Cover image for The life and times of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney : gentleman scientist and inventor, 1793-1875
The life and times of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney : gentleman scientist and inventor, 1793-1875
Porter, Dale H.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Bethlehem : Lehigh University Press, [1998]

Physical Description:
285 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Format :


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TJ140.G87 P67 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Goldsworthy Gurney trained as a surgeon in Cornwall but moved to London in 1820 to participate in the chemistry revolution led by Humphrey Davy and Michael Faraday. Successful as an inventor of laboratory equipment, lighting fixtures, and ventilating systems, he failed to convert his pioneering designs for steam locomotion into commercial success. His career illuminates the social and scientific communities that flourished alongside or under the shadow of Davy, Faraday, and Stephenson.

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Choice Review

Porter has combined his own historical research with investigations by other historians in London and Cornwall to reconstruct the remarkable life of England's "forgotten genius" of the 19th century, Sir Goldsworthy Gurney. Chemical research led to associations with other leading scientists of the 1800s, including Michael Faraday, and public lectures on the elements of chemistry brought some fame in London and considerable monies to this country gentleman. As a prominent inventor, he built one of the first practical steam locomotives for the highway, developed a very bright, safe lamp for theaters and public places, patented heating stoves, and improved the heating and ventilation systems for mines and for the new Houses of Parliament in the 1850s. His successes and failures highlight an illustrious dual career, and this biography cleverly explores the social, political, and technical worlds of England. Numerous drawings; extensive notes. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. F. Potter; University of California, Irvine