Best-selling author Simon Winchester maps the amazing trajectory of the fathers of engineering. The lives of Wilkinson, Whitworth, Maudslay, Bramah, and Ramsden are interwoven with anecdotes such as the invention of the Rolls-Royce and Thomas Jefferson's innovations, offering a fascinating narrative about the men who shaped today's world. Through stories of their trials and tribulations, Exactly celebrates the memorable men who shaped today's world through their early innovation in engineering.
John Wilkinson, known as ‘“Iron-Mad” Wilkinson' became one of the richest Englishmen of the industrial revolution following the invention of perfectly round cylinders, which forever changed the steam engine business. Joseph Bramah masterminded an eclectic array of inventions, not least the banknote numbering machine, the beer tap, the hydraulic press, and locks. Jesse Ramsden crafted precise optical instruments. As the first man to create a perfect sheet of steel, Henry Maudslay virtually invented the concept of precision. His peer Joseph Whitworth standardised it through the British Standard Whitworth system for imperial measurement – a framework that guides the railway, shipbuilding and car manufacturing industries to this day.
Simon Winchester chronicles the genesis of precision by shining a light on the quintet of pioneers who enabled us to see as far as the moon and as close as the Higgs boson through their unparalleled work of minutiae.