Boy's Own Paper,  1 (1879), 436–37.

Some Boys Who Became Famous. Boys Who Built the Eddystone Lighthouse



Regular Feature, Essay

Relevant illustrations:

eng. (col.)


M W Turner, ra


Engineering, Architecture, Light, Engineers, Invention, Education, Schools, Instruments, Technology, Heroism, Piety, Creativity, Endeavour

Institutions mentioned:

Trinity House

    Begins by lamenting the imminent destruction of the Eddystone Lighthouse on the grounds that it is unsafe. Proceeds to describe early attempts to construct a lighthouse on the treacherous Eddystone rock—notably those by Henry Winstanley (a mercer from Essex), and John Rudyerd. Turns to outlining the life of the principal subject of the article, John Smeaton. Notes how during his childhood in Leeds he spent much of his time building mechanical models, and after attending Leeds Grammar School, regularly visited the coal-mine at Garforth whose 'wonderful' steam-engine inspired him to build an engine himself. Explains how, while working in his father's legal firm, he developed 'mathematical instruments' and eventually published a work under the auspices of the Royal Society (Smeaton 1759) that won the society's prestigious Royal Medal (436–37). Emphasising the fact that Smeaton always sought 'public happiness' and was 'never idle', describes how Smeaton devised his idea for the Eddystone Lighthouse. Notes the foul weather conditions under which the lighthouse was built, conditions that impeded progress. However, notes that the lighthouse was completed in 1759 with the motto 'Laus Deo' on its brow. Concludes by pointing out that 'steam pumps and steam tugs' could now accomplish Smeaton's task much more easily. (437)

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