Safety lamp invented by Humphry Davy in 1815. One of the first two to be used in a coal mine. A gauze chimney over a brass lamp.
Davy invented the miner’s safety lamp on request from the Sunderland Society for Preventing Accidents in Coal Mines after a series of explosions in North-eastern mines. He discovered that explosive mixtures of firedamp (primarily methane) would not pass through small tubes or apertures. His safety lamp therefore had a wire-gauze chimney containing a flame. This allowed light out but prevented the flame igniting the firedamp found in mines, whcih caused explosions. Davy’s invention allowed deeper and less safe mines to be exploited, increasing coal production. His invention was simultaneous to almost identical work by George Stephenson, a mining engineer at Killingworth Colliery, leading to a heated priority dispute. Stephenson would go on to much greater fame as the ‘Father of the Railways’.
- Mining & Ore Dressing
- miner's safety lamp
- Geological Museum (Jermyn St.)
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