Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, French-born English engineer and inventor, c 1802.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (1769-1849). After a brief spell in the French navy, Brunel travelled to America where he lived for six years and worked as a land surveyor, an architect and later as chief engineer to the City of New York. In 1799 he left America for London where he met Henry Maudslay and together they introduced the mas production of ships' blocks. He improved saw-mills and dockyard machinery at Chatham and Liverpool. From 1825, with the help of his son, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859), he was engaged to construct the first Thames tunnel designed for foot pasengers, which was completed in 1843.