Modern Marvels

Season 11 Episode 17


Aired Wednesday 10:00 PM May 12, 2004 on The History Channel
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Episode Summary

The machines that helped build our world have been powered by hydraulics, a compact system of valves, hoses, and pumps that transmits forces from point to point through fluid. This basic concept of powerful force transmission through fluid provides the drive for most machines today. From the ancient Roman mastery of the aqueduct to Universal Studios, a veritable hydraulic theme park, we see how hydraulics power industry, keep planes flying, and make that 3-point-turn a U-turn.moreless
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  • Don't take this stuff for granted. It's used everywhere.

    This episode of Modern Marvels should really show people that many of us take the technology of hydraulics for granted. All of our modern cards have some sort of hydraulics system - power steering for instance. Don't forget all of our other transportation methods, buses, trains, planes, etc.

    One of the more obvious places hydraulics are used would be construction equipment. You probably won't be able to find too many cranes or bulldozers without some sort of system of hydraulics.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • The Airbus A380 will feature four independent primary flight-control systems. Each of these systems is capable of operating the aircraft should the others fail, creating a redundancy system unequaled by any military or commercial plane.

    • Speedboat racing pioneer Garfield Wood invented the hydraulic lift in 1911 as a means to unload coal from truck beds more efficiently.

    • Vincent Bendix, founder of Bendix Brakes, was inspired to develop a better car brake after his father was hit and killed by a car with defective cable brakes.

    • Daniel Bernoulli's father, Johann Bernoulli, became so jealous after his son published his book "Hydrodynamica" in 1738, that he wrote his own book on hydraulics and predated it in a futile attempt to take credit for his son's findings.

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Narrator: It allows you to effortlessly control your car and provides precision maneuvering for the most advanced military aircraft. But this workhorse of industry is as basic as fluids in motion. Now engineering's hidden marvel, Hydraulics, on Modern Marvels.

  • NOTES (1)

    • Commentators:

      Dr. Joe Kovach
      VP Engineering, Parker Hydraulics Group

      Alan Hitchcox
      Editor, Hydraulics & Pneumatics

      Don Clason
      Research Manager, Lubrizol Corp.

      Prof. Thanos Papanicolaou
      IIHR, University of Iowa

      Frank Markus
      Technical Director, Motor Trend

      Jay Bostic
      Assembly Manager, The Robbins Co.

      Alan Adcock
      Technical Comm. Puckett Machinery

      John Halat
      Director of Research, Eaton Aerospace

      Bill Schley
      Engineering R&D, Parker Aerospace

      Rob Gleason
      Tech. Program Manager, Parker Aerospace

      Mike Hinchliffe
      Sound/Video Tech. Universal Studios


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Ep 60
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Ep 55
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Ep 53
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Ep 49
Ep 48
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Ep 42
St. Lawrence Seaway
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