Aren’t Scots talented!?

Below you will see a list of inventions by Scottish people compiled by users of Facebook, (added as a note; It’s official! Scottish people RULE! We did in fact invent the world!!). Many of our modern necessities such as the telephone, the television and even the flush toilet were all invented by talented Scots.

Road transport innovations

  • Macadamised roads (the basis for, but not specifically, Tarmac): John Loudon McAdam (1756–1836).
  • The pedal bicycle: Attributed to both Kirkpatrick Macmillan (1813–1878)[2] and Thomas McCall (1834–1904).
  • The pneumatic tyre: Robert William Thomson and John Boyd Dunlop (1822–1873).
  • The overhead valve engine: David Dunbar Buick (1854–1929).

Civil engineering innovations

  • Tubular steel: Sir William Fairbairn (1789–1874).
  • Falkirk Wheel: Initial designs by Nicoll Russell Studios, Architects and engineers Binnie Black and Veatch (Opened 2002).
  • The patent slip for docking vessels: Thomas Morton (1781–1832).
  • The Drummond Light: Thomas Drummond (1797–1840).
  • Canal design: Thomas Telford (1757–1834).
  • Dock design improvements: John Rennie (1761–1821).
  • Crane design improvements: James Bremner (1784–1856).

Power innovations

  • Condensing steam engine improvements: James Watt (1736–1819).
  • Coal-gas lighting: William Murdoch (1754–1839).
  • The Stirling heat engine: Rev. Robert Stirling (1790–1878).
  • Carbon brushes for dynamos: George Forbes (1849–1936).
  • The Clerk cycle gas engine: Sir Dugald Clerk (1854–1932).
  • Cloud chamber recording of atoms: Charles T. R. Wilson (1869–1959).
  • Wave-powered electricity generator:By South African Engineer Stephen Salter in 1977.

Shipbuilding innovations

  • Europe’s first passenger steamboat: Henry Bell (1767–1830).
  • The first iron-hulled steamship: Sir William Fairbairn (1789–1874).
  • The first practical screw propeller: Robert Wilson (1803–1882).
  • Marine engine innovations: James Howden (1832–1913).
  • John Elder & Charles Randolph (Marine Compound expansion engine).

Heavy industry innovations

  • Coal mining extraction in the sea on an artificial island by Sir George Bruce of Carnock (1575). Regarded as one of the industrial wonders of the late medieval period.
  • Making cast steel from wrought iron: David Mushet (1772–1847).
  • Wrought iron sash bars for glass houses: John C. Loudon (1783–1865).
  • The hot blast oven: James Beaumont Neilson (1792–1865).
  • The steam hammer: James Nasmyth (1808–1890).
  • Wire rope: Robert Stirling Newall (1812–1889).
  • Steam engine improvements: William Mcnaught (1831–1881).
  • The Fairlie, a narrow gauge, double-bogie railway engine: Robert Francis Fairlie (1831–1885).
  • Cordite – Sir James Dewar, Sir Frederick Abel (1889).

Agricultural innovations

  • Threshing machine improvements: James Meikle (c.1690-c.1780) & Andrew Meikle (1719–1811).
  • Hollow pipe drainage: Sir Hew Dalrymple, Lord Drummore (1700–1753) .
  • The Scotch Plough: James Anderson of Hermiston (1739–1808).
  • Deanstonisation soil-drainage system: James Smith (1789–1850).
  • The mechanical reaping machine: Rev. Patrick Bell (1799–1869).
  • The Fresno Scraper: James Porteous (1848–1922).
  • The Tuley tree shelter: Graham Tuley in 1979.

Communication innovations

  • Print stereotyping: William Ged (1690–1749).
  • Roller printing: Thomas Bell (patented 1783).
  • The adhesive postage stamp and the postmark: James Chalmers (1782–1853).
  • Universal Standard Time: Sir Sandford Fleming (1827–1915).
  • Light signalling between ships: Admiral Philip H. Colomb (1831–1899).
  • The telephone: Alexander Graham Bell (1847–1922).
  • The teleprinter: Frederick G. Creed (1871–1957).
  • The first working television, and colour television; John Logie Baird (1888–1946).
  • Radar: Robert Watson-Watt (1892–1973).
  • The underlying principles of Radio – James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879).

Publishing firsts

  • The first edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica (1768–81).
  • The first English textbook on surgery(1597).
  • The first modern pharmacopaedia, William Cullen (1776) The book became ‘Europe’s principal text on the classification and treatment of disease’ his ideas survive in the terms nervous energy and neuroses (a word that Cullen coined).
  • The first postcards and picture postcards in the UK.

