Sunday, August 21, 2011

Scottish Innovation: Gas Lighting

Scottish engineer and inventor William Murdoch was born this day, August 21, 1754.  Murdoch worked with another great Scottish innovator, the inventor of the steam engine, James Watt, at the firm of Boulton and Watt.  Among other things, Murdoch is credited with developing gas lighting, and as related by Electric Scotland, contributed to Sir Walter Scott’s Abbotsford.

‘…In 1810 Murdock took out a patent for boring steam-pipes for water, and cutting columns out of solid blocks of stone, by means of a cylindrical crown saw. The first machine was used at Soho, and afterwards at Mr. Rennie's Works in London, and proved quite successful. Among his other inventions were a lift worked by compressed air, which raised and lowered the castings from the boring-mill to the level of the foundry and the canal bank. He used the same kind of power to ring the bells in his house at Sycamore Hill, and the contrivance was afterwards adopted by Sir Walter Scott in his house at Abbotsford…’

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