English Romanticism
SCIENTISTS / TECHNOLOGISTS



The Lunar Society
Members:
Erasmus Darwin, Matthew Boulton, Joseph Priestley, Josiah Wedgwood, William Hershel, John Smeaton

Erasmus Darwin
Biographical Info
Born: 1731
Died: 1802

Biographical Notes
Provided by The University of California Museum of Paleontology, Berkeley
Erasmus Darwin
Career Highlights:
  • English Physician and Poet
  • Member of The Lunar Society
  • The Botanic Garden (1791)
  • Zoonomia (1796)
  • Phytologia (1800)
  • The Temple of Nature (1802)
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    Matthew Boulton
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1728
    Died: 1809
    Career Highlights:
  • Partnered with James Watt, Boulton helped to produce steam engines mainly for the purpose of pumping water from mines.
  • 1786: applied steam power to coining machines; he produced coins for Britain and foreign governments as well
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Joseph Priestley
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1733
    Died: 1804
    Career Highlights:
  • Theologian and Scientist
  • Dephlogisticated Air (oxygen)
  • History of Electricity (1767)
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Josiah Wedgwood
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1730
    Died: 1795

  • A Potter in the family business at Churchyard Works
  • Unitarian and Political Reformer
  • Career highlights:
  • Invented green glaze and Queen's Ware
  • Developed Egyptian Black objects (black basaltes)
  • Introduced "division of labor" in his factories
  • 1766: helped build the Trent & Mersey Canal
  • Supported universal male suffrage, annual parliaments, and social reform
  • Joined the Society for Constitutional Information
  • Helped form the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    James Watt
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1736
    Died: 1819
    Scottish: University of Glasgow
    James Watt
    Career Highlights:
  • Inventor, Instrument Maker
  • Member of The Lunar Society
  • 1769: Improvements to the Newcomen Steam Engine, including a separate condensing chamber, an air pump to bring steam into the chamber, and insulated engine parts
  • Conied term Horsepower
  • Watt, unit of electrical power
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Matthew Murdock
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1754
    Died: 1839

    Major Works
  • Worked with Watt and Boulton in Birmingham
  • Experimented with gas lighting
  • First person to develop a steam gun
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Links to Related Web Sites


    Benjamin Thompson/Count Rumford
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1763
    Died: 1814

  • Was born in Woburn, Massachusetts but, because he was a loyalist, he left (abruptly) with the British in 1776
  • Spent much of his life as an employee of the Bavarian government where he received his title, "Count of the Holy Roman Empire"
  • Career Highlights:
  • Known primarily for the work he did on the nature of heat
  • Improved fireplaces, made them smaller and shallower with widely angled coverings so they would radiate better
  • Established a successful welfare system in Munich
  • Deduced that heat was molecular motion, not a fluid
  • Designed better stoves and better chimneys
  • A nutritionist, he wrote several essays on the benefits of coffee over tea
  • Played a large role in founding the Royal Institution in 1800
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Joseph Jacquard
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1752
    Died: 1834

    Major Works
  • Developed a machine where the punched cards were joined to form an endless loop that represented the program for the repeating pattern used for cloth and carpet designs
  • His invention influenced the later Power-loom, of which there were about 100,000 by 1833
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Samuel Crompton
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1753
    Died: 1827

    Major Works
  • 1779: produced his spinning mule, so called because it was a hybrid that combined features of two earlier inventions, the Spinning Jenny and the Water Frame. The mule produced a strong, fine and soft yarn which could be used in all kinds of textiles, but was particularly suited to the production of muslins.
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Richard Trevithick
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1771
    Died: 1833

    Major Works
  • Chirstmas Eve 1801: exhibited his Puffing Devil, a steam powered locomotive
  • 1804: Penydarren, reached speed of 5mph
  • 1808: Catch Me Who Can, reached speed of 12mph
  • Visit The Spartacus Internet Encyclopedia page on Richard Trevithick
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites


    Isambard Kingdom Brunel
    Biographical Info
    Born: 1806
    Died: 1859

    Major Works
  • 1829: designed a suspension bridge to cross the River Avon at Clifton, project abandoned
  • 1833: appointed chief engineer of the Great Western Railway
  • 1838: his steamship Great Western made 15 day voyage to America
  • 1845: steamship Great Britain
  • 1852: steamship Great Eastern
  • Related Engines Sites:

    Other Sources:
    Selected Bibliography
    Related Web Sites