Engineering has existed in many forms for much longer than many people would expect. Even some of the most basic inventions required a certain amount of skill and intelligent design techniques. For example a seemingly simple invention such as the wheel needed a talented engineer to come up with the initial concept.
Some of the very first engineering projects were simply based on trial and error. Imaginative and creative individuals with good technical skills would try and design and put things together, making some truly brilliant inventions.
Imhotep was possibly the first recognised engineer who built the Step Pyramid in Egypt. He was a fairly powerful and influential individual who came up with the initial concept for the pyramid and then made the construction a reality around 2550 bc.
Engineering was taken from ‘Engineer’ which was first coined in the 1320’s. At this time in history, Engineering was closely linked to the creation of various military devices and machines.
Engineering took a slightly different turn when people started learned how to design and create basic building structures. Buildings and other structures started to become more functional and complex thanks to the birth of civil engineering.
Electrical engineering started to emerge when William Gerbert began to be recognised for his work. He did a great deal of research and writing on Electricity and made a significant impact on the initiation of electrical engineering.
Engineering actually became a respected job and influential form of work in the 18th century when it started to form strong links with science and maths.
Many believe that the early stages of modern engineering started in the Scientific revolution. During this stage in history, people started to realise that they could design objects, machines and devices that were able to replace the need for physical human exertion. For example, Thomas Savery designed and built the very first steam engine in the late 1690’s. The steam engine provided a form of transport that could cope with a large amount of cargo and products which kick started the birth of mass production.
The rise of the industrial revolution demanded new materials and ways of manufacturing chemicals. Chemical engineering was coined around this time because they were required to think of innovative ways to make products from raw materials and apply this to mass production. They also started to be bale to take an existing material and adapt it to be used for a different purpose.