Peter Hay, in his book on Brunel,  quotes from Nicholson's British Encyclopaedia, 1909:
"Engineers are extremely necessary for these purposes; wherefore it is requisite that, besides being ingenious, they should be brave in proportion."
Thus we are advised that engineers must not only be smart; they must also have nerve.
We will spend a little time on such an engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was involved in many projects. You may recall that he was mentioned in the "Out of the Fiery Furnace" video, in connection with his building of the iron ship "Great Britain", and we will see more of that shortly. He is interesting for several reasons. In his day, he ranked among the top half dozen engineers working in that heady Victorian period when the results of the Industrial Revolution were "transforming society". You may recall words said by Michael Charlton in the video just mentioned, which were published in "The Engineer" in 1910, and quoted in Rolt's biography of Brunel :
"In all that constitutes an engineer in the highest, fullest and best sense, Brunel had no contemporary, no predecessor. -The Engineer, 1910.
(picture frontispiece, Pudney.) Scott Russell's Millwall Shipyard, Isle of Dogs, 1857, during preparations for the launch of the Great Eastern.
As we go along, we will learn a little more about developments in the engineering profession, e.g. in education, involvement with society, and personalities.
Many of Brunel's projects were successful, some spectacular, and one or two were colossal failures. He is not known for any one earth-shaking invention, like James Watt, (in fact, it would be hard to find someone more unlike Watt) but more for being a risk taker, promoter, and always an engineering innovator. Donald Cardwell, a well known historian of technology (see our references) has this to say about him:
Cardwell on IKB: 
"In Britain, the great master of engineering publicity was the Anglo-Frenchman, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, creator of the Great Western Railway, bridge builder, revolutionary naval architect and versatile, sometimes misguided, inventor. Brunel's positive achievements and his successful propaganda on behalf of bold engineering enterprise outweighed his less happy enterprises such as the atmospheric railway and the seven foot railway gauge."
It will be of interest to learn a little about Isambard's father, Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849). He was himself a famous engineer, of French parents. Sir Marc's father (IKB's grandfather) was on the wrong (Royalist) side in the 1789 French Revolution, and escaped France with his family (Marc would have been 20). He took American citizenship and was chief engineer for the City of New York for six years. He then returned to Britain, and married Sophie Kingdom, whom he had known in France in earlier days - hence their son’s second name. The project which brought him back to England was his invention of a better way to make blocks, so essential to the rigging of ships. The British Navy needed about 100,000 per year, and they all had to be made by hand. Although the military establishment was a very hard sell, Brunel senior eventually got the project accepted, and his mechanical assembly line methods completely solved the Navy's problem.
The engineer father took great interest in their only son's education, and it was a case of like father, like son. He was educated largely at home in the early years, and was sent to France at the age of 14 (i.e. 1820) to one of the great French Lycees (Henri-Quatre) to study mathematics and science, and apprenticed with a famous clock maker. There were no schools of engineering in England in those days, and apprenticeship was the main route by which a technical education was obtained.
Technical education had developed in France, however. The first recognizable school of engineering was probably the Ecole des Ponts et Chaussees in France around 1747 . The famous Ecole Polytechnic was established in 1794, for the training of military engineers and technical civil servants. The established English Universities (i.e. Oxford and Cambridge) took almost no interest in the technological revolution going on around them, except to comment on it. . Cambridge accepted engineering as a subject for examination in 1865. In fact, the higher education of many of the great innovators of the industrial revolution took place in “Mechanics’ Institutes”, which sprang up all over Britain in the 1820's. The first of these was founded in Glasgow, by Dr. George Birkbeck, a Quaker physician. (Note.. another dissenter) 
But back to Brunel, still a young man. Young Isambard went to work in his father's small engineering office in England when he was seventeen or eighteen. By now his father was just recovering from a “bankruptcy” - except that in those days one had none of the protection of such laws as we have today, and you could go to debtor's prison, which he did. One of the main reasons was that he had lost his money on another government contract, making army boots by an improved mechanical method, but then peace broke out! (Napoleonic War ended 1815). The army wouldn't pay for the 80000 boots in inventory.
