John Smeaton, English mechanical and civil engineer, c 1780s.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by William Bromley, 1790, after an original painting by Mather Brown, of John Smeaton (1724-1792) in front of a seascape showing the Eddystone Lighthouse. Smeaton was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in the 1750s after presenting several papers on instruments and mechanical subjects. In 1756-1759 he built the third Eddystone lighthouse off Plymouth, which became the model for all subsequent rock lighthouses. The lighthouse was in use until 1877, when it was rebuilt at Plymouth Hoe as a memorial. Smeaton also improved Thomas Newcomen's (1663-1729) steam engine, and was responsible for Ramsgate Harbour in Kent (1774) and the Forth and Clyde Canal in Scotland (1768-1790). Dimensions: 215mm x 155mm.