HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

Five displays brought together

for Penicuik Community Development Trust Open House

ĆArtefacts on show: lamps & lighthouses

ć Gaslight wallboards††††††††

é William Young: local oil & gas inventor: wallboards

Ź Oil and candles from Scotland: wallboards††††††††††

źRichard Brunton: Japan lighthouses and Scottish oil: wallboards

ĎHeat: wallboards

 

HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

ĆObjects on show: lamps & lighthouses

 

HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

ćGaslight wallboards

HEAT & LIGHT

see The Scot Who Lit The World by Janet Thomson, Glasgow, 2003ISBN 0-9530013-2-6

GASLIGHTS

OUTSIDE AND IN

CLOSE UP of BURNER, AIR CHAMBER

& INJECTOR of the ROCHESTER LAMP

Ā Superheater Allows multiple mantles to be mounted together

ā Mixing tube†† Where the gas is mixed with the air as they flow

É Airchamber  Air is drawn in and entrained by the flow of gas

Ą Ejector ††††  Small hole through which the gas flows at speed

Ö Air regulator Sliding band round air chamber -adjust by knob.

Ü Gas regulator Needle adjusts from outside to control the gas

á By-pass†††††††††††††††††† Pilot light for igniting the burner.

GAS STREETLIGHT

Twin 12-gaslight London Lamps clearly showing the Raising and Lowering Gear

 

HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

éMid-Lothian shale oil & the story of William Young

Local oil production was already well established from animal, vegetable and mineral sources, including the balm bearing deposits around Loanhead.Smith's "Royal Standard Lamp Oil" (sold in Edinburgh at the George Street shop which later became Grays) was an established brand long before crude oil was discovered in America, so that "Standard Oil" was a natural name for transatlantic oil producers to borrow.

WILLIAM YOUNG (1840-1907)

Although the Scottish paraffin industry had been started near Bathgate by James ďParaffinĒ Young (1811-1883, no relation), after the 1860s onwards the Scottish mineral oils were being outclassed in price or quality by the products of American crude. William Young, the son of John Young, manager of the Selkirk and Dalkeith Gas Works was appointed to manage the small gasworks at Lasswade. William's inventiveness led to trials at the gasworks in Goat Brae to see if he could produce oil and gas from colliery waste.

 

Taking this up in a bigger way at Whitehill Colliery, Rosewell, and later backed by Peter Brash of Leith and the Clippens Oil Company, William Young began to develop better retorts "in which the gas is made to do service" to extract more and higher quality oil and more useful by-products. His Young & Beilby retort patented in association with George Beilby of Oakbank became the industry standard. The high quantities of useful saleable ammonia that it yielded as a by-product made the Scottish industry able to beat international competition in the decades that followed. William's emphasis on maximum recovery from waste became a hallmark of Scottish technology.

As Michael Cotteril states in the Dictionary of Scottish Business Biography: "William was a second generation gasworks engineer with a technological and entrepreneurial flair which gave him a pre-eminence in the industry and a widespread practice as a consultant engineer. A brilliant industrial chemist whose work was his hobby, William had no time for frivolities or outside interests. His retiring nature shunned the publicity that would have dispelled his obscurity. Despite this disposition, technical editor Walter King found him a 'very human, warm hearted, true friend, and transparently honest of purpose.' Enthusiasm, a piercing intellect and remarkably retentive memory kept William at the forefront of developments. One of the greatest authorities on destructive distillation of coal and shale, he also specialised in by-product recovery and fractional distillation and gasification of oils. From 1893 until his death he was a close adviser to the Government Alkali Inspector, R F Carpenter."

"The investment pattern in the Scottish gas industry left little scope for talented engineers to profit from their skills by direct ownership. Like waterworks, heavy investment in immovable distribution pipes made monopoly supply the most cost-effective and inhibited rivalry or forced competitors into price-fixing agreements. Monopoly was normal, but was only tolerated uneasily by consumers, from companies owned largely by numerous resident consumer-investors, or municipal authorities. William had other ideas. Bright gas engineers profited mainly as consultants, employed to plan and perhaps supervise construction or alteration of gasworks elsewhere in Britain or abroad. Some also patented equipment, manufactured by ironworks for sale to the industry. William gained from both fields, and went further by promoting a company to supply under licence the oil-gas process he invented."

Father John Young and the Selkirk gas works where William grew up in the 1840s

William's earliest childhood recollection, perhaps due to the smell, was of his father experimenting with a water-gas process carburetted with fish-oil. As well as managing Selkirk and then Dalkeith gasworks, father John designed many gasworks, including one at Valleyfield mill, Penicuik.

Valleyfield Mill, Penicuik 150 years ago. The millís gasworks also supplied the town in the early days

The lives of William's sister and brothers revolved around the new gas and oil technologies. For example Williamís Orkney-born schoolmaster brother-in-law George Firth Cusiter took over at Dalkeith gasworks in Croft Street from 1868 until his early death in 1874 having made award-winning improvements in gas meter design.Williamís widowed sister Mary and her family continued to live in the heart of the gasworks there when Williamís brother David Young took over as manager from 1874.Williamís brother Robert Young became manager of Uphall Oil Works, Williamís brother John Young managed the Paris oil refinery beside the Seine at Issy-les-Molineaux, became retorting manager at Oakbank, Midcalder and later at took his family to Western Australia.Williamís brother Alex Young managed oil works at Paisley and the Holmes Oil Works in the Lothians, and Williamís brother Thomas Young after starting at the Straiton oil refinery emigrated to become a contractor in the new settlement at Emmetsburgh, Iowa, fostered by Sir John Cowan of Beeslack's Scottish-American Investment Trust.

†† †††

Sir John Cowan and Iowaís new Edinburgh at Emmetsburgh (now Emmetsburg)

As Cotteril points out: "In youth William assisted his father's extensive practice of analysing the gas potential of coals. and paraffin oil in shales, for industrialists. He may also have helped in experimental projects and with planning the improved water-supply for Dalkeith. Science was an exciting novelty in the household. John was one of the first Scots to make artificial carbons for electricity, and gave public lectures on electricity, chemistry and optics. William certainly assisted with winter evening-classes in science which his father ran at home for young Dalkethians."

"William was an idealist and hater of waste. Brought up under Puritan influences, and suffering moderately weak health throughout his life, he later rejected religious dogma yet was considered extremely high principled and a friend to many in need." "During the mid 1850s, William gained the patronage of Peter Brash a soap, candle and oil manufacturer with Messrs Wm Taylor & Co of Leith. Brash had an eye for chemical technology, lent him science books, and encouraged William to attend public lectures in Edinburgh given by Dr Lyon Playfair and other scientists."

"He then became an apprentice gasfitter or 'plumber', under Lasswade gas manager Alexander Bell (1836-1910). Bell had trained the same way at Dalkeith under William's father before building Lasswade gasworks to John's designs. Bell's son, Alexander Jnr, later assisted William's experiments. Apprentice William was an innovator, often castigated by Bell for disturbing the conservative workshop routine. As a journeyman fitter he quickly introduced a new system of rolling lead for pipes, which trebled productivity. In 1863 Bell left to manage Gibraltar gasworks, and William at 21 became manager at Lasswade, with a tied-house and annual salary of £75."

Dalkeith Gasworks beside Fairfield House†††††††††††††† evening classes, Scientific Hall, Dalkeith††††††††††††††††††† Alexander Bellís Gibraltar Gasworks

William soon experimented with bituminous blind-shale and blaes being discarded as waste by Hoodís Rosewell colliery, and obtained 9,000 cu ft of gas per ton. Then, from oil shales came a rich 30 candle power gas and good paraffin. Unable to persuade his Lasswade Gas Company directors to permit large-scale low temperature distillation in improved retorts, for both paraffin and gas, William got permission from Archibald Hood to build a small crude-oil works at Rosewell.

