Events

Jan
22
Mon
2018
History of Gas Manufacture in the UK @ SHEFFIELD Kelham Island Museum
Jan 22 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

A lecture by Prof. Russell Thomas. This is a joint meeting with the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society

Jan
30
Tue
2018
Stuffed in attic trunks and the minds of aging scientists”? Reflections on Technical History and the History of Technology @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Jan 30 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

Michael Grace’s Presidential Address examines the value of detailed technical history and its status

Feb
7
Wed
2018
Plastics – their origins and development from Parkesine to Bakelite @ BIRMINGHAM: Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum
Feb 7 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

A lecture by Dr Susan Mossman

Feb
14
Wed
2018
The Development of the Engineering Drawing Office @ LONDON: The Dana Studio,
Feb 14 @ 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Feb
15
Thu
2018
Stuffed in attic trunks and the minds of aging scientists @ BRISTOL, BAWA
Feb 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

Michael  Grace’s Presidential Address. Stuffed in attic trunks and the minds of aging scientists? Reflections on Technical History and the History of Technology

It is widely accepted that the world as we know it today can only be understood by reference to technology and its history.  However, it is the impacts and consequences of technologies, rather than their inherent technical development, that provides that understanding. As technologies have become more science-based and complex, it is increasingly difficult for those without specialist knowledge to fully understand and appreciate how these technologies work, how they arose and how they were developed. Whilst the benefits of studying the history of technology as a factor in understanding social, economic and political history is more or less self-evident, the benefits of studying the fundamental underlying technical history is less so.  For example, to what extent do historians need to understand the technical development of aviation in order to understand and appreciate the social impacts of air travel in the second half of the twentieth century? The lecture will consider the value of studying detailed technical history and the ‘amateur and recreational’ status sometimes accorded to such study, together with other related topics, in the context of the Newcomen Society.

Feb
16
Fri
2018
On the Centenary of the Royal Air Force, 1918-2018. Leonardo Torres Quevedo and the RNAS @ The Gallery
Feb 16 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

A lecture by Dr. Francisco A. Gonzalez Redondo, Please note venue is at the Gallery, Cowcross Street, EC1M 6EL

Feb
20
Tue
2018
Dirty but Necessary: South Hampshire and the Seaborne Coal Trade l700-1850 @ PORTSMOUTH: Portland Bldg, Rm PO1-11
Feb 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

A lecture by James Thomas

Feb
26
Mon
2018
Brunel’s Fan @ SHEFFIELD Kelham Island Museum
Feb 26 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

A lecture by Michael Bailey. This is a joint meeting with the Stephenson Locomotive Society

Feb
27
Tue
2018
Who designed the Clifton Suspension Bridge? Fact & Fiction. @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Feb 27 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

A lecture by Julia Elton.

Mar
7
Wed
2018
James Watt and the Lunar Society @ BIRMINGHAM: Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum
Mar 7 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

A lecture by Dr Jim Andrew. Doors open at 6.30pm.  For Sat Nav, use postcode B4 7AP

Mar
13
Tue
2018
Ken Barraclough Memorial Lecture: History of Satellite Navigation @ SHEFFIELD Holiday Inn Royal Victoria
Mar 13 @ 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm

The Ken Barraclough Memorial Lecture by Norman Bonner. This is a joint meeting with the Sheffield Metallurgical and Engineering Association and the South Yorkshire Industrial History Society. This talk is open to all and there is on site car parking providing you register your car at reception.  The talk is followed by the SMEA Members’ Dinner. Contact Dr Ken Ridal (0114 230 5650 or kenridal@stonedelf.fsnet.co.uk).

 

Mar
14
Wed
2018
Changing Waterscapes: managing water in 18th-century London @ LONDON: The Dana Studio,
Mar 14 @ 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm
Mar
15
Thu
2018
Building and deploying Blue Danube: Britain’s first atomic weapon @ BRISTOL, BAWA
Mar 15 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

A lecture by Jonathan Aylen, Building and deploying Blue Danube; Britain’s first atomic weapon (Joint meeting with the Bristol branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society).

Jonathan Aylen of the University of Manchester pieces together the remarkable technical development of “Blue Danube” – Britain’s first atom bomb.  Its technology relied on pragmatic solutions to solve new technical problems. Some of the biggest difficulties arose not from the fissile nuclear components, but from everyday practical concerns such as fuze design, the trigger mechanism, shaping conventional high explosives and getting the free-fall bomb to actually leave the bomb bay of the aircraft. At one stage Britain’s nuclear posture was threatened by a shortage of clockwork components!  The Government turned to a maker of tank engines in Leeds for key components. Vital parts of the bomb depended on a firm making hot water bottles in Barnsley. When first deployed, the atom bomb was a craft built prototype which was continually modified in service in a search for greater reliability.    Britain’s first atomic bomb was a truly awesome weapon, but developed after it had been pressed into service as a front-line deterrent on Britain’s V-bomber force.  Britain’s post-war nuclear deterrent was the product of a “suck it and see” evolution. There are clear lessons for modern innovation.  Technology seems simple – you spend on R&D and new products appear.  But, in practice, innovation is a messy, gritty and chance process improvised using resources to hand.  Mis-steps often involve the simple parts of a new design. In practice innovation is often a process of problem solving. New designs emerge by a process of trial-and-error. Jonathan Aylen is senior lecturer at Manchester Institute of Innovation Research at Manchester Business School, Vice-Pesident of the Newcomen Society and author of earlier papers in the Newcomen journal on the construction of the Shotton steelworks strip mill and on the development of the Ferranti Argus computer used by both ICI and the Bloodhound 2 guided missile.  Jonathan’s paper will also show how the atomic bomb reached the West Country!