His father's major project, and the one he is most famous for, was the construction of a tunnel under the River Thames. No tunnel under navigable water had ever been built. An attempt started in 1807 also under the Thames (by Richard Trevithick, (1771-1833) of high pressure steam engine fame) had been abandoned. But 10 or so years later, 4000 people per day were having to row across the Thames to the east of London, or detour far to the west to London Bridge.
Brunel senior's greatest invention was a tunnelling shield, which was an 80 ton cast iron structure in twelve frames which could be jacked forward as the tunnel was dug. All of this makes a fascinating story,  and it was into this environment that young Brunel was immersed when he returned home from France. He became the resident engineer. It took 18 years to complete the tunnel, with many adventures. Immersed is the correct term to describe Isambard's involvement, since the tunnel fell in at least twice, drowning at least seven workers, (many died for other reasons on this project). It would have been the end of IKB, except that he could swim like a fish.
Both father and son were great promoters. Big projects required big spectacles. The members of the public, and especially VIP's, were invited to tour into the dangerous tunnel workings, although this was somewhat at the instigation of the company directors, who thought it was a good way to make money... which the Brunels always seemed to be losing. After construction resumed following one of the cave-ins, they organized a dinner for over 200 guests and workmen in the tunnel, with music by the Coldstream guards.
Up to now, we have been talking mainly of the projects initiated by IKB’s father. Following one of the major accidents with the tunnel, which injured young Brunel, he recuperated in the region around Bristol. It was here that he became involved with his own first major project.
A Suspension Bridge on the Avon Gorge
The Avon River runs into the Severn estuary (or the Bristol Channel) near Bristol. The Severn is famous for its tidal bore, similar to the Bay of Fundy. Apparently tides can range up to 30 ft, and the gorge is quite dramatic. The eventual span of Brunel's bridge was over 700 feet, longer than any existing when it was designed, and the height above water about 245 feet.
One of the reasons I chose this project was to illustrate the competition for the engineering work, and to show that, as is true today, much more than technical aspects are involved in getting a contract. That is not to say that the technical details are in any way diminished in real importance, but rather that customers and especially public agencies e.g. governments, are often interested in a larger picture.
The first design competition was in May, 1830. There were 22 competitors, and Brunel submitted four designs. The judging committee selected four, including one of Brunel's, but then lost its nerve and called in an outside expert. He was Thomas Telford, (1757-1834) the most famous bridge designer of the day, having done a magnificent job in putting a suspension bridge across the Menai Strait in North Wales in 1826. Telford rejected all the designs, including Brunel's! The old master's Menai span was just under 600 feet, and he thought this was the maximum feasible. The committee now went so far as to ask Telford himself to submit a design, but it was totally unsuitable.
So another competition was held in October 1830, and Telford again competed (with the same design), but this time it was not even short listed. There were 12 competitors now, and Brunel was placed second among the four finalists. He was on the spot to meet with the committee and referees, and won them over with his personality and arguments based on, among other things, the tastefulness of his tower design! He wrote to his politician brother-in-law (Benjamin Hawes) as follows:
"...of all the wonderful feats I have performed, since I have been in this part of the world, I think yesterday I performed the most wonderful. I produced unanimity among 15 men who were all quarrelling about that most ticklish subject - taste." .
He got the job, and began the construction, but only got so far as to put up the end piers in his lifetime. Although it was perhaps his favourite project, (he called it his “first child”), it was full of difficulties, mainly funding. Among other things, it was a very turbulent time politically in Britain. There were riots in Bristol in 1831 concerning the "Reform Bill". This was an effort to reform the parliament, and had been defeated in the House of Lords. He never actually saw the bridge finished. It was completed in 1864, and is still in use, called the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
The Great Western Railway.
While Brunel was still in Bristol, and with the Avon Bridge project stopped or going slowly, due to inadequate financing and political upheaval at the time, Brunel became aware that the civic authorities saw the need for a railway link to London. Birmingham had one approved in 1832, and a Manchester - Liverpool line had opened in 1830. Railways were coming at a great rate.