 

"Without a market for the gas, some was burned as fuel to heat the horizontal retorts but most was wasted. This inspired William's attempts to minimise gas production and maximise oil, and led to the study of retort design which remained central throughout his life. Improvements came with deep 'charges' of shale reducing air-spaces, and false-bottomed retorts to prevent the furnace gasifying oil droplets. Real success only came with vertical retorts and the replacement of steam-injection by 'exhauster' fans blowing incondensible gas down the retort to flush all oil-vapour out through its base."

"About 1866 William left Lasswade gasworks to become Brash's manager at Messrs Taylor's oilworks in Musselburgh, and Oakbank, Straiton. Oil companies proliferated after the expiry of 'Paraffin' Young's exclusive patent (1850-1864) and stiff competition was increased by the scarcity of good quality oil shales which rapidly rose in price. Moreover, imports of North American crude oil, exploited since 1859, pushed British oil price down heavily in 1866. The industry still used horizontal retorts which baked and discoloured the oil, making it unattractive to customers. Retorts were small and furnaces large, wasting fuel, causing rapid deterioration of retorts, and preventing the recovery of ammonium by-products which were increasingly profitable at gasworks."

Unsuccessful vertical retorts had been tried much earlier, for coal gas by William Murdoch, and by Barnet in 1829, and for oil by 'Paraffin' Young in West Lothian in 1854. Interest in them increased in the 1860s, and William Youngs's revolutionary design successfully reduced the charring of oil although, like others, uneven heating caused retort damage. Vapour and tar were recycled to the retort for re-distillation, the first step in the fractional-distillation methods which William was later to develop so extensively and which form the basis for oil refining to this day.

"Brash financed further development in return for half of the profits, and became joint patentee with William in 1866. William soon sold his share of the retort patent for £3,000, but Brash later made more when it was quite widely adopted. William's new retort of 1868 achieved the ideal uniform low red heat which 'Paraffin' Young had advocated 20 years earlier but had been unable to maintain. Some, with an expensive double-casing, were erected at Oakbank in 1871. George Beilby, works chemist at Oakbank from 1869, recalled fierce controversy between proponents of horizontal and vertical retorts. In 1872 William patented a better, single-casing design using 'spent shale' at the bottom as fuel to heat the top. By burning residual carbon this curtailed the public nuisance of smouldering shale-bings. Retort labourers found it too complex and William lost his rewards to a similar but simplified version by N. M. Henderson in 1873, which swept the industry."

George Beilby started scientific work at Oakbank††††††††††††† one of William Youngís patent oil shale retorts

"At Oakbank, Beilby was obliged to operate both types and from 1878 began improving William Young's design. William joined Clippens Oil Company of Paisley in 1874 and ran their experimental plant at Straiton, using low temperatures to recover ammonia.Ē

William Young's Clippens Oil Company offices at Straiton [D Kerr]

James Scott (1810-1884) and Glasgowís Kelvingrove Ėparks, galleries and museums for the people

There was a mature and far-sighted backer behind the Clippens operation.James Scott (1810-1884), descendant of a Muiravonside farming family, had already made a name in calico printing, and as Glasgowís honorary city treasurer and a Clyde Trustee, had had the foresight to give Glasgow its Kelvingrove Park, its Loch Katrine water supply, and river navigation as far as the Broomielaw.He warmed to earnestness and disliked ostentation.With technical answers now beginning to emerge, Scott was prepared to back the research and development he felt the Scottish oil industry required.

William Youngís developments at the Straiton experimental plant encouraged the Clippens Company to increase the scale of its operations in this part of Midlothian. With backing from Scott, a critical friend in young Beilby, with his own father and family on hand for advice, and Alex Bell and his family back from Gibraltar, William could begin to pull things together.

