Scottish inventions and discoveries

Scottish inventions and discoveries

Scottish inventions and discoveries are objects, processes or techniques which owe their existence either partially or entirely to a person born in or descended from Scotland; in some cases, the invention's Scottishness is determined by the fact that they were brought into existence in Scotland (e.g. animal cloning), by non-Scots working in the country. Often, things which are discovered for the first time, are also called "inventions", and in many cases, there is no clear line between the two.

The Scots take enormous pride in the history of Scottish invention and discovery.Fact|date=September 2008 There are many books devoted solely to the subject,Fact|date=September 2008 as well as scores of websites listing Scottish inventions and discoveries with varying degrees of exhaustiveness and accuracy.Fact|date=September 2008

Even before the Industrial Revolution, Scots have been at the forefront of innovation and discovery across a wide range of spheres: the steam engine,the flush toilet the bicycle, tarmacadam roads, the telephone, television, the motion picture, penicillin, electromagnetics, radar, insulin and calculus are only a few of the most significant products of Scottish ingenuity.

The following is a list of inventions or discoveries often held to be in some way Scottish:

Road Transport Innovations

* A gas mask: James Gregory (1638-1675)
* A steam car (steam engine): William Murdoch (1754-1839) [cite book
last= Griffiths
first= John
title= The Third Man, The Life and Times of William Murdoch 1754-1839
publisher= Andre Deutsch
date= 1992
id= ISBN 0-233-98778-9
* Macadam roads: John Loudon MacAdam (1756-1836) []
* Driving on the left: Determined by a Scottish-inspired Act of Parliament in 1772
* The pedal bicycle: Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1813-1878) []
* The pneumatic tyre: Robert William Thomson and John Boyd Dunlop (1822-1873) []
* The overhead valve engine: David Dunbar Buick (1854-1929)
* The speedometer: Sir Keith Elphinstone (1864-1944)
* The motor lorry: John Yule in 1870
* The steam tricycle: Andrew Lawson in 1895

Civil Engineering Innovations


* Bridge design: Sir William Arrol (1838-1913), Thomas Telford (1757-1834) & John Rennie (1761-1821)
* Suspension bridge improvements: Sir Samuel Brown (1776-1852)
* Tubular steel: Sir William Fairbairn (1789-1874)

Canals & Docks

* Falkirk Wheel: ??? (Opened 2002)
* Canal design: Thomas Telford (1757-1834)
* Dock design: John Rennie (1761-1821)
* The patent slip for docking vessels: Thomas Morton (1781-1832)
* Crane design: James Bremner (1784-1856)


* Lighthouse design: Robert Stevenson (1772-1850)
* The Drummond Light: Thomas Drummond (1797-1840)

Power Innovations

* Condensing steam engine & improvements: James Watt (1736-1819)
* Coal-gas lighting: William Murdock (1754-1839)
* The Stirling heat engine: Rev. Robert Stirling (1790-1878)
* Electro-magnetic innovations: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-79)
* Carbon brushes for dynamos: George Forbes (1849-1936)
* The Clark cycle gas engine: Sir Dugald Clark (1854-1932)
* Wireless transformer improvements: Sir James Swinburne (1858-1958)
* Cloud chamber recording of atoms: Charles T. R. Wilson (1869-1959)
* Wave-powered electricity generator:By South African Engineer Stephen Salter in 1977

hipbuilding Innovations

* The steamship paddle wheel: Patrick Miller (1731-1815)
* The steam boat: William Symington (1763-1831)
* Europe's first passenger steamboat: Henry Bell (1767-1830)
* The first iron-hulled steamship: Sir William Fairbairn (1789-1874)
* The first practical screw propeller: Robert Wilson (1803-1882)
* Marine engine innovations: James Howden (1832-1913)

Heavy Industry Innovations

* The carronade cannon: Robert Melville (1723-1809)
* Making cast steel from wrought iron: David Mushet (1772-1847)
* Wrought iron sash bars for glass houses: John C. Loudon (1783-1865)
* The hot blast oven: James Beaumont Neilson (1792-1865)
* The steam hammer: James Nasmyth (1808-1890)
* Wire rope: Robert Stirling Newall (1812-1889)
* Steam engine improvements: William Mcnaught (1831-1881)
* The Fairlie, a narrow gauge, double-bogey railway engine: Robert Francis Fairlie (1831-1885)
* Cordite - Sir James Dewar, Sir Frederick Abel

Agricultural Innovations

* Threshing machine improvements: James Meikle (c.1690-c.1780) & Andrew Meikle (1719-1811)
* Hollow pipe drainage: Sir Hugh Dalrymple, Lord Drummore (1700-1753)
* The Scotch Plough: James Anderson of Hermiston (1739-1808)
* Deanstonisation soil-drainage system: James Smith (1789-1850)
* The mechanical reaping machine: Rev. Patrick Bell (1799-1869)
* The Fresno Scraper: James Porteous (1848-1922)
* The Tuley tree shelter: Graham Tuley in 1979

Communication Innovations

* Print stereotyping: William Ged (1690-1749)
* The balloon post: John Anderson (1726-1796)
* The adhesive postage stamp and the postmark: James Chalmers (1782-1853)
* The post office
* The mail-van service
* Universal Standard Time: Sir Sandford Fleming (1827-1915)
* Light signalling between ships: Admiral Philip H. Colomb (1831-1899)
* The telephone:(disputed) Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
* The teleprinter: Frederick G. Creed (1871-1957)
* The television: John Logie Baird (1888-1946)
* Radar: Robert Watson-Watt (1892-1973)
* Fax Machine - Alexander Bain
* Radio (underlying principles) - James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)

ome Scottish publishing firsts:

