocks, hand washing, and machines for raising water. Al-Jazari is considered one of the most important people in mechanical engineering history.
Isaac Newton (1642 – 1727) was an English physicist who opened the way for all inventors and scientist who followed him. He is famous for the invention of calculus and more importantly for his three laws of motion and his book Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, which contain the basics for mechanical engineering.
Mechanical engineering can be dated back thousands of years but it all comes down to the same basic principles of objects moving. Engineering companies in Tampa and engineering companies in Bradenton, FL are not all the same. We here at Global-Sanchez have the same drive as the predecessors of our specialty. Please contact us today to assist in any way we can.