ELECTRICAL engineer Charles Hesterman Merz, from Gateshead, Sunderland's Joseph Swan and Robert Stephenson from Northumberland are some of the pioneers celebrated in the Institution of Engineering and Technology’s new exhibition in London’s Savoy Place.

Merz pioneered the use of high-voltage AC power distribution with a system that eventually became the prototype for the National Grid.

Best known for inventing the incandescent lightbulb, Swan was a pioneering electrical engineer and past President of the Institution of Electrical Engineers.

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Building on the revolutionary achievements of his father, Robert Stephenson’s work allowed significant expansion of Britain’s railway system during the late years of the industrial revolution.

The display of ‘126 most influential engineers’ honours a range of engineers, past and present, from around the world. It celebrates the achievements of those who have dramatically improved the quality of our lives over the years with innovative ideas and problem solving capabilities.

All of those featured in the showcase are considered as having an impact on human kind and as reflecting the development of engineering over the 144 year history of the IET.

Other engineers presented in the display, which is located in the building’s stairwells, include Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, physicist Albert Einstein and pioneers of aviation, the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur.

The showcase comes among several other new features such as the digital chandelier, live video walls and display of 100 engineering ideas that changed the world as part of the re-opening of Savoy Place following a £30 million refurbishment of the building.

Simon Timmis, of IET Venues and Events commented: “The development of these exhibits is hugely exciting for all involved. It represents and celebrates the best in engineering accomplishments and reminds us of the huge positive impact that technological invention can have. We are very much looking forward to showcasing it as it provides a fantastic backdrop for conferences and events, and is really what sets us apart from other venues in London.”

For more information on the new exhibition and each of the engineers, visit: