A month or two ago, we focused on Tork, prehistoric engineer. This week, we will look in on descendant, Torkus, who lived around the turn of the first millennium. We call him Torkus, Medieval Engineer.

In the time of Torkus, even though people did not understand germ theory and the various ways diseases could be transmitted, they did have a sense that clearer water was better for people than rancid water. Torkus, the most respected engineer of his day (because he was the only one around) understood that water needed to be somehow “cleaned”. He called this act “water treatment” and devised various methods to filter the water using different membranes, layers of materials, etc. Torkus didn’t get into chemical treatment, but the water he produced was generally clean and free of most harmful diseases. But providing this service to society proved more difficult.

Torkus went to the warlords who controlled the region at the time and tried to convince them of the benefit of water treatment. They considered him a crazed lunatic, then flogged him, hit him with sticks, and smashed his abacus. That last bit of torture was the cruelest to Torkus. But, he enjoyed a relatively healthy life after that, while most of the ruling warlords died of battle wounds and pestilence.

Clean water – a service provided by engineers. Torkus was ahead of his time.