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4 engineering feats that changed America forever
Advances in engineering have shaped civilisation and transformed the way in which we live. From how our homes are built to the way we travel and the opportunities we have to learn more about the world, engineering is continually evolving the world we live in. Today marks the beginning of Engineers Week in America, so to celebrate the historical impact engineering has had, we’re sharing some top feats of engineering that have changed the country (and beyond) forever
The commercialisation of cars
“Don’t find a fault, find a remedy.” – Henry Ford
Although Henry Ford didn’t invent the car, he certainly made them accessible. By mass producing the vehicles, he was able to create more of them at a lower cost, making them more affordable for everyone. With the increase in car ownership, people found it easier to travel further than ever before. The automobile also created jobs in manufacturing and infrastructure with the construction of roadside amenities, such as service stations. Almost a century later the auto industry continues to propel forward with alternatively-fuelled vehicles and self-driving connected cars.
The Hoover Dam
“If your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.” – Henry J. Kaiser
In 1935, one of the best examples of water infrastructure in the world was officially dedicated by President Roosevelt; the Hoover Dam. The dam was built to control flooding along the Colorado River and provide water and hydroelectric power for California and the Southwest. Over its five year construction, approximately 21,000 people worked on the project. Today, it generates around 4 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power annually; enough to power more than a million homes.
The Jumbo Jet (Boeing 747)
“When we were told it's impossible, we knew it's the right way to be done.” – Joe Sutter
Often referred to as the ‘Jumbo Jet’, the Boeing 747 took its first flight in 1969. American engineer, Joe Sutter, managed the design for this airliner, which is still in commercial use today (although current models have evolved from the original). The Boeing 747 made air travel affordable for millions of people across the globe by fitting hundreds of passengers on-board, and created significant employment opportunities as airports needed to be expanded as a result.
The space shuttle
“Engineers are really managing things in any event" - George E. Mueller
After the demise of the Apollo programme in 1972, NASA successfully launched its partially reusable spacecraft, known as the Space Shuttle, in 1981. George Mueller, an American electrical engineer, is widely credited for overseeing this programme. Up until its final flight in 2011, its impact on scientific research proved invaluable; from carrying the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit, to allowing astronauts to assemble the International Space Station (ISS).
Of course, these are just a few examples of amazing accomplishments within US engineering and although decades have passed since their creation, they continue to inspire the engineers of today and tomorrow..
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