William Fairbairn, Scottish engineer

William Fairbairn, Scottish engineer

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Caption: William Fairbairn (1789-1874). 1868 illustration of the Scottish engineer Sir William Fairbairn. During his apprenticeship, Fairbairn befriended the young George Stephenson. Fairbairn excelled at structural engineering, devising the box girder bridge and founding a major shipyard at Millwall in London. His greatest work was in the analysis of structural failures such as metal fatigue, building large-scale testing rigs and greatly adding to the safety of boilers and pressurised pipes. In 1869 he was created 1st Baronet Ardwick. He died at Moor Park, Surrey, at the age of 85.

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