First there was a need for a route survey. This was always controversial, since private landowners and towns had to be dealt with. Mainly, the landed gentry did not want a messy, noisy railway anywhere them. In any event, IKB bid for the survey contract, in competition with local surveyors, who had connections. When the Committee decided to choose the proposal with the lowest cost, Brunel made a ringing statement about the bidding of professional work which has been echoed hundreds of times by engineers:
Brunel on contracts to the lowest bidder:
"...You are holding out a premium to the man who will make you the most flattering promises. It is quite obvious that the man who has the least reputation at stake, or who has most to gain by temporary success, and least to lose by the consequences of disappointment, must be the winner in such a race." 
It is a well established position of engineers still today that it is unprofessional to participate in bidding exercises for their services. The engineer takes professional responsibility to provide safe designs, and only those services that are necessary for the customer's needs. He or she must be honest and ethical. The customer should then be able to choose the engineer they wish to have to do their work based on the quality of the proposal and the reputation of the engineer involved. The foundation of the engineers' argument is that to compete on the basis of price will ultimately lead to unsafe, unscrupulous and hence unprofessional practice. Engineering practice is much more regulated today than it was in Brunel's time and this topic is often debated. We will return to this discussion when we deal we engineering ethics, in the third part of the course.
This approach apparently won Brunel the survey contract, and he went at the project with great vigour. The job was finished on schedule and included a proposal for a controversial tunnel (the Box tunnel) about three km long. The whole idea of building a railway was full of argument and controversy. The Duke of Wellington (of Waterloo fame) was certainly against it; he is reported to have said "... it will only encourage the lower classes to move about..." A lot of the resistance was generated by vested interests, but some also came from people with deeply felt concerns. Each proposal for a line was debated in parliament, (the equivalent of our present day environmental and social impact studies). Brunel had great skill in presenting his arguments to the various committees and individuals. Among early engineers he was a great example of one who knew the importance of good communication skills. Brunel's were described by a person observing his performance in hearings in the House of Lords as follows: 
Brunel's presentation skills
"The committee room was crowded with landowners and others interested in the success or defeat of the Bill, and eager to hear his evidence. His knowledge of the country surveyed by him was marvellously great, and the explanations he gave of his plans, and answers to questions... showed a profound acquaintance with the principles of mechanics. He was rapid in thought, clear in his language, and never said too much, or lost his presence of mind."
In the end, Brunel built the railway, and it was a great success. There was one innovation which did not work out in the long run, and that was the gauge used. He wanted a broad gauge (7 feet) instead of the 4 ft 8.5 in which had been used for lines already installed, and was consistent with tramways and roadways - even going back to the Roman Chariots, it is said. There is no doubt that the broad gauge gave superior ride and stability, but it was fighting a standard. Standards win, even when they are not the best. The railway was built at broad gauge, but with all the inconvenience as networks began to develop, it was replaced by standard gauge in 1892. Even then, this was over 40 years after a great controversy on the subject of railway gauge which resulted in a law (in 1846) that required all new lines to be built at standard gauge.
Brunel's liking for new things got him into trouble when he advocated the installation of an atmospheric railway in South Devon. The system had been installed on a short line near London, and in Ireland. It had the great attraction of doing away with the locomotive (!) with all its cost, smoke, noise, and dust, and potentially could deal with steeper gradients.
The system consisted of a 38 cm (15 in) diameter pipe laid between the rail lines, with a slit cut along the top. A piston fitted into the pipe, and was connected to the driving railcar above by an arm. The pipe ahead of the piston was then evacuated of air by pumps stationed about 5 km apart along the line. The atmospheric pressure then drove the train. Since this connecting arm had to run along the slit, it had to be opened as the train progressed, but closed airtight behind it. This arrangement caused much trouble. Materials were not up to it. The flap was made of leather and metal, with a lot of grease. Among other things, rats ate the leather, especially when seal oil was used for greasing!
It did work, after a fashion. Speeds of 60 mph are reliably documented, we are told. But in reality, and expert hindsight, the system was going to have trouble anyway, according to O. S. Nock (Ref 12). Because of the air pipe, the system could only operate on clear lines; junctions had to be handled manually. This and other limitations would have been there in any case, even if the materials had not failed him.
After a year of frustration and trouble, the system was abandoned. But Brunel admitted his failure, for which he took responsibility, and took no fee for his work, setting the example of a good professional. He also had his own money in the venture and lost a lot of it.
