These engineers, while constructing the major engineering works associated with the industrial revolution, had the opportunity to view and explore excavations in rocks and soils. Some, intrigued by what they saw, began to speculate on the origin and nature of rocks, and the relationships between similar rocks found in different places. Their ideas and theories, based on the practical application of their subject, formed the groundwork for the development of geology as a science. Engineers such as Lewis Evans (1700–1756) in America, William Smith (1769–1839) in England, Pierre Cordier (1777–1862) in France and many others were the ‘fathers’ of Geology.