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From engineer to scientist: reinventing invention in the Watt and Faraday centenaries, 1919–31

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 July 2007

Department of Historical Studies, University of Bristol, 13 Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1TB, UK. Email:
The Business School, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. Email:


While important research on the history of scientific commemorations has been published in recent years, relatively little attention has been paid to the commemoration of invention and inventors. A comparison of the centenaries of James Watt's death in 1919 and of Michael Faraday's discovery of electromagnetic induction in 1931 reveals how the image of the inventor was being refashioned in the early twentieth century. Although shortly after his death Watt had been acclaimed by the Royal Society as a great ‘natural philosopher’, a century later his reputation had been appropriated by the engineering professions and trades. As the title of Dickinson's 1935 biography described him, he was seen primarily as a ‘craftsman and engineer’, not a scientist. With poor publicity, which failed in particular to make any connection between steam power and electricity, the 1919 centenary excited little interest outside engineering circles. Meanwhile, professional scientists, who were seeking financial recognition for the importance of their research in ‘pure’ science, had found a new icon in Michael Faraday. They seized the occasion of the 1931 centenary to reinforce the link between Faraday's scientific research and the wonders of modern electrical technology and thereby to elevate the role of ‘blue-sky’ research over its ‘mere’ application.

Research Article
Copyright © British Society for the History of Science 2007

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P. Nora, Realms of Memory, English edn (ed. L. D. Kritzman; tr. A. Goldhammer), 3 vols., New York and Chichester, c.1996–8; Quinault, R., ‘The cult of the centenary, c.1784–1914’, Historical Research (1998), 71, 303–23CrossRefGoogle Scholar; E. Hobsbawm, ‘Mass-producing traditions: Europe, 1870–1914’, in The Invention of Tradition (ed. E. Hobsbawm and T. Ranger), Cambridge, 1983, 263–307.

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The Engineer, 15 April 1881, 278; 10 June 1881, 430; 17 June 1881, 449; The Times, 10 June 1881, 7e–f; W. Duncan (ed.), The Stephenson Centenary 1881, London and Newcastle upon Tyne, 1881, repr. 1975.

The Times, 25 July 1912, 8f; 31 August 1912, 5c–e; 2 September 1912, 5e.

The Watt Centenary Committee MSS, which are presently uncatalogued, were discovered in the accountant's office in Birmingham that had administered the centenary fund and were handed to the University of Aston. Since the university at that time had no policy for archive management in its library, the MSS were given for safe-keeping to one of the authors. It is our intention to offer them now to Birmingham City Archives.

C. MacLeod, ‘James Watt, heroic invention, and the idea of the industrial revolution’, in Technological Revolutions in Europe: Historical Perspectives (ed. M. Berg and K. Bruland), Cheltenham and Northampton, MA, 1998, 96–116; B. Marsden, Watt's Perfect Engine: Steam and the Age of Invention, Cambridge, 2002, 183–201. For Watt's popular reputation, as told through the legend of the kettle, see Robinson, E., ‘James Watt and the tea kettle: a myth justified’, History Today (April 1956), 261–5Google Scholar; and Miller, D. P., ‘True myths: James Watt's kettle, his condenser, and his chemistry’, History of Science (2004), 43, 333–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

The sum of £250,000 was mentioned in a report probably based on a press release from the Watt centenary committee (it may have been a misprint for £150,000): The Times, 18 August 1919, 15e.

Minutes of the Meeting of the University Court, 16 December 1920, 11 March 1921, Glasgow University Archives (subsequently GUA).

10  Glasgow's competition must have made Birmingham's task harder (and perhaps vice versa): A. E. Tucker, Birmingham, to William Mills, 9 May 1919; [?] to John Henry Lloyd, 20 June 1919; Stewarts & Lloyds Ltd to William Mills, 3 November 1919, Watt Centenary MSS. It was perhaps to reduce such direct competition that Professor H. S. Hele-Shaw of Glasgow urged that Birmingham's should be ‘a Chair of Invention’: The Times, 17 September 1919, 7a.

