3000BCE-1700CE Edit

c 6000 BCE First boats First depictions of canoes, dugouts and rafts in Egyptian rock paintings.

c 4000 BCE First wheeled vehicle The first depiction of a wheeled-vehicle is on a pot from Southern Poland. It shows a wagon with four wheels and two axles.

c 3300 BCE First sailing ship The first depiction of a ship using cloth sails, in Egyptian paintings.

c 3000 BCE Potter's Wheel The potter's wheel is invented.

c 1300 BCE Steel Steel is invented.

62 Æolipile The æolipile, a simple steam engine, is invented by Hero of Alexandria.

644 Wind-power A wind-power machine is developed by the Persians.

650 Windmill The horizontal windmill is in use in Iran and Afghanistan.

1010 First human flight First human flight, according to popular myth. Inspired by the Greek myth of Icarus, Brother Elmer, a monk at Malmesbury Abbey, creates a glider from wood and either linen or parchment. Launching himself from a height of around 18 metres, he flies 200 metres before panicking and crashing, breaking both of his legs.

1150 Tidal mills Tidal mills are in use in England and France.

1185 Post windmill The first recorded use of a post windmill, in Yorkshire.

1326 Prototype handgun A prototype handgun is mentioned in an order for iron bullets.

c 1440 Modern printing press The modern printing press is invented by Johannes Gensfleisch Gutenberg.

c 1493 Concept of flight Leonardo da Vinci conceives of flying machines, creating over 100 sketches to illustrate his ideas.

1578 Underwater rowing boat Mathematician and innkeeper William Bourne designs an underwater rowing boat, covered in waterproof leather. The design is never built.

1589 Knitting machine William Lee invents the knitting machine.

1620 Submarine Cornelius Drebbel invents the first submarine, a human-powered submersible. He holds successful trials in the Thames in 1624.

1629 Steam turbine A primitive steam turbine is developed by Giovanni Branca.

1673 Motor Christiaan Huygens builds a gunpowder explosion-driven motor.

1690 Piston Denis Papin uses steam to move a piston.

1698 Steam engine Thomas Savery invents a basic steam engine.

1701-1750 Edit

1712 First working steam engine Thomas Newcomen develops a working atmospheric steam engine, the first of its kind.

1733 Flying shuttle John Kay invents the flying shuttle. This device makes mass production of textiles a possibility for the first time.

1751-1800 Edit

1755 Sewing machine The first recorded patent for a sewing machine is issued. It is a British patent issued to German Charles Weisenthal.

1757 Steam engine James Watt begins work on the steam engine.

1764 Spinning Jenny James Hargreaves invents the Spinning Jenny. This invention allows faster production of cotton products.



Arkwright's spinning frame Richard Arkwright invents a spinning frame adapted to use water power.

Steam wagon Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot demonstrates a 'steam wagon', predecessor to the first automobile.

Steam engine James Watt patents his steam engine with separate condenser.



Joseph Bramah

Water closet Joseph Bramah patents a water closet.

1779 Cotton mule Samuel Crompton invents the spinning mule, allowing for greater control over the weaving process. It allows extremely fine yarn to be produced, allowing muslin to be made; previously this could only be made using hand-spun yarn from India.

1783 Hot air balloon The Montgolfier bothers publicly demonstrate their Montgolfière, a hot air balloon. The first manned balloon flight reached 6000 feet.

1787 Steamboat American clock-maker John Fitch (1743-1798) demonstrates the first steamboat.

1791 Heated factories James Watt heats his factories through piped steam. He patents this method in the same year.

1794 Cotton gin Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin, which automates the process of separation cotton seed from short-staple cotton fibre.

1800 Battery Allesandro Volta invents the battery.

1801-1820 Edit

1801 Steam carriage Richard Trevithick builds the first steam-carriage, designed for road travel.



Richard Trevithick

Steam locomotive Richard Trevithick (1771-1833) builds the first steam locomotive to undertake practical work.

