A Series of Fortunate Events in Engineering History

What do you consider to be the most important advancements in engineering history? On this timeline, we explore all the major developments that have been made in both the manufacturing and aerospace industry and even discuss future developments.

Introduction

For hundreds of years, humans have continued to advance society through new technology and developments that have allowed us to reach the impossible. From distant galaxies far, far away to the smallest subatomic particles, we have found ways to research how things work and use that to our advantage. We started off carving necessary tools out of stones, but now, millions of years later, we are creating nanochips that span an impressive 50 atoms across. On this timeline, we explore all the major developments that have been made in both the Manufacturing and Aerospace industry and even predict how future developments will occur.

What do you consider to be the most important advancements in engineering history? Maybe the use of stone for tools? Or how about the discovery of steam as an energy source? You definitely have to admit that the creation of digital devices was important. On this timeline, we explore all the major developments that have been made in both the manufacturing and aerospace industry and even discuss future developments.

Timeline of Events in Manufacturing

Past Pandemics

Throughout history, there have been a multitude of pandemics that have played significant roles in the development of society. Some important examples of these pandemics include the cholera outbreak in the mid 1800s and the 1919 influenza outbreak. The US was just starting to industrialize after establishing itself as an independent country, but with this industrialization came hundreds of people stuffed into rooms with poor conditions. When cholera finally spread to the Americas, cities such as New York saw the detrimental effects that this pandemic had on them and the workforce. Factories had to make small adjustments in order to try and ease the spread within them. The same could be said for the influenza outbreak. Especially in places with a large manufacturing industry, mortality rates were extremely high, so sanitation and vaccination programs were put into place that many engineering companies helped out with. This set a basic foundation for the techniques that would be later used in other pandemics such as the SARS outbreak or the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is a political cartoon that came out in 1852 about the cholera outbreak. It is supposed to represent the fact that cholera spreads easily in populated areas with poor conditions, such as the square shown in the cartoon. The word below “a court for king cholera” tells us that a busy market is where the disease dominates.

Timeline of Events in Aerospace

Connections to the Current Pandemic

Throughout history, people have created brilliant inventions that we can now use to respond to the current pandemic and past emergencies. Some of these include electricity, just in time production, 3D printing, CAD software, drones, and nanotech.

World War I and the invention of the aeroplane led to a new opportunity for warfare. Over the course of less than 20 years, the plane went from its first flight to being one of the ways that the US and other countries responded to threats. With the rapid advancement in aerospace technology, commercial flying was not far behind. World War I drove money into this brand new industry and as a result, it expanded significantly faster as the war necessitated it.

The manufacturing industry responded to the crisis of World War II by adapting the assembly lines Henry Ford had championed. Dragging the country out of the great depression, suddenly the War ramped up military need production giving numerous jobs as assembly lines were transformed from producing cars to planes and tanks. Similar to the current pandemic, manufacturing has had to shift to the needs of the people, now producing face masks and respirators to fill the demand.

The Cold War was a nuclear and space race between the United States and the USSR. Out of this race, came the first satellite and man in space for the USSR, and the first man on the moon through the Apollo Missions for the United States. Later, as robotics became more advanced, the first Mars rover landed on the Red Planet. In the same way that the pandemic drove more funding to medical needs, the Cold War diverted more funds to military and space funding.