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Davy Humphry

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37597.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:20 am Reply with quote

Sir Humphry Davy, inventory of the miners safety lamp was born 17th December 1778 in Penzance Cornwall.
He was a pioneer in electricity, taking much of his work from Volta and acting as an inspiration to his young protege, Thomas Faraday.

He was most famed for his miners safety lamp that revolutionised life in the mines.
He discovered that the gases in mines would only explode if they were heated to their ignition temperatures, by diffusing the heat using a metal gauze he discovered that perfectly adequate light was possible at a relatively low temperature. The miners could also use the lamp to check for air quality, if there were high levels of fammable gases the lamp shone with a blue hue. If there was carbon dioxide in the pit, the light would extinguish.

The first trial of the Davy lamp was at Hebburn Colliery in January 1816

37598.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:27 am Reply with quote

What's the story on taking caged birds down the mines as gas detectors, Andy? Did that practice stop altogether when the Davy lamp came in?

D is for dicky-bird.

37599.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:34 am Reply with quote

You're very quick Flash, I haven't found that out yet, I've been looking for another thing he invented to do with a safety line for shipping and I'm struggling with that at the minute so I'll check it out shortly.

There is of course a chance for a controversial GI here.

Question: Who inveted the miners safety lamp?"
Forfeit: Humphry Davy
Real answer: George Stephenson His Geordie Lamp was a year before Davy's but it was enclosed in glass and as such prone to breaking so just wasn't very good

37603.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:47 am Reply with quote

George 'Rocket' Stephenson?

37606.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 5:58 am Reply with quote

A quick call to the coal authority tells me that we stopped taking canaries and mice down mines very recently possibley in 1986.

The suggested I speak to the mining authority safety department and they will be able to help. I'll give them a go shortly.

Last edited by laidbacklazyman on Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:26 am; edited 1 time in total

37608.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:01 am Reply with quote

Yep the very same George Stephenson.

This is getting very interesting now

37609.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 6:22 am Reply with quote

Re Canaries. It wasn't necessarily a canary that was used, the regulations stated that " A small bird should be kept for the purposes of gas detection in mines"

Although with the development of electronic testing equipment the birds have been redundant, legislation has meant that birds need to be kept on site much in the same way that London Hackney cabs are required to carry a bale of hay. The 1995 escape and rescue from mines regulations came into effect on 28th Dec 1995, this meant they were no longer required

src the mining authority & the national mines rescue service

37612.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:03 am Reply with quote

That's great - but what's this thing you casually toss into the proceedings about a bale of hay?

Are we saying that regulations theoretically required a bird until 1995, and that this was in fact followed in practice?

37616.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:16 am Reply with quote

Apparently an unconfirmed requirement of Hackney carraige drivers was they had a bale of hay, a bucket and a shovel in the boot of the taxi, this was to feed the horse and clear up behind it. As I say it's completely unconfirmed and as a driver of a London bus I am forbidden to communicate with a London Taxi driver in any wasy other than hand signals so I cant verify that bit.

The person I spoke to at the mines rescue service confirmed that the birds were required on site as part of the regulations dating back pre Davy lamp and the wording wasnt until 1995 when the words "small bird" were removed

37617.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:17 am Reply with quote

He added the birds haven't been used in the last twenty years or so but they were required to be kept

37619.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:33 am Reply with quote

It would be interesting to hear from a taxi driver, as I've certainly never seen a bale of hay in a taxi even when I quite needed one. Perhaps he could give us his views on capital punishment at the same time.

37624.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 7:51 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Perhaps he could give us his views on capital punishment at the same time.

He'd probably do that anyway

37633.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 8:34 am Reply with quote

Dragging the thread back on topic, the only other thing I know about Humphrey Davy is that he was apparently quite a pin-up in his day. His lectures at the Royal Society were often attended by large groups of young women who would gather to see this good-looking young scientist perform various chemical experiments.

This was, obviously, in the days before Hello magazine.

I find the concept of "chemistry groupies" rather a strange one.

37638.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:14 am Reply with quote

In his youth:

There should be a picture there, though I'm not sure it's working.

The following poem was apparently the first ever Clerihew:

Sir Humphry Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.

37639.  Thu Dec 08, 2005 9:18 am Reply with quote

Davy was addicted to laughing gas.


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