1804 Gas lighting Friedrich Winzer or Winsor patents gas lighting.

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

1808 Catch-me-who-can Richard Trevithick demonstrates his locomotive, Catch-me-who-can, on a circular railway near to Euston Square.

1810 Steam powered printing press Friedrich Koenig patents a steam-powered printing press.

1813 First textile mill Francis Lowell builds the first textile mill.

1816 First power loom Francis Lowell builds the first power loom.

1821-1840 Edit

1822 Babbage's difference engine Mathematician Charles Babbage builds his difference engine to improve significantly the accuracy of the calculations in the production of arithmetical tables.



First passenger locomotive

George Stephenson (1781-1848) runs the first passenger locomotive. Called Locomotion, it travels the 25 miles between Stockton and Darlington.

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.

1830 Liverpool and Manchester Railway The Liverpool & Manchester Railway opens. It is the first purpose built passenger railway in the world.

1832 Water turbine The first water turbine is produced by Fourneyron.

1837 Mechanical refrigeration The first patent for mechanical refrigeration is issued to American Jacob Perkins.

1839 Fuel cell The first fuel cell, combining hydrogen and oxygen to produce electrical power, is developed by William Robert Grove.

Steam hammer James Nasmyth invents the steam hammer.



Joseph Whitworth's measurement machine

Whitworth's measuring machine Joseph Whitworth develops his measurement machine, allowing a hitherto impossible degree of accuracy in engineering.

1841-1860 Edit

1841 Stapler

1843 Fax machine Alexander Bain develops the first fax machine.

1847 Inaugural meeting of the IMechE 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. George Stephenson is elected first President. IMechE bases itself in Newhall Street, Birmingham.

1850 Dishwasher The first dishwasher is developed by Joel Houghton.

Underwater telegraph cable The first underwater telegraph cable is laid between France and England.

1851 Washing machine James King is awarded the first patent for a mechanical clothes washing device, a hand powered, rotating cylinder machine, and the first with a drum.

Great Exhibition


The Great Exhibition is held at Crystal Palace, London. It was a showcase for manufacturers such as Joseph Whitworth, and was a great success, attracting over 6 million visitors and making a profit of £187000 for the nation.

First London meeting The year of the Great Exhibition marks IMechE’s first London meeting.

1852 Burglar alarm American manufacturer Edwin Holmes develops the burglar alarm.

1853 Elevator American Elisha Graves Otis demonstrates the first elevator.

1854 Halladay windmill The Halladay windmill for pumping water is invented.

Bunsen burner Bunsen burners are first produced by German physicist and chemist, Robert Bunsen (1811-1899)

1855 Rayon George Audemars invents Rayon, but is not able to manufacture it commercially.

1856 Bessemer steel


Bessemer's process for steel production is introduced. This is the first process commercially viable process for producing steel, and leads to the replacement of iron and other metals with steel over time.

Whitworth's Presidency Joseph Whitworth’s Presidency of the Institution marked a big upsurge in membership. The engineer himself used the occasion to advocate standardization and decimalization in measurement, and even in coinage.

1857 Elevator The world's first mechanical elevator was installed at E V Haughwout and Company department store, Broadway, New York City, by Elisha Graves Otis.

Blast furnace William Kelly invents the blast furnace for steel production.

1858 Great Eastern


Isambard Kingdom Brunel's five funnelled steamship, 'The Great Eastern', is launched.

Transatlantic cable The first transatlantic cable is laid by American Cyrus Field.

1860 Lenoir internal combustion engine Jean-Joseph Etienne Lenoir develops the first successful internal combustion engine capable of operating continuously.

Singer sewing machine Isaac Singer builds the first commercially successful sewing machine. The company he founds becomes the world's largest manufacturer of sewing machines.

1861-1880 Edit

1861 Solar power Auguste Mouchout is granted a patent for running a motor by solar power.

1862 Man-made plastic Alexander Parkes invents the first man-made plastic by mixing pyroxylin with alcohol and camphor. He called the resulting hard, transparent and flexible material Parkesine.

1863 First underground railway The world's first underground railway, the Metropolitan Line, is opened, running from Bishop's Road, Paddington to Farringdon.

