Richard Arkwright

Richard Arkwright, an English manufacturer, was born Jan. 3, 1732. Arkwright is best known for his invention of the spinning frame, or water frame, which he patented in 1769, and which produced thread from carded cotton automatically, by machine. It was an improvement...

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance man incarnate, was born Apr. 15, 1452.  Surprisingly, we have never written a post on Leonardo, so this is the first of what will certainly be a series, since no one could treat the many aspects of his varied career in one essay.  We...

Samuel Smiles

Samuel Smiles, a Scottish historian and author, was born Dec. 23, 1812. Smiles is well-known to historians of technology as the author of a series of books about great British engineers, starting with The Life of George Stephenson (1857), the eminent father of the...

Joseph Whitworth

Joseph Whitworth, an English engineer and manufacturer, was born Dec. 21, 1803.  Whitworth was an important figure, perhaps the most important figure, in bringing precision engineering to the Victorian industrial revolution.  He apprenticed in the London workshop of...