Scientific innovations

  • Logarithms: John Napier (1550–1617).
  • The theory of electromagnetism: James Clerk Maxwell (1831–1879).
  • Popularising the decimal point: John Napier (1550–1617).
  • The Gregorian telescope: James Gregory (1638–1675).
  • The concept of latent heat: Joseph Black (1728–1799).
  • The pyroscope, atmometer and aethrioscope scientific instruments: Sir John Leslie (1766–1832).
  • Identifying the nucleus in living cells: Robert Brown (1773–1858).
  • Hypnotism: James Braid (1795–1860).
  • Colloid chemistry: Thomas Graham (1805–1869).
  • The kelvin SI unit of temperature: William Thomson, Lord Kelvin (1824–1907).
  • Devising the diagrammatic system of representing chemical bonds: Alexander Crum Brown (1838–1922).
  • Criminal fingerprinting: Henry Faulds (1843–1930).
  • The noble gases: Sir William Ramsay (1852–1916).
  • The Cloud chamber: Charles Thomson Rees Wilson (1869–1959).
  • Pioneering work on nutrition and poverty: John Boyd Orr (1880–1971).
  • The ultrasound scanner: Ian Donald (1910–1987).
  • Ferrocene synthetic substances: Peter Ludwig Pauson in 1955.
  • The MRI body scanner: John Mallard and James Huchinson from (1974–1980).
  • The first cloned mammal (Dolly the Sheep): Was conducted in The Roslin Institute research centre in 1996.
  • Seismometer innovations thereof: James David Forbes.
  • Metaflex fabric innovations thereof: University of St. Andrews (2010) application of the first manufacturing fabrics that manipulate light in bending it around a subject. Before this such light manipulating atoms were fixed on flat hard surfaces. The team at St Andrews are the first to develop the concept to fabric.
  • Macaulayite: Dr. Jeff Wilson of the Macaulay Institute, Aberdeen.

Sports innovations

Scots have been instrumental in the invention and early development of several sports:

  • Several modern athletics events, i.e. shot put and the hammer throw,derive from Highland Games and earlier 12th century Scotland.
  • Curling.
  • Cycling, invention of the pedal-cycle.
  • Golf.
  • Shinty The history of Shinty as a non-standardised sport pre-dates Scotland the Nation. The rules were standardised in the 19th century by Archibald Chisholm.
  • Rugby sevens: Ned Haig and David Sanderson (1883).

Medical innovations

  • Pioneering the use of surgical anaesthesia with Chloroform: Sir James Young Simpson (1811–1870).
  • The hypodermic syringe: Alexander Wood (1817–1884).
  • Discovery of hypnotism (November 1841): James Braid.
  • Identifying the mosquito as the carrier of malaria: Sir Ronald Ross (1857–1932).
  • Identifying the cause of brucellosis: Sir David Bruce (1855–1931).
  • Discovering the vaccine for typhoid fever: Sir William B. Leishman (1865–1926).
  • Discovering insulin: John J R Macleod (1876–1935) with others.
  • Penicillin: Sir Alexander Fleming (1881–1955).
  • Ambulight PDT: light-emitting sticking plaster used in photodynamic therapy (PDT) for treating non-melanoma skin cancer. Developed by Ambicare Dundee’s Ninewells Hospital and St Andrews University. (2010)
  • Discovering an effective tuberculosis treatment: Sir John Crofton in the 1950s.
  • Primary creator of the artificial kidney (Professor Kenneth Lowe – Later Queen’s physician in Scotland).
  • Developing the first beta-blocker drugs: Sir James W. Black in 1964 .
  • Glasgow Coma Scale: Graham Teasdale and Bryan J. Jennett (1974).
  • EKG [Electrocardiography]: Alexander Muirhead (1911).

Household innovations

  • The Refrigerator: William Cullen (1748).
  • The Flush toilet: Alexander Cummings (1775).
  • The Dewar Flask: Sir James Dewar (1847–1932).
  • The first distiller to triple distill Irish whiskey:John Jameson (Whisky distiller).
  • The piano footpedal: John Broadwood (1732–1812).
  • The first automated can-filing machine John West (1809–1888).
  • The waterproof macintosh: Charles Macintosh (1766–1843).
  • The kaleidoscope: Sir David Brewster (1781–1868).
  • Keiller’s marmalade Janet Keiller (1797) – The first recipe of rind suspended marmalade or Dundee marmalade produced in Dundee.
  • The modern lawnmower: Alexander Shanks (1801–1845).
  • The Lucifer friction match: Sir Isaac Holden (1807–1897).
  • The self filling pen: Robert Thomson (1822–1873).
  • Cotton-reel thread: J & J Clark of Paisley.
  • Lime Cordial: Peter Burnett in 1867.
  • Bovril beef extract: John Lawson Johnston in 1874.
  • Electric clock: Alexander Bain (1840).
  • Chemical Telegraph (Automatic Telegraphy) Alexander Bain (1846) In England Bain’s telegraph was used on the wires of the Electric Telegraph Company to a limited extent, and in 1850 it was used in America.

Weapons innovations

  • The carronade cannon: Robert Melville (1723–1809).
  • The Ferguson rifle: Patrick Ferguson in 1770 or 1776.
  • The Lee bolt system as used in the Lee-Metford and Lee-Enfield series rifles: James Paris Lee.
  • The Ghillie suit.
  • The Percussion Cap: invented by Scottish Presbyterian clergyman Alexander Forsyth.

The people in this list are testament to the fact that with invention and ingenuity we can keep on improving the way we live and finding better solutions.

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One thought on “Aren’t Scots talented!?

  1. blackcircles

    Scots are indeed great inventors and innovators. Where would we be without the pneumatic tyre, the telephone, and television to name but three great inventions?


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