'The Comforts of a Rumford Stove', 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Coloured etching by James Gillray showing Anglo-American Benjamin Thompson, Count Rumford (1753-1814) warming himself in front of his invention, the Rumford Stove. This was a more efficient fireplace which produced increased heat per weight of fuel, and practically eliminated the problem of smoke escaping into the room. Rumford was perhaps best known for experiments in light and heat, especially his cannon-boring experiments. Through these, he was the first to provide real evidence for the kinetic, as opposed to the caloric, theory of heat. Rumford also made other domestic and cookware improvements; he devised a kitchen range to replace the traditional fire for cooking, and improved oil lamps. He founded the Royal Institution in 1799.