1865 First pipeline The world's first pipeline is built, out of wood. Nine miles long, it carries crude oil from the well at Pithole, Pennsylvania.

1868 Traffic signals J P Knight invents the first traffic signals. They are installed at the junction of George Street and Bridge Street in Westminster, London.

Westinghouse compressed air brake George Westinghouse invents the compressed air locomotive brake.

Typewriter Christopher Latham Sholes patents the first commercial typewriter.

1876 Telephone Alexander Graham Bell patents the telephone.

1877 Move to London After many years of considering it, the Institution moves to London, with a rented headquarters at 10 Victoria Chambers, Victoria Street.

1878 First two-stroke petrol engine Sir Dugald Clerk develops the first two-stroke petrol engine. It is patented three years later.

Solar powered steam engine A solar powered steam engine is exhibited in Paris.

1879 Cash register Barman James Ritty invents the cash register.

Long distance pipeline The first long distance pipeline is built in the United States by Tide Water Oil Company, running from Pennsylvania to the East Coast.

1881-1900 Edit

1881 Metal detector Alexander Graham Bell invents the metal detector. It is in response to the shooting of the President James Garfield. When doctors are unable to locate the bullet, they call Bell, who unsuccessfully attempts to find the bullet using a crude metal detector.

1882 First trolley bus Siemens install the world's first trolley bus service along the Kurfüerstendamm in Berlin.

1884 Steam turbine Charles A Parsons invents the steam turbine.

Machine gun


Hiram Maxim develops the first truly automatic machine-gun.

1885 Motorbike


Gottlieb Daimler builds the world's first motorbike.

Automobile Karl Benz creates the first purpose built automobile.

1886 Commercial dishwasher Josephine Cochrane invents and patents the first commercial dishwashing machine. She is dissatisfied with the treatment her servants were subjecting her china to, and dislikes doing the washing up herself.

Four-wheeled motor vehicle The first four-wheeled motor vehicle is produced by Daimler, working with Wilhelm Maybach.

1887 Radar German physicist Heinrich Hertz develops radar.

1888 Ballpoint pen American John Loud invents the ballpoint pen, but it is not produced commercially until 1935.

Electricity generation A brush post mill is used to generate electricity in Cleveland, Ohio.

Pneumatic tyre John Dunlop invents the pneumatic tyre.

1891 Electricity generation La Cour windmill is used to generate electricity.

Electric toaster Crompton and Company invent the electric toaster. The same company later launches the electric kettle.

1892 Diesel engine


Rudolf Diesel invents the engine which bears his name. It is patented six years later.

1893 Hydroelectric dam The first dam designed specifically for generating hydroelectricity is built across the Colorado River.

Lawnmower James Summer of Leyland, Lancashire, develops the first motor driven lawnmower. It is powered by steam and weighs two tonnes.

Ferris Wheel George Washington Ferris builds the first Ferris wheel for the World Fair at Chicago.

1895 First petrol driven bus First Lanchester automobile Frederick Lanchester and his brother construct one of the earliest petrol automobiles in England.

X-rays Wilhelm Roentgen discovers X-rays. In recognition of his work, he is awarded the first Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901. He refuses to patent his work, considering it a gift to humankind.

1896 First flight Otto Lilienthal, a German inventor, is the first man to fly in a heavier than air machine.

Pneumatic tyres Pneumatic tyres are first used on motor cars by Michelin & Cie, France.

British petrol-driven car F W Lanchester develops the first full sized British petrol-driven car.

1898 Diesel engine Diesel patents his eponymous engine.

Discovery of radioactive elements Marie Curie discovers the radioactive elements radium and polonium.

1899 Headquarters Institution constructs Storey’s Gate headquarters, later known as 1 Birdcage Walk. A Graduates’ section for younger members is created and immediately makes its mark with the first paper on automobiles read before the Institution.

1900 Escalator Charles D Seeberger joins forces with the Otis Elevator Company to produce the first practical device with moving stairs. It is exhibited at the Paris Exposition of 1900, and the first commercial version is installed at Gimbel's department store, Philadelphia, the following year.

