A Short History of Engineering

Mural by Tony Bartl

Presented to the Department by Professor J F Baker to mark the opening of the new workshops building by Field Marshal Smuts, Chancellor of the University, 10th June 1949.

Engineering Mural

(Click on the image to obtain details.)

The painting may be viewed in the Entrance Hall of the Inglis Building.
The artist describes the painting as:

"A pictorial solution based on the movement of a wave, chosen as the symbol of development. There are verticals and horizontals to establish unity with the architectural structure of the entrance hall. Insistent angularities and some of the transparencies and patterns serve the same purpose, to keep the mural in the wall. Pictorial reasons rather than historical accuracy are responsible for the choice of subjects.

On the left a figure leads in to the composition - early man, assessing nature through his senses, vision and sound. Then the Egyptian age, science close to art, the pyramids, the wheel - and Greece, with its classical knowledge, the Ptolemaic sphere and the screw of Archimedes, Hero's turbine - Icarus, the desire to overcome gravity, the balloon. - and from then onwards, knowledge more usefully employed. Stephenson's "Rocket", the ship propeller, the rolled steel joist, inventions for sea, land and sky - the Industrial age becoming more and more functional, gas and electricity revolutionising the world - the first iron bridge, the jet engine - and finally the engineer of today, receiving knowledge based on the experience of the centuries and extending it towards new horizons."