11  Research that is particularly helpful in understanding the field of ‘discovery literature’ includes Abir-Am, P. G., ‘Essay review: how scientists view their heroes: some remarks on the mechanism of myth construction’, Journal of the History of Biology (1982), 15, 281315CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed; B. Barnes, T. S. Kuhn and Social Science, London, 1982; A. Brannigan, The Social Basis of Scientific Discoveries, Cambridge, 1981; Bud, R., ‘Penicillin and the new Elizabethans’, BJHS (1998), 31, 305–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar; D. P. Miller, Discovering Water: James Watt, Henry Cavendish and the nineteenth-century ‘Water Controversy’, Aldershot, 2004, especially 11–26; T. Nickles, ‘Discovery’, in Companion to the History of Modern Science (ed. R. Olby et al.), London, 1990; Schaffer, S., ‘Scientific discoveries and the end of natural philosophy’, Social Studies of Science (1986), 16, 387420CrossRefGoogle Scholar; idem, ‘Making up discovery’, in Dimensions of Creativity (ed. M. Boden), Cambridge, MA. and London, 1994, 13–51.

12  To some extent, in 1909, the University of Cambridge anticipated this shift in both goals and programme, when it hosted an international three-day commemoration of the centenary of the birth of Charles Darwin and the fiftieth anniversary of his publication of The Origin of Species, attended by three hundred scientists: Richmond, M. L., ‘The 1909 Darwin celebration: re-examining evolution in the light of Mendel, mutation, and meiosis’, Isis (2006), 97, 447–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar. We are grateful to Professor Richmond for allowing us to read a draft of her article prior to its publication.

13  G. Cantor, ‘The scientist as hero: public images of Michael Faraday’, in Telling Lives in Science: Essays on Scientific Biography (ed. M. Shortland and R. Yeo), Cambridge, 1996, 171–93. Cantor refers (189–90) to the event as ‘well-orchestrated … by the electrical industry’, and as fundamental in making ‘utility’ the touchstone of the twentieth century's treatment of Faraday.

14  See especially the insightful introduction by P. G. Abir-Am to ‘Commemorative practices in science’ (ed. P. G. Abir-Am and C. A. Elliot), Osiris (2000), 14, Chicago, 1–35; A. J. Friedman and C. C. Donley, Einstein as Myth and Muse, Cambridge, 1985; P. Fara, Newton: The Making of a Genius, London, 2002; Browne, J., ‘Presidential address: commemorating Darwin’, BJHS (2005), 38, 251–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

15  MacLeod, op. cit. (7), 101–2. For similar descriptions of Watt as a ‘philosopher’ by fellow Scots see The Scotsman, 24 July 1824; Glasgow Mechanics' Magazine, 27 November 1824, 2, 298–9, 301, 303. See also W. J. M. Rankine, A Manual of the Steam Engine and Other Prime Movers, London and Glasgow, 1859, pp. xx, xxii; Miller, op. cit. (11), 153–7, 274–5.

16  For contests over Watt's posthumous reputation as a ‘philosopher’ see Miller, op. cit. (11), passim; Miller, D. P., ‘“Puffing Jamie”: the commercial and ideological importance of being a “philosopher” in the case of the reputation of James Watt (1736–1819)’, History of Science (2000), 38, 124CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17  For earlier expressions of this view see Miller, op. cit. (11), 202–5, 212–13; J. Morrell and A. Thackray, Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Oxford, 1981, 423–4; Donnelly, J., ‘Industrial recruitment of chemistry students from English universities: a revaluation of its early importance’, BJHS (1991), 24, 320, 8CrossRefGoogle Scholar; R. Yeo, Defining Science: William Whewell, Natural Knowledge and Public Debate in Early Victorian Britain, Cambridge, 1993, 224–30.

18  Morrell and Thackray, op. cit. (17), 256–66.

19  Morrell and Thackray, op. cit. (17), 266.

20  MacLeod, R. M., ‘The support of Victorian science: the endowment of research movement in Great Britain, 1868–1900’, Minerva (1971), 9, 196230CrossRefGoogle Scholar; G. Gooday, ‘Lies, damned lies and declinism: Lyon Playfair, the Paris 1867 Exhibition, and the contested rhetorics of scientific education and industrial performance’, in The Golden Age: Essays in British Social and Economic History, 1850–1870 (ed. I. Inkster, C. Griffin, J. Hill and J. Rowbotham), Aldershot, 2000, 105–20.

21  Sir John Lubbock, ‘Presidential address’, BAAS, Report for 1881, York (1882), 1–51, 50–1; emphasis added. See also below. For Lubbock's views on science as the distinctive feature of ‘civilized man’ see McGee, D., ‘Making up mind: the early sociology of invention’, Technology and Culture (1995), 36, 773801, 791–2CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

22  Sir Lyon Playfair, ‘Presidential address’, BAAS, Report for 1885, Aberdeen (1886), 3–29, 11. Playfair had long argued that it was ‘abstract and not practical science that is the life and soul of industry’: L. Playfair, ‘The chemical principles involved in the manufactures of the Exhibition’, in Lectures on the Results of the Great Exhibition of 1851, 2 vols., London, 1852, i, 160–208, 190; G. J. N. Gooday, ‘Playfair, Lyon, first Baron Playfair (1818–1898)’, in ODNB.

23  O. Lodge, ‘Address to Section A’, BAAS, 1891, Cardiff (1892), 547–57, 550–1. Lodge, who presided over Section A that year, served as BAAS president in 1913: P. Rowlands, ‘Lodge, Sir Oliver Joseph (1851–1940)’, in ODNB.

24  For Faraday's rejection of the profit motive see I. R. Morus, Michael Faraday and the Electrical Century, Cambridge, 2004, 158–9, 219. Earlier constructions by chemists and others of Henry Cavendish as a ‘pure scientist’ lacked a similar spectacular array of unintended technological consequences with which to make this case: Miller, op. cit. (11), 203–4.

25  The designations ‘scientist’ and ‘physicist’, which came into use during the second half of the nineteenth century, were still disparaged by leading members of the scientific profession in the 1890s: Ross, S., ‘Scientist: the story of a word’, Annals of Science (1962), 18, 6585, 72–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

26  J. Tann, ‘Introduction to the second edition’, in H. W. Dickinson and R. Jenkins, James Watt and the Steam Engine, Ashbourne, 1981, p. xvii; C. Matschoss, Die Entwicklung der Dampfmaschine, Berlin, 1908.

27  H. M. Ross, rev. A. McConnell, ‘Mills, Sir William (1856–1932)’, in ODNB.

28  ‘The James Watt Centenary’, handbill, Watt Centenary MSS, reprinted from The Engineer, 16 May 1919.

29  The attendance figure is derived from William Mills to Lord Weir, 25 May 1919, Watt Centenary MSS. Perhaps out of consideration for Birmingham sensitivities, Lodge explicitly exempted Watt from his general disdain for inventors when, in 1909, he referred to him as not only ‘one of the greatest scientific men of the world’ but also ‘more than inventor … a creator’: Boulton and Watt MSS, Timmins 2, ff. 59–60, Birmingham City Archives.

30  ‘Agenda’, typescript copy, 8 May 1919, Watt Centenary MSS.

31  ‘James Watt Centenary 1919, Programme’, 2–3, Watt Centenary MSS. George Tangye, the last tenant of Heathfield Hall, took great pride in showing off the workshop to selected visitors: Lawrence, A., ‘Romance in hard metal: an interview with Mr. George Tangye’, Cornish Magazine (1898), 1, 345–9Google Scholar. Samuel Smiles described his visit there in reverential tones: S. Smiles, Lives of Boulton and Watt, London, 1865, 512–14. Smiles was accompanied by another subsequent biographer: T. E. Pemberton, James Watt of Soho and Heathfield: Annals of Industry and Genius, Birmingham, 1905, 62–5.

32  ‘James Watt … Centenary Commemoration’ (Preliminary announcement), Watt Centenary MSS.

33  James Watt Centenary Commemoration … 1919. Souvenir Guide Book of Special Exhibit in the Art Gallery, Birmingham, Watt Centenary MSS. The Science Museum, in London, also held a major exhibition of memorabilia and steam engines to celebrate Watt's centenary, which was intended to complement the exhibition in Birmingham: Science Museum, Catalogue of Watt Centenary Exhibition, London, 1919, 3–4. It marked the bicentenary of his birth in 1936 in similar fashion.

34  J. F. Ritchie to R. M. Asquith Ellis, 28 March 1922, Watt Centenary MSS.

35  It compares well, for example, with the £12,000 raised by the campaign instigated in London by the Royal Society and the Royal College of Surgeons to commemorate Joseph Lister, in the twelve years after his death in 1912: The Times, 14 March 1924, 15d.

