Quotes by 8 Famous Mechanical Engineers and Inventors

James Watt

Who: Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer

Known For: Improvements to the Newcomen steam engine

“It is not worth my while to manufacture in three countries only; but I can find it very worthwhile to make it for the whole world.” – Attributed quote to James Watt

“[…] James Watt developed the first efficient steam engine long before science established the equivalence between mechanical heat and energy.” – Edward Teller 2009

 

Nikola Tesla

Who: Servian American inventor, electrical engineer, and mechanical engineer

Known For: Contributions to alternating current electricity supply system

“The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.” – Nikola Tesla

“Money does not represent such a value as men have placed upon it. All my money has been invested into experiments with which I have made new discoveries enabling mankind to have a little easier life.” – Nikola Tesla

 

Charles Babbage

Who: English mathematician and mechanical engineer

Known For: Concept of a digital programmable computer

“The first steps in the path of discover, and the first approximate measures, are those which add most to the existing knowledge of mankind.” – Charles Babbage

“Numbers are the masters of the weak, but the slaves of the strong.” – Charles Babbage

“The economy of human time is the next advantage of machinery in manufactures” – Charles Babbage (On the Economy of Machinery and Manufactures)

 

Kate Gleason

Who: American engineer and businesswoman

Known For: Gleason Works machine tool company

“What you call freedom is still nothing but choosing how to steer straight into the heart of what chooses you” – Kate Gleason

"In those early days I was a freak; I talked of gears when a woman was not supposed to know what a gear was." – Kate Gleason (1928 American Magazine article)

 

Henry Gantt

Who: American mechanical engineer

Known For: Developing the Gantt chart and work in scientific management

“The business man says profits are more important to him than the service he renders, that the wheels of business shall not turn, whether the community needs the service or not, unless he can have his measure of profit. He has forgotten that his business system had its foundation in service, and as far as the community is concerned has no reason for existence except in the service it can render.” – Henry Gantt

 

George Stephenson

Who: English civil engineer and mechanical engineer

Known For: Pioneer of rail transport, known as “Father of Railways”

“It is computed, that no less than 80,000,000 miles are annually traversed on our railways. Now, to run 80,000,000 miles per annum, 2.5 miles of railway, at least, must be covered by trains, during every second of time, throughout the entire year.” – George Stephenson (De Bow’s Review and Industrial Resources, Statistics, etc. – page 101)

“Where combination is possible, competition is impossible.” – George Stephenson

 

Franklin Chang Diaz

Who: Costa Rican Chinese American mechanical engineer, physicist and astronaut

Known For: 7 space shuttle missions and founder of Ad Astra Rocket Company

“My vision is a future for humanity where we will be completely free to pursue activities outside of our planet” – Franklin Chang Diaz

“For decades, people have known the chemical-propulsion approach to space travel is really not going to get us that far. Chemical propulsion is essentially like the horse-and-cart approach to the exploration of the American West, instead of the steamboat or the railroad.” – Franklin Chang Diaz

 

Willis Carrier

Who: American engineer

Known For: Invented the modern air conditioning

“A man with the power of will could make himself anything he wished no matter what the circumstances.” – Willis Carrier (high school graduation essay)

Jarrett Linowes
Mechanical Engineer
omniamfg@gmail.com

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