ďLater, with Alex Bell Snr, who became its chief engineer, he designed a large new oilworks for them at New Pentland. In 1877 he patented a process to manufacture petrol, then called gazolene, but in the absence of petrol-engines its main use was to make an illuminating gas called carburetted air, using a small apparatus suitable for private houses."

Clippens Oil Company houses : Thousands of oil barrels await rail dispatch at Straiton in 1895 [British Library]

William lit his Bilston home -Seafield Villa- and adjacent houses in this way. Seeking other avenues for his talents, he promoted an early form of management buy-out by leading technologists in the gas industry. With four partners in 1878 he acquired and revitalised the Falkirk gas company before selling it on, and later did the same transformation at West Kilpatrick, Dunblane, Earlston and Busby. Throughout his career, William encouraged Scottish gasworks managers to use the knowledge gained by shale-oil works, and upheld the aims of technical co-operation and efficiency embodied in the North British Association of Gas Managers which his father John Young had helped to found in 1861.

Many of William's researches took decades to reach fruition. With his brother-in-law George Cusiter at Dalkeith, William tested paraffin-oil anti-freeze for consumers' water-filled gas-meters after the havoc of frosts in 1860/61 and showed these light oils were unsuitable. They absorbed some illuminating constituents, but because these could be released again by volatisation, oil-washing became later valuable for by-products recovery from waste shale-oil gas.

Cotteril continues: "Virtually all coal-gas in Scotland until the 1880s was used for illumination from open-flame burners. Its 'candle power' required a carefully balanced mixture of heat-generating and of soot-generating hydrocarbons. Fine carbon soot became incandescent momentarily before burning away. The development of Welsbach gas-mantles using incandescent minerals permitted the soot chemicals to he phased out, and great improvements made in calorific value for cooking and heating only after 1885. William's first marketable gasworks equipment, for improved 'candle power', was the 'Analyzer' developed in 1874-5 with Henry Aitken of Falkirk, a coal-mine owner and experimentalist at Almond Ironworks. Used at Hamilton and Dalmarnock. it released illuminants by rewarming tar, but was uneconomical. William's water-washer, tried at Lanark in 1880, enabled small gasworks to produce ammoniacal liquor for the boom market in sulphate fertilisers, and was very widely used."

"ln 1874 a full scale experiment to produce coal gas in four large vertical retorts was made at Musselburgh gasworks, managed by family friend Andrew Scott. Non-caking Scottish coal suited vertical retorts with great potential advantages, particularly reduced heat loss and deterioration, and automatic gravity feed instead of slow and skilful manual emptying and recharging. Failure resulted from water-gas dilution, and inadequate heat without C. W. Siemens' revolutionary producer-gas furnaces and heat- regenerators. At Straiton, with Alex Bell Jnr, William developed a radically improved two-phase version of his shale-oil retort with steam injection to recover ammonia. Beilby also had devised improvements and in 1881 they collaborated to make the famous Pentland Retort, with producer and regenerators. This doubled ammonia recovery, improved paraffin yield, resuscitated the industry, and made William wealthy. He retired to Priorsford House, Peebles, as a consultant engineer."

William (far left) with his mother (centre), brothers and their families outside his home at Priorsford. Peebles

Williamís housekeeper ďBlack AgnesĒ stands opposite at far right, his sister Mary and brother John beside her.

 

"For John Fyfe of James Young's Paraffin Co he sought methods of making permanent oil-gas from low value heavy-oils. Helped again by Alex Bell Jnr, then gas manager at Peebles, his very successful 'Peebles Process' of high-candle power enrichment for coal-gas found an eager market since best cannel coal used for enrichment had become very scarce and expensive in 1892. To market it, William formed the Oil Gas Enrichment Co in 1893 [with George Beilby and sixteen other oil and gas engineers]. The process was used at 30 gasworks by 1896, including the main Scottish towns, but William's work on an improved version in 1893 permanently damaged his health."

