Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Scottish Inventors & Inventions

"When we gaze out on a contemporary world shaped by technology, capitalism and modern democracy, and struggle to find our own place in it, we are in effect viewing the world through the same lens as the Scots did," writes Herman in his 2001 book How the Scots Invented the Modern World.

JAMES WATT (1736-1819)  Born in Greenock, Scotland.  Changed the world by transforming the steam engine.  Made possible the Industrial Revolution.  The electrical unit of measurement is named for him.

KIRKPATRICK MacMILLIAN (1812-1878)  Born near Dumfries, Scotland.  Developed the first rear-wheel drive bicycle in 1842.  People in his village thought he was mad for dreaming up the first velocipede.  They called him "Daft Pete" and yet his invention is still used by millions.

CHARLES MacINTOSH (1766-1843)  Born in Glasgow, Scotland.  Developed a method of placing a layer of rubber between two layers of cloth making it waterproof.  It was first used for an expedition to the Arctic in 1824.  We honor his invention today when we wear a raincoat often called a mackintosh.

WILLIAM MURDOCK (1754-1839)  Born in Lugar, Ayrshire, Scotland.  He invented gas lighting and is credited with lighting the world.  His home was the first to be lit by gas.  He also invented a steam tricycle, steam cannon and waterproof paint.

ALEXANDER GRAHAM BELL (1847-1922)  He was a teacher of deaf children in Edinburgh and experimented with electronic devices to help communicate with them.  His invention was patented in 1876.  He invented many things, including a biplane which first flew in 1908.

SIR ALEXANDER FLEMING (1881-1955)  Born near Darvel, Ayrshire, Scotland.  Studied medicine in London and developed the use of anti-typhoid vaccines.  His greatest discovery was penicillin in 1928.  It was perhaps the greatest gift to medicine.

Alexander Bain invented the electric clock - JAMES BLYTH - developed a windmill to generate electricity from the wind. - DUGALD CLARK - designed the first two-stroke engine - ROBERT DAVIDSON - Built the first electric locomotive.  PATRICK FERGUSON - Inventor of the Ferguson rifle. - JOHN LOUDON McADAM - invented a method of road building called macadamization.  When tar is added is called tarmac.

Robert Stirling - Invented the Stirling engine
William Symington - Builder of the first "practical steamboat."
Robert Watson-Watt - Patented radar
Barbara Gilmour - Creator of Dunlop cheese made from unskimmed milk.
James Dewar - Inventor of the first vacuum flask or thermos bottle

This only begins the list.  It never ends!

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