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Thames Tunnel
Society: ASCE Main Category: Civil Sub Category: Tunnels Era: 1840-1849 DateCreated: 1843 Beneath the Thames River London State: Zip: Country: UK Website: Creator: Brunel, Marc Isambard , Brunel, Isambard Kingdom

By the turn of the 19th century, London's streets were clogged with traffic. Over 3,700 passengers used the Thames River's main boat crossing each day, while wagons and carts were forced to cross via the London Bridge, two miles away. Building a bridge would further impede shipping on the already-crowded Thames; a tunnel was the obvious alternative.

The first attempt at a tunnel in the present location began in 1807. The excavation had proceeded only 1,000 feet-using traditional mining methods-when crews reached a layer of quicksand and were forced to stop.

Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Annie Mole (CC BY 2.0) Image Caption: Thames Tunnel Era_date_from: 1843
SS Great Britain
Society: ASME Main Category: Mechanical Sub Category: Water Transportation Era: 1840-1849 DateCreated: 1843 Great Western Dockyard Bristol State: Zip: BS1 6TY Country: UK Website: Creator: Patterson, William

The innovative SS Great Britain, launched in 1843, was the first iron-hulled, screw-propelled ship to cross any ocean and led mercantile history into British domination in the late nineteenth century. Standard practice of naval and merchant ship construction derived from this ship. The compartmented hull, unprecedented 1,500-horsepower engine with chain drive, and many other seminal features were the designs of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. New design features included a balanced rudder, an electric log, a double bottom, and water-tight bulkheads.

Image Credit: Courtesy Flickr/Terry Whalebone (CC BY 2.0) Image Caption: SS Great Britain Era_date_from: 1843
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