HH Angus Celebrates National Engineering Month

Friday March 30th

We hope you have enjoyed our tour through the Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century.   If you missed any of particular interest, you will find them all listed below.

As HH Angus and Associates nears our own century mark in consulting engineering, we salute our own great thinkers who help us push the limits of engineering design in the service of our valued clients.

Thank you for celebrating with us!

Thursday March 29

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Real Engineers rotate their tires for laughs.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: HH Angus provided engineering design for Canada’s first LEED® Gold Hospital – Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital Patient Care Centre.

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: High Performance materials

“All hail, King Steel,” wrote Andrew Carnegie in a 1901 paean to the monarch of metals, praising it for working “wonders upon the earth.” A few decades earlier a British inventor named Henry Bessemer had figured out how to make steel in large quantities, and Carnegie and other industry titans were now producing millions of tons of it each year, for use in the structural framing of bridges and skyscrapers, the tracks of sprawling railway networks, the ribs and plates of steamship hulls, and a multitude of other applications extending from food cans to road signs.

The materials revolution that took hold in 1900 began with the heavy building blocks of iron and steel. In the 21st Century, the realm of new materials is limited only by imagination. Throughout the 20th Century engineers developed new methods to analyze, process, refine, model, and manufacture materials in ways that maximized their properties and enhanced their performance. Engineers reshaped skylines with the sleek architecture of steel and glass, forged great sheets of metal for airplane wings and car bodies, fabricated plastics into heart valves and construction materials, created synthetics to replace organic fibres, and developed new composites for spacecraft. Much as earlier eras were characterized as the ages of stone, iron, and copper, it may be that the term that best characterizes the 20th Century is “the age of engineered materials.”

*With thanks to  &

Wednesday March 28

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

You might be an engineer if:

You’ve ever tried to repair a $5 radio

Your laptop computer costs more than your car.

Your checkbook always balances.

You look forward to Christmas only to put together the kids’ toys.

You have Dilbert comics displayed anywhere in your work area

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: In the 1960s, during the heart of the Cold War, HH Angus engineered Canada’s first raised floor installation for cooling, and helped develop SAGE, or Semi-Automatic Ground Environment.

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Nuclear technologies

Beating swords into ploughshares—that’s how advocates of nuclear technology have long characterized efforts to develop peaceful applications of the atom’s energy. In an ongoing controversy, opponents point to the destructive potential and say that, despite the benefits, this is almost always a tool too dangerous to use. Beyond the controversy, however, lies the story of scientific and engineering breakthroughs that unfolded over a remarkably short period of time—with unprecedented effects on the world, for both good and ill.

The harnessing of the atom in the 1940s changed the nature of war forever, offered a new source for electrical power generation, and improved medical diagnostic techniques. The awesome and compact power of nuclear arms has transformed the military arsenals, strategies, and psyches of nations around the world. It has also greatly improved the range and comfort of submarines, and had a significant impact on peacetime activities.

Today nuclear power is meeting the annual electrical needs of more than a billion people, with 434 operating reactors worldwide, mostly in Europe, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Approximately 20 percent of power production in the United States is from nuclear energy. Medical applications of nuclear materials are also important—the first radioisotopes for medical use were produced in 1946, and radioisotopes are now widely used in medical research and for internal imaging of patients. Nuclear technologies have stirred emotions and controversy, but the engineering achievements related to their development remain among the most important of the 20th Century.

Tuesday March 27

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Real Engineers’ briefcases contain a Phillips screwdriver, a copy of “Quantum Physics”, and a half of a peanut butter sandwich

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know:  We were the first Consulting Engineering Company in Canada to have a professional lighting design department.

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Laser and Fiber optics

Necessity being the mother of invention, the odds of a breakthrough in telecommunications were rising fast as the 20th Century passed its midpoint. Depending on where in the world one lived, communication during the early part of the 20th Century relied on mail, the telegraph, the telephone, or some combination of the three. Telephony, the most sophisticated long-distance communication method, was unimaginably slow and cumbersome by today’s standards. It used signals transported through copper wires, and the lines were limited in both their capacity and geographic reach.

