Engg 481 Connections (1978) #5 'The Wheel of Fortune'

Engg 481 Timeline assignment

Important Inventions


150 B.C. - 306 AD

Invented in the Hellenistic world in 150 BC
Astrolabes continued to be used into the Greek-speaking world throughout the Byzantine period (306 AD)

Water Clock

1000 - 1365

The first water clocks to employ complex segmental and epicyclic gearing was invented earlier by the Arab engineer Ibn Khalaf al-Muradi in Islamic Iberia circa 1000. The first European clock to employ these complex gears was the astronomical clock created by Giovanni de Dondi in circa 1365

Verge and foliot clocks


The verge (or crown wheel) escapement is the earliest known type of mechanical escapement, the mechanism in a mechanical clock that controls its rate by advancing the gear train at regular intervals or 'ticks'.



Used in antique spring-powered mechanical watches and clocks. A fusee is a cone-shaped pulley with a spiral groove around it, a chain or cord would be wound around it which is attached to the mainspring barrel.



The earliest evidence of working telescopes were the refracting telescopes that appeared in the Netherlands in 1608. Their development is credited to three individuals: Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Janssen, who were spectacle makers in Middelburg, and Jacob Metius of Alkmaar.



In 1656 the Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens built the first pendulum clock

Important People

Galileo Galilei


Galileo began publicly supporting the heliocentric view (Copernicanism) in 1610, which placed the Sun at the centre of the universe.

Benjamin Huntsman


Huntsman experimented in steel manufacture, first at Doncaster. Then in 1740 he moved to Handsworth, near Sheffield. Eventually, after many experiments, Huntsman was able to make satisfactory cast steel, in clay pots or crucibles.

Jesse Ramsden


Ramsden created one of the first high-quality dividing engines, which was a device specifically employed to mark graduations on measuring instruments.

Honoré le Blanc


Mass production innovation
Honoré le Blanc worked out a system that allowed for the fabricating of gun parts using engineering tolerance, which meant parts could be interchanged from other manufactured gun. Le Blanc turned to Thomas Jefferson, who than contacted George Washington who approved of the idea and by 1798 a contract was issued for 12,000 muskets to be made from this system.

Henry Maudslay


Maudslay developed the first industrially practical screw-cutting lathe in 1800, allowing standardisation of screw thread sizes for the first time. This allowed the concept of interchangeability (an idea that was already taking hold) to be practically applied to nuts and bolts.

Also created the concept of the factory line, he had Margaret Street, Cavendish Square he had machines installed to build Portsmouth Block Mills. The machines were capable of making 130,000 ships’ blocks a year, needing only ten unskilled men to operate them. This was the first well-known example of specialized machinery, used for machining in an assembly-line type factory.

Frank Bunker Gilbreth


Gilbreth reduced all motions of the hand into some combination of 17 basic motions. These included grasp, transport loaded, and hold. He used a motion picture camera that was calibrated in fractions of minutes to time the smallest of motions in workers.

Gilbreth was also the first to propose that a surgical nurse serve as "caddy" (Gilbreth's term) to a surgeon, by handing surgical instruments to the surgeon as called for.

Important Places


560 AD

Thanks to the the survival of Greek learning in the Middle East, institutions for formal medical education were organized there far earlier than in the West. An academy modeled on the famed Museum in Alexandria was established in Jundishapur in 560 CE by the enlightened Persian leader, Khosru I. As a major repository for ancient Greek texts, Jundishapur attracted many teachers and students interested in the practice of medicine. Teachers provided their pupils with certificates to show they had studied and mastered the medical arts. After Arabs conquered Persia in 638, Jundishapur became a center for translating Greek, Syriac and Indian texts into Arabic and Persian. In 931, the Caliph of Baghdad introduced examinations for medical students to demonstrate their skill and proficiency.

Taken from: https://eee.uci.edu/clients/bjbecker/PlaguesandPeople/lecture5.html


1050 - 1571

From 1050 to 1571, the city expanded and rose dramatically in importance due to its location on key trade routes. Site of excellent metalwork because it was the greatest mining area in Europe. In addition during this time it had some of the best craftsmen in Europe.

Toledo and the translation of manuscripts

1105 AD

During the reign of Alfonso VII of Castile, (1105–1157), translation of some of the major works from the school of Toledo begins, after the capture of Toledo from the Spanish Arabs in 1105.

Important Events

Medieval Inquisition

1184 AD - 1230 AD

The Medieval Inquisitions were in response to growing religious movements

Present Connections

Current Connections Relating James Burke's Connects 'Wheel of Fortune' to current times

Industrial Robot

1973 - Present

ISO defines an industrial robot as, 'as an automatically controlled, reprogrammable, multipurpose manipulator programmable in three or more axes.' Typically these robots are used for welding, painting, assembling, pick and place, packaging and palletizing, product inspection, and testing.
ABB Robotics and KUKA Robotics introduce robotics to the market place in 1973 and introduce the IRB 6, which is among the worlds first commercially available all electronic micro-processor controlled robot.

Hubble Space Telescope

1990 - Present

Hubble is one of the largest and most versatile space telescope, it was build and carried out into space by NASA, and with recent services (only telescope designed to be serviced in space) the telescope is expected to function until 2014.

Quantum logic clock

2010 - Present

A quantum clock is a type of clock that confines aluminum and beryllium ions together in an electromagnetic trap and cools them by lasers to near absolute zero temperatures. Developed by National Institute of Standards and Technology physicists, the clock is 37 times more precise than the existing international standard.
In February 2010, NIST physicists built a second, enhanced, version of the quantum logic clock using a single aluminum atom. Considered the world's most precise clock, it offers more than twice the precision of the original.