36  ‘James Watt International Memorial Fund: Subscription List (to 12th January 1921)’, Watt Centenary MSS.

37  G. M. Muntz to [?], August 1919; R. M. Asquith Ellis to Professor G. Charnock, 26 October 1922, Watt Centenary MSS.

38  V. I. Shevlin, assistant secretary to H. Ford, Dearborn, to [?], 6 May 1920, Watt Centenary MSS.

39  A. P. Woolrich, ‘Smith, Edgar Charles (1872–1955)’, in ODNB.

40  R. M. Asquith Ellis to Engineer Commander E. C. Smith, 24 August 1919; idem to Engineer Vice-Admiral Sir W. H. Goodwin KCB, 21 August 1919, Watt Centenary MSS. The Royal Naval Reserve Officers ‘attached [to] Grimsby Naval Base and 7th F. S. F. Flotilla’ contributed a further £4 15s., and several engineering officers in the Royal Navy also made individual donations.

41  ‘James Watt Centenary 1919, Programme’, Watt Centenary MSS. For a detailed description of a comparable procession see Duncan, op. cit. (4), 11–19, 38–50.

42  A. L. Bowley, Prices and Wages in the United Kingdom, 1914–1920, Oxford, 1921, cited in J. M. Winter, Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History, Cambridge, 1995, 233–4. See also C. H. Feinstein, ‘Changes in nominal wages, the cost of living and real wages in the United Kingdom over the two centuries, 1780–1990’, in Labour's Reward: Real Wages and Economic Change in 19th- and 20th-Century Europe (ed. P. Scholliers and V. Zamagni), Aldershot, 1995, 3–36.

43  C. MacLeod, Heroes of Invention: Technology, Liberalism and British Identity, 1750–1914 (Cambridge, 2007, forthcoming), Chapter 10.

44  The Times, 5 October 1868, 7b; The Builder, 17 October 1868, 26, 757; G. Noszlopy, Public Sculpture of Birmingham (ed. Jeremy Beach), Liverpool, 1998, 20.

45  MacLeod, op. cit. (7), 106; J. Cleland, Historical Account of the Steam Engine, and Its Application in Propelling Vessels, with an Account of the Proceedings at London, Glasgow, and Greenock for Erecting Monuments to Mr Watt, Glasgow, 1825, 34–5; Glasgow Mechanics’ Magazine, 2 April 1825, 3, 3c. Mackenzie gives £3,454 as the final total: R. Mackenzie, Public Sculpture of Glasgow, Liverpool, 2002, 122–4.

46  Mackenzie, op. cit. (45), 107–8, 305–7, 331–6, 393–4, 417–19; also 270–1, 282–3. The beam engine was illustrated in Glasgow of Today (Industries of Glasgow), London, 1888; available at

47  The Scotsman, 20 January 1893, 5; The Times, 23 January 1895, 4f. The IESS, which was founded in 1857 (as the Institution of Engineers in Scotland), had commemorated its incorporation in 1871 by issuing a silver medal which depicts a bust of Watt: National Museums of Scotland (H.1958.1828), available at

48  C. Smith, ‘“Nowhere but in a great town”: William Thomson's spiral of classroom credibility’, in Making Space for Science: Territorial Themes in the Shaping of Knowledge (ed. C. Smith and J. Agar), Basingstoke, 1998, 118–46, 139–42. See also B. Marsden, ‘“A most important trespass”: Lewis Gordon and the Glasgow Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics, 1840–55’, in ibid., 87–117, 98.

49  An illustration of the ticket is available at; Rt. Hon. Lord Kelvin GCVO, James Watt: An Oration Delivered at the University of Glasgow on the Commemoration of its Ninth Jubilee, Glasgow, 1901; C. Smith, ‘Thomson, William, Baron Kelvin (1824–1907)’, in ODNB. See also W. Jacks, James Watt, Glasgow, 1901.

50  Kelvin, op. cit. (49) 20–2; Lewis Gordon was appointed Glasgow's first regius professor of civil engineering and mechanics in 1840, while Glasgow's claim to be first in the UK is contested, not least by London and Durham universities: Marsden, op. cit. (48), 93–116.