Peanut oil engine Diesel demonstrates an engine which runs on peanut oil.

The Zeppelin Ferdinand von Zeppelin develops the world’s first successful dirigible – the Zeppelin.

1901-1920 Edit

1901 First hybrid car Ferdinand Porsche designs the ‘Mixte’, the first recorded petroleum electric hybrid vehicle on record. It uses a petrol motor to power a generator, which in turn powers a hub motor, with a battery pack for backup. It has a top speed of 35mph.

1904 Geothermal electricity A geothermal electric generator is built at Lardarello, Italy.

1906 Grand Prix The French Grand Prix, the first of its kind, takes place on a 100km road circuit near the town of Le Mans. The total distance run is 1100km.

Washing machine The first electric washing machine is produced. Its true inventor is unknown.

Electric washing machine The first electric washing machine is invented, although its inventor is unknown.

1907 Brooklands Brooklands, the first purpose built, off-road race track, is built at Weybridge in Surrey.

Helicopter flight French brothers Jacques and Louis Breguet's helicopter makes the world's first flight.

1908 Ford Model T The Ford Model T is first produced.

Electric vacuum cleaner James Murray Spangler develops the first electric powered vacuum cleaner. The patent is bought by Hoover.

1911 Refrigerator General Electric launch their first home-market refrigerator.

Electric starter motor The electric starter motor for automobiles is invented by Charles Kettering.

1913 Assembly line The assembly line is introduced to manufacture Ford Model Ts.

Graduateship exams The Institution commences its own graduateship examinations in a drive to improve and control the training of mechanical engineers. The tests are not entirely technical; general knowledge papers tested candidates reading of Chaucer and Tennyson.

1914 Tank Sir Ernest Swinton develops the modern tank.

First bomber aircraft The German airship Zeppelin, named after its pioneer, Count Ferdinand Graf von Zeppelin, is the world's first bomber aircraft.

Car wash The world's first car wash, the Automated Laundry, opens in Detroit, Michigan.

1915 'Dual Power' ‘Dual Power’ is manufactured by the Woods Motor Vehicles. It has a four cylinder internal combustion engine and an electric motor. For speeds under 15mph the car is powered by the electric motor, while the internal combustion engine takes it up to a maximum speed of 35mph. Around 600 are made up to 1918.

1917 First aircraft carrier HMS Argus is launched, the first vessel to be designed for use as an aircraft carrier.

1919 Transatlantic airship crossing The British built R34 becomes the first airship to cross the Atlantic, arriving in New York after a crossing time of 108 hours and 12 minutes.

Pop up toaster Charles Strite designs the pop-up toaster. It is patented in 1921 and launched in 1926.

1921-1940 Edit

1921 First local branch The first IMechE local members’ branch is created in Birmingham.

1924 First rotary engine Felix Wankel develops the Wankel engine, the world's first rotary engine.

First female member Verena Holmes becomes the first woman to be elected as an IMechE member.

1926 Rocket propellant The world's first liquid rocket propellant is launched by Robert Goddard, near Worcester, Massachusetts.

Television Television is demonstrated for the first time by John Logie Baird at Selfridges, London. It used a mechanical system of rotating discs which had been patented in 1924.

1927 Transatlantic flight American pilot Charles Lindbergh lands in Paris, successfully completing the first transatlantic flight.

1929 Transatlantic flight, Newfoundland to Ireland English air pioneers John Alcock and Arthur Brown complete the first non-stop transatlantic flight from Newfoundland to Ireland.

Jet propulsion Frank Whittle invents jet propulsion.

1930 Quick Freeze Machine Clarence Birdseye patents the 'Quick Freeze Machine', reducing the time needed to freeze food from three days to a few minutes.

1931 Wind generator The Balaklava wind generator is opened in Russia.

1932 Piccadilly Circus In London, Piccadilly Circus lights are lit by electricity for the first time.

First televised broadcast The BBC makes the first televised broadcast, from Alexandra Palace, London.

