8.6.1724 Austhorpe/UK - 28.10.1792 Austhorpe/UK
John Smeaton was taken into apprenticeship by a designer of scientific instruments in London. From 1752, Smeaton submitted three papers to the Royal Society and there discussed his developments of the nautical compass, a pneumatic pump and the construction of a novel pulley. He concluded his education with a long trip to the Netherlands, where he became aware of the impressive canals for inland navigation. Upon returning to England, Smeaton was asked to design the lighthouse of Eddystone located in the Canal of Manica which is known for its storms. The tower made from heavy stones resisted all storms and remained in use until 1877. The 1759 paper on the motive power of water and wind for machinery was awarded the Copley Medal by the Royal Society.
Smeaton's advice was frequently sought in regard to important engineering projects, including the constructions of the Forth and Clyde Canal, the drainage of the Fens, the design of harbors and the erection of bridges. Many of the schemes he drew up were not carried out on account of the general lack of capital. He was also employed in designing numerous waterwheels, pumps and other mechanical appliances and developed techniques to measure the efficiency of rotary machines. His research into waterwheels made it clear that an overshot arrangement is more efficient than an undershot wheel. His pupils included canal engineers James Brindley (1716-1772) and William Jessop (1745-1814) and the engineer Benjamin Latrobe. Smeaton founded the Society of Civil Engineers in 1771; after his death, the Society was renamed the Smeatonian Society and was a forerunner of the present Institution of Civil Engineers established in 1818.
Anonymous (1937). John Smeaton. Trans. Newcomen Society 17. Frontispiece. P
Burton, A. (1981). John Smeaton. The canal builders: 87. David&Charles: London. P
Derry, T.K. (1975). Smeaton, John. Scienziati e tecnologi 3: 119-121. Mondadori: Milano. P
Smeaton, J. (1754). An account of some experiments upon a machine for measuring the way of a ship at sea. Phil. Trans. 48: 532-546.
Smeaton, J. (1755). John Smeaton's diary of his journey to the Low Countries, 1755. Courier: Leamington Spa.
Smeaton, J. (1759). An experimental inquiry concerning the natural powers of water and wind to turn mills and other machines depending on circular motion. Phil. Trans. 51: 100-174.
Smeaton, J. (1765). Plan of Bristol Key, with a projection of the sluices and canal for floating the shipping and Severn trows. London.

Hydraulicians in Europe 1800-2000 . 2013.

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