Whitworth's self-acting screw feed reversing tool box planing machine, 1842.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
The English mechanical engineer, Sir Joseph Whitworth (1803-1887), pioneered precision measurement and created a small workshop to produce hand tools. This was later expanded to make machine tools and engines, including steam engines. Whitworth also produced weapons, improving the steel used in guns by subjecting the molten metal to presure during its solidification. This became known as 'Whitworth steel'. He became a member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in 1847.