1935 Biro Laszlo Biro produces the ballpoint pen commercially.

1936 Spitfire The Spitfire fighter plane, designed by Reginald Mitchell, has its maiden flight. It enters RAF service in 1938.

1937 Photocopier Chester F Carlson invents the photocopier. It is not patented until 1942, and it is not until 1959 that the first commercial machine goes on sale by the Haloid Company, later renamed the Xerox Corporation.

Jet engine The jet engine is invented by Frank Whittle.

1938 Steam locomotive speed record broken The Mallard locomotive gains the world speed record for steam locomotives at 126 mph (203 kph). It was designed by the renowned locomotive engineer Sir Nigel Gresley, 51st President of the IMechE.

Tumble dryer Hamilton's Manufacturing Company produces the first commercial tumble dryer, invented by J Ross Moore.

1939 First working helicopter The first working helicopter is constructed by Sikorsky.

First jet powered flight The first jet aircraft to fly is the Heinkel He178, powered by an He S3B engine designed by Hans von Ohain. The plane is piloted by Flight Captain Erich Warsitz, who also piloted the first jet powered aircraft.

Rocket powered flight Flight Captain Erich Warsitz pilots the first rocket powered aircraft, the He176.

1945 Turing-Welchman Bombe Alan Turing develops the Turing-Welchman Bombe, an electromechanical machine capable of deciphering the German enigma codes, at Bletchley Park.

1941-1960 Edit

1941 Gloster E28/39


The Gloster E28/39 is the first aircraft to fly using Whittle's jet engine.

1942 Nuclear chain reaction Enrico Fermi demonstrates the first self supporting nuclear chain reaction in a laboratory at the University of Chicago.

1943 Dialysis machine The artificial kidney (dialysis machine) is tested for the first time.

1944 Pipeline Under the Ocean PLUTO (Pipeline Under the Ocean) is opened to deliver fuel from Shanklin, Isle of Wight, under the English Channel to France to provide fuel for the Allied fighting vehicles.

Calculator American Howard Aiken develops the first fully automatic, large scale calculator, known as the Harvard Mark I. It has over 750,000 parts.

1945 James Clayton Lecture First James Clayton lecture, IMechE's premier award of its type, is authorised by Council. Frank Whittle presents ‘The early history of the Whittle gas turbine’ to a packed house.

1947 Breaking the sound barrier Chuck Yeager is the first person to break the sound barrier in level flight, flying the X-1.

Formation of the Automobile Division Merger with the Institution of Automobile Engineers, creating the Automobile Division.

1949 De Havilland Comet The de Havilland Comet, the world's first jet airliner, makes its maiden flight.

1950 Cardiac pacemaker Canadian John Hopps invents the cardiac pacemaker, although the first model is too large to fit into the human body.

Microwave oven Percy Lebaron Spencer, from Massachusetts, patents the first microwave oven.

1951 Electricity from nuclear fission The first usable electricity from nuclear fission is produced at the National Reactor Station, Idaho. Four years later, the neighbouring town of Arco is the first to be powered by nuclear energy.

1952 Bic The most popular ballpoint pen in the UK, the Bic, is first produced by French manufacturer Marcel Bich.

Mechancical heart valve The first human implant of a mechanical heart valve is made.

1953 Heart-lung machine The heart-lung machine is developed by John Gibbon of Philadelphia.

Airbag The first patent for the airbag is taken out by American naval engineer, John Hetrick. It is perfected by American inventor, Allen K Breed, in 1968.

Colour television The first successful colour television system is designed by the Radio Corporation of America. Broadcasting begins on 17 December 1953.

1954 Nuclear power station The world's first nuclear power station opens at Obninsk, near Moscow.

Britain's first nuclear power station Britain opens its first nuclear power station at Harwell.

Photovoltaic cell The first practical photovoltaic solar cell is demonstrated.

1955 UK's first diesel electric trains Diesel electric trains are first introduced in the UK.

1956 First commercial nuclear power station Calder Hall, the world's first large-scale commercial nuclear power station, is connected to the national grid.

Hovercraft The modern hovercraft is invented by Christopher Cockerell.