51  The Times, 6 October 1826, 3c. It would also house properly the books that James Watt had donated to the town in 1816 to form the kernel of a scientific library: Kelvin, op. cit. (49), 20; Miller, op. cit. (11), 102–3; C. Rogers, Monuments and Monumental Inscriptions in Scotland, 2 vols., London, 1871, i, 409.

52  G. Williamson, Memorials of the Lineage, Early Life, Education, and Development of the Genius of James Watt, Glasgow: the Watt Club, 1856, pp. i–iv.

53  Williamson, op. cit. (52), p. ix.

54  Williamson, op. cit. (52), 253. This seems to have been scaled down to ‘a cairn composed of stones from different parts of the world’: Rogers, op. cit. (51), i, 413.

55  V. C. Meyer, James Watt and the Watt Institution: Papers of the Greenock Philosophical Society, 1929, Greenock, 1930, 18–20.

56  Meyer, op. cit. (55), 21–2. G. Tweedale, ‘Carnegie, Andrew (1835–1919)’, in ODNB; A. Carnegie, James Watt, Edinburgh and London, [1905]. The ‘James Watt Dock’ had been inaugurated in 1886: [Anon.], The Story of Watt and Stephenson, Illustrated, London and Edinburgh [1892], 61.

57  MacLeod, op. cit. (7), 96–115; C. Kidd, Subverting Scotland's Past: Scottish Whig Historians and the Creation of an Anglo-British Identity, 1689–c.1830, Cambridge, 1993, 1–6, 97–9, 250–1, 268–74; C. Harvie, Scotland and Nationalism: Scottish Society and Politics, 1707–1977, London, 1977, 141–2; R. J. Finlay, Independent and Free: Scottish Politics and the Origins of the Scottish Nationalist Party, 1918–1945, Edinburgh, 1994, 1–9.

58  This description is from William Anderson (ed.), The Scottish Nation, 9 vols., Edinburgh, 1882, ix, 620, quoted in Miller, op. cit. (11), 274. For Watt's contested reputation in Scotland and other constituencies in the later nineteenth century and the early twentieth see Miller, op. cit. (11), 247–76.

59  H. W. Dickinson, James Watt, Craftsman and Engineer, Cambridge, 1935. Watt's scientific credentials began to be restored with the publication of Partners in Science: Letters of James Watt and Joseph Black (ed. E. Robinson and D. McKie), London, 1970. See also A. E. Musson and E. Robinson, Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester, 1969; D. S. L. Cardwell, From Watt to Clausius: The Rise of Thermodynamics in the Early Industrial Age, London, 1971; J. Tann, ‘Watt, James (1736–1819), engineer and scientist’, in ODNB. The most recent titles are neutral: B. Marsden, Watt's Perfect Engine: Steam and the Age of Invention, Cambridge, 2002; R. L. Hills, James Watt. Vol. 1: His Time in Scotland, 1736–1774, Ashbourne, 2002; idem, James Watt. Vol. 2: His Time in England, 1774–1819, Ashbourne, 2005.

60  Miller, op. cit. (11), passim.

61  M. Agulhon, ‘Politics, images, and symbols in post-revolutionary France’, in Rites of Power: Symbolism, Ritual, and Politics since the Middle Ages (ed. S. Wilentz), Philadelphia, 1985, 195–7; A. King, Memorials of the Great War in Britain: The Symbolism and Politics of Remembrance, Oxford, 1998; Winter, op. cit. (42).

62  D. Baines, ‘The onset of depression’, in Twentieth-Century Britain (ed. P. Johnson), London and New York, 1994, 186–202, 172–3.

63  William Mills to John W. Hall, February 1921; William Mills to [?] [1921], Watt Centenary MSS. See also Executive Council Minute Book, 7 June 1920, 5 July 1920, Watt Centenary Committee MSS; John W. Watson to R. M. Asquith Ellis, 16 August 1921, Watt Centenary Committee MSS.

64  [R. M. Asquith Ellis] to Brazenose Envelope Company, 23 June 1919; idem to idem, 7 June 1919; J. F. Chambers to D. Gestetner's Rotary, London, 9 February 1920, Watt Centenary MSS.

65  The epigram ‘Lest we forget’, which is now so closely identified with the Great War, was coined by Rudyard Kipling in his poem ‘Recessional’, which he wrote for Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897. Our thanks to Julia Sheppard for this reference. For Lord Kitchener's infamous recruitment poster and its antecedents see Ginzburg, C., ‘“Your country needs you”: a case study in political iconography’, History Workshop Journal (2001), 52, 122CrossRefGoogle Scholar. Our thanks to James Thompson for this reference.

