Charles Vignoles, British engineer

Charles Vignoles, British engineer

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Credit: ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Charles Blacker Vignoles (1793-1875), British engineer. Vignoles was born in Ireland but raised in England. He studied mathematics and law, and served under Wellington in the Napoleonic Wars. He helped to survey Florida, publishing a book and maps in 1823. Back in England, his engineering career developed in the 1820s when he worked on the railways. It is for his railway work that he is best remembered, working on several projects in both Britain and in Europe. He promoted the use of a type of rail invented by R. L. Stevens, and the rail is now known as the Vignoles rail in his honour. In 1841 he became the first professor of Civil Engineering at University College, London.

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