1957 First man-made satellite Sputnik 1, the first man-made satellite to be launched into space, is sent into orbit by the Soviet Union.

Monorail Ueno Zoo, Tokyo, is the site of the first monorail.

1958 Photovoltaic satellite The first photovoltaic powered satellite is launched in the US.

1959 SRN 1 Christopher Cockerell produces his first hovercraft, named SRN 1.

Luna 1 Luna 1, an unmanned Soviet rocket, is the first to fly close to the moon.

Hydrogen fuel cell Francis Thomas Bacon builds the first modern fuel cell, fed with high pressure hydrogen.

1960 Bubble wrap The Sealed Air Corporation is formed by US engineers, Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes, in order to market their new invention, bubble wrap.

Internal pacemaker The internal heart pacemaker is patented by Wilson Greatbatch.

1961-1980 Edit

1961 Car wash The first fully automated car wash in the UK opens.

First man in space Yuri Gagarin becomes the first man to voyage into space, on board Vostok 1.

1964 Tokaido Shinkansen The Tokaido Shinkansen opens. It is the first high speed train in the world, travelling between Tokyo and Shimonoseki at speeds of 130 mph.

Land speed record


British speed pioneer Sir Donald Campbell sets a new land speed record of 429mph in his car, Bluebird.

Mouse Dr. Douglas Engelbart invents the computer mouse.

1966 First lunar landing The first scheduled unmanned soft landing on the moon surface is made by the Soviet Luna 9.

1968 Jet ski Clayton Jacobsen patents the jet ski. Kawasaki buy the rights.

1969 ATM The world's first Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) is installed at the Rockville Centre, Long Island branch of Chemical Bank. It was invented by Don Wetzel. Barclays Bank had introduced a simpler version two years previously at a branch in North London, but it used paper vouchers, rather than the magnetic strip technology used by the the Chemical Bank's ATM.

First man on the moon


Neil Armstrong is the first man to step onto the moon.

Formation of the Railway Division Merger with the Institution of Locomotive Engineers, creating the Railway Division.

1970 Apollo 13 Apollo 13, carrying three US astronauts, splashes down safely after a five day rescue operation in space. The trouble is caused by an explosion on board the spacecraft during their journey to land on the Moon.

Boeing 747 A Boeing 747 jet arrives at Heathrow Airport in London after completing its maiden flight from New York.

1971 Space station The Soviet Union launches the first space station, Salyut 1.

1973 Mobile phone Dr. Martin Cooper invents the mobile phone.

Airbag as standard The first car to be sold to the general public with an airbag as a standard feature is the Oldsmobile Tornado. It is available only on the passenger side.

1974 Catalytic converter General Motors introduce the catalytic converter, a device to reduce the toxicity of emissions from an internal combustion engine.

Edinburgh Duck Professor Stephen Salter develops the Edinburgh Duck, a device which can stop 90% of wave motion; of that, 90% can be converted into electricity.

1975 North Sea pipeline The North Sea pipeline is opened, bringing ashore 40,000 barrels of oil a day to the Grangemouth Refinery on the Firth of Forth, Scotland.

1976 Concorde


The first Concorde jets carrying commercial passengers take off simultaneously from London to Bahrain and Paris to Rio de Janeiro.

1978 Regenerative braking David Arthurs develops the regenerative braking system.

Village photovoltaic system The world's first village photovoltaic system is installed at Papago Indian Reservation, Schuchuli, Arizona.

1979 Bileaflet heart valve The Bileaflet heart valve is introduced.

1981-Present Edit

1981 Solar One Solar One is completed. The 126 acre pilot solar-thermal project produces 10MW using 1818 mirrors or heliostats. The heliostats concentrate the suns rays on a collector tower, which transfers the energy to a substance which stores the heat for later use.

Stealth aircraft The US F-117A Nighthawk is the first aircraft to use stealth capability. It is produced by Lockheed Aeronautical Systems Co.

Space shuttle Space Shuttle Columbia is launched, the first space shuttle flight. It is also the first time that solid rocket fuels are used in a US manned launch.

