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Welcome to the website for "The Scot Who Lit The World - The Story of William Murdoch", a book by Janet Thomson about the Scottish inventor of gas lighting.

The Book:

Amateurs, professionals, steam enthusiasts and people who just like a good read can discover the intriguing story of a modest eighteenth century Scotsman whose contribution to society has remained largely in the shadows for 200 years. The well illustrated book turns the spotlight on an ingenious and prolific inventor who became a true giant of the Industrial Revolution.

It tells the story of his life and work and describes some of his many inventions. A unique Tourist Guide gives details of 30 sites in Ayrshire, Stirling, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cornwall and London for visiting and for research.

The DVD:

55-minute DVD telling the story of William Murdoch with photographs, illustrations and Murdoch’s own drawings. Includes film of the view from his riverside cave in Lugar, Ayrshire as well as the launch in Redruth, Cornwall of the handsome replica Murdoch Flyer locomotive to Murdoch’s design.

(DVD narrated by John Stewart, original drawings by Stewart Burns D.A., written & produced by Janet Thomson)

NEW PRODUCT - Summer 2009

Some History:

William Murdoch (1754-1839) grew up in the Ayrshire village of Lugar where his millwright father invented cast iron pinion gearing and rode his famous ‘wooden horse’ - the world’s first tricycle. William’s creative genius flourished and at the age of 23 he walked 250 miles to begin work with James Watt and Matthew Boulton at the Soho Manufactory in Birmingham.

For almost 20 years he ran their hugely demanding Cornwall steam engine business but continued to invent with breathtaking foresight and imagination giving the steam carriage and his greatest innovation which rapidly transformed society: the invention of gas lighting. He was awarded the Rumford Gold Medal by the Royal Society (joining such illustrious company as Sir Humphry Davy, Michael Faraday and Louis Pasteur) but his true reward was the work itself and, unpatented, his gift of gas lighting was freely offered to the world.

You can read much more of this fascinating story when you order your copy of the book or DVD.

Also, this page contains some research links of interest.

Cockspur Gas burner, c.1808 "Any book which enhances the reputation of this practical, mechanical, engineering genius is to be warmly welcomed"
Geoff Hayes

"many of his inventions were ahead of their time ... proper recognition of his life and work is long overdue"
Matthew J Hume

"that incomparable mechanic"
James Nasmyth
Cockscomb Gas burner, c.1808