Sir Marc Isambard Brunel

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Brunel, Sir Marc Isambard

(ĭz`əmbärd' bro͞onĕl`), 1769–1849, British engineer and inventor. Born in France, he came to the United States in 1793 as a royalist refugee. He became chief engineer of New York City, and his projects included building the old Bowery theater (burned in 1821) and constructing a canal between Lake Champlain and the Hudson. In 1799 he went to England, where he patented machinery for making ships' blocks and later invented many other mechanical labor-saving devices. In 1825, Brunel began the construction of the Thames Tunnel (the first in which a shield was used; see tunneltunnel,
underground passage usually made without removing the overlying rock or soil. Although tunnels are approximately horizontal, they must be built with sufficient gradient for proper drainage.
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). In 1841 he was knighted. In the work on the tunnel Sir Marc was assisted by his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, 1806–59, British civil engineer and an authority on railway traction and steam navigation, b. Portsmouth. He was chief engineer of the Great Western Railway, building bridges and docks. Later he constructed railways in Italy and was a consulting engineer in Australia and India. He is best known, however, for his designing and construction of three oceangoing steamships: the Great Western (1838), which was the first transatlantic steam vessel, the Great Britain (1845), the first ocean screw steamship, and the Great Eastern (1858), the largest steam vessel of its time.

Bibliography

See biography of M. I. Brunel by P. Clements (1970); study by P. Hay (1973); biographies of I. K. Brunel by his son, I. Brunel (1870, repr. 1972), and L. T. Rolt (1959); C. B. Noble, The Brunels: Father and Son (1938); S. Fox, Transatlantic: Samuel Cunard, Isambard Brunel, and the Great Atlantic Steamships (2003).

References in periodicals archive ?
Elizabeth and Victoria acquire their names from Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria, while Sophia was the wife of Marc Isambard Brunel, who built the first tunnel under the Thames.
1849 Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, who executed the first-ever underwater tunnel at Wapping, died
He was the son of a French emigre, Marc Isambard Brunel, a prolific inventor and engineer, and his English wife Sophia Kingdom.
The inventor of the first soft-ground tunnelling shield was Marc Isambard Brunel, inspired by his observations of a ship-worm's ability to tunnel through timber when he worked at Chatham Dockyard.
Many of the popular favourites at the National Portrait Gallery are not on display, such as Richard Westall's dashing portrait of Lord Byron and Samuel Drummond's depiction of Marc Isambard Brunel against the backdrop of his Thames Tunnel.