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Isambard Kingdom Brunel
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    (1806-September 15, 1859)
    Son of engineer Marc Isambard Brunel
    Worked as a resident engineer of the Thames Tunnel
    Engineer of the Great Western Railway (1838)
    Built the Great Western, the Great Britain and the Great Eastern steamships
    Involved in the construction of the Royal Albert Bridge and the Clifton Suspension Bridge
    Namesake of Brunel University
    He was only 5' tall.
    In deciding the length of his rails, he used broad guage instead of standard guage on the Great Western Railway which eventually lead to problems.
    He tried to invent an atmospheric railway which would be powered by stationary engines at pumping stations.
    The atmospheric trains ran at 20 miles an hour and after a year the project was scrapped.
    His final steamship, the Great Eastern, was absurdly huge and was wrought by technical problems.
    He once accidentally swallowed a coin while performing a trick for children.
    He invented a machine to shake it loose from his throat but it was unsuccessful.
    As a result of health problems that arose as he worked on the Great Eastern, he suffered a stroke and died.
    His engineering feats were incredible for their time period.
    The Great Western Railway has some impressive achievements, such as the viaducts at Hanwell and Chippenham, the Maidenhead Bridge, the Box Tunnel and the Bristol Temple Meads Station.
    The Box Tunnel, in particular, was two miles in length and took almost six years to complete.
    He oversaw all parts of construction and was not above rolling up his sleeves and joining the workers.
    Though not a success as a passenger ship, the Great Eastern was the ship used in laying the first trans-Atlantic cable.
    He would work 18 hours a day and sleep in his office.
    He pioneered using compressed air to sink pier foundations underwater.
    He always tried to do better than he did before.
    He is considered one of, if not the, best engineers of the 19th century.

Credit: Captain Howdy

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