When one thinks of Old-School Industrial, one tends to recall the likes of Genesis P. Orridge, Blixa Bargeld, Ogre, and other such visionaries. But when it comes to true vintage industrial, it's hard to beat one Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Here's a brief rundown courtesy of Wikipedia:
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, FRS (9 April 1806 – 15 September 1859), was a British engineer. He is best known for the creation of the Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships, including the first with a propeller, and numerous important bridges and tunnels. His designs revolutionised public transport and modern day engineering.
Though Brunel's projects were not always successful, they often contained innovative solutions to long-standing engineering problems. During his short career, Brunel achieved many engineering "firsts", including assisting in the building of the first tunnel under a navigable river and development of SS Great Britain, the first propeller-driven ocean-going iron ship, which was at the time also the largest ship ever built.
Brunel is notable in the history of digital communication, as his steamship the Great Eastern was the first vessel to successfully lay a telegraph cable across 1,500 miles of the Atlantic Ocean.
Brunel suffered several years of ill health, with kidney problems, before succumbing to a stroke at the age of 53. Brunel was said to smoke up to 40 cigars a day and to sleep as little as four hours each night.
Not only was he a true industrial visionary, he ran a telegraph cable across the ocean, he also smoked 40 cigars a day, slept 4 hours a night. When people make that shit up nowadays, they call it "Steampunk". Plus, on the back it says "Making Steel And Killing Men", which was the title of a popular article about the rash of worker deaths in the railroad industry. How rivet is that?
So when you're at your aggressively-named nightclub, romping in your stompy-boots, and people ask who that dapper fellow on your shirt is, tell 'em with confidence: "Your new hero."
(I totally would have put Henry Ford on a shirt too, but he was a nazi and a crank.)
You can read about Isambard Kingdom Brunel and many more classic industrialists at your local library.