Five Inventions of WWI and The Engineers Behind Them
By Irmak Vakıflı
via the interestingengineering.com web site
World War I saw the boom in the Aerospace industry, numerous technological advancements and invention of weapons widely known today.
The First Tank: The Caterpillar built by Lombard and Roberts
Alvin Orlando Lombard was born in the United States of America in 1856.
Lombard, who was working with his brother Samuel to support his family, constantly demonstrated his talent for mechanical designs.
By first developing a model wood splitter which was powered by a water-wheel inspired by cucumber slices, the brothers succeeded to build huge steam-powered locomotives that slid on the skis.
These were also powered by huge tracks in the rear, which provided railroad vehicles the provision of not limiting each other on the road.
He was also the inventor of many other innovative products which included a pulpwood debarker, or pulpwood crusher.
In the 1900s, he invented the equipment which was called "continuous-track equipment", which he patented establishing his company named Lombard Steam Log Hauler. This company was formed in the year 1901.
He licensed his ideas to the Holt Manufacturing, which further led the way to Caterpillar after his heir David Roberts.
After 1917, Lombard's main focus was on betterment of the combustion engines in his company.
Inventor David Robert shaped the project of Lombard drawing his "train track tractor" in 1904, which could be produced by the Holt Manufacturing in 1914.
Train track tractor, which was transformed into "Caterpillar" (1907), wasn’t developed as a weapon at first.
It was suitable in conventional terrain mainly for agricultural purposes, but it played a pivotal role in tank production.
Sprung suspensions were omitted for the production of the first tank, and the track plates were improved.
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