We will have to skip over some his other interesting projects, including railway bridges, and an outstanding portable hospital used in the Crimean War (1853-56, of Florence Nightingale fame), to have a look at his marine adventures.
IKB gets into Shipbuilding: Three Ships
Brunel's interest in ships began about 1835. Ships with steam engines had already crossed the Atlantic, including the Royal William (1833) from Canada. She was built in Quebec by the Halifax and Quebec Steam Navigation Company, and crossed the Atlantic in 17 days, using sail and steam. The idea of steam powered ships crossing the ocean appealed to Brunel and he played a great part in pioneering the change from sail to steam. In fact, when his GWR company directors complaining about the great length of their railway (it was only about 160 km) IKB jokingly suggested that they could even make it longer - why not go all the way to New York, and call the link the Great Western.
But he was serious. Brunel formed the Great Western Steamship Company, and construction started on the ship in Bristol in 1836. She was 236 ft long, and built of wood. She was launched in 1837, and powered by sail and paddlewheels. The first trip to New York took only 15 days, and 14 days return. This was a great success; a one way trip under sail would take more than a month. The Great Western was the first steamship to engage in transatlantic service. She made 74 crossings to New York. There was lots of competition, and Brunel loved it.
Having done so well with the Great Western, he immediately got to work on an even bigger ship, to be made of iron. This was the Great Britain. She was 322 feet long, and also built in Bristol. The initial design was for her to be driven by enormous paddle wheels. This requirement actually triggered another important innovation. No forge in Britain had a hammer big enough to manufacture the shaft required for the paddlewheel. Brunel brought the problem to James Nasmyth, (1808-1890) (See "More Great Engineers" on this web site) who, in solving Brunel's problem, invented the steam hammer, another significant innovation of the steam age. This device also made pile driving much more efficient, so contributed greatly to civil engineering. But IKB was already jumping to a new idea, and didn't need the big shaft after all, much to the disappointment of his engine designer, a Mr. Humphries. (Read all about this in Nasmyth's biography).
Brunel had seen one of the first propeller driven ships to arrive in Britain, and he abandoned his plans for wooden paddle-wheel propulsion for the Great Britain. She was to be screw driven, and became the first iron, screw driven ship to cross the Atlantic. (By the way, it is said that the British Admiralty had rejected propellers on the grounds that it would be impossible to steer a ship driven from the stern. But then, stories about the conservatism of the military are legion.)
The Great Britain was launched in 1843, and as we heard in the "Fiery Furnace" video, she transformed ocean travel, and set the standard for ocean liners. As usual, Brunel organized a spectacular celebration for his accomplishment. A dinner for 600, including royalty, was held on board at her launch. She started off well, but ran aground near the Isle of Man early in her career. The Great Western Steamship Company went broke, but the Great Britain was repaired, sold, and sailed for years to Australia, and other parts of the world.
The Great Eastern.
The basic problem with steam powered ocean travel was the need to supply fuel on a regular basis. The range of a ship was limited by her capacity to carry coal. IKB saw the solution as simply making the ship big enough, and he knew how it could be done. He made the observation that while the carrying capacity of a ship went up with the cube of the ship's length, her resistance (controlling the power required to drive her) only went up according to a square law (more or less) See Rolt  p191. Thus when it came to ships, size mattered.
He set out to design the biggest ship ever, five times bigger than the biggest ship ever built up to the time. That record would stand until the Lusitania was built in 1906. . She would be big enough to carry enough fuel to get her to Australia without refueling. She carried 12000 tons of coal, and in addition she would carry 4000 passengers. There was expected to be a big market was in emigration to Australia and America. He designed an iron double hull, with transverse watertight bulkheads. She was 692 feet long, with a displacement of about 30000 tons. There were 5 funnels, a 24 foot screw propeller, 60 foot diameter paddle wheels, and 6500 square yards of sail on 6 masts. The engines were enormous; the one driving the propeller had 4 cylinders, each 7 feet in diameter. . Brunel also liked to get into the little details, and this included instrumentation. There were many innovative features, e.g. a stream of seawater to the observer's cabin of which the temperature was measured. The idea was to get a warning if icebergs were in the vicinity.
