Innovation: First Commercial Process for Manufacturing of Concrete Blocks
By: Harmon S. Palmer
Masonry has been used in Architecture since early Greek and Roman times and has shown its strength and durability though the still standing Roman and Greek ruins. The introduction of the first concrete block, or concrete masonry unit, in 1882 led to a different technique that could be used for building. In 1900, Harmon S. Palmer patented the first commercial machine that could be used to create concrete masonry units, CMUs. The concrete blocks that Harmon’s machine produced were composed of Portland cement, aggregates, and water and were 30’x8”x10”. Since the blocks were so large, they had to be set in place by a hand cranked machine. However, with the scarcity of other resources and the cost of materials at the time, concrete blocks became the main source of building materials and the industry grew rapidly. The creation of the commercial process for manufacturing concrete blocks has led to the employment of concrete blocks for many different architectural and engineering functions since CMUs can last long periods of time, are energy efficient, require minimal upkeep and are fire and rot resistant.
Innovation: First Electromagnetic Telegraph
Location: Gottingen, Germany
By: Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber
Several years before Samuel Morse’s telegraph would revolutionize American communication, two German scientists, Carl Friedrich Gauss and Wilhelm Weber, created the first electromagnetic telegraph. Developed in 1833, this telegraph connected the offices of Gauss and Weber on the University of Gottingen campus. The telegraph consisted of a wire running a top the building connected to a galvanometer that would react to the electric pulses it received and a commutator to change the direction of the current. With the creation of the first practical recording telegraph, Gauss and Weber were able to communicate at a speed of 6 words per minute across a distance of 8,942 feet, 3 kilometer. This invention allowed for more collaborative effort in Gauss and Weber’s scientific research, since they were able to be in constant communication while working in their separate labs. This invention set the stage for modern communication. The telegraph showed that it was no longer impossible to quickly speak to individuals that were a great distance away.
Innovation: Tom Thumb Locomotive
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
By: Peter Cooper
In 1830 the first American-built steam locomotive was designed, the Tom Thumb, by Peter Cooper to show the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad that steam engines should be used to power the new railways as opposed to horse-drawn cars. The first locomotive was four wheeled with a vertical boiler and a vertically mounted cylinder to drive the wheels. While on its return from its first test run, the Tom Thumb was challenged to a race by a horse drawn carriage. The Tom Thumb quickly and easily took the lead, however, the belt slipped off the blower and the Tom Thumb ended up losing the race. No one could deny that the Tom Thumb had clearly proven that it was by far the quickest and most efficient means of travel. The development of the steam locomotive allowed for the expansion of the railway over rougher terrain and longer expanses. The steam engine allowed people to travel from one side of the country to the other and for quicker and easier transportation of goods nationwide.
Innovation: Mathematical Analysis of the Electric Circuit
Location: Erlangen, Germany
By: Georg Ohm
With the publication of The Galvanic Circuit Investigated Mathematically written by Georg Ohm in 1827, Ohm’s Law, which is used to understand electrical circuits, was established. In this work Ohm set forth to explain that the electromotive force anywhere in a circuit is the product of the strength of the current and the resistance in that part of the circuit, V=IR. At the time his work was published, most approaches to physics were non-mathematical; therefore, his work set the stage for electricity that can be explained in mathematical terms and thus making it easier for non-physicists to understand the flow of electricity. Ohm’s mathematical analysis of electric circuits is what most electricians and engineers rely on to understand the flow of electricity through houses and appliances and the proper method to account for electrical flow.