* The first book translated from English into a foreign language
* The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1768-81)
* The first English textbook on surgery (1597)
* The first modern pharmacopaedia, the Materia Medica Catalogue (1776)
* The first textbook on Newtonian science
* The first colour newspaper advertisement
* The first postcards and picture postcards in the UK

cientific innovations

* Logarithms: John Napier (1550-1617)
* The theory of electromagnetism: James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)
* Popularising the decimal point: John Napier (1550-1617)
* The Gregorian telescope: James Gregory (1638-1675)
* The concept of latent heat: Joseph Black (1728-1799)
* The pyroscope, atmometer and aethrioscope scientific instruments: Sir John Leslie (1766-1832)
* Identifying the nucleus in living cells: Robert Brown (1773-1858)
* Hypnosis: James Braid (1795-1860)
* Colloid chemistry: Thomas Graham (1805-1869)
* The kelvin SI unit of temperature: William Thompson, Lord Kelvin (1824-1907)
* Devising the diagramatic system of representing chemical bonds: Alexander Crum Brown (1838-1922)
* Criminal fingerprinting: Henry Faulds (1843-1930)
* The noble gases: Sir William Ramsay (1852-1916)
* The Cloud chamber: Charles Thomson Rees Wilson (1869-1959)
* Pioneering work on nutrition and poverty: John Boyd Orr (1880-1971)
* The ultrasound scanner: Ian Donald (1910-1987)
* Ferrocene synthetic substances: Peter Ludwig Pauson in 1955
* The MRI body scanner: John Mallard in 1980
* The first cloned mammal (Dolly the Sheep): The Roslin Institute research centre in 1996
*Seismometer - James David Forbes

ports innovations

Scots have been instrumental in the invention and early development of several sports:
*several modern athletics events, notably the shot put and the hammer throw, derive from Highland Games events

*Cycling, invention of the pedal-cycle
*Basketball (see "James Naismith")

Medical Innovations

* Devising the cure for scurvy: James Lind (1716-1794)
* Discovering quinine as the cure for malaria: George Cleghorn (1716-1794)
* Pioneering the use of surgical anaesthesia with Chloroform: Sir James Young Simpson (1811-1870)
* The hypodermic syringe: Alexander Wood (1817-1884)
* Pioneering the use of antiseptics: Joseph Lister (1827-1912)
* Identifying the mosquito as the carrier of malaria: Sir Ronald Ross (1857-1932)
* Identifying the cause of brucellosis: Sir David Bruce (1855-1931)
* Discovering the vaccine for typhoid fever: Sir William B. Leishman (1865-1926)
* Discovering insulin: John J R Macleod (1876-1935) with others
* Penicillin: Sir Alexander Fleming (1881-1955)
* Discovering an effective tuberculosis treatment: Sir John Crofton in the 1950s
* Primary creator of the artificial kidney (Professor Kenneth Lowe - Later Queen's physician in Scotland)
* Developing the first beta-blocker drugs: Sir James W. Black in 1964
* Glasgow Coma Scale: Graham Teasdale and Bryan J. Jennett (1974)

Household Innovations

* The Dewar Flask: Sir James Dewar (1847-1932)
* The piano with footpedals: John Broadwood (1732-1812)
* The waterproof macintosh: Charles Macintosh (1766-1843)
* The kaleidoscope: Sir David Brewster (1781-1868)
* The modern lawnmower: Alexander Shanks (1801-1845)
* The Lucifer friction match: Sir Isaac Holden (1807-1897){
* Paraffin: James Young (1811-1883)
* The fountain pen: Robert Thomson (1822-1873)
* Cotton-reel thread: J & J Clark of Paisley
* Lime Cordial: Lachlan Rose in 1867
* Bovril beef extract: John Lawson Johnston in 1874
* The life ring, or personal flotation device: Captain Ward in 1854
* Electric clock - Alexander Bain

Weapons Innovations

* The Ferguson rifle: Patrick Ferguson in 1770 or 1776
* The Lee bolt system as used in the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield series rifles: James Paris Lee
* The Ghillie suit

Economics Innovations

Adam Smith; Smith was born in 1723, hailing from Kirkcaldy, a Scottishtown north of Edinburgh;the 18th century Scot considered to be the father of modern economics; Smith's ``An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealthof Nations," which argued that minimal government interference incommerce would promote human welfare and alleviate poverty, waspublished in 1776. He is the first Scotsman to appear on the central bank's currency in England, replacing Elgar's image in thenext few years on as many as 1 billion notes.

Miscellaneous innovations

*The digestive biscuit, invented by McVitie's in Edinburgh in 1892 by Alexander Grant.
*Boys' Brigade
*Bank of England
*Bank of Scotland
*Bank of France
*Colour photography: the first known permanent colour photograph was taken by James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879)


* [ Scottish Inventions] , visitscotlandcite web
title = John Loudon MacAdam 1756-1836
accessdate =2006-12-10

cite web
title = Kirkpatrick Macmillan

cite web
title = Robert William Thomson, Scotland's forgotten inventor

ee also

*English inventions and discoveries
*Irish inventions and discoveries
*Dutch inventions and discoveries

External links

* [ A few things the Scots have given the world ...] , Scottish Enterprise
* [ Top Twenty Scottish Inventions] , 15th International World Wide Web Conference, Edinburgh, 2006
* [ Scottish Inventors . . . who keep the world in touch] , Global Friends of Scotland (a Scottish Executive website)
* [ Scottish Inventions and Innovation] , Tartan TV
* [ Scottish Inventors and their Inventions] , Kenmay Academy
* [ Patently Scottish] , (humorous)

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