Engineering as an art form

I am a musician by training and temperament (no need to comment here, if you know me!).  I have had something of an initiation into classic and vintage cars through my husband, AKA Ground Control, but now of course with acquiring ‘Chattie’ the 1935 Singer and knowing I am going to be spending most of the summer driving her, my initiation is having to be much more practical and hands-on.  A revelation in this process is seeing the engineering work being carried out on ‘Chattie’ by Pin Thetford of Thetford engineering, which is something on the level of an art form. There is an elegance in the way in which the structure and design of the car, the materials, the variables, the minuscule measurements and the almost intuitive understanding of how the whole works in harmony with its parts come together, that is a pleasure to witness. I would urge you to have a look at Pin’s latest blog about king pins and bushes, titled ‘Strange Measurements’: http://www.thetfords.com/blog/ You won’t be disappointed, I promise!  

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5 responses to “Engineering as an art form

  1. David Goode

    you’re right! I wasn’t disappointed – very interesting blog. And I completely agree about his discussion of the 1990s being another vintage automotive period – an open-minded consideration of the term but true. I have 3 1994 vehicles and there was some great engineering then, especially in Japan.

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  2. What kind of workshops, Dave?

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    • Dave

      Hi. I work for Airbus and we were in Toulouse and in the process of merging two departments doing complementary work. We were all enthusiastically describing what excites us, what frustrates us and so on as both a team-building exercise and the first stage in re-designing how we are to work together. So – a bit of people-engineering in order to acheive more efficient aircraft engineering!

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  3. Elegance comes in many forms; it’s a wonderful thing when it happens in creative processes, whether mathematical, logistical, musical, poetic, artistic – or in engineering a vintage car to near perfection – that sense of something just coming RIGHT in a complex environment, with its own logic and simplicity. A fruit of great skill and experience.

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  4. Dave

    Haha! I have used almost the same phrases when asked at a workshop about what makes me enjoy life – I am fascinated by the art of engineering, by the ability of engineers to think of solutions based on what they have or can invent, and the aeroplane is the pinnacle of this art.

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