Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Big 5 North East Inventors

It has been a whirlwind couple of weeks! 3 birthdays have happened in our house and we have had a lot of visitors. Hopefully life can resume some normality now.

We went on a tour last week at the Discovery Museum with other home ed families to explore five important North East Inventors through the museum exhibits of their work. It was fascinating and I learnt so much that we will be able to talk about and bring into future visits to the museum and to Cragside and the Quayside. I took a few notes on the tour and have included them here for my future reference and for anyone else who may be interested to read them.

Joseph Swan

Invented the first electric light bulb. He worked on it between 1850 and 1879, so needed a lot of perseverance. They were expensive at the time and only used by the very rich. Swan's own house was the first in the world to be lit by lightbulbs and he also installed his lightbulbs at Cragside, the house of his friend William Armstrong. Swan's lightbulb idea was stolen by Thomas Edison and used in America but they later worked together.

William Armstrong

Designed the Newcastle Swing Bridge using water power to make it turn. This was needed to allow large ships to deliver goods from Armstrong's factories down the Tyne. He also used hydro-electricity famously to power his Cragside house.

Armstrong also designed an army gun which could shoot over 3km further than any others at the time and with more accuracy. He sold it to both sides during the American Civil War.

George Stephenson

Made significant improvements to the speed and efficiency of trains to transport coal and designed the first public railway on which steam trains could travel. He also invented mine safety lamps so that flames didn't ignite dangerous gases.

Robert Stephenson

The son of George, above. He worked with his father on many railway projects and designed the High Level Bridge, the first double decker bridge in the UK. Queen Victoria travelled to Newcastle to open it.

Charles Parsons

Invented a revolutionary steam turbine used in Turbinia, the fastest ship of its time (which is displayed at the Discovery Museum) and later in many other ships.

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