66  Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are only two female names among the 278 listed subscribers, one of them Miss Gertrude Boulton's; by contrast, Lord Lister's memorial drew at least twenty women, excluding family members.

67  ‘James Watt Centenary 1919, Programme’, Watt Centenary MSS.

68  ‘What Watt did for you!’, leaflet (Watt Memorial Committee [1919]). The ‘coal question’ was raised by W. S. Jevons, The Coal Question: An Inquiry Concerning the Progress of the Nation, and the Probable Exhaustion of our Coal-Mines, London, 1865.

69  Minutes of the Meeting of the University Court, 16 December 1920, GUA. The other chair was in the theory and practice of heat engines, a subject that had been taught in Glasgow since the mid-1850s.

70  R. M. Asquith Ellis to William Mills, 28 March 1919, Watt Centenary MSS.

71  Lord Weir to William Mills, 7 May 1919, Watt Centenary MSS; R. Davenport-Hines, ‘Weir, William Douglas, 1st Viscount Weir (1877–1959)’, in ODNB.

72  Professor G. F. Charnock to J. F. Chambers, 2 April 1921; idem to idem, 4 April 1921, Watt Centenary MSS.

73  J. F. Chambers to William Mills, 12 October 1920; J. M. Gibson-Watt to the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, 8 October 1920, Watt Centenary MSS.

74  H. T. Chapman, acting secretary of Institution of Mechanical Engineers, to [secretary of Birmingham Centenary Committee], 15 October 1920; J. F. Chambers to Professor G. F. Charnock, 30 October 1922, Watt Centenary MSS.

75  M. Taylor, ‘Introduction’, in The Victorians since 1901: Histories, Representations and Revisions (ed. M. Taylor and M. Wolff), Manchester and New York, 2004, 3–5.

76  H. W. Dickinson to J. W. Hall, 22 November 1923; J. M. Gibson-Watt to Sir William Mills, 26 November 1923; Sir William Mills to J. M. Gibson-Watt, 27 November 1923, Watt Centenary MSS.

77  R. M. Asquith-Ellis to Professor Charnock, 26 October 1922; vice chancellor, University of Birmingham, to R. M. Asquith Ellis, 9 February 1923; Executive Council Minute Book, 9 February 1920, 13 September 1920, 22 February 1921, Watt Centenary MSS. Eventually, in the mid-twentieth century, the remainder was given to the University of Aston in Birmingham to fund a postgraduate travelling fellowship and, later, research scholarships in any area related to the interests of James Watt.

78  The Times, 21 September 1931, 13e.

79  Illustrated London News, 24 September 1859. The Times, 21 September 1931, 9a; ibid., ‘Supplement: Faraday Number’, pp. i, v.

80  The Times, 21 September 1931, ‘Supplement: Faraday Number’, p. xxi.

81  L. Hannah, Electricity before Nationalisation: A Study of the Development of the Electricity Supply Industry in Britain to 1948, London and Basingstoke, 1979, 150–4. The eponymous chair of the committee was the same Viscount Weir who had queried Birmingham's plans in 1919.

82  Hannah, op. cit. (81), 115–18.

83  For photographs of the floodlighting of London's buildings see Illustrated London News, 5 September 1931, 34–7; 19 September 1931, 422–3.

84  The Times, 21 September 1931, 21d; ibid., ‘Supplement: Faraday Number’, p. vi f. The speeches at an event at the Royal Institution, including one by Macdonald, were printed in The Times, 22 September 1931, 14b–c.

85  Sir Richard Gregory, ‘Industry built on science’, The Times, 21 September 1931, ‘Supplement: Faraday Number’, p. xiii e. See also the explanation of Faraday's discovery and its importance by Sir William Bragge, in Illustrated London News, 19 September 1931, 444.

86  The Times, 1 October 1931, 14b. I. Falconer, ‘Thomson, Sir Joseph John (1856–1940)’, in ODNB. While the engineering professions had been busy glazing the north aisle of the abbey with commemorative windows since the 1860s, the scientists were colonizing its walls and floor with plaques; recent recipients of this honour included Joseph Hooker (1911), John Couch Adams (1892) and Joseph Prescott Joule (1890): A. R. Hall, The Abbey Scientists, London, 1966.

