William Murdock, Scottish engineer and inventor of coal-gas lighting, c 1800.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Plaster copy of bust by Chantrey. William Murdock (1754-1839) worked with Boulton and James Watt of Birmingham for whom he built mining engines in Cornwall. In Cornwall Murdock made improvements on Watt's steam engine and started work on coal-gas lighting. In 1803 Boulton's engineering works in Soho were lighted for the first time with gas under Murdock's guidance.