In the 1940s and 1950s, physicists studying the properties of molecules stumbled on a new approach for investigating their properties, work that ultimately led to the development of the laser. The idea of using lasers as a communications channel soon captured the imagination of engineers.

In the mid-1970s, the development of highly pure glass fibres provided the essential physical infrastructure for carrying information via pulses of light. Today, a single, amplified fibre-optic cable can transmit tens of millions of telephone conversations as well as large volumes of data and video images. The versatile laser is also used as a manufacturing tool to cut precision parts, in medical applications such as eye surgery, in satellites to transmit weather and climate information, in scanners to read bar codes at cash registers, and in devices to play music on compact discs.

*With thanks to  &

Monday March 26

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Real Engineers will make four sets of drawings (with seven revisions) before making a bird bath.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: We engineered Canada’s first computer centre – Canada Systems Group, Sheridan Park

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Petroleum and Petrochemical Technologies

Refined forms of petroleum, or “rock oil,” became—quite literally—the fuel on which the 20th Century ran, the lifeblood of its automobiles, aircraft, farm equipment, and industrial machines. Petroleum-based fuels transformed the world landscape as they increased agricultural productivity, provided the means for distributing industrial and farm products, and furnished the mobility that defines 20th Century technology.

Petrochemicals, equally, have had enormous impact, providing everything from aspirin to zippers, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, synthetic fabrics, fertilizers, pesticides, building materials, and cosmetics. The major refining engineering advances, which have in part enabled this transformation, began in 1913 with the introduction of thermal cracking to manipulate the molecules of the hydrocarbon raw material and continued with the introduction of catalytic cracking in 1936, the introduction of platinum as a catalyst in the refining process in 1947, and the increased use of hydrogen processing in the 1950s.

Parallel engineering advances in oil and natural gas exploration, drilling, and transportation technologies have enabled the growth in demand for petroleum and petroleum-based products to be met by increasing world crude oil production from 150 million barrels per year in 1900 to about 22 billion barrels per year in 2000. The impact of oil on the economies of the world’s nations, and the related international political significance, has had enormous influence on the societal landscape of the 20th Century.

*With thanks to &

Friday March 23

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

You might be an engineer if:

You spent more on your calculator than you did on your wedding ring.

You have used coat hangers and duct tape for something other than hanging coats and taping ducts.

You have ever saved the power cord from a broken appliance.

You window shop at Radio Shack.

Your wrist watch has more computing power than a 300 MHz Pentium.

Engineering Innovationat HH Angus:

Did you know: We designed Canada’s first combination MRI and Cardiac Catheterization lab – at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Imaging Research Centre for Cardiac Intervention, Toronto ON

 National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Health technologies

In 1900 the average life expectancy in the United States was 47 years. By 2000 it was nearing 77 years. That remarkable 30-year increase was the result of a number of factors, including the creation of a safe water supply. But no small part of the credit should go to the century’s wide assortment of medical advances in diagnosis, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and other forms of treatment.

Although many advances were underway early in the century, health technologies really began to blossom in the last half, when engineering and medicine became increasingly interdisciplinary, and the human body was more fully recognized as a complex system of electrical fields, fluids, biomechanics, chemistry, and motion—ideal for an engineering approach to many of its problems. Since then, engineers have worked with the medical profession to develop artificial organs, replacement joints, diagnostic and imaging technologies, and biomaterials that improve the quality of life for millions.

The technologies for surgery, medical implants, bioimaging, intensive care monitors, and the mass production of antibiotics and other drugs are all vital parts of this story. The impact of engineering in the medical arena and the resulting benefits to the average person are incalculable. In no other field have engineers become so intimately wedded to life itself.

*With thanks to &

Thursday March 22

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Real Engineers wear badges so they don’t forget who they are. And sometimes a note is attached saying “Don’t offer me a ride today. I drove my own car”.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: We were the first to use 100% fresh air flow in a healthcare facility – North Bay Regional Healthcare Centre ON

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Household appliances

As a frequent purveyor of domestic dreams, Good Housekeeping magazine was on familiar ground in 1930 when it asked readers: “How many times have you wished you could push a button and find your meals deliciously prepared and served, and then as easily cleared away by the snap of a switch?” No such miraculous button or switch was on the horizon, of course.

