Famous 18th Century Civil Engineers

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Vote for Your Favourite 18th Century Civil Engineers

 1 
George Stephenson
(Father of Railways)

George Stephenson
6
Birthdate: June 9, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wylam
Died: August 12, 1848

George Stephenson was a British mechanical and civil engineer. Stephenson is credited with pioneering rail transport which is widely regarded as one of the most prominent inventions of the 19th century. Regarded as the Father of Railways, George Stephenson is also credited with developing the standard rail gauge which is used by several railways around the world.

 2 
Thomas Telford
(Civil Engineer)

Thomas Telford
6
Birthdate: August 9, 1757
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Died: September 2, 1834

Scottish civil engineer Thomas Telford had begun his career as a mason at 14, having lost his father in infancy. A self-taught architect, he was responsible for building many structures, including the Caledonian Canal and the Menai Suspension Bridge. Named The Colossus of Roads, he symbolized the Scottish Enlightenment.

 3 
John Smeaton
(Civil Engineer)

John Smeaton
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1724
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Austhorpe, Leeds, England
Died: October 28, 1792

John Smeaton was the first person to claim to be a civil engineer. One of his best-known creations was the Eddystone Lighthouse. He was also the first to use hydraulic lime in concrete. He not only won the Copley Medal but was also made a Fellow of The Royal Society.

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 4 
John Loudon McAdam
(Civil engineer, Engineer)

John Loudon McAdam
3
Birthdate: September 21, 1756
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Ayr, Scotland
Died: November 26, 1836

Scottish engineer John Loudon McAdam introduced the world to the macadam road surface, which was more economical and effective than all previous road-construction methods. He suggested that roads should be constructed at an elevated level for better drainage. He also became Britain’s Surveyor-General of Metropolitan Roads.

 5 
Robert Stevenson
(Civil engineer)

Robert Stevenson
3
Birthdate: June 8, 1772
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: July 12, 1850

Glasgow-born civil engineer Robert Stevenson initially built lighthouses as part of the Scottish Lighthouse Board. Apart from constructing the Bell Rock Lighthouse in Scotland, he also invented the hydrophore and flashing lights. He was also the grandfather of writer Robert Louis Stevenson. He is part of the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame.

 6 

Marc Isambard Brunel
3
Birthdate: April 25, 1769
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Hacqueville, Normandy, France
Died: December 12, 1849

French-British engineer Marc Isambard Brunel is best known for constructing the Thames Tunnel and had been the chief engineer of New York City. He had also spent time in a debtor’s prison for his association with loss-making projects. He was the father of renowned engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

Pierre Charles L'Enfant
6
Birthdate: August 2, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: June 14, 1825
Born to a famous French painter in Paris, Pierre Charles L'Enfant later joined the rebels in American Revolutionary War. While working as a military engineer in the U.S., he changed his name from Pierre to Peter. He was hired by George Washington to design the L'Enfant Plan for establishing Washington D.C.
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 8 
Joseph Bramah
(Civil engineer, Engineer)

Joseph Bramah
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1748
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barnsley
Died: December 9, 1814

Joseph Bramah started his career as a cabinet maker and over time, revolutionized the lock-making industry with his pick-proof locks. Along with blacksmith Henry Maudslay, he changed the course of 19th-century British manufacturing. Best known for his hydraulic press, he also built water closets in Queen Victoria’s home.

 9 
Benjamin Wright
(Civil engineer)

Benjamin Wright
2
Birthdate: October 10, 1770
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Wethersfield, Connecticut, United States
Died: August 24, 1842

Benjamin Wright was an American civil engineer best remembered for his work as a chief engineer. He is credited with overseeing the design and construction of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal and the Erie Canal. In 1969, Benjamin Wright was declared the Father of American Civil Engineering by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).

 10 
Jean-Baptiste Biot
(Mathematician, Physicist, Astronomer, Civil engineer, Engineer, Professor)

Jean-Baptiste Biot
3
Birthdate: April 21, 1774
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Paris
Died: February 3, 1862

Jean-Baptiste Biot was a French physicist, mathematician, and astronomer. He was a co-discoverer of what became known as the Biot-Savart law of magnetostatics. He is also credited with establishing the reality of meteorites. He made major contributions to the fields of optics and magnetism as well. Cape Biot in eastern Greenland is named in his honor. 

 11 
John Rennie the Elder
(Civil Engineer)

John Rennie the Elder
2
Birthdate: June 7, 1761
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Phantassie, Scotland
Died: October 4, 1821

John Rennie the Elder was a Scottish civil engineer considered a pioneer in the use of structural cast iron. He designed many bridges, canals, docks, and warehouses. As a young boy, he spent much time in the workshop of Andrew Meikle, a prominent mechanical engineer, and learned from him. He then went on to establish his own engineering practice.  

 12 
John By
(Military Engineer)

John By
2
Birthdate: August 7, 1779
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lambeth,London, England
Died: February 1, 1836

One of the major figures behind the development of the city of Ottawa, military engineer John By had created the Rideau Canal, which connected Lake Ontario and the Ottawa River. He was also charged with over-running the costs for the project but was eventually acquitted of all charges.

 13 

William Strickland
2
Birthdate: August 7, 1779, 1788
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Navesink, New Jersey, United States
Died: April 6, 1854

Known for his pioneering written work on railroad construction, engineer and architect William Strickland was also one of the leaders of the 19th-century Greek Revival style of architecture. He designed structures such as the US Mint, contributed to the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, and was also one of the first American lecturers of architecture.

