Clanny Type Miner's Safety Lamp

Contributed by Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens

Clanny Type Miner's Safety Lamp

Finding a means of lighting coal mines was a problem in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. The mines were prone to penetration by methane gas (also known as damp) which caused many fatal explosions. One such accident was the Felling Pit disaster of 25 May 1812 when 92 people died. This stimulated research by prominent engineers such as George Stephenson and by men of science such as Sir Humphery Davy and Dr William Reid Clanny. Dr Clanny had studied medicine at Edinburgh, served as a surgeon in the Royal Navy serving with Nelson at the Battle of Copenhagen in 1801 before moving to Sunderland in 1805 living there for 45 years. Whilst in Sunderland he was involved in dealing with the UK's first cholera epidemic that broke out in 1831. He is credited by some as the inventor of the miners' safety lamp (this lamp is of his design) and he was a founder member of the Society for the Prevention of Accidents in Coal Mines.

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