Often overlooked as products of engineering, household appliances brought radical changes to 20th Century lifestyles—especially for women—by eliminating much of the time-consuming and back-breaking labour of everyday tasks. In the first half of the century the introduction of electricity made this transformation possible, coupled with two basic engineering innovations—resistance heating and small, efficient motors. These technologies were incorporated into devices ranging from stoves, heaters, and fans to vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and dryers.

In the second half of the century technologies like the magnetron and microprocessor transformed the household environment yet again, spawning appliances such as the microwave oven and others that incorporated new sensors, timers, and programmable devices. The impact of household appliances is monumental. They enhance our personal and family lives by freeing our time and energy, enable more people to earn a living outside the home, and contribute significantly to the economy.

*With thanks to &

Wednesday March 21

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Engineering Conversion Chart:

2,000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds

10 cards = 1 decacards

1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn

0.000001 fish = 1 microfiche

453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: Ontario’s first ground source heat pump using a natural aquifer was designed by HH Angus for the Government of Canada Ministry office in Scarborough ON, three decades before it became common practice.  This was a CEO Award-winning design. 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Imaging

To see with a keener eye has been a human obsession since the times of Leeuwenhoek and Galileo, considered fathers of the microscope and telescope, respectively. For centuries keener vision meant to see more clearly what was far away or what was very small—to magnify and sharpen. But in the 20th Century it also came to signify all sorts of vision that once would have been deemed “magic”—the penetration of veils both around us and within us, as well as the registering of forms of “light” to which human sight is utterly blind.

From the atom to vast galaxies in the far reaches of space, new classes of imaging technologies engineered in the 20th Century have enabled humans to literally expand their vision to
unprecedented levels of scrutiny and analysis. Probing inside the human body with X-rays, CAT scans, and MRIs—monitoring its life forces, identifying diseases and anomalies, and treating them—is just one of the many imaging activities that have been enabled through dramatic engineering advances. Examining individual atoms with electron microscopes, exploring for oil and gas deep within the Earth’s crust with seismic instruments, mapping ocean floors with sonar, tracking weather patterns from ground-based and orbiting optical and radar sensors, and studying the heavens with both space- and Earth-based telescopes all are the result of engineering advances in a broad range of technical fields.

*With thanks to &

Tuesday March 20

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Real Engineers know the second law of thermodynamics – but not their own shirt size.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: HH Angus designed the first research centre in Canada to use a double façade ventilation system, featuring occupant controlled motorized-louvers and window blinds – University of Toronto’s Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (CCBR). 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*:  Internet

The conference held at the Washington Hilton in October 1972 wasn’t meant to jump-start a revolution. Staged for technological elite, its purpose was to showcase a computer-linking scheme called ARPANET, a new kind of network that had been developed under military auspices to help computer scientists share information and harness the processing power of distant machines. Traffic on the system was still very light, and many potential users thought it was too complex to have much of a future.

The engineering challenges were manifold and complex, beginning with the design of a packet switching network—a system that could make computers communicate with each other without the need for a traditional central system. Other challenges included the design of the machines, data exchange protocols, and the software to run it. What eventually grew out of this endeavour is a miraculous low-cost technology that is swiftly and dramatically changing the world. It is available to ordinary people at home, in schools, public libraries, and “cyber” cafes. It is not owned or controlled by any corporation or nation. Today, the Internet has over 150 million users and 800 million web pages (and is growing each minute).  It connects people instantaneously around the world, through computers, fibre optics, satellites, and phone lines. It is changing cultural patterns, politics, business practices, the consumer industry, research and educational pursuits. The possibilities for its future are only just beginning to be imagined.

*With thanks to &

Monday March 19

Today’s engineering HUMOUR …

Real engineers have a non-technical vocabulary of 800 words.


Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: HH Angus was the first engineering firm to modify medical gas safety caps for use in Mental Health
departments in order to help promote patient safety. 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Spacecraft

The event was so draped in secrecy that, despite its historic nature, no pictures were taken. With a blinding glare and a shuddering roar, the rocket lifted from its concrete pad and thundered into the early evening sky, soaring up and up and up until it was nothing more than a tiny glowing speck. On October 4, 1957 on the plains of Kazakhstan, the Soviet Union had just launched the first-ever spacecraft, its payload a 184-pound satellite called Sputnik.

Sputnik I pierced the atmosphere, shocked the world, and started a space race that launched the greatest engineering team effort in American history. The resulting space program reignited the pioneering spirit that had once driven humans to explore every corner of the Earth, setting a new course for discovery in a long-dreamed-of realm—outer space. In the process of making space travel a reality, engineers working on the space program spawned an incredible 60,000 products that have had a direct impact on the general public. Today we depend on satellites for video, voice, and data communications, defence, weather prediction, environmental monitoring, navigation, and more.

The advent of human space flight brought increased demands for spacecraft performance, computing power, and physiological monitoring systems. These demands accelerated the development of the specialty materials, powerful and compact computers, and advanced medical sensors that we enjoy today. We are still developing our space technologies—the shuttle, the international space station, and remote probes exploring our neighbouring planets are all part of this learning process.

Friday March 16

Today’s engineering Humour…

Engineering expressions explained:

We have to abandon the this concept (The only person who understood it just quit)

“Energy saving” (Turn off power to save electricity)

We had a major technological breakthrough (It’s boring, but it looks high tech)

Preliminary operational tests proved inconclusive (It blew up when we flipped the switch)

All new (None of the parts are interchangeable with the previous design)

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: We designed the first instance of theatrical lighting for atrium use in Toronto – University of Toronto’s dramatic Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy building.

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Highways

Sweeping visions were something of a specialty for William Durant, founder of General Motors, and he ran true to form in a 1922 interview: “Most of us will live to see this whole country covered with a network of motor highways built from point to point as the bird flies, the hills cut down, the dales bridged over, the obstacles removed.” Given the intensity of America’s love affair with the automobile, his prediction was bang on.

Early in the 20th Century, most of the streets and roads in the United States were made of dirt, brick, and cedar blocks. Built for the horse, carriage, and foot traffic, they were usually poorly maintained and too narrow toaccommodate automobiles. Today, North Americans enjoy an extensive system of highways, bridges and tunnels linking our towns, cities, and rural areas. The construction of this system was spurred by two wars and the growing availability of automobile transportation, and it was made possible by the achievements of thousands of engineers. National highway systems cross mountains, steep grades, wetlands, rivers, deserts and plains, and navigate dense urban areas with innovative bypasses, interchanges, and overhead expressways. The traffic control systems, materials, and construction methods influenced construction around the world and were invaluable in improving the condition of urban streets and traffic patterns.

Highways have opened our country, enabled goods and services to reach remote areas, encouraged the growth of suburbs, and provided people everywhere with greater options in terms of access to jobs, health care, services, education, and cultural resources. Above all, highways have provided one of our most cherished assets—the freedom of mobility.

*With thanks to &

Thursday March 15

Today’s engineering JOKE …

Two Engineers want to paint a flag pole. They need to know how tall it is before they can purchase the paint. One shimmies up the pole with a tape measure and falls after reaching about half way. As they try to figure out how they can possibly measure the pole safely, along comes a Designer. After asking what they’re doing, he replies, “well, that’s easy”. He puts both arms around the pole and pulls it out of the ground and lays it down. “There you go”, he says as he walks away. The two Engineers look at each other and one says to the other – “that guy will never get anywhere in life! We need to know how tall it is – not how wide it is!”

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: We designed Canada’s first Cogeneration plant for emergency power generation – Villa Colombo in Vaughan ON. It was also a CEO Award-winning project. 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Air Conditioning and Refrigeration

Which of the appliances in your home would be the hardest to live without? A frequent answer to that question is often the refrigerator. Over the course of the 20th Century, this onetime luxury became an indispensable feature of the home.

Life changed immensely in the 20th Century as air conditioning and refrigeration systems became more efficient, controllable, and mobile. No longer dependent on the weather for work or play, humans truly made the environment adapt to their needs. Dozens of engineering innovations made this possible, from William Carrier’s early work with cooling and humidity control, to later advances in cooling agents, materials, system designs, and energy efficiency.

Climate control has become so reliable and inexpensive that it has gone from luxury to common necessity. The ability to transport and store fresh foods and other perishables simplified shopping and widened our choices exponentially. By the end of the century, 99.5 percent of homes in North America had at least one refrigerator. And beyond the home, control of air temperature and quality provides the purified environments required for surgery, manufacturing computer chips, and performing many types of research.

*With thanks to  &

Wednesday March 14

Today’s engineering JOKE …

Three men: a project manager, a software engineer, and a hardware engineer are working on a project. One day they decide to walk down the beach during lunch. Halfway along the beach, they stumbled upon a lamp. As they rub it clean of sand, a genie appeared and said “Normally I would grant you three wishes, but since there are three of you, I will grant you each one wish.”

The hardware engineer went first. “I would like to spend the rest of my life living in a huge house in St. Thomas with no money worries.” The genie granted him his wish and sent him on off to St. Thomas.

The software engineer said “I would like to spend the rest of my life living on a huge yacht cruising the Mediterranean with no money worries.” The genie granted him his wish and sent him off to the Mediterranean.

Then it was the project manager’s turn. “And what would your wish be?” asked the genie.

“I want them both back after lunch” replied the project manager.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: HH Angus was the first to implement LED nightlighting in Ontario hospital patient rooms – Northumberland Hills Hospital. 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: The Telephone

In the 20th Century the telephone evolved from a fledgling tool with limited use to a host of advanced technologies that form a cornerstone of the modern lifestyle. Near instantaneous connections—between friends, families, businesses, and nations—enable the communications that enhance our lives, industries, and economies.

Through a remarkable series of innovations, engineers transformed a system of copper wire, wooden poles, and primitive transmitters into a network of radio and microwave towers, fibre optics, and digital technology, bringing us from switchboards and party lines to cell phones and satellite-based systems that reach the most remote outposts of the planet. Along the way, several key developments have made this possible—high-quality wire and cabling, computer and electronics technologies, lasers, fibre optics, satellites, and others. From voice calls to the Internet, the telephone has brought the human family together.

*With thanks to  &

Tuesday March 13

Today’s engineering JOKE …

A man in a hot air balloon realised he was lost. He reduced altitude and spotted a woman below. He shouted, “Excuse me, can
you help me, I promised to meet a friend but I don’t know where I am.”
The woman below replied, “You’re in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 30 feet above the ground. You’re between 40 and 41 degrees north latitude and between 59 and 60 degrees west longitude.”
“You must be an engineer,” said the balloonist.
“I am,” replied the woman, “How did you know?”
“Well,” answered the balloonist, “everything you told me is technically correct, but I’ve no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I’m still lost. Frankly, you’ve not been much help at all. If anything, you’ve delayed my trip.”
The woman below responded, “You must be in Management.”
“I am,” replied the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
“Well,” said the woman, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise, which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same predicament you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: Security in a hurry: Our staff designed and built 540 fibre-optic-serviced workstations in just 3 weeks – from blank page to finished installation – for the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto. 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*:  Computers

Perhaps no other engineered device has captured the attention of the average citizen as much as the computer. Within two decades, the computer went from large, cumbersome room-sized machines to portable, user-friendly tools that have become an integral part of not only every major industry, but also of most homes in the industrialized world.

The rapid progress of computers came about because of innovations in stored data, the competitive race for superior materials that would make computers faster and more reliable, and engineers who saw that the computer was more than a calculator. Graphically driven software makes computers easy to use and has begun to open new worlds through the Internet. The average American now has access to unprecedented amounts of knowledge, and can communicate freely in a world forum. In this respect, the real computer revolution is not one of numbers and bytes, but one in which people, regardless of geography and politics, can share information and learn from each other. The computer, more than any other force in modern history, has advanced a global community.

*With thanks to &

Monday March 12

Today’s engineering JOKE …

There are four engineers driving home together: a mechanical engineer, a chemical engineer, an electrical engineer and a computer engineer. The car breaks down.

