William Reid Clanny
In 1813 he invented the Clanny safety lamp. His idea was to force air in and out of the lamp with bellows, through water, the great antagonist of fire. Clanny wrote a paper formally describing his lamp, which was delivered to the Royal Society, in May 1813, by William Allen and which was subsequently published with an illustration. Early machines were quite cumbersome. But Clanny later succeeded in reducing the weight of the lamp to 34 ounces.
By 1816, when Clanny published Practical observations on safety lamps for coal mines, he had experimented in person with a safety lamp at the Mill Pit in Herrington near Sunderland, where there had been a serious explosive accident, with the loss of 24 lives, on 10 October 1812. Clanny won medals in 1816–17 for his invention from the Royal Society of Arts.
His lamp and other improvements were, after some initial disputes, recognized for their true worth by his contemporaries, including northern coal owners who presented him with a piece of silverware. George Stephenson acknowledged a debt to Clanny's researches and Humphry Davy invented his version of a lamp very soon after a visit to Sunderland in August 1815.
- Knight, David (1992) Humphry Davy: Science and Power, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, (Chapter 8: The Safety Lamp), ISBN 0-631-16816-8
- "Holmes Safety Association Bulletin". "The first colliery in which a safety lamp was used was the Herrington Mill Pit, now the property of the Earl of Durham."
- "Mill Pit, Herrington" at Durham Mining Museum website, dmm.org.uk