Mankind has often been capable of creating some truly magnificent and marvellous machines. All sorts of gadgets, gizmos and modern marvels have been created over the years to help with our endeavours. Some of these are clever, others defying standard logic, all are fantastic and deserve to be celebrated.
To do just that, we’ve put together a glorious collection of some of the most fantastic examples of engineering and machinery ever created by man.
A giant NASA wind tunnel
This photo from 1992 shows a lone man standing inside an incredibly impressive and awesomely massive transonic wind tunnel. This is part of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia and it is undeniably amazing.
Another image of the wind tunnel taken two years earlier is just as impressive. The tunnel was used for testing and development of many different military aircraft over the decades. It was also used by NASA for experiments and performance testing of space shuttles, reusable launch vehicles and much more besides.
NASA’s Mars Rover concept
This is a concept vehicle designed and developed by NASA. It was exhibited at the Kennedy Space Center in 2017 and shows the potential future of travel and exploration on the Red Planet. It was also shown off driving through the streets of NYC by Neil deGrasse Tyson and television host Stephen Colbert in late 2018.
Of course, human exploration of Mars is a bit of a way off, but NASA is set to land another robotic rover on the planet in 2020. In the meantime, there’s no denying the concept rover is fairly awesome.
This plane can carry 640 metric tons
This gigantic beast is the Antonov An-225 Mriya, a strategic airlift cargo plane designed by Ukraine in the 1980s. Its size alone is impressive, as are the other specifications. It has the largest wingspan of any aircraft (88 metres), can reach a top speed of around 530 miles per hour and is capable of carrying 640 metric tons of cargo.
The Antonov An-225 Mriya is also on record for being the heaviest aircraft ever built, weighing in at 285 tonnes unladen. Certainly an impressive feat of engineering!
Controlling liquid via electricity
This image is a close up snap of a clever system of Microfluidics that allows users to control water droplets via electricity using a simple joystick. A brilliant use of technology, electronics and water – not something you should usually mix together.
The image is great, but the video of the system in action is where the real thrills lie.
A tank hull being cooled after casting
This image shows a Swiss Panzer 68 battle tank being quenched after casting. The tank was the main battle tank of the Swiss military during the 1960s. It had some shortcomings that later lead to it being referred to as “not fit for combat” but there’s no denying the engineering work that went into it is impressive.
Jet engine snowblowers
The winter months are fairly harsh in Russia. Temperatures fall to ridiculous levels and the snow is a constant menace. The Russian people have plenty of solutions though, including these glorious machines.
These trucks have MiG-15 jet engines mounted to the front of them that are used to melt and blow snow out of the way. Perfect for clearing runways, roads or important areas. This idea has also been used elsewhere around the world and in our view is a great way to recycle old technology for new uses.
A gargantuan firetruck
Not suitably impressed by the jet engine snowblowers? How about this masterful piece of engineering? This is a Russian T-34 battle tank that’s been converted into a firefighting machine.
The main gun has been removed and replaced with two MiG-21 jet engines. Water is then fed through the engines and sprayed at high-speed onto dangerous fires. Known as Big Wind, this monster fire fighting vehicle was used to put out oil well fires to great effect. It also looks incredible when seen in action.
A tiny tractor
From the gargantuan to the incredibly tiny. This titchy little thing is a Vaughan Flex Tred. A tiny little garden tractor from the 1940s. Ideal for various tasks around your garden where the land (or bank account) wasn’t quite big enough for a full-blown tractor.
It’s not only great to look at, but also fairly cool to see in action as well.
A miniature hand-built W-32 engine
This is a true work of engineering beauty, representing fantastic attention to detail and craftsmanship. A miniature W-32 engine that’s been hand-crafted and hand-machined with 850 pieces. It took José Manuel Hermo Barreiro 2,520 hours to create and it’s so good it even runs smoothly enough to perfectly balance four coins on top while it runs.
We’d highly recommend watching the video to see it in action.
A naked CT machine
This is a CT scanner, also known as a computerised axial tomography scanning machine. It uses multiple x-ray scans used at once to capture different angles of the human body. We know this technology exists and how impressive it is, yet somehow it’s far more impressive when seen without the usual housing when you can witness all the internal workings.