The mechanical engineer says “Sounds to me like the pistons have seized. We’ll have to strip down the engine before we can get the car working again.”

“Well,” says the chemical engineer, “it sounds to me as if the fuel might be contaminated. I think we should clear out the fuel system.”

“No, I think it’s a grounding problem,” says the electrical engineer, “or maybe a faulty plug lead.”

They all turn to the computer engineer who had said nothing so far. “Well, what do you think?”

“Hmmm – What if we all get out of the car and get back in again?”

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: Ontario’s first Hospital P3 (Public Private Partnership) project – Sir William Osler Hospital – was engineered by HH Angus and Associates.

And now, National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*:  Agricultural Mechanization

You often see them from the window of a cross-country jet: huge, perfect circles in varying shades of green or gold, laid out in a
vast polka dot pattern. Across much of the middle of North America and indeed on farmland throughout the world, these genuine crop circles are the sure sign of an automated irrigation system—and an emblem of a revolution in agriculture. At the heart of this transformation is a single concept: mechanization.

At the beginning of the 20th Century, it took a large team of farmers and field hands weeks to plant and harvest one crop. Today, the entire Midwestern corn crop can be planted in 10 days and harvested in 20. Twentieth Century engineering has made the difference. The tractor, the reaper, the combine, and hundreds of other machines and devices gave farmers the mechanical advantage they had long needed to ease the burdens of their labour and to make their land truly profitable. Mechanization enormously improved farm efficiency and productivity and, when combined with other engineering developments such as refrigeration, processing equipment, and distribution systems, has helped to provide a healthier diet at lower cost. And around the globe, the spread of advanced agricultural technology offers much promise in the battle against hunger and famine in the new millennium.

*With thanks to &


Friday March 9

Today’s engineering JOKE …

Regular people believe “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Most engineers believe that if it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: We provided mechanical and electrical engineering for the World’s first sports stadium with a fully retractable motorized roof – Toronto’s Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome). 

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Radio & Television

In the Fall of 1899 two sleek sailboats—Columbia of the New York Yacht Club and Shamrock of the Ulster Yacht Club in Ireland—were about to compete for the America’s Cup, a coveted international trophy. In previous contests the public had no way of knowing what happened out on the water until spectators reached shore after the races. For this race, however, reports came “rushing through the air with the simplicity of light,” as one reporter breathlessly put it.

The introduction of radio and television were major agents of social change in the 20th Century, opening windows to other lives, to remote areas of the world, and to history in the making. Broadcasts of news, sports events and live performances captivated audiences. After Marconi’s 1901 demonstration of the “wireless” telegraph and the practical use of signal transmission, technical developments followed rapidly. The diode enabled the detection of electric current by a receiver, and the vacuum tube provided signal amplification, making live voice broadcasting possible. The 1920s saw further technical innovation in the antenna, tuning circuits, capacitors, microphones, oscillators, and loudspeakers. By the mid-1930s, almost every North American household had a radio, and in the 1940s the first televisions reached the market. Each has engaged millions of people in the major events that shape our world.

*With thanks to &

Thursday March 8


Today’s engineering JOKE …

Engineering Terms – Conversion Chart

10 monologs = 5 dialogues

10 millipedes = 1 centipede

1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 picolos = 1 gigolo

10 rations = 1 decoration

100 rations = 1 C-ration


Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: HH Angus was one of the main designers of Canada’s first major district energy system, now called Enwave. The downtown Toronto system now includes Deep Lake cooling and provides heating and cooling energy to over 130 buildings in the city’s core.


National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*:  Electronics

Barely stifled yawns greeted the electronics novelty introduced to the public in mid-1948. An obviously unimpressed New York Times reporter noted on page 46 of the day’s paper: “A device called a transistor, which has several applications in radio where a vacuum tube ordinarily is employed, was demonstrated for the first time yesterday at Bell Telephone

From vacuum tubes to transistors to microprocessors, electronic devices became smaller, more powerful, and more efficient throughout the 20th Century. The vacuum tube led to the early designs of the radio, television, and computer.

In 1955, an early high-speed commercial computer weighed three tons, consumed 50 kilowatts of power, and cost $200,000. Today, your cell phone can link to computers, transmit data, and store thousands of addresses, appointments, memos, lists, and e-mails. The key to this stunning revolution in personal power is the integrated circuit—the heart of the modern electronics systems that have swept the world in the second half of the 20th Century. Brilliant engineering and innovation lie behind these unseen elements that operate wireless communications, satellite broadcasts, air traffic control systems, microwave ovens, video cameras, touch-tone phones, computers, and many other innovations that have improved the quality, safety, and convenience of modern life.

*With thanks to  &

Wednesday March 7

Today’s engineering JOKE …

What’s the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?

Mechanical engineers build weapons.
Civil engineers build targets.


Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: For over 40 years we’ve been providing Mechanical and Electrical engineering design to Canada’s first “skyscraper”.  The Toronto Dominion Tower in downtown Toronto was Canada’s tallest building from 1967 to 1972.


National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Water Supply and Distribution

At the beginning of the 20th Century, in the United States and in many other countries, water was both greatly in demand and greatly feared. Cities across the nation were clamouring for more of it as their populations grew, and much of the West saw it as the crucial missing ingredient for development. At the same time, the condition of existing water supply systems was abysmal—and a direct threat to public health.

At the outset of the 20th Century, waterborne diseases like typhoid fever and cholera were scourges throughout the world. In the United States, typhoid alone killed more than 150 per 100,000 people annually, and dysentery and diarrhea—the most common waterborne diseases—were the third largest cause of death. Since then, effective water treatment systems have had a dramatic impact on reducing these illnesses, virtually eliminating them in developed nations by the 1940s. Water treatment techniques developed in this century include chlorination, chemical coagulation, sedimentation, filtration, carbon absorption, microorganism systems, and others. But just as important as treatment facilities are the elaborate supply and distribution systems engineered to bring clean water to our communities and farms.

Water for drinking, irrigation, industry, fire control, and other uses is delivered over long distances to areas where it is needed—urban or rural. The success of these water systems has led to longer life expectancy, reduced infant mortality, vast increases in agricultural production, and improvements in the quality of life around the world.

*With thanks to  &

Tuesday March 6

Today’s engineering JOKE …

During the French Revolution, three professionals were arrested and convicted of having bourgeois values. They were a doctor, a lawyer, and an engineer. The doctor was placed in the guillotine, and the blade released. It sliced sharply down and lurched to a stop just before it touched his neck. The Executioner declared that it would be inhumane to make the doctor suffer this way more than once, and the man was set free. The executioner checked his equipment. All was in order. Next up was the lawyer. The crowd went crazy.  But once again, the blade stopped part-way down! The lawyer too was set free. The crowd screamed in frustration. Finally it was the engineer’s turn. The executioner checked and re-checked his equipment. As the engineer was marched up to the guillotine, he looked at it carefully and said, “Wait a minute, I think see your problem….”

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:

Did you know: We engineered the first large-scale interactive video wall for an Operating Room in Ontario – St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton ON

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: The Airplane

Not a single human being had ever flown a powered aircraft when the 20th Century began. By 1999, flying had become relatively common for millions of people, with  some were even flying through space. The retired Concorde SST could travel from Europe to America in four hours—a trip that took seven to ten days by boat in 1900.

Air travel has revolutionized our world, and the extraordinary engineering that shaped the airplane’s evolution is one of the most dramatic stories of the 20th Century. 1903’s first piloted, powered, controlled flight lasted 12 seconds and carried one man 120 feet. Today, nonstop commercial flights can last as long as 15 hours and carry hundreds of passengers halfway around the world.

After the Wright Brothers first successful flight, the airplane developed rapidly, particularly in response to the military needs of WWI, with advances in materials, wing design, and engines. In 1939 the gas turbine was introduced, signaling the beginning of jet transport, and during WWII, the airplane changed the character  of national defense and how war is waged. By 1957 airplanes would surpass trains as the preferred mode of travel for civilians. Today air travel makes the whole world accessible, transporting goods and people around the globe, and facilitating personal, cultural, and commercial interaction on a grand scale.

