Ryan, James J. Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Last reviewed:January 2020
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An elementary mechanical part used as a building block for constructing most devices and machinery. The gradual development of machine elements, following the invention of the roller or wheel and the arm or lever in ancient times, brought about the Industrial Revolution, starting with the assembly of James Watt's engine for harnessing the force of steam and proceeding into the advanced mechanization of present automatic control.
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