Yossi Dotan submitted the following thoughts on father and son engineers Marc Isambard Brunel and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Thanks!
In The E-Sylum of June 26 there was an item about the portrait on the new British bank note of Winston Churchill, No. 1 in the
poll of the Greatest Britons. In this context, Joe Esposito wrote: "It is surprising that Brunel, who is largely unknown in the United
States, was number two. Brunel was a great engineer, whose work included the Thames River Tunnel. When completed in 1843, the tunnel was
hailed as a marvel, and a number of medals were struck to commemorate it."
The Brunel of the Thames River Tunnel was Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849). However, the Brunel who was No. 2 in the poll of the
Greatest Britons was Marc's son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859).
Isambard Kingdom Brunel is considered one of the most innovative and prolific engineers of his time. He designed three famous
ships—Great Western (1837), the first purpose-built transatlantic steamship; Great Britain (1843), which at the time was the largest
steamer ever made and the first iron, screw-propeller driven vessel built as a transatlantic liner; and Leviathan (1858), later renamed
Great Eastern, which at the time of construction was six times larger than any previous ship in the world. Brunel Junior also designed
roads, 125 bridges, 25 railway lines with over 1,000 miles of track, numerous docks and piers, and the first prefabricated military
Isambard Kingdom Brunel and/or one of his famous ships are commemorated on coins of Gibraltar, the Falkland islands, Liberia, and
Tuvalu. I attach the image of one of the three coins issued by the Falkland Islands which depicts the Great Britain and a medallion
portrait of Brunel.
In case you wonder about the connection between the Falklands and the ship—in 1886 she sprang a leak when rounding Cape Horn and was forced
to take shelter in the Falkland Islands. Repairs proved too costly and the ship was sold to the Falkland Islands Company to be used as a floating
coal and wool storage hulk at Port Stanley. In 1937 Great Britain's hull was beached and abandoned for 33 years. In 1970 the hull was refloated,
placed on a giant pontoon barge and towed across the Atlantic Ocean to Bristol, England, to be restored to her original appearance in the same dry
dock in which she had been built in 1843. She is now a museum ship in Bristol.
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
THE KARSH PHOTO OF WINSTON CHURCHILL
Wayne Homren, Editor
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