What is the Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW)?

The Engineering and Technology History Wiki (ETHW) is a website powered by MediaWiki with thousands of articles, first hand accounts, oral histories, milestones, archival documents and lesson plans pertaining to the history of technology. The ETHW is one of the world’s premier sites for the documentation, analysis, and explanation of the history of technology; the scientists, engineers and business people who made these technologies happen; and on the history of the organizations to which these men and women belonged.

The ETHW is developed by a partnership between the United Engineering Foundation, and the AIAA, AIChE, AIME, ASHRAE, ASCE, ASME, IEEE, SPE and SWE. It fosters the creation of narratives that not only document the history of engineering practices but also explain when, how, and why these technologies developed as they did. It uses a wiki-based web platform to foster a collaborative online environment that taps into the collective memories, experiences, and knowledge of engineering's worldwide membership – the men and women who provide the imagination, creativity, and know-how to sustain engineering progress and technological innovation. In time, this site will serve as a central historical repository of all the achievements, ideas, and first-hand knowledge of engineering association members, societies, councils and technical communities. The ETHW will also provide a central location for all materials related to engineering’s organizational history.

Although the contributions to this site are restricted to registered users, the ETHW is also dedicated to making the social, economic, political, and technical aspects of the history of technology accessible to all. The general public is invited to explore and learn about the history of the technologies that have shaped and will continue to shape their lives.

What the ETHW Is Not

The ETHW is not a “how-does-technology-work” site. The scope of the ETHW is historical; instead of focusing on the inner workings of technology, it aims to explain how the technology was developed, who were the major players involved, and what long term significance the technologies have. The ETHW is not only an encyclopedia of the history of technology, but it also contains a full range of materials that relate to the legacy of engineering, including personal accounts, documents, and multimedia objects. In that sense, it is a combination reference guide, blog, virtual archive, and on-line community.


This site is intended to be the premier global record for preserving and interpreting the history of technological innovation and making that history available to the public. The wiki-based ETHW enables the recording of first-hand experiences of people around the world who have developed technologies’ products and services into the globally accessible public record. The ETHW will raise the public visibility of the role and historical contributions of engineers, and related professionals in enhancing the quality of life and the global environment.

Unlike other on-line encyclopedias that may include technological topics, the ETHW will be solely focused on the history of technology. The ETHW’s content will also be unique. No other wiki site offers the personal accounts of the technical innovators themselves. In other words, this site serves as a living testament to all the important experiences and contributions made by members and others to technological progress from around the globe. As such, the site will never be complete — it will grow and expand continually. It is the mission of the ETHW to be a forum for the community of engineers and innovators, and those who study their work, a networked repository of their memories, knowledge and achievements, a place to share and explore the history of technological innovation.

The Importance of Shared Experiences

The ETHW enables its members to record their involvement in technological innovation. Through these First-hand Histories, the ETHW invites and encourages members to share their experiences in developing products and services -- from invention, R&D, design, testing, production and commercialization -- with the world. Ideally these recollections will also include the broader range of experiences that led to members' successes as professionals, including their inspirations, educations, and affiliations. Because of the wiki functionality, the ETHW also enables individuals to contribute their experiences as contributors to a collective First-hand History of a group, such as an R&D lab or design team within a university or corporation.