An Engineer in Wonderland – Mr Laithwaite’s informative chart

The great heavy electrical engineer Eric Laithwaite, at one of his legendary Christmas Lectures, displayed a chart which equated magnetic, electric, thermal and mechanical quantities such as inductance and thermal inertia.

Does anyone remember how it went?

For I am in need of it for educational purposes.

It was Laithwaite’s excellent book ‘The Engineer in Wonderland’ that inspired the name of this blog.

I was a fan, and even have his autograph – although shame about the later gyro stuff.

If it was so obviously wrong, and I have no idea one way or the other, why didn’t someone sit him down quietly and disprove it on paper.

And on the subject of Christmas Lecturers, who was the lecturer that left the dais on a cart propelled by two fire extinguishers?

And, why did they ever let self-proclaimed cyborg Kevin Warwick present them?
I don’t know whether the children could follow him, but I certainly couldn’t.


Mr Williams of Swansea found the chart.



  1. Thanks Andrew.

    In 2011, a kind Mr Williams of Swansea send me a copy of the table and introduced me to a third wonderful Laithwaite book Engineer Through The Looking-Glass – in which the table lies – covered in this blog:

    I will have to have a look at the appendix in chapter 2 in my precious copy of ‘Wonderland’.

  2. It was back in 2010 but I just found this query of yours.

    “displayed a chart which equated magnetic, electric, thermal and mechanical quantities such as inductance and thermal inertia … Does anyone remember how it went? ”

    I have the 1967 book and the chart is not in there. I did make one myself last year though for my 2nd year students. If you like I could send you a copy.

    I am looking around to see if I can get electronic copies of the “Engineer in Wonderland” and also “Propulsion without wheels”. I have the former, 1 copy of my own, and we have 1 copy of the latter in our library, but both are quite “precious” and although I would love to recommend them as reading I can’t really. Maybe I will write to the publishers if they exist, and see if they can release pdfs or allow us to reproduce somehow.

    The appendix to chapter 2 in “Wonderland” is brilliant. It was the only way I could resolve an argument between 5 machine/drive experts about “is the force on the wires or on the steel” in a DC machine rotor. The answer is quite complex but explained with experiments in that book. But nowhere else I ever found.

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