Brunel, Isambard Kingdom


Brunel, Isambard Kingdom
born April 9, 1806, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Eng.
died Sept. 15, 1859, London

British civil and mechanical engineer.

He was the son of Marc Brunel. His introduction of the broad-gauge railway, with rails 7 ft (2 m) apart, made possible high speeds and provided a great stimulus to railroad progress. He was responsible for building more than 1,000 mi (1,600 km) of railway in Britain and also oversaw construction of railway lines in Italy, Australia, and India. His use of a compressed-air caisson to sink bridge pier foundations helped gain acceptance of compressed-air techniques in underwater and underground construction. Brunel made outstanding contributions to marine engineering with three steamships
each the largest in the world at date of launching. The Great Western instituted the first regular transatlantic service, and Great Eastern laid the first successful transatlantic cable.

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▪ British engineer
born April 9, 1806, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Eng.
died Sept. 15, 1859, Westminster, London
 British civil and mechanical engineer of great originality who designed the first transatlantic steamer.

      The only son of the engineer and inventor Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (Brunel, Sir Marc Isambard), he was appointed resident engineer when work on the Thames Tunnel began, under his father's direction, in 1825. He held the post until 1828, when a sudden inundation seriously injured him and brought the tunnel work to a standstill that financial problems stretched to seven years. While recuperating, he prepared designs for a suspension bridge over the Avon Gorge in Bristol, one of which was ultimately adopted in the construction of the Clifton Suspension Bridge (1830–63) in preference to a design by the noted Scottish engineer Thomas Telford (Telford, Thomas).

      As engineer at the Bristol Docks, Brunel carried out extensive improvements. He designed the Monkwearmouth Docks in 1831 and, later, similar works at Brentford, Briton Ferry, Milford Haven, and Plymouth. In 1833 he was appointed chief engineer to the Great Western Railway. His introduction of the broad-gauge railway (railroad) (rails 7 feet [2 metres] apart) provoked the famous “battle of the gauges.” The broad gauge made possible high speeds that were a great stimulus to railway progress. In 1844 he introduced a system of pneumatic propulsion on the South Devon Railway, but the experiment was a failure.

      Brunel was responsible for building more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km) of railway in the West Country, the Midlands, South Wales, and Ireland. He constructed two railway lines in Italy and was an adviser on the construction of the Victorian lines in Australia and the Eastern Bengal Railway in India. His first notable railway works were the Box Tunnel and the Maidenhead Bridge, and his last were the Chepstow and Saltash (Royal Albert) bridges, all in England. The Maidenhead Bridge had the flattest brick arch in the world. His use of a compressed-air caisson (pneumatic device) to sink the pier foundations for the bridge helped gain acceptance of compressed-air techniques in underwater and underground construction.

 Brunel made outstanding contributions to marine engineering with his three ships, the Great Western (1837), Great Britain (1843), and Great Eastern (originally called Leviathan; 1858), each the largest in the world at its date of launching. The Great Western, a wooden paddle vessel, was the first steamship to provide regular transatlantic service. The Great Britain, an iron-hull steamship, was the first large vessel driven by a screw propeller. The Great Eastern was propelled by both paddles and screw and was the first ship to utilize a double iron hull. Unsurpassed in size for 40 years, the Great Eastern was not a success as a passenger ship but achieved fame by laying the first successful transatlantic cable.

      Brunel worked on the improvement of large guns and designed a floating armoured barge used for the attack on Kronshtadt in 1854 during the Crimean War. He also designed a complete prefabricated hospital building that was shipped in parts to the Crimea in 1855.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Brunel , Isambard Kingdom — (1806–1859) British engineer Brunel s father, Marc Brunel (1769–1849), a French emigré and distinguished engineer, arrived in England in 1799. He sent his son to Paris in 1820 to learn mathematics and engineering. Brunel returned to England in… …   Scientists

  • Brunel, Isambard Kingdom —  (1806–1859) British engineer; son of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769–1849), also an engineer …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Brunel, Isambard Kingdom — (9 abr. 1806, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Inglaterra–15 sep.1859, Londres). Ingeniero civil y mecánico británico. Era hijo de Marc Brunel. Su introducción del ferrocarril de trocha ancha, con rieles separados 2 m (7 pies) entre sí, posibilitó alcanzar …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • BRUNEL, ISAMBARD KINGDOM —    son of the preceding, assisted his father in his engineering operations, in particular the Thames tunnel; was engineer of the Great Western Railway; designed the Great Western steamship, the first to cross the Atlantic; was the first to apply… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel — en 1857 Naissance 9 avril  …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel — Brunel antes de la botadura del SS Great Eastern (1857). Naci …   Wikipedia Español

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel — Brunel mit Zylinder und Zigarre vor der riesigen aufgewickelten Ankerkette des Dampfschiffes Great Eastern, Fotografie von Robert Howlett Isambard Kingdom Brunel (* 9. April 1806 in Portsmouth; † 15. September 1859 in London) war ein britischer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel — [Isambard Kingdom Brunel] (1806–69) an English engineer, famous for his ambitious designs for ships, bridges and railways. He designed the ↑Clifton Suspension Bridge and the largest ships that had ever been built at the time, including the Great… …   Useful english dictionary

  • Isambard Kingdom Brunel — Infobox Engineer image size = caption = Brunel before the launching of the Great Eastern name = Isambard Kingdom Brunel nationality = birth date =birth date|1806|4|9|df=y birth place = Portsmouth, United Kingdom death date =Death date and… …   Wikipedia

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