87  The Times, 1 October 1931, 14b. Since the late nineteenth century Faraday had proved posthumously invaluable to the Institution of Electrical Engineers, as a safely dead figurehead acceptable to both the electrical scientists and the telegraph engineers, who tended to disparage one another's achievements: Gooday, G., ‘Faraday reinvented: moral imagery and institutional icons in Victorian electrical engineering’, History of Technology (1993), 15, 190205Google Scholar.

88  The Times, 8 June 1891, 9b.

89  Punch, 27 June 1891; the cartoon is reproduced and described in Gooday, op. cit. (87), 193–4.

90  Sir Norman Lockyer, ‘The influence of brain-power on history’, Nature, 10 September 1903, 445. Similarly, Ayrton's inaugural lecture as the University of London's first professor of technical physics, in 1879, quoted in Gooday, op. cit. (87), 196.

91  Morus, op. cit. (24), 196–200, 216–19.

92  Schaffer, ‘Making up discovery’, op. cit. (11), 40–4.

93  Cantor, op. cit. (13), 173–7; original emphasis. J. Tyndall, Faraday as a Discoverer, London, 1868; by 1894 Tyndall's biography had reached its fifth edition, and he was regularly citing Faraday as his exemplary ‘pure scientist’ in both meanings of the term. See also T. F. Gieryn, Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line, Chicago and London, 1999, 51–64.

94  The Times, 22 June 1869, 5e; also ibid., 27 January 1868, 12b; ibid., 7 June 1869, 6b; Hansard, 6 July 1869, cols. 1173–4.

95  Reported in The Times, 12 February 1870, 9f.

96  Coryton, J., ‘The policy of granting letters patent for invention, with observations on the working of the English law’, Sessional Proceedings of the National Association for the Promotion of Social Science (1873–4), 7, 172Google Scholar.

97  Coryton, op. cit. (96), 183. For the ideas about invention that underpinned the two sides in the debate over the patent system see C. MacLeod, ‘Concepts of invention and the patent controversy in Victorian Britain’, in Technological Change: Methods and Themes in the History of Technology (ed. R. Fox), Amsterdam, 1996, 137–54. For patenting more generally in this period see I. Inkster, ‘Machinofacture and technical change: the patent evidence’, in The Golden Age: Essays in British Social and Economic History, 1850–1870 (ed. I. Inkster, C. Griffin, J. Hill and J. Rowbotham), Aldershot, 2000, 121–39.

98  The Times, 19 March 1880, 9d. See also The Times, 23 December 1896, 7c–d; W. R. Grove, in Report from the Select Committee on Letters Patent, BPP, 1871, X, 619.

99  E.g. The Times, 13 August 1884, 2d; The British Workman (1897), quoted in P. Broks, Media Science before the Great War, Basingstoke, 1996, 105. See also Kline, R., ‘Construing “technology” as “applied science”: public rhetoric of scientists and engineers in the US, 1880–1945’, Isis (1995), 86, 194221Google Scholar. That such a shift was by no means complete is indicated by a public lecture on Edison's inventions given by Professor Barrett in 1879. Comparing Edison with Faraday, Barrett said that both types of men were necessary, one for ‘material progress’, the other for ‘intellectual progress’, and identified ‘profound technical knowledge’ (not science) as fundamental to Edison's inventiveness. Interestingly, it was against the charge of materialism, in contrast with the notorious unworldliness of Faraday, that Barrett felt called on to defend ‘the inventor’: The Times, 2 January 1879, 11a. For Barrett see A. Gauld, ‘Barrett, Sir William Fletcher (1844–1925)’, in ODNB.

100  The Times, 13 August 1884, 2d.

101  Benjamin Kidd, Social Evolution, London, 1894, 6. For Kidd see D. P. Crook, Benjamin Kidd: Portrait of a Social Darwinist, Cambridge, 1984.

102  Committee … on … Natural Science in the Educational System of Great Britain, BPP, 1918, IX, 498. See also, for example, ibid., 476; Report of the Committee of the Privy Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, 1925–6, BPP, 1926, XV, 691; Factors in Industrial and Commercial Efficiency (Committee on Industry and Trade), BPP, 1927, II, 36.

103  R. Donaldson (ed.), