19th Century Engineers

Find out more about the greatest 19th Century Engineers, including Nikola Tesla, Alexander Graham Bell, Henry Ford, M. Visvesvaraya and Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

This ranking is based on an algorithm that combines various factors, including the votes of our users and search trends on the internet.

Vote for Your Favourite 19th Century Engineers

 1 
Alexander Graham Bell
(Inventor of Telephone & Co-Founder of 'American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT&T)')

Alexander Graham Bell
12
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: August 2, 1922

Alexander Graham Bell was a scientist, inventor, and engineer. He is credited with inventing the first functional telephone. He is also credited with co-founding America's major telephone company AT&T, which has been going strong since 1885. Bell's later life was marked by his groundbreaking work in aeronautics, hydrofoils, and optical telecommunications. He was also an ardent supporter of compulsory sterilization.

 2 
M. Visvesvaraya
(Civil Engineer)

M. Visvesvaraya
26
Birthdate: September 15, 1860
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Muddenahalli, Chikballapur, Kingdom of Mysore (now in Karnataka)
Died: April 14, 1962
Sir M. Visvesvaraya is remembered for his role in revolutionizing the flood-protection system in Hyderabad and worked as the chief engineer of the Krishna Raja Sagara dam near Mysore. He received the knighthood and the Bharat Ratna. His birthday is celebrated as Engineers' Day in India, Tanzania, and Sri Lanka.

 3 
Isambard Kingdom Brunel
(Civil Engineer)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel
11
Birthdate: April 9, 1806
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Portsmouth, England
Died: September 15, 1859

English civil engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, is considered "one of the most ingenious and prolific figures in engineering history." Considered a major figure of the Industrial Revolution, he built docks, a series of steamships, and many important bridges and tunnels. He was placed second in a BBC public poll to determine the "100 Greatest Britons" in 2002. 

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 4 
Gustave Eiffel
(Designer of Eiffel Tower and contributed to Statue of Liberty)

Gustave Eiffel
18
Birthdate: December 15, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dijon, France
Died: December 27, 1923
The man behind the jewel that adorns Paris, the Eiffel Tower, French civil engineer Gustave Eiffel later earned the nickname “the magician of iron.” He revolutionized bridge-building by using compressed-air caissons, designed the Statue of Liberty, and built the first aerodynamic laboratory. He died while listening to Beethoven's 5th symphony.
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 5 
Rudolf Diesel
(Inventor of Diesel Engine)

Rudolf Diesel
7
Birthdate: March 18, 1858
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Paris, France
Died: September 29, 1913

Rudolf Diesel was a German mechanical engineer and inventor best remembered for inventing the Diesel engine. After Diesel's demise, his engine became an important substitution for the steam piston engine. The engine became widespread in applications, such as agricultural machines, submarines, ships, and trucks. His life inspired the 1942 biographical film Diesel, in which he was played by Willy Birgel.

 6 
Frederick Winslow Taylor
(Mechanical Engineer)

Frederick Winslow Taylor
10
Birthdate: March 20, 1856
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: March 21, 1915

American inventor, mechanical engineer and an accomplished tennis and golf player, Frederick Winslow Taylor, regarded as the father of scientific management, sought to improve industrial efficiency. His approach on scientific management, referred to as Taylorism, has significantly influenced development of industrial engineering and production management. His monograph, The Principles of Scientific Management, laid out his views on principles of scientific management.

 7 
Nikola Tesla
(Inventor, Engineer & Futurist, Who Obtained Over 300 Patents)

Nikola Tesla
40
Birthdate: July 10, 1856
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Smiljan, Croatia
Died: January 7, 1943

Inventor, engineer and futurist, Nikola Tesla, is best remembered for his contribution to the development of the modern alternating current (AC) electricity supply system. A prolific inventor, he had around 300 patents for his inventions. Even though he earned a considerable amount of money, he had poor money management skills and died a poor man.

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 8 
John Monash
(Civil engineer)

John Monash
4
Birthdate: June 27, 1865
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Melbourne, Australia
Died: October 8, 1931

John Monash was an Australian military commander during World War I. He played a major role in the Gallipoli campaign, which took place from February 1915 to January 1916 on the Gallipoli peninsula. John Monash is widely regarded as the most popular commander in Australian history and one of the most prominent allied generals of World War I.

 9 
Phineas Gage
(Construction Foreman)

Phineas Gage
4
Birthdate: July 9, 1823
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Grafton County, New Hampshire, United States
Died: May 21, 1860

Phineas Gage was a railroad construction foreman. He is best remembered for surviving an accident which destroyed much of the left frontal lobe of his brain; during the accident, a large iron rod was driven through his head. Gage's personality was said to have changed after the accident, which contributed immensely to studies about the brain's role in determining personality.

 10 
Guglielmo Marconi
(Inventor & Physicist)

Guglielmo Marconi
5
Birthdate: April 25, 1874
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Bologna, Italy
Died: July 20, 1937

Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian electrical engineer and inventor best remembered for his work on long-distance radio transmission. Marconi, who is credited with inventing the radio, was honored with the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in the field of wireless telegraphy. Also a businessman, Marconi founded the Wireless Telegraph & Signal Company in 1897. 

 11 
William Murdoch
(Engineer)

William Murdoch
6
Birthdate: August 21, 1754
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Lugar, Scotland
Died: November 15, 1839

Scottish engineer William Murdoch initially worked for the firm of Matthew Boulton and James Watt. He later made a host of inventions and was the first to use coal gas for illumination. He was also known for his work on steam energy and invented the oscillating engine and the D slide valve.

 12 
Ferdinand Porsche
(Founder of Porsche Automobile Company)

Ferdinand Porsche
4
Birthdate: September 3, 1875
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: ratislavice nad Nisou, Liberec, Czechia
Died: January 30, 1951

Ferdinand Porsche was an Austrian-German automotive engineer. He is credited with founding one of the most popular car companies in the world, Porsche AG. He is also credited with creating the Lohner-Porsche mixed hybrid, the first gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle. During World War II, Porsche was a prominent contributor to the German war effort.

 13 
Thomas Edison
(Inventor of Phonograph, Motion Picture Camera and Early Version of the Electric Light Bulb)

Thomas Edison
206
Birthdate: February 11, 1847
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Milan, Ohio, United States
Died: October 18, 1931

Described as America’s greatest inventor, Thomas Edison’s legacy is an everlasting one. He was the first to help make the incandescent light bulb commercially viable, even though he was not the first inventor of it. Quadruplex telegraph, phonograph, motion picture camera and the alkaline storage battery are some the many innovations that made him a worldwide phenomenon and an icon.

 14 
Wilhelm Rontgen
(Mechanical engineer, Physicist)

Wilhelm Rontgen
4
Birthdate: March 27, 1845
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Lennep, Remscheid, Germany
Died: February 10, 1923

Wilhelm Rontgen was a German physicist and mechanical engineer. He is best remembered for producing and detecting X-rays for which he was honored with the first Nobel Prize in Physics in 1901. His discovery of X-rays remains one of the greatest achievements in the field of medical science.

 15 
Joseph Bazalgette
(Civil engineer)

Joseph Bazalgette
4
Birthdate: March 28, 1819
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Enfield, London, England
Died: March 15, 1891

British civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette was the man behind the development of the sewage system of London. He was later knighted for his achievements and had also served as the president of the Institution of Civil Engineers. Another notable work of his was the Hammersmith Bridge.

 16 
George Pullman
(Engineer)

George Pullman
3
Birthdate: March 3, 1831
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Brocton, New York, United States
Died: October 19, 1897

One of his parents’ 10 children, George Pullman initially took over his father’s carpentry business and secured contracts with New York for the Erie Canal project. The founder of the Pullman sleeping car and a company town, Pullam was criticized for using the military to violently end the 1894 Pullman Strike.

 17 

John Logie Baird
12
Birthdate: August 13, 1888
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Helensburgh
Died: June 14, 1946

Scottish inventor, electrical engineer, and innovator, John Logie Baird, is best known for demonstrating a working TV system in 1926. He then went on to invent the first viable purely electronic color TV picture tube and founded the Baird Television Development Company. He was inducted into the Scottish Engineering Hall of Fame in 2015.

 18 
Granville Woods
(Inventor)

Granville Woods
4
Birthdate: April 23, 1856
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Columbus, Ohio, United States
Died: January 30, 1910

Granville Woods was 10 when he began working at a machine shop, while continuing his studies at a night school. He grew up to become a steam locomotive engineer and earned the nickname the Black Edison for his countless inventions, most of which were related to electrical systems for railways.

 19 
Henri Fayol
(Industrialist, Management Thinker)

Henri Fayol
7
Birthdate: July 29, 1841
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Constantinople, Ottoman Empire
Died: November 19, 1925

Henri Fayol was a French mining engineer, author, mining executive, and director of mines. He is credited with developing a theory of business administration called Fayolism. Along with Frederick Winslow Taylor, Henri Fayol is credited with founding modern management methods.

 20 
George Westinghouse
(Entrepreneur)

George Westinghouse
4
Birthdate: October 6, 1846
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Central Bridge, New York, United States
Died: March 12, 1914

Inventor and entrepreneur George Westinghouse was mostly responsible for introducing the U.S. to alternating current (AC). Initially part of the army and the navy, the talented engineer began his journey of inventions with the rotary steam engine and went on to invent several products, such as air brakes.

 21 
Edwin Howard Armstrong
(Electrical engineer)

Edwin Howard Armstrong
4
Birthdate: December 18, 1890
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Chelsea, New York, United States
Died: February 1, 1954

Edwin Howard Armstrong was an American inventor and electrical engineer. He is credited with developing the superheterodyne receiver system as well as the frequency modulation (FM) radio. During his illustrious career, Armstrong received several awards including the IEEE Medal of Honor, Franklin Medal, and Edison Medal. He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 1980.

 22 
Robert Stephenson
(Engineer, Civil engineer, Politician)

Robert Stephenson
4
Birthdate: October 16, 1803
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Willington Quay
Died: October 12, 1859
English civil engineer and locomotive designer Robert Stephenson is remembered for his railroad bridges, the most notable of them being the Britannia Bridge. He was the only son of rail transport pioneer George Stephenson. He had also been a mining engineer in Colombia and was knighted in Belgium, France, and Norway.

 23 
Charles F. Kettering
(Inventor, Engineer & Businessman)

Charles F. Kettering
4
Birthdate: August 29, 1876
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Loudonville, Ohio
Died: November 25, 1958

Charles F. Kettering was an American engineer, inventor, and businessman. Kettering is credited with founding Delco Electronics Corporation. Holder of 186 patents, Kettering is also credited with the invention of Freon refrigerant for air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Over the course of his career, Charles F. Kettering won prestigious awards like the IEEE Edison Medal, Hoover Medal, and Franklin Medal. 

 24 
Henry Gantt
(Engineer)

Henry Gantt
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1861
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Calvert County
Died: November 23, 1919

Best known for creating the Gantt Chart, a management tool used for scheduling tasks, mechanical engineer Henry Gantt had been a disciple and colleague of Frederick W. Taylor. He also prepared ground for the Human Relations School of management and spoke about the social responsibility of business.

 25 
Tadeusz Kościuszko
(Statesman, Engineer)

Tadeusz Kościuszko
4
Birthdate: May 20, 1861, 1746
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Mieračoŭščyna
Died: October 15, 1817

Tadeusz Kościuszko was a Polish-Lithuanian statesman, military leader, and military engineer. Thanks to his participation in the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's fight against Prussia and Russia and his role in the American Revolutionary War, Tadeusz Kościuszko is widely regarded as a national hero in the United States, Poland, Belarus, and Lithuania.

 26 
Willis Carrier
(Engineer, Inventor)

Willis Carrier
5
Birthdate: November 26, 1876
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Angola, New York, United States
Died: October 7, 1950

 27 
Joseph Strauss
(Engineer)

Joseph Strauss
3
Birthdate: January 9, 1870
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Died: May 16, 1938

Best known for designing the Golden Gate Bridge, engineer Joseph Strauss specialized in movable bridges and developed the concepts of the bascule bridge and the vertical-lift bridge. Born to a pianist mother and a painter-writer father, he later also penned poems such as The Mighty Task is Done.

 28 

John A. Roebling
3
Birthdate: June 12, 1806
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Mühlhausen, Germany
Died: July 22, 1869

 29 
Fritz Todt
(Engineer, Politician, Civil engineer, Architect)

Fritz Todt
3
Birthdate: September 4, 1891
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pforzheim
Died: February 8, 1942

Fritz Todt was a German civil engineer and architect. A senior Nazi, Todt oversaw the construction of Reichsautobahnen, a controlled-access highway, and also served as the Reich Minister for Armaments and Ammunition. Before the start of the Second World War, Todt initiated a military-engineering company called Organisation Todt that oversaw the construction of many Nazi concentration camps. 

 30 
George Meade
(Army Officer)

George Meade
4
Birthdate: December 31, 1815
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Cádiz, Spain
Died: November 6, 1872

George Meade was a civil engineer and United States Army officer best remembered for decisively defeating Robert E. Lee in the American Civil War. After the war, he played an important role during the Reconstruction era. As a civil engineer, George Meade was involved in the construction of many lighthouses. 

 31 
Charles Proteus Steinmetz
(Mathematician, Electrical engineer, Engineer, Scientist, Inventor)

Charles Proteus Steinmetz
4
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: October 26, 1923

 32 
James Glaisher
(Meteorologists)

James Glaisher
4
Birthdate: April 7, 1809
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Rotherhithe, London, England
Died: February 7, 1903

Renowned meteorologist and aeronaut James Glaisher was a pioneer of balloon flights and had penned the iconic book Travels in the Air. He had also contributed to the formation of the Meteorological Society and the Aeronautical Society of Britain. The 2019 movie The Aeronauts depicts his exploits as a balloonist.

 33 

Gottlieb Daimler
3
Birthdate: March 17, 1834
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Schorndorf, Germany
Died: March 6, 1900

Gottlieb Daimler was a German engineer, industrialist, and industrial designer. A pioneer of automobile development and internal combustion engines, Daimler is credited with inventing the liquid petroleum-fueled engine. In 1978, Gottlieb Daimler was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

 34 

Sandford Fleming
4
Birthdate: January 7, 1827
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Kirkcaldy, Scotland
Died: July 22, 1915
Hailed as the Father of Standard Time, Canadian engineer ,Sandford Fleming, promoted worldwide standard time zones, a prime meridian, and the use of the 24-hour clock. He also designed Canada's first postage stamp and founded the Royal Canadian Institute in 1849. Fleming gained the reputation as one of the primary railway engineers and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1897.

 35 
Albert Göring
(Mechanical engineer)

Albert Göring
8
Birthdate: March 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Friedenau
Died: December 20, 1966
Apart from being an engineer who worked for the German army during World War I, Albert Göring is also remembered as the brother of infamous Nazi Party figure and military leader Hermann Göring. Surprisingly, he was anti-Nazi and had helped many Jews, though he remained ostracized due to his family name, post-war.

 36 
Henry J. Kaiser
(Engineer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist)

Henry J. Kaiser
3
Birthdate: May 9, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sprout Brook
Died: August 24, 1967

 37 
Richard Trevithick
(Pioneer of steam-powered road & rail transport)

Richard Trevithick
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1771
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tregajorran, Cornwall, England
Died: April 22, 1833

Richard Trevithick was a British mining engineer and inventor. A pioneer of rail transport and steam-powered vehicles, Trevithick is credited with developing the first working railway steam locomotive and the first high-pressure steam engine. He was a highly respected figure in the fields of engineering and mining during the peak of his career.

 38 
Emily Warren Roebling
(Lady Who Guided The Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.)

Emily Warren Roebling
3
Birthdate: September 23, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cold Spring, New York
Died: February 28, 1903

Apart from being a socialite, Emily Warren Roebling was also a skilled engineer. She took over the reins of designing the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband, the chief engineer of the project, Washington Augustus Roebling, was rendered bedridden. She went against the grain and earned a law certificate, too.

 39 
Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
(Aerospace engineer, Rocket Scientist)

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky
3
Birthdate: September 17, 1857
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Izhevskoe, Russia
Died: September 19, 1935

Konstantin Tsiolkovsky was a Russian rocket scientist. Credited with pioneering astronautic theory, Tsiolkovsky is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of astronautics and modern rocketry. His works served as an inspiration to several other Soviet rocket engineers like Valentin Glushko and Sergei Korolev. Hence, Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's work played an influential role in the Soviet space program.

 40 
Washington Roebling
(Civil Engineer)

Washington Roebling
5
Birthdate: May 26, 1837
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, United States
Died: July 21, 1926

Engineer Washington Roebling is largely remembered for co-designing the Brooklyn Bridge with his father, John Augustus. He also worked as part of the Union Army during the Civil War. A perfectionist, he was once found unconscious in a compressed-air chamber at work, and that affected him permanently.

 41 
Charles Goodyear
(Inventor of Vulcanized Rubber)

Charles Goodyear
3
Birthdate: December 29, 1800
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Haven, Connecticut, United States
Died: July 1, 1860

Charles Goodyear was an American manufacturing engineer and self-taught chemist who developed vulcanized rubber. He invented the chemical process to manufacture pliable, moldable, and waterproof rubber which revolutionized the automobile industry. In 1976, Charles Goodyear was inducted posthumously into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

 42 

John Ambrose Fleming
3
Birthdate: November 29, 1849
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: April 18, 1945

John Ambrose Fleming was an English electrical engineer and physicist. He is known for inventing the first thermionic valve or vacuum tube and designing the radio transmitter with which the first transatlantic radio transmission was made. Along with  Douglas Dewar and Bernard Acworth, he helped establish the Evolution Protest Movement. Fleming was also a noted photographer and artist. 

 

 43 

Auguste Piccard
3
Birthdate: January 28, 1884
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Basel, Switzerland
Died: January 28, 1963

Swiss-born Belgian physicist Auguste Piccard is best remembered for his research on the Earth’s upper stratosphere. He designed his own ships to explore the depth of the seas and also built balloons to study cosmic rays. His bathyscaphe remains one of his best-known inventions. He also co-discovered the magnetocaloric effect.

 44 
Henry Ford
(The Founder of the ‘Ford Motor Company’)

Henry Ford
16
Birthdate: July 30, 1863
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Springwells Township, Michigan, United States
Died: April 7, 1947

Business magnate and founder of the Ford Motor Company, Henry Ford is credited to have made the automobile an accessible conveyance for Americans in the 20th century. Following the success of his company, he became one of the richest and best-known people in the world. He also became known for his pacifism during the first years of World War I.

 45 
Robert Stevenson
(Civil engineer)

Robert Stevenson
2
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.

 46 
Oliver Heaviside
(Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Telegraphy)

Oliver Heaviside
3
Birthdate: May 18, 1850
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Camden Town
Died: February 3, 1925

Oliver Heaviside was an English mathematician and physicist. He invented a new technique for solving differential equations and independently developed vector calculus. He is also credited with rewriting Maxwell's equations in the form commonly used today. He formulated the telegrapher’s equations and invented the Heaviside step function as well. In 1922, he received the Faraday Medal.

 47 
Giovanni Agnelli
(Entrepreneur, Engineer, Businessperson, Racecar driver)

Giovanni Agnelli
3
Birthdate: August 13, 1866
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villar Perosa
Died: December 16, 1945

 48 

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.

 49 
Karl Benz
(Entrepreneur)

Karl Benz
3
Birthdate: November 25, 1844
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Mühlburg, Karlsruhe, Germany
Died: April 4, 1929

Karl Benz was a German engine designer, automotive engineer, and entrepreneur.  He designed the Benz Patent Motorcar, for which he received a patent in 1886. He studied mechanical engineering at the University of Karlsruhe before venturing into developing motorcars. His Benz Patent Motorcar is widely regarded as the world's first production automobile. 

 50 
R. J. Mitchell
(Aeronautical engineer)

R. J. Mitchell
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1895
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Butt Lane, Kidsgrove, England
Died: June 11, 1937

Aeronautical designer R. J. Mitchell joined Supermarine at age 21 and worked for them throughout his life. Remembered for designing sea planes, he was also the man behind the fighter aircraft Spitfire, which was used extensively during World War II. The film The First of the Few chronicled his life.