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    Engineering Education : its Early Beginnings - part two


    It was soon found that it was not possible to depend upon unlettered mechanics and craftsmen to manufacture, according to designs given to them, the new types of machines which were constantly coming into use, or upon apprentices to handle these machines properly, unless they were instructed in their use.

    Schools for general education of craftsmen and artisans, and for teaching apprentices the use of machines were founded by John Anderson at Glasgow about 1790, and Dr. Birkbeck in London in 1823. Anderson's university ultimately became The Royal Technical College, Glasgow.

    Amongst the universities, Cambridge took the lead in admitting engineering to the rank of university education. France started technical education about the same time (1794) when Ecole des Traveaux Publiques, later Ecole Polytechnic, was founded. In the U.S.A. the first technical school was founded at Bowdoin College, Maine in 1823, but this did not live along.

    The oldest surviving technical institute in the U.S.A is the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy (New York State), which was founded in 1823, and started giving degrees in civil engineering in 1835.

    Germany started late, but it built up, after the Franco-Prussian war a chain of technological institutes (culminating in the Technische Hochschules) which provided for the teaching of all grades of men from craftsmen to researchers, and this was mainly responsible for the great technical and industrial superiority of Germany which was noticed during the first world war.

    The great Technische Hochschule at Charlottenburg, Berlin was founded in 1879, as part of the university, but was later separated from it for the sake of administrative convenience.

    The success of this institution led to the foundation of the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London by the amalgamation of a number of smaller institutes in 1907.

    "By the terms of its Charter the Imperial College stands alone in being specially charged to develop postgraduate studies in their application to industries."