*With thanks to  &

Monday March 5th


Today’s engineering JOKE …

Three surgeons were taking a coffee break and discussing their work. The first said, “I think accountants are the easiest to operate on. You open them up and everything inside is numbered.”
The second said, “I think librarians are the easiest to operate on. You open them up and everything inside is in alphabetical order.”
The third said, “I like Engineers…they always understand when you have a few parts left over.”


Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:
Did you know:  We provided mechanical/electrical/vertical transportation/communications engineering and lighting design for the first LEED® registered healthcare facility in Canada–North Bay Regional Healthcare Centre in North Bay ON


National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: The Automobile 

In 1900 the average person traveled about 1200 miles in an entire lifetime, mostly on foot, and mostly within his or her own village or town. Today the average North American adult travels an average of 10,000 miles a year by automobile alone, and there are half a billion cars in the world. How the industry grew from a few thousand ‘Tin Lizzies’ to the modern, aerodynamic and multipurpose vehicles of today is a chronicle of engineering at its most resourceful—from innovations in materials and power sources to new techniques in design and mass production.

When Thomas Edison did some future gazing about transportation during a newspaper interview in 1895, he didn’t hedge his bets. “The horseless carriage is the coming wonder,” said American’s reigning inventor. “It is only a question of a short time when the carriages and trucks in every large city will be run with motors.” Just what kind of motors would remain unclear for a few more years.

Innovations were introduced throughout the century, including the electric starter, the synchronized transmission, heat and air conditioning, windshield wipers, interchangeable parts, independent front suspension, power steering, and of course, the famous model designs that became signatures of style and luxury. In one form or another, the automobile has become the major transporter of people and goods in the world, and the industry has become a major source of economic growth and stability.

*With thanks to  &

Friday March 2nd

Today’s engineering JOKE…

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.

Engineering Innovation at HH Angus:
Did you know:
Our Vertical Transportation Group worked on the first two high-speed moving sidewalks in North America – Toronto Pearson International Airport, Mississauga ON.  

National Engineering Month FASCINATING FACT OF THE DAY*: Electrification

The wide distribution of electrical power in the 20th Century brought light to the world and power to almost every pursuit and enterprise in modern society. Consider its impact on everyday life—lighting, heating and air conditioning, refrigeration, computers, transportation, communications, medical
technologies, food production—the list is endless. Several key engineering innovations made this possible, including the turbine generator, the use of
alternating current (AC), techniques to obtain electrical power from various resources (fossil fuels, water, sunlight, nuclear), and the construction and refinement of massive transmission systems.

Scores of times each day, with the merest flick of a finger, each one of us taps into vast sources of energy—deep veins of coal and great reservoirs of oil, sweeping winds and rushing waters, the hidden power of the atom and the radiance of the Sun itself—all transformed into electricity, the workhorse of the modern world.

Electrification is responsible for innumerable developments that have made life safer, healthier, and more convenient; so much so that it is hard to imagine our lives without it. It runs the smallest electric appliances in homes and offices, the mammoth computers that control power grids and elecommunications systems, and the machinery that produces consumer goods. Its impact is vast, and it has touched the majority of people on the planet.

*With thanks to  &


Thursday March 1st

How many of the 20th Century’s greatest engineering achievements will you use today – car, computer, telephone? How about safe drinking water?  Come celebrate National Engineering Month with us each weekday in March. Learn fun facts about the top engineering achievements of the 20th Century – how they shaped the world and changed the way we live.

Oh, and contrary to the stereotype, engineers DO SO have a sense of humour – check out our Engineering Joke of the Day.

Here comes the funny part – You might be an engineer if…

  • Everyone else on the Cruise Ship is on deck admiring the scenery, but you’re on a tour of the engine room.
  • In college, you thought Spring Break was metal fatigue failure.
  • The salespeople at Circuit City can’t answer any of your questions.
  • You are at an air show and know how fast the skydivers are falling.
  • You can type 70 words per minute but can’t read your own handwriting.


Join us tomorrow when we begin our series on the Greatest Engineering Achievements of the 20th Century!