The engineer Enrique Hevia del Toro has posted an interesting development from 1935 on LinkedIn. In the 1930s, the US engineer Harold Urschel developed a remarkable piece of equipment – the “Wall Building Machine”.
This machine was able to erect walls and buildings fully automatically by stacking building materials layer by layer. Urschel’s creation was way ahead of its time. Decades before 3D printing and automated building construction became a reality, the pioneer was already dreaming of a future of building complex structures layer by layer.
The Wall Building Machine used a type of gripper arm with a mortar sprayer to precisely place and join bricks or blocks. Little by little, it constructed walls and buildings in a similar way to how a 3D printer builds objects layer by layer today.
Despite the pioneering concept, Urschel’s apparatus received little attention. The technology of his time was simply not yet advanced enough to enable mass production. Nevertheless, his vision remains impressive to this day. Looking back, Harold Urschel can be regarded as one of the first pioneers of 3D printing or additive manufacturing, even if his far-sighted ideas did not receive the recognition they deserved at the time.
His “wall-building machine” is evidence of remarkable technical foresight. It reminds us that behind groundbreaking innovations there were always visionary thinkers who conceived technologies far ahead of their time. Even if their creations initially seemed utopian to the masses.
In these videos you can see the “3D printer” in action: