Brunel pioneered mass-production methods and revolutionised tunnelling. Monge was among his teachers. Davy and Faraday were Royal Society colleagues — they shared several interests. Babbage was a friend — Brunel was familiar with his Difference Engine, and joined in attempts to get government funding for it. He commisioned Maudslay, a useful colleague, to produce machinery for several projects, and sent his son, the prodigy Isambard Kingdom Brunel, to extend his practical experience in Maudslay’s workshops (before making him chief engineer on his Thames Tunnel venture aged only 20).