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.

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 1 Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison.
8
Famous As: Inventor, Businessman
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.

 2 Alexander Graham Bell

Alexander Graham Bell.
7
Famous As: Inventor of Telephone
Birthdate: March 3, 1847
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Edinburgh
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.

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 3 M. Visvesvaraya

M. Visvesvaraya.
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Famous As: Civil Engineer
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.

 4 Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
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Famous As: Civil Engineer
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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 5 Frederick Winslow Taylor

Frederick Winslow Taylor.
5
Famous As: Mechanical Engineer
Birthdate: March 20, 1856
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Germantown, 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.

 6 Willis Carrier

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

 7 Gustave Eiffel

Gustave Eiffel.
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Famous As: Architect, Civil Engineer
Birthdate: December 15, 1832
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Dijon, Côte-d'Or, 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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 8 John Monash

John Monash.
3
Famous As: Civil engineer
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 John Logie Baird

John Logie Baird.
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Famous As: Engineer
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.

 10 William Murdoch

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

 11 Edwin Howard Armstrong

Edwin Howard Armstrong
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Famous As: Electrical engineer
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.

 12 George Pullman

George Pullman
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Famous As: Engineer
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.

 13 Fritz Todt

Fritz Todt
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Famous As: Engineer, Politician, Civil engineer, Architect
Birthdate: September 4, 1891
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Pforzheim
Died: February 8, 1942

 14 Henry Gantt

Henry Gantt
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Famous As: Engineer
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.

 15 Charles F. Kettering

Charles F. Kettering.
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Famous As: Inventor, Engineer & Businessman
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. 

 16 Charles Proteus Steinmetz

Charles Proteus Steinmetz
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Famous As: Mathematician, Electrical engineer, Engineer, Scientist, Inventor
Birthdate: April 9, 1865
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Wrocław
Died: October 26, 1923

 17 Henri Fayol

Henri Fayol.
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Famous As: Industrialist, Management Thinker
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.

 18 John A. Roebling

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

 19 Robert Stephenson

Robert Stephenson
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Famous As: Engineer, Civil engineer, Politician
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.

 20 Albert Göring

Albert Göring
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Famous As: Mechanical engineer
Birthdate: March 9, 1895
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Friedenau
Died: December 20, 1966

 21 Sandford Fleming

Sandford Fleming
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Famous As: Engineer
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.

 22 Gottlieb Daimler

Gottlieb Daimler.
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Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: March 17, 1834
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Schorndorf
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.

 23 Marc Isambard Brunel

Marc Isambard Brunel
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Famous As: Engineer
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.

 24 Andrew Kehoe

Andrew Kehoe
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Famous As: Spree killer
Birthdate: February 1, 1872
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Tecumseh
Died: May 18, 1927

 25 Joseph Bazalgette

Joseph Bazalgette
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Famous As: Civil engineer
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.

 26 Henry J. Kaiser

Henry J. Kaiser
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Famous As: Engineer, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist
Birthdate: May 9, 1882
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Sprout Brook
Died: August 24, 1967

 27 Barnes Wallis

Barnes Wallis.
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Famous As: Inventor of Bouncing Bomb
Birthdate: September 26, 1887
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Ripley
Died: October 30, 1979

Barnes Wallis was an English engineer, inventor, and scientist. He played an important role during the Second World War by inventing the bouncing bomb which was used in Operation Chastise by the Royal Air Force to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley. Barnes Wallis is also credited with inventing the earthquake bomb and his version of the geodetic airframe.

 28 Washington Roebling

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

 29 Emily Warren Roebling

Emily Warren Roebling.
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Famous As: Lady Who Guided The Construction of the Brooklyn Bridge.
Birthdate: September 23, 1843
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Cold Spring, New York
Died: February 28, 1903

 30 Harry Nyquist

Harry Nyquist
3
Famous As: Physicist, Computer scientist, Engineer, Statistician, Mathematician
Birthdate: February 7, 1889
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Kil Municipality
Died: April 4, 1976

 31 Charles Goodyear

Charles Goodyear
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Famous As: Inventor, Chemist, Engineer
Birthdate: December 29, 1800
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: New Haven
Died: July 1, 1860

 32 Auguste Piccard

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

 33 Elihu Thomson

Elihu Thomson
2
Famous As: Engineer, Inventor
Birthdate: March 29, 1853
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Manchester
Died: March 13, 1937

Elihu Thomson was an English-born American inventor and engineer. He is credited with founding major electrical companies in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 1882, Elihu Thomson founded the Thomson-Houston Electric Company which was renamed General Electric Company in 1892 after merging with the Edison General Electric Company. Thomson is also credited with inventing an arc-lighting system.

 34 William Mahone

William Mahone
2
Famous As: General
Birthdate: December 1, 1826
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Southampton County, Virginia, United States
Died: October 8, 1895

 35 Giovanni Agnelli

Giovanni Agnelli
3
Famous As: Entrepreneur, Engineer, Businessperson, Racecar driver
Birthdate: August 13, 1866
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Villar Perosa
Died: December 16, 1945

 36 Oliver Heaviside

Oliver Heaviside
3
Famous As: Mathematician, Physicist, Engineer, Telegraphy
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.

 37 R. J. Mitchell

R. J. Mitchell
3
Famous As: Aeronautical engineer
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.

 38 Osborne Reynolds

Osborne Reynolds
2
Famous As: Physicist, Civil engineer, Engineer
Birthdate: August 23, 1842
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Belfast
Died: February 21, 1912

Osborne Reynolds is best remembered for revolutionizing the fields of hydraulics and fluid dynamics. Born to a clergy father who was also a mathematician, Reynolds developed an interest in mechanics early in life. Reynolds was the first engineering professor at Owens College, Manchester, and also a Royal Society fellow.

 39 Pier Luigi Nervi

Pier Luigi Nervi
2
Famous As: Engineer, Architect, Civil engineer, University teacher
Birthdate: June 21, 1891
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Sondrio
Died: January 9, 1979

 40 Frank J. Sprague

Frank J. Sprague
2
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: July 25, 1857
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Milford
Died: October 25, 1934

 41 Otto Lilienthal

Otto Lilienthal
3
Famous As: Aerospace engineer, Engineer, Aviator, Inventor
Birthdate: May 23, 1848
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Anklam
Died: August 10, 1896

 42 Pierre Charles L'Enfant

Pierre Charles L'Enfant
5
Famous As: Engineer
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.

 43 Hubert Cecil Booth

Hubert Cecil Booth
3
Famous As: Engineer
Birthdate: July 4, 1871
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Paris
Died: January 14, 1955

Civil engineer Hubert Cecil Booth had designed everything from Ferris wheels to bridges, but the product that he is most remembered for is the vacuum cleaner, which he invented to introduce a hygienic method of dust removal. He had also designed Navy ships. He rejected the knighthood offered to him.

 44 Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Lillian Moller Gilbreth.
3
Famous As: Mother of Modern Management
Birthdate: May 24, 1878
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Oakland
Died: January 2, 1972

 45 Kurt Tank

Kurt Tank
3
Famous As: Aerospace engineer, Engineer, Scientist, University teacher, Test pilot
Birthdate: February 24, 1898
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Bydgoszcz
Died: June 5, 1983

 46 Walther Rathenau

Walther Rathenau
3
Famous As: Politician, Engineer, Writer, Entrepreneur, Science fiction writer
Birthdate: September 29, 1867
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Berlin
Died: June 24, 1922

 47 Geoffrey de Havilland

Geoffrey de Havilland
3
Famous As: Aerospace engineer, Engineer, Test pilot, Aviator, Entrepreneur
Birthdate: July 27, 1882
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: High Wycombe
Died: May 21, 1965

Aviation pioneer and aircraft designer Geoffrey de Havilland is best remembered for his double-engine warplane Mosquito and the jet airliner Comet. He was part of the Royal Flying Corps and had been knighted for his achievements. He was also the founder of the De Havilland Aircraft Company.

 48 Clarence Birdseye

Clarence Birdseye
3
Famous As: Inventor, Engineer
Birthdate: December 9, 1886
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Brooklyn
Died: October 7, 1956

 49 Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke.
2
Famous As: Electrical Engineer
Birthdate: February 10, 1883
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Howard County
Died: October 29, 1959

 50 Wilhelm Maybach

Wilhelm Maybach
3
Famous As: Engineer, Entrepreneur, Inventor
Birthdate: February 9, 1846
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Heilbronn
Died: December 29, 1929