THIS OBJECT IS PART OF THE PROJECT 'A HISTORY OF CORNWALL IN 100 OBJECTS'.
BUDE, THE CASTLE. The achievements of Sir Goldsworthy Gurney were remarkable. He pioneered new forms of heating, ventilation, transport, signalling, fire-fighting, agriculture, music and architecture; he even sought to develop an aircraft engine. His home - Bude Castle - is now the museum.
Born in 1793 at Bude, Gurney studied and practised medicine in Wadebridge, before moving in 1820 to London. Invited to lecture on chemistry at the Surrey Institution, he developed this oxy-hydrogen blowpipe, a device which safely burnt oxygen and hydrogen together, creating a very hot flame.
Gurney used his blowpipe to show the effects of burning and fusing different metals and compounds. He found that one particular compound, calcium oxide (CaO) or lime, gave off a tremendously bright light when placed in the flame - limelight. Limelight was used to illuminate theatres and music halls until the end of the 19th century. Gurney's adaption of this - Bude Light- lit the House of Commons for 60 years.
Photo: Bernie Pettersen