A Blind Engineer Invented a Lighthouse No One Built Before
Engineers invent, build, and fix things to make all our lives easier. You probably don’t always give them enough credit for everything they do, though they all deserve respect. One of them maybe deserves it more than anyone else. Despite the fact that he was blind, he became an engineer and helped light the way for ships.
Alexander Mitchell was born in 1780 in Dublin. At the age of 22, he became completely blind. Mitchell had heard plenty of stories about ships being grounded by underwater sandbanks. He decided to help solve the problem. It took him a year to come up with the perfect solution, but in 1833, he patented the screw-pile lighthouse.
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The young days of Alexander Mitchell 0:22
He enjoyed life no matter what 1:00
Mitchell finds himself a mission 2:17
The genius invention 4:13
Testing the screw-pile lighthouses 6:15
The success of the invention 7:57
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-When he was at school, at a mind-boggling fast rate, Mitchell’s eyesight started to get worse and worse. By 22 he was completely blind.
-He just kept on living an ordinary life, got married, and had 5 kids. Mitchell set up a successful brick-making business and started building houses around Belfast.
-Mitchell had heard plenty of stories about ships being grounded by underwater sandbanks. At 51, he decided to find a solution as he was a capable builder with a mind set on fixing problems.
-It took him a year to come up with the perfect solution, but in 1833, he patented the screw-pile lighthouse.Instead of installing post-like iron piles straight into the soft mud or sand to make a foundation, he came up with the idea of screwing them in place sort of like a corkscrew.
-It’d take him five more years of waiting until his invention would be used in construction for the first time. 58-year-old man personally went to the construction site and climbed up the unfinished building.
-The success of his invention allowed Alexander to return to the construction business again and significantly expand its borders. By the beginning of the 20th century, hundreds of screw-pile lighthouses went up not only all over the British Isles but also in North America.
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