This is even more impressive when the scanner is powered on and spinning – as seen in this video.
The world’s last commercial sailing ship
This magnificent sea vessel is the Pamir – the world’s last commercial sailing ship. The ship was built in 1905 and continued sailing the seas until it tragically sunk in 1957 in the middle of the Atlantic ocean. It is thought that the ship was caught in Hurricane Carrie and flooded to the point that it could not be righted and sunk. Only six of the 86 crew members survived.
The Pamir was one of the most famous sailing ships of the time though and was the last commercial sailing ship to make it round Cape Horn in the last 1940s.
McLaren F1 engine maintenance
The McLaren is no doubt an awesome car. A brilliant piece of modern automotive engineering. It’s equally as fantastic when viewed in this form – with its engine removed for maintenance.
Proper servicing of this supercar not only takes some time, but results in some brilliant images of the car in various states of undress.
A jet engine at full afterburner
This is an F-15 Pratt & Whitney F100 engine at full afterburner being tested by the US military. The power you can see in this image represents around 30,000 lbs of thrust and some incredible heat and power too. A marvel of engineering.
A decommissioned nuclear missile
An undeniably terrifying sight when it was actually live. This is a view of a Titan II nuclear missile. Preserved and turned into a museum in the Arizona desert.
Titan II was originally designed as an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that was later used as a medium-lift space launch vehicle for NASA. It was used to transport various weather and defence satellites into space. Several Titan II missiles were launched between 1963 and 1987, but this decommissioned missile has been at the museum for the public to view for years.
An undeniably impressive piece of engineering.
The business of firing explosive shells over a long distance is obviously a noisy one. There are reasons why you’d want to reduce that noise, one of those is keeping the neighbours happy.
This image is one of several taken at an artillery range in Germany. The photo shows giant suppressors that are being used on a 155mm self-propelled gun. It’s estimated that these cost around $100,000 to build and reduce sound produced by the guns as much as 20 decibels. They’re still loud obviously, but not nearly as annoying for the locals.
The Beluga Airbus
This is a version of a wide-body Airbus airliner that’s been designed to carry oversized cargo. It’s officially a Super Transporter but is more commonly referred to as Beluga after the whale that it resembles. Because what’s a more logical thing to have flying in the sky than a whale?
This weirdly wonderful looking plane had its first flight in 1995 and has been used multiple times since then to transport all sorts of bulky things including various space vehicles. We just think it looks fantastically cheerful. It is brilliantly designed though and its nose even opens to let out its impressive cargo.
A music typewriter
This is a musical typewriter, a relic of an era when music was typed before computers were involved.
Plate or hand engraving was the usual favoured method and these music typewriters did not become popular until the mid-1900s. Even then they often produced low-quality results which didn’t gain much favour and as a result, they never saw widespread use.
A ground effect plane
This is an MD-160 Lun-class ekranoplan. A weird and wonderful looking plane that’s actually designed to be a cross between an aeroplane and a ship. These sorts of vehicles are known as ground effect vehicles that have the capacity of a large ship but the speed of an aircraft.
The result is a vehicle that can carry more weight at higher speed and more efficiently than a standard ship. In theory, it could travel at high-speed above the water thanks to the power of the eight jet engines on the front. This would allow it to move below the enemy radar but away from the dangers of sea mines.
There’s a really interesting video on this vehicle and how it came about we’d highly recommend watching.
The massive excavator
This is a massive bucket-wheel excavator known as Bagger 288. You’ve probably seen pictures of this thing before as it’s incredibly huge. So much so that was once the heaviest land vehicle in the world weight in at over 13,500 tons.
It cost a whopping $100 million to engineer and was designed to remove overburden and help with the excavation of coal. It can manage around 240,000 tons of coal a day, which says something about how impressive a machine it is.
Just a crane delivery
We often take cargo transport for granted. Boats come and go taking various cargo across our oceans on a day-to-day basis and most of us don’t even know what’s going on.
Just look at this cargo ship though, casually transporting 300-foot tall cranes like its nothing. Amazing engineer and even more impressive packing.