Humphry Davy and the “safety lamp controversy” | Andrew Lacey

2015 marked the bicentenary of the invention of the Davy Lamp. But should credit for the first miners’ safety lamp be shared?

Source: Humphry Davy and the “safety lamp controversy” | Andrew Lacey

Almost two hundred years ago, on 9 November 1815, Humphry Davy, formerly Professor of Chemistry at the Royal Institution, presented to the Royal Society the paper he later published as ‘On the Fire-damp of Coal Mines, and on Methods of Lighting the Mines so as to Prevent its Explosion’. In it, Davy described his researches into the chemical composition of “fire-damp” – the common name given to the naturally occurring mixture of flammable gases, mostly methane, that had caused several horrific mining disasters – and outlined several designs of lamp that might be used safely in the presence of the gas.

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