 14 

Luigi Vanvitelli
2
Birthdate: May 12, 1700
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Naples, Italy
Died: March 1, 1773

 15 
William Nicholson
(Chemist and inventor)

William Nicholson
2
Birthdate: December 13, 1753
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 21, 1815

William Nicholson is best remembered for discovering the electrolysis of water, which revolutionized the chemical industry. His inventions also include his own hydrometer and launched the first independent science journal. Inspired by his writer friend Thomas Holcroft, he also penned An Introduction to Natural Philosophy, his best-known written work.

 16 
William Fairbairn
(Civil engineer)

William Fairbairn
2
Birthdate: February 19, 1789
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Kelso, Scotland
Died: August 18, 1874

William Fairbairn is remembered for his pioneering use of wrought iron for building bridges, ship hulls, and beams. Apart from inventing the Lancashire boiler, he also served as the president of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He also introduced proper and systematic investigations of the collapse of structures.

 17 

Guillaume Henri Dufour
2
Birthdate: September 15, 1787
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Konstanz, Germany
Died: July 14, 1875

Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt
1
Birthdate: November 14, 1668
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Genoa, Italy
Died: November 16, 1745

Baroque architect Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt was also a military engineer and influenced 18th-century European architecture to a great extent. Known for his unique architectural decoration, he designed some of the most impactful buildings of his era, such as the Belvedere in Vienna, the Schönborn Castle, and the Mirabell Palace.

 19 
John B. Jervis
(Civil Engineer)

John B. Jervis
1
Birthdate: December 14, 1795
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Huntington, New York, United States
Died: January 12, 1885

John B. Jervis was an American civil engineer best remembered for his work during the antebellum era. Jervis is credited with designing and overseeing the construction of five of the country's earliest railroads. Apart from designing America's first locomotive, Jervis also contributed as the chief engineer of three important canal projects.  

 20 
Marc Seguin
(Engineer)

Marc Seguin
1
Birthdate: April 20, 1786
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Annonay, France
Died: February 24, 1875

 21 
Alexander Parris
(Architect)

Alexander Parris
1
Birthdate: November 24, 1780
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Halifax, Massachusetts, United States
Died: June 16, 1852

Alexander Parris was an American architect-engineer. Parris was one of the members of an influential group of architects that played a key role in founding an institute that would later become the American Institute of Architects. Alexander Parris is also credited with designing several lighthouses along the Northeastern United States coastline.

 22 
Thomas Tredgold
(Engineer)

Thomas Tredgold
1
Birthdate: August 22, 1788
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Brandon Village, England
Died: January 28, 1829

Initially a carpenter, Thomas Tredgold later began working with his architect uncle in London. There, he learned architecture, engineering, and French. The self-made man is best known for his book Elementary Principles of Carpentry, which later became a classic. He is also known to have laid down the standard definition of civil engineering.

 23 

Henryk Dembiński
1
Birthdate: January 16, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Strzałków, Poland
Died: July 13, 1864

Pierre-Marie-Jérôme Trésaguet
1
Birthdate: January 15, 1716
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Nevers, France
Died: March 11, 1796

 25 

Jean-Rodolphe Perronet
1
Birthdate: October 25, 1708
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Suresnes, France
Died: February 27, 1794

Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was a French structural engineer and architect best remembered for designing several stone arch bridges, including the Pont de la Concorde which is widely regarded as his best-known work. Such was his popularity that Jean-Rodolphe Perronet was appointed as the director of the Royal office of designers in 1747.

 26 
Antoine de Chézy
(Engineering Technologist)

Antoine de Chézy
1
Birthdate: September 1, 1718
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Châlons-en-Champagne, France
Died: October 5, 1798

 27 
James Geddes
(Engineer)

James Geddes
1
Birthdate: July 22, 1763
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Carlisle, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: August 17, 1838

James Geddes was an American engineer, surveyor, and U.S. Congressman. Geddes is credited with conceiving many canals in the United States, including the Erie Canal. He also played a key role in the development of Syracuse's salt industry at Onondaga Lake. Salina, New York, where James Geddes passed away, was renamed the Town of Geddes in his honor.

 28 
Hubert Gautier
(Engineer)

Hubert Gautier
0
Birthdate: August 21, 1660
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Nîmes, France
Died: September 27, 1737

 29 
Joshua Field
(Civil engineer)

Joshua Field
0
Birthdate: 1786 AD
Birthplace: Hackney, Middlesex, England
Died: August 11, 1863

Engineer Joshua Field was not just part of the firm Maudslay, Sons, and Field but also co-created the combined steam engines that powered the Great Western’s maiden trans-Atlantic journey. He also co-established the Institution of Civil Engineers and was named a fellow of both the Royal Society and the Society of Arts.

 30 
Émiland Gauthey
(Mathematician)

Émiland Gauthey
0
Birthdate: December 3, 1732
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chalon-sur-Saône, France
Died: July 14, 1806

French architect Émiland Gauthey was the man behind the creation of many civic buildings, bridges, and theaters. He began his career as a deputy engineer at Chalon-sur-Saône and later took over as the Chief Engineer of the États de Bourgogne. He received the Légion d'honneur for his achievements.

 31 
Johann Georg Bodmer
(Swiss inventor)

Johann Georg Bodmer
0
Birthdate: December 6, 1786
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Zürich, Switzerland
Died: May 29, 1864

 32 
Pierre du Buat
(Engineer)

Pierre du Buat
0
Birthdate: April 23, 1734
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Tortisambert, France
Died: October 17, 1809

 33 

Johannes Grubenmann
0
Birthdate: June 15, 1707
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Teufen, Switzerland
Died: June 10, 1771