Today is the birthday of one of the greatest of the great British inventors: Isambard Kingdom Brunel. By a strange coincidence, yesterday was the anniversary of the launch of the Great Western, Brunel's transatlantic ship. It left Avonmouth on April 8, 1838 and "with 600 long tons (610,000 kg) of coal, cargo and seven passengers on board. Brunel himself missed this initial crossing, having been injured during a fire that took place aboard the ship as she was returning from fitting out in London. The crossing of the Atlantic took 15 days and five hours, and the ship arrived at her destination with 200 long tons (200,000 kg) of coal still remaining, demonstrating that Brunel's calculations were correct."
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