 

Mar
20
Tue
2018
Railways and Warfare 1865-1914 – The ‘World’ follows the Yankees @ PORTSMOUTH: Portland Bldg, Rm PO1-11
Mar 20 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

A lecture by Bob Otter

Mar
27
Tue
2018
Bulldozers @ MANCHESTER Museum of Science & Industry
Mar 27 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm

A lecture by Ralph Harrington

Apr
4
Wed
2018
Richard Trevithick’s Lambeth Engine @ BIRMINGHAM: Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum
Apr 4 @ 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm

A lecture by David Hulse,

Lectures start at 7pm.  Doors open at 6.30pm and we meet in the Thintank Lecture Theatre, Level 2 at Millennium Point.    For Sat Nav, use postcode B4 7AP

Apr
19
Thu
2018
Canal Lifts @ BRISTOL, BAWA
Apr 19 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

A lecture by Denis Dodd

Apr
23
Mon
2018
Hip and Knee Replacement – a surgeon’s perspective @ SHEFFIELD Kelham Island Museum
Apr 23 @ 6:30 pm – 8:15 pm
Apr
24
Tue
2018
How (not) to Make Money – Countering Banknote Forgery @ PORTSMOUTH: Portland Bldg, Rm PO1-11
Apr 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm

A lecture by Paul Chapman

Will McTaggart and Robert Steeds, Film Evening @ MANCHESTER Central Library Performance Space
Apr 24 @ 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

Films on industry in the North-West brought to you by the North-West Film Archive.

May
9
Wed
2018
The Dickinson Memorial Lecture: Measuring greatness: engineering biography- scholarship, hagiography or a marketing tool? @ LONDON: The Dana Studio, Wellcome Wolfson Building,
May 9 @ 5:45 pm – 7:45 pm

The Dickinson Memorial Lecture will be given by Mike Chrimes. the title of his lecture is Measuring greatness: engineering biography- scholarship, hagiography or a marketing tool?

Mike Chrimes is a long-standing member of the Newcomen Society, serving on its Council and acting as Reviews Editor for many years. He is currently involved in the inter-societal organising committee for the Early Main Line Railway Conference, 2018. He became interested in the history of engineering through his work in the Library of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and a concern over the paucity and meagerness of the literature of the subject. He has written and lectured extensively on the history of civil engineering, including contributions to The Civil Engineers (2011), and The Contractors (2014) with Hugh Ferguson. Hugh and Mike are now working on The Consultants. From 1996 Mike was involved with ICE’s Biographical Dictionary of Civil Engineers Project, which resulted in 3 volumes covering the periods 1500-1830 (2002); 1830-1890  (2008) and 1890-1920 (2014). Other books include Civil engineering 1839-1889 (1991); The Civil engineering of canals and railways (1997); Historic concrete (with Sutherland and Humm) (2002) and Robert Stephenson– (with Michael Bailey) (2003). Mike has written numerous papers and served on English Heritage’s Industrial Archaeology Panel. In 2007 Mike’s historical contribution was recognised with the American Society of Civil Engineers History and Heritage Award. He has had a long career, at the ICE,  providing information on civil engineering. A belief in the capability of the internet and digital communications to deliver better, and better value, knowledge transfer for all members was fundamental to this. His service for ICE was recognised by the award of the Garth Watson medal in 1996, and again in 2014, and the Spirit of Telford Award in 2007 and was awarded an MBE in January 2011 for services to engineering.

 

 

May
17
Thu
2018
Frank Hornby and mechanical toys; Britain, Germany and the USA, 1880-1950 @ BRISTOL, BAWA
May 17 @ 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm

A lecture by Deborah Jaffé. The entrepreneurial Frank Hornby was the inventor of Meccano, The Hornby Railway and Dinky Cars. This lecture looks at the origins of his designs, the manufacturing processes involved,  the images of modernity within the toys and how Hornby achieved his aims to enable  children to learn mechanic; all within the context of the toy industries in Germany, Britain and the USA. Deborah is a cultural historian, the editor of Newcomen Links and author of The History of Toys (Sutton 2006).

May
21
Mon
2018
Visits to AMRC and AESSEAL, Rotherham @ SHEFFIELD details to follow
May 21 all-day

The society has organised a visit to the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) on the morning of Monday 21st May 2018, followed by an afternoon visit to AESSEAL.  On both these visits members will have opportunity to see some of the most advanced engineering and manufacturing in the world. Full details of the visit will be circulated nearer the time, but if you would be interested in attending please let me know as soon as possible as numbers are strictly limited to 20 members and places will be allocated on a first come basis. meetings.syorks:@newcomen.com

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