"Many gasworks had adopted horizontal 'regenerative' retorts with higher temperatures causing unwanted naphthalene deposits. Samuel and Thomas Glover, who had used the Peebles Process at St Helens gasworks, visited William for advice about this and with him visited several oil works. They were so impressed with vertical retort efficiency that they persuaded him to help them design vertical gas retorts. The first Glover-Young retort of 1905 gave high caloric gas, coke and by-products, and became a market leader."

††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††William Young with his mother Christian Clapperton (1815-1902)

In his later years, William was an enthusiast for gas engines. The company who had produced his gas meter designs, Milneís of Milton House Works in the Canongate, helped to produce them. A powerful gas engine was installed in the Catcune flour mills of William's nephew at Fushiebridge and was the mainstay of production there for many years. William Young died in broken health in 1907.William Young left Harehope Farm at Eddleston to Peebles Town Council for use as a sanitarium. George Beilby led the oil and gas world at his funeral, and one obituarist had this to say:

"Though the death of Mr. William Young, of Peebles, yesterday afternoon was not unexpected, the feeling of regret to which the removal from our midst of so distinguished a man gives rise is just as strong as if it had come suddenly upon us. I have known Mr. Young for twenty years -latterly much more intimately than at the first. Like everyone else, I was never in his company but I learned something from him. He was a man for whom the frivolities of life had no attraction. Yet he was one of the happiest of men whenever he found anyone willing to discuss with him some of the problems he had always seething in his mind. It was interesting to hear him relate how he advanced from point to point in the consideration of a particular subject. He was ignorant of finality. When he had reached a certain stage, that was to him firm and sure ground; next time you saw him he was farther on. and saw the thing from a different standpoint. yet maintaining the continuity of his inquiry. The subjects that were next his heart were also on the tip of his tongue. He could speak without cessation upon them, but let him be asked to (say) propose a vote of thanks, and he could not command the language to do it. Probably this quality of his character was accentuated by the state of his health. which shut him out from all sociality, and drove him to his study and his laboratory. For a man who was nearly all his life far from being robust, the amount of work which he accomplished was amazing."

"This country -Scotland in particular- is much the richer in that she produced such a son as William Young. The mind is led to reflect upon what has been Mr. Young's reward for all his toil on behalf of his countrymen. A competency he secured, which is matter for gratification. But honours did not come his way. When we consider that some have risen into celebrity, even earned titles and been admitted into the highest society, whose qualifications have been no more than a versatile imagination, or a capacity for selling groceries, and that here is one who, grappling with the secrets of Nature, has brought millions of pounds sterling into the pockets of the people, yet has been allowed to die without a single title or letter of distinction to his name, and in such obscurity that the leading newspaper in Scotland to-day bestows no more than twenty five lines of print to his memory, we are forced to the conclusion that the system of awarding honours in this world stands very much in need of amending. He received honour, universally, among his scientific brethren; but the world at large, which benefited by his labours, knew him not. Surely, now that he has passed away, his name will not be allowed to be forgotten..."

BP Scottish Oils Refinery at Pumpherston around 1950

Ėa range of products from Scottish shale

[For more about the rise and fall of the shale oil industry in Scotland see Shale Oil Scotland: 2nd edition by David Kerr, 1999]

 

HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

ŹOil and candles from Scotland: wallboards

 

 

Making candles from Scottish shale oils

Wax from Scottish shale.†††††††††††††††† Oil lamp†††††††††††††† .

 

HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

źRichard Brunton: Japan lighthouses and Scottish oil: wallboards

 

RICHARD HENRY BRUNTON

(1841-1901)

Father of lighthouses in Japan.

