40 things we wouldn’t have without engineering!

14th February 2018

Lent is just beginning and whilst the rest of you may be thinking of cutting back on the chocolate or wine, we’ve been thinking about all the things we’d have to give up if it wasn’t for engineering.

The Engineers Without Borders UK team have picked their favourite 40 things, some of these may be well-known, whilst others you may not have known we have engineering to thank for. We’ve given interesting facts for a few so you can wow your friends with them or get involved in some of our related projects. Read on, but we wouldn’t recommend giving up some of these, especially toilets or the internet!

  1. The Windscreen Wiper – Invented in 1903 by Mary Anderson. In British weather we’re not sure we’d survive without them!
  2. Space station batteries 
  3. The Great Wall of China 
  4. Post-Its
  5. Toilets – The flushing toilet was invented in 1596 by John Harington, this year our Design Challenge is on Kibera where we’re working to improve sanitation.
  6. Great pyramid of Giza
  7. MP3s
  8. Bulletproof vests
  9. The Colosseum
  10. Wind turbines– Invented around 650AD by the Persians. Wind turbines have been an essential power source since, check out our Power For Everyone Everywhere Workshop!
  11. International Space Station
  12. The Falkirk Wheel
  13. Toothbrush
  14. Internet (Can you imagine?!)
  15. The Millennium Walkway (New Mills) – The missing link in the Midshires Way, this bridge is a feat of engineering design!
  16. The Channel Tunnel
  17. Apple Inc
  18. The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building
  19. Clean cookstoves – The modern Kitchen range was created in the 1790’s but in India a lot of people still don’t have access to stoves that aren’t bad for their health. We are addressing this issue with our partner Prakti.
  20. The Circular Saw
  21. Lawn mower
  22. London’s sewerage network – Designed by engineer Joseph Bazalgette and totalling almost 160km in length! Our WASH projects are improving lives today in similar ways!
  23. X Rays
  24. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
  25. Milau Viaduct
  26. The first ever computer programme – Ada Lovelace wrote the first machine algorithm for computer machinery. You can help us to inspire more women in engineering by becoming an Engineers Without Borders Ambassador 
  27. Submarines
  28. The Trans-Siberian Railway
  29. Penicillin – Discovered in 1928, the production plant was designed by chemical engineer Margaret Hutchinson Roussea
  30. The Laerdal Tunnel
  31. Roller Coaster
  32. The Large Hadron Collider – The largest single machine in the world!
  33. Refrigerator
  34. Halley VI research station in Antarctica
  35. Big Ben
  36. Clean drinking water- Our Water for Everyone Everywhere Workshop is educating young people about water filtration but this was discovered after 500 BC by Hippocrates when he created the first bag filter called the ‘Hippocratic sleeve’.
  37. Seatbelt
  38. St Peter’s Basilic
  39. Central heating
  40. Hobbiton

This list is a tiny number of the incredible things that we have to thank engineering for. From little things we use every day that are taken for granted like the internet, toilets and clean water to incredible structures such as the Burj Khalifa, engineering is a part of all our lives every day. 

Engineers Without Borders UK strives everyday to enable people across the world to have equal access to the benefits of engineering. We are always challenging stereotypes and showcasing the variety and creativity of this forward-looking and innovative sector. Our Youth Outreach Initiative encourages young people to explore the most pressing human development issues and inspires them to reflect, discuss and realise how they can be part of the solution by becoming engineers.  Find out how you can be part of our movement to inspire the next generation by clicking here!

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