The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World

In 2003 the BBC created a documentary celebrating the Seven Wonders of the Industrial World. The television miniseries originally aired from September 4, 2003 to October 16, 2003 on BBC. The series examines seven engineering feats that took place during the Industrial Revolution. These particular feats were chosen because of their ingenuity, challenges that were overcome when completing them, and how they affected overall society.

The SS Great Eastern: Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the Great Eastern is an iron sailing steam ship and was considered to be the largest ship ever built at the time of her 1858 launch. The ship was 692 feet in length and was reputed for being able to carry 4,000 passengers around the world without refueling. The ship’s designer wanted to take advantage of the fact that at that time so many people from the UK wanted to immigrate to America, so he built the ship for that purpose. After a couple of difficult voyages over the next few years, the ship received considerable damage and was later used for laying cable. Later the ship was retrofitted for commercial passenger purposes that seemed to fail leaving her to be changed into a floating visitor area for a large department store then later sold for scrap metal.

The Brooklyn Bridge: Taking over 13 years to construct and completed in 1883 at 5989 feet long, made the Brooklyn Bridge at the time the longest bridge in the world. Spanning across the East River, the bridge connects the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn in New York City. The bridge cost 15.5 million dollars to build and 27 people were killed during its construction.
Bell Rock Lighthouse: Located in the North Sea across from the coast of Angus, Scotland is the Bell Rock Lighthouse, which is the oldest sea washed lighthouse in the world. It was constructed to keep ships from getting wrecked at Bell Rock Island. The Lighthouse stands 35 m high, with its light being visible from 35 statute miles away. It was built in a very difficult location and several people were killed in the process. But the masonry work was so well done that it has never been replaced or fixed even once in almost 200 years of its existence.
The London Sewerage System: During the early 19th century, London used the River Thames as an open sewer which due to the city’s growth, became outdated and started causing a foul stench and disastrous consequences for public health in London. A civil engineer by the name of Joseph Bazalgette took over the job of building this underground infrastructure. He built a modern sewer system that purified the city and resulted in the end of the epidemics of cholera and typhoid that had sickened the population.
The Panama Canal: The Panama Canal is one of the largest most difficult engineering feats ever to have been built in the world. Its primary intention is to shorten the distance of travel for trading vessels between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans saving time, money, and the heartache of traveling around the southern tip of South America. It’s about fifty miles long and takes about 8-10 hours to travel the total distance. Since being built, the canal has been considered a success and continues to be a vital aspect to world trade, carrying more cargo than ever before.
The First Transcontinental Railroad:Also known as the “Pacific Railroad,” the First Transcontinental Railroad was the first rail system to connect the Eastern and Western seaboards. The railroad is considered one of the greatest technological feats of the 19th century to take place in America. It served as a vital link for commerce, trade and travel. It replaced the stagecoach and wagon trains for a safer journey across the nation.
The Hoover Dam: Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, the Hoover Dam was considered to be the largest concrete structure ever built in the world. The reservoir created by the dam is called Lake Mead. The first concrete for the dam was poured in 1933, with the dam being completed in 1936, costing a total of $49 million dollars.

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