 

Richard Henry Brunton was born on 26th December 1841, the son of Richard Brunton, a retired 40-year old Royal Naval Officer, a writer of sea stories and Chief Coastguard Officer at Muchalls south of Aberdeen. His mother was Margaret Telford, aged 25, an English lady from the Parish of Crimond.The parents had married on 31st January, 1841, in the Parish of Fetteresso which spectacularly stretched from Stonehaven to include Newtonhill, Elsick, Cookney, Cammachmore (six miles away) - and Muchalls.

 

Where did Richard Henry Brunton carry out his early training? Almost certainly he spent some time in Edinburgh, possibly in association with coastguard and lighthouse services, or with the rail and ferry operations of Thomas Bouchís old firm, the Edinburgh Perth & Dundee Railway Company.Brunton married Elizabeth Charlotte Wauchope, daughter of a clerk in the railway companyís service, in 1865.When, in 1868, Richard Brunton was elected an Associate of the Institute of Civil Engineers, they considered he fulfilled all requirements and recommended him to the Board of Trade: this body in turn, two months later, appointed him Chief Engineer to the Lighthouse Department of the Japanese Government to advise them on lighthouse design and construction and to introduce the lighthouse system into Japan, a system modelled on the Scottish one. To this work Brunton was admirably fitted by ability and temperament.

 

This was the moment when Japan had decided to open its routes to the West to promote foreign trade. In the face of increasing shipwrecks the Japanese Government decided to light up the coastline to protect rapidly expanding foreign shipping from untrustworthy seas "with such lights as may be necessary to render secure the navigation of the approaches" to the treaty ports of Yokohama, Tokyo, Kobe and the newly opened port of Osaka.

 

Brunton at once began a crash course in lighthouse technology in the Edinburgh office of Britainís specialist lighthouse engineers, the Stevensons, and also visited many lighthouses and lightships along the coast of the United Kingdom, obtaining a vast practical knowledge of their construction and working details.

 

Thomas Blake Glover (1838-1911)

Soon after arriving in Japan in 1869, Brunton met another north-east Scotland man, Nagasaki-based Thomas Blake Glover from Fraserburgh.Like Brunton, the son of a navy officer, and three years his senior, Glover was also a key figure in opening Japan to Western ideas and trade, contributing to the industrialisation of the country by introducing the first railway locomotive, the first mint, the first dry dock, modern warships and the first mechanised coal mine.

 

Brunton, meanwhile, set about the construction of a series of 28 lighthouses.

Kashinozaki 1869††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Tsunoshima 1876

Richard Henry Bruntonís first and last lighthouses in Japan

 

 

Yokohama modernised

The Lighthouse Department to which Brunton was appointed was based in Yokohama with workshops and store-rooms put up in a four-acre compound. Here there was an experimental three-floor lighthouse 40' high used to train young Japanese lightkeepers.Yokohama became a centre for modern engineering techniques introduced by Brunton. He made an immeasurable contribution to the development of the city, improving Yokohama's infrastructure and making what is now Japan's second city a modern one for the first time.Bruntonís contributions to the improvement of the city touched on almost every aspect of urban planning and civil engineering: he was responsible for the plan to improve the central Kannai district in the early days of the Meiji period, and the later development of this district still clearly reveals his legacy. The Yokohama museum today shows examples of Bruntonís pipework for the city, and his roadside bust nearby is a recognition of his achievements.

 

Yokohama School for Mathematics

Brunton's surveys for the lighthouse service awakened a Japanese desire for further trigonometrical work, and a vessel was obtained to accompany H.M.S. Sylvia on marine surveying service. Orders were given to bring out theodolites, quadrants and other drawing instruments from Britain. Asked to demonstrate their use, Brunton emphasised the need for fuller training in mathematical skills to make the most of them. By November, 1870, therefore, the Japanese resolved to form a school for mathematics and related subjects, and under Brunton's guidance a large building for this purpose was erected in Yokohama with such educated men as could be found as teachers. Among publications which Brunton was asked to obtain were two copies of the complete Encyclopaedia Britannica.

