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Top 10 remarkable engineers of all time

Back » 10.  Alan Turing » 9. Nicholas Otto » 8. Nikola Tesla » 7.  Archimedes » 6. James Watt

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5. Hero of Alexandria



This man could have started the Industrial Revolution in 50 AD with the invention of the Aeolipile, a form of steam or jet engine where jets of steam spin a ball. However, he failed to realize what the device could do, and thought of it as nothing but a toy. Some have speculated that the abundance of slave labor negated any need for a labor-saving device, so no one applied his device in the manner of the Industrial Revolution. Hero also wrote many works on subjects ranging from pneumatics to mathematics to physics.

4. Wilbur and Orville Wright

Wilber and Orville Wright

Wilber and Orville Wright

Before Wilbur and Orville discovered what would later become the safest mode of transport, they were bicycle mechanics with a passion for kite-flying. The crucial insights from both fields would later propel them to victory in the race to the sky.

Most prototypes of the time could not stay in the air long enough after taking off. The Wright brothers however understood that stability was crucial in overcoming this challenge. After several experiments using kites and gliders, they created a pulley system that altered the shape of the wing in mid-flight, increasing and decreasing the speeds. The Wright brothers were also the first to look at propeller design and aerodynamics, profoundly changing the world.

3. Henry Ford

Henry Ford

Henry Ford

Henry Ford realized that he would a more efficient way to mass produce cars in order to lower the price. He looked at other industries and found four principles that would further their goal: interchangeable parts, continuous flow, division of labor, and reducing wasted effort. Ford put these principles into play gradually over five years, fine-tuning and testing as he went along. In 1913, they came together in the first moving assembly line ever used for large-scale manufacturing. Ford produced cars at a record-breaking rate forever changing the automobile industry.

2. Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison

Edison is the most prolific inventor in history, holding a record 1,097 patents. He developed the phonograph, incandescent light bulb, stock ticker, motion picture camera and projector, and hundreds more. He also created the first electrical plant and distribution infrastructure. Without these inventions, modern life is almost inconceivable.

1. Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Perhaps the biggest visionary of all time, Leonardo foresaw everything from the helicopter to the tank to the submarine. Modern engineers have proven that many of his designs, including bridges, hang-gliders, transmissions, parachutes, and more would have worked had they been built. There have been few individuals in the history of engineering who have designed so many revolutionary devices that actually worked. For having this remarkable vision and intelligence, Leonardo qualifies as the most remarkable engineer of all time.

Back » 10. Alan Turing » 9. Nicholas Otto » 8. Nikola Tesla » 7. Archimedes » 6. James Watt

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Posted by on Dec 1st, 2009 and filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

36 Responses for “Top 10 remarkable engineers of all time”

  1. Vanessa says:

    This list is great, but could use some of the outstanding women engineers! My personal favorite was Ada Lovelace, who along with Charles Babbage, pioneered computational thinking and invented the computer programming that has enabled so many feats of engineering since.


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  3. paul says:

    What about Edwin Land, polarization of light?

  4. Alabi Gideon says:

    Great list. Bt micheal faraday & charlse babagge are missing.

  5. Eric says:

    Kevin is correct: The art of engineeing is the practical realization of an idea. For this reason several of the people on your list are your list are not engineers.

  6. Rishi Prakash says:

    yes!! one of the finest list of Greatest Engineers ,on Internet. Great Reading time. Thanks!!1

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