Construction was begun in 1854. Brunel had chosen John Scott Russell to build the ship. He was a brilliant engineer, Fellow of the Royal Society, Vice President of the Institute of Naval Architects. He also had his own shipyard at Millwall, on the Isle of Dogs. But Scott Russell turned out to be a bad choice, and the contract did not go well. The builder was very low in his estimates, and money was soon a problem. Construction came to a standstill in 1856, and Brunel himself had to take over the work. Finally she was ready for launch in October 1857. Due to restricted space, (the river was only 1000 feet wide) he had designed a sideways launch. Because of cost, the quality of the arrangements were not of a high standard, and the launch was a fiasco. With great noisy crowds watching, things got out of control. She stuck on the ways, and in the confusion, a workman was killed. After a lot of trouble and money, and support from his many engineering friends, he finally got her into the water on 31 January, 1858. He was now practically broke, and his health was failing. Nevertheless, he struggled on, and she was luxuriously fitted out. By September was ready for the maiden voyage. Brunel was too sick to go with her, and it was just as well, because only a few hours out there was an explosion in the engine room which would have destroyed a lesser ship. She had to go back in again for repairs, which took a year. Brunel died within a week or so of the explosion.
One of the people whom IKB consulted in the design stages was William Froude, a name to become famous in ship dynamics. Froude had actually worked for Brunel on his railways in the 1840's. The problems posed by Brunel in designing the Great Eastern greatly influenced his future work. From his investigations, Froude established the foundations of ship dynamics. But apparently Froude's results were too late to help in the design of the great ship. The Great Eastern rolled excessively. Among the problems were a high metacentric height, and large bilge radius, and natural period close to that of large ocean waves. There were also other problems having to do with some of the unforeseen consequences of her size and other innovative but untested design features. For example, she was originally steered by hand, with great difficulty. (Ref 12)
The great ship never carried her 4000 passengers, (among other things, the Suez Canal came along) and although she made several trans-Atlantic crossings, she had a lot of bad luck. Even before she was launched, Brunel had his own worries about her future, and apparently so did some of his friends, although IKB did not like their response to his question as the Great Eastern was nearing completion in 1857: (Caldwell, in Pugsley, ed Ref 12).
IKB: How will she pay? If she belonged to you, in what trade would you place her?
Colleague: ...Send her to Brighton, dig out a hole in the beach and
bed her stern in it, and if well set she would make a substantial pier,
her hold would make magnificent salt water baths, her 'tween decks a grand
hotel, with restaurants, .. dancing saloons... For I do not know any other
trade, at present, in which she will be likely to pay so well.
THE GREAT EASTERN FINDS A ROLE...
A wire across the Atlantic
While the Great Eastern was still under construction near London, another very ambitious project was being considered on the other side of the Atlantic. Due to its strategic location less than 2000 miles from Britain, and 1000 miles nearer to Britain than New York, Newfoundland was the focus.
For many of the details on early telegraphy in Newfoundland, see ref 13.
Samuel Morse (1791-1872) Professor of Painting and Sculpture
A new means of communicating over long distances was being developed, thanks to increasing knowledge of electricity, and a curious artist by the name of Samuel Morse, (of whom we shall hear more shortly.) He got the first really successful telegraph going in the United States in 1844, and this technology was spreading rapidly.
Cyrus Field (1819-1892) meets Frederick Newton Gisborne (1824-1892)
You may have heard of Cyrus Field, but I doubt that you ever heard of Frederick Gisborne. But you may have heard of Gisborne Lake, and I expect that is where it gets the name. (Check it out). We are getting a bit off on a tangent, but the details are fascinating. Gisborne was an engineer (of sorts) attempting to build a telegraph system in the Maritimes. One of the important challenges of the day was to get European news to New York as fast as possible. He saw the potential of St. John's, but only (at least for the time being) in the sense that if a New York bound ship dropped off the news here, and it could then be telegraphed to New York, and the news would arrive at least 48 hours ahead of the ship. The newspapers would pay big money for that advantage. So he moved to Newfoundland, and began to promote a connection along the south coast and across the Cabot Strait to Cape Breton.
But St. John's was not a port of call for ships on their way to New York, and Gisbourne had a novel solution for that. The big steamships passed near Cape Race, and he proposed that they toss a barrel containing the messages over the side, where it would be recovered by a waiting small boat and rushed ashore to Trepassey, where the news would be forwarded by telegraph. Believe it or not, this system eventually became operational, and New York newspapers carried the byline "via Cape Race".
The New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company (1854)
You are probably wondering where Cyrus Field comes into all this, and I will connect him, Newfoundland and the Great Eastern soon.
Gisborne's telegraph system was deteriorating, physically and financially. Seeking funding in New York, Gisborne was introduced to Cyrus Field, a wealthy merchant. Field was not particularly interested in the system Gisborne was trying to run, but upon looking at the geography, became intrigued with the idea of going all the way and connecting America to Europe with the wire. He put the financing together, got the Newfoundland Colonial government on side, (including a 40 year monopoly) and formed the New York, Newfoundland and London Telegraph Company in 1854. Back in Millwall shipyard, IKB was laying the keel for the Great Eastern.
First attempt: 1857, Agamemnon and Niagara head for Newfoundland.
Two ships were needed to carry the 2500 miles of cable, which weighed about 2000 pounds per mile. Cyrus Field and his technical team including Morse, was ready in August 1857. The British warship Agamemnon and American Niagara left Ireland together, headed for Newfoundland, intending to splice the cable together when the first ship was empty. The cable broke; they fixed it, then nearly 400 miles out it broke again and the project was finished for that year. By the way, both of these ships had some steam power, and the Niagara was built as a steamship.
First cable landed: Niagara, 1858, Bull Arm (Sunnyside) Trinity Bay
Field was not easily discouraged. The same two ships left Ireland again in June the next year, this time they went to mid Atlantic, spliced their cables together and steamed (or sailed) off in opposite directions. The Niagara arrived in Trinity Bay, and the Agamemnon in Ireland only a day apart.
The new cable worked and Queen Victoria and US President Buchanan exchanged messages, with a bit of help from ships, etc. and everyone was most impressed. Unfortunately, after three weeks, the cable quit working, and it was back to the drawing board for Mr. Field.
...A ship big enough (and going cheap)
The next attempt came only after very serious technical review, and better engineering. The cable was heavier, about 5000 tons in all. They also were looking for a ship, and the Great Eastern was up for sale. One of the Directors of the cable company bought her for 25,000 pounds (She had cost 640,000 pounds to build) and she was hired for the task.
1865 attempt, Great Eastern
After some modifications, the cable was loaded. Again, they had bad luck. The cable broke and could not be recovered after about 1200 miles.
1866 success (Heart's Content, TB)
But the Great Eastern was a fine vessel for this work, and with Field's great determination, they were back next summer with even better gear. This time it all went without a hitch and on July 27, 1866 the Great Eastern turned up in Heart's Content, Trinity Bay, and a hundred years of transatlantic communication by cable began.
The Great Eastern made two more trips to Heart's Content, in 1873 and 1874, laying four cables in all. (In 1866 she also repaired the one from the 1865 failure.) She was also involved in more cables but she was never a commercial success, overall, and never did the things that Brunel intended for her.
...he won some, he lost some, but he surely had nerve
Brunel certainly had his share of failure, and it is the timid engineer who does not encounter reverses at some time. But he surely had nerve, and was a "master of the prototype, the practical prophet of technological innovation." Perhaps to Brunel, the acts of creation and of innovation were more important than their eventual commercial consequences. (Caldwell in Pugsley)
 Cardwell, Donald. The Fontana History of Technology, Fontana, 1994. P255.
 ibid p182
 Cardwell, Donald. Turning Points in Western Technology. Science History Publications,
New York, 1972. P144.  ibid p142
 Pudney, John. Brunel and his World. Thames and Hudson, London, 1974.
 ibid, p28
 ibid, p35
 ibid, p40
 Clark, Ronald W. Works of Man. Viking, New York, 1985. p186.
 Pudney, John. Brunel and his World. Thames and Hudson, London, 1974. p93
 For a good description of Brunel's engineering work, see Sir A. Pugsley, Editor, The Works of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Institution of Civil Engineers, 1974.
 Tarrant, D. R. Atlantic Sentinel: Newfoundland's Role in Transatlantic Cable Communications. Flanker Press, 1999.
 Rolt, LTC. Isambard Kingdom Brunel, A Biography. Longmans, 1957.