1982 Volkswagen photovoltaic arrays Volkswagen began testing photovoltaic arrays mounted on the roofs of vehicles.

1983 Sonic toothbrush Philips invent the sonic toothbrush.

Maglev The world's first maglev (magnetically levitating) train begins operating in the UK as a shuttle between Birmingham airport and Birmingham International railway station, but is replaced a few years later.

1987 World Solar Challenge The World Solar Challenge is founded. It is a biannual solar-powered car race, run over 1877 miles from Darwin to Adelaide. The first winner reaches a speed of 42mph.

1990 Channel Tunnel Construction workers drilling the Channel Tunnel meet in the middle, physically joining the UK to Europe for the first time since the Ice Age.

1991 First Briton in space Helen Sharman is the first Briton is space, on-board the Soviet space capsule, Soyuz TM-12.

First UK wind farm Delabole wind farm opens, the first in the UK.

1993 Fuel cell bus The first bus powered by a fuel cell is completed.

1994 Channel Tunnel opens The Channel Tunnel is formally opened by the Queen and the French President Francois Mitterrand.

1995 First space walk by British born American Dr. Michael Foale performs the first space walk by a British-born American citizen.

1996 Solar crossing of the Pacific Ocean Kenichi Horie completes the first solar powered crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

1997 First female President IMechE's 150th anniversary year and first female President, Pam Liversidge.

Toyota Prius The Toyota Prius is the first mass-produced hybrid automobile. It goes on sale in Japan in 1997, and is introduced worldwide in 2001.

1998 Robot assisted heart bypass The first robot assisted heart bypass operation is performed by Dr. Ralph Damiano at Pennsylvania State Hospital, USA.

Formula Student Formula Student is launched, one of the Institution’s most popular events. Teams of students design and build a single-seater racing car, which then faces three days of endurance tests and scrutiny by professional engineers and industry experts.

1999 Millennium Wheel


The Millennium Wheel is hoisted into position, transforming the London skyline.

2000 First UK offshore wind farm Blyth offshore wind farm, the first in the UK, opens off the Northumberland coast. Its 2MW turbines are the largest offshore turbines in the world

2001 Artificial heart AbioCor artificial heart is invented by AbioMed.

2002 Scramjet The HyShot supersonic ramjet (scramjet) makes its first successful flight, at Mach 7.6, over seven times the speed of sound. It is a jet engine powered by oxygen which is taken from the atmosphere as it flies, compressed and mixed with a small amount of hydrogen to produce an explosion.

Hy-Wire General Motors reveal the Hy-Wire, a revolutionary concept car powered by hydrogen fuel cells. It is controlled electronically, removing the need for steering wheels, pedals and other traditional features of the automobile.

2003 Clear Skies The Clear Skies renewable energy grant scheme is launched in the UK.

First plug in hybrid electric vehicle The Renault Kangoo is produced. It is the first plug in hybrid electric vehicle, which can be recharged from the mains, and does not require conventional fuel for short trips.

Community owned wind turbine The first ever community owned wind turbine in the UK is opened in Machynlleth, Wales.

2004 Injection by soundwaves SonoPrep is invented by bioengineer Robert Langer. The device delivers medication by sound waves rather than injection.

2006 Turbosteamer technology BMW develops prototype turbosteamer technology. It converts 80 per cent of exhaust heat into power.

First female Chief Executive IMechE’s first female chief executive, Ruth Spellman, is appointed.

Water extraction technology AquaSciences develop technology to extract water from the atmosphere. The device works virtually anywhere that is inhabited by human beings.

2007 SkySails SkySails is piloted on cargo ships. A 160 metre square kite, controlled by computers, its makers believe it could cut the fuel costs of cargo ships by 10 to 35 per cent.

Wave farm Funding is announced for a £4 million wave farm at Pentland Firth, Scotland. At 10MW, the farm will be the largest in the world. Production is expected to commence in 2009.

Solar powered Atlantic crossing sun21 completes the first solar-powered crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The trip takes 29 days.

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