 

Hebridean Colin Alexander McVean was employed by the Imperial Government to carry out surveys. He had married Mary, daughter of the Penicuik papermaker Alexander Cowan, in 1868.Trained by MacCallum & Dundas civil engineers of Edinburgh, McVean had spent some years on the Admiralty Survey of the Hebrides, giving his name to McVean Rock off Eriskay, and had also gained engineering experience in the Ottoman Empire in the Black Sea port and telegraph hub of Varna.Invited to Japan by the Meiji Government, his surveying expertise was needed to assist in the lighthouse-building activities of Brunton his fellow Scot.

 

Yokohama harbour in 1870

Mary and Harriet, the two daughters of Richard and Elizabeth Brunton, were born in Yokohama. So too were most of the ten children of Colin and Mary McVean.McVean's autobiographical "Little Journal" is now in the care of Rutgers University. On returning to Britain by 1881, McVean was based in Cheshire with an advisory post in the Queen's service: his sons were sent to the school run by Grenfell of Labrador's father in the Wirral.The McVeanís link with Japan continued when their eldest daughter married John Harington Gubbins of the British Legation in Tokyo, and their children in turn were brought up in Japan. One of them, Colin Gubbins, became well known as director of Special Operations in Europe from 1940.

 

The Transactions of the Asiatic Society of Japan, Volume III, Part II, 1875, Yokohama, includes a paper on "Constructive Art in Japan" by Richard Henry Brunton, along with "Notes of a Journey from Awamori to Niigata and of a visit to the Mines of Sada" by John Harrington Gubbins.

 

Later Life

Like McVean, Brunton was back in Britain by 1881. He had returned to become manager of Young's Paraffin Light and Mineral Oil Co. of Bathgate, the leading lamp oil manufacturer at the time and almost certainly the supplier to the Japanese, Scottish and other lighthouse services around the world.

 

James Young, friend and supporter of David Livingstone and founder of Youngís Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co.

Based at Bathgate and Addiewell, the companyís operations were managed by Richard Henry Brunton in James Youngís later years

 

A man who could turn his hand to construction, mechanics and lighting on a grand scale, Brunton later worked as an architect designing theatres and hotels. For the Edinburgh-based Mossís Empire group he designed Dublinís elaborate Empire Palace Theatre of Varieties in 1897 (a reconstruction of Dan Lowrey's Palace of Varieties, since 1977 restored as the Olympia Theatre).

Dublinís elaborate Olympia Theatre designed by Richard Henry Brunton

 

Finally, in London, he was in partnership with a friend in an architectural ornament manufacturing business.

 

Despite his dogged determination and far-sightedness, his energy, conscientiousness, toughness and courage, Richard Henry Brunton amazingly passed into obscurity in the years leading up to death. He died at 45 Courtfield Road, Kensington in April 1901 and an obituary appeared in The Times on 20 May (p 11). He left just £813 in his will. His is the only interment in the grave in West Norwood Cemetery (no. 29641, square 77) where Bruntonís original monument was deliberately demolished along with others in the 1970s.

 

Though remembered in Japan, Brunton has never achieved the recognition he deserves in Britain. Yet here is a great pioneer, a civil engineer who brought lighthouses to Japan.Here is the founding father of one of the world's greatest international trading ports.Here is someone who accelerated Japanís coming of age and drive towards modernisation.Here is a teacher not only of technological skills but also of the attitudes of mind needed to tackle ambitious new tasks.In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of this great manís birth, a new stone was put up in West Norwood Cemetery in 1991.

 

HEAT & LIGHT

SATURDAY 23 FEBRUARY 2008

EXHIBITIONS AT PENICUIK TOWN HALL

ĎHeat: wallboards

 

The ďCPĒ Screen Fire

The Screen Fire is a portable gas fire intended to be simply placed in an existing fireplace.

It is plugged in to the 'gas poker point' always provided beside the hearth of a coal fire to enable it to be easily and quickly lit!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

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