1800-1849

1847 - Institution of Mechanical Engineers founded

The Institution of Mechanical Engineers is created, ‘to give an impulse to inventions likely to be useful to the world’. 56 engineers and manufacturers meet at the Queen’s Hotel, Birmingham for the inaugural meeting. George Stephenson is elected first President. IMechE bases itself in Newhall Street, Birmingham.

1843 - Fax Machine

Alexander Bain develops the first fax machine.

1841 - Stapler

Samuel Slocum patents the stapler.

1840 - Measuring machine

Joseph Whitworth develops his measurement machine, previously accuracy was up to one sixteenth of an inch was a good workman. Whitworth’s measured up to one two-millionth of an inch: allowed him to produce standard measures and gauges. Uniformity was extended to the still famous Whitworth system of thread screw threads.

1839-1842 - Steam hammer

James Nasmyth invents the steam hammer circa 1839, patenting it in June 1842.

1839 - Fuel cell

The first fuel cell, combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electrical power, is developed by William Robert Grove.

1837 - Mechanical refrigeration

The first patent for mechanical refrigeration is issued to American Jacob Perkins.

1830 - Liverpool & Manchester Railway

The Liverpool & Manchester Railway opens. It is the first purpose built passenger railway in the world.

1829 - Rainhill Trials

The Rainhill Trials are held to determine whether steam locomotives could be capable of providing the motive power for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. The contest is won by Rocket, Robert Stephenson’s locomotive based upon the design principles of George Stephenson.

1827-1837 - Water Turbine

The first water turbine is developed and produced by Benoît Fourneyron.

1825 - First passenger locomotive

George Stephenson runs the first passenger locomotive. Called Locomotion, it travels the 25 miles between Stockton and Darlington.

1822 - Difference engine

Mathematician Charles Babbage builds his difference engine (or automatic mechanical calculator) to improve significantly the accuracy of the calculations in the production of arithmetical tables.

1813 - First cotton-to-cloth mill

Francis Lowell's investor group builds Waltham Mills, Massachusetts. It is the first to place cotton-to-cloth production under one roof. The group was incorporated as the Boston Manufacturing Company in 1814.

1810 - Steam-powered printing press

Friedrich Koenig patents a steam-powered printing press.

1808 - 'Catch-me-who-can'

Richard Trevithick builds a circular railway track nicknamed the 'Catch-me-who-can', to demonstrate his steam engine. Entrance to the "steam circus" cost one shilling and included a ride; it was intended to show that rail travel was faster than by horse.

1804 - Jacquard Loom

Joseph Marie Jacquard invents the Jacquard Loom. Through the use of punched cards, the loom is capable of weaving complex designs.

1804 - Gas lighting

Friedrich Winzer (also known as Winsor) patents gas lighting.

1802-1804 - Pen-y-Darren steam locomotive

Richard Trevithick builds a prototype steam locomotive at Pen-y-Darren, 1802. Selling the patent the next year. In 1804 a revised version successfully carried 10 tons of iron, 5 wagons and 70 men for 9.75 miles in 4 hours and 5 minutes (at an average speed of approximately 2.4 mph). Making it the first steam locomotive to undertake practical work.

1801 - Trevithick steam carriage

Richard Trevithick builds the first steam-carriage designed for road travel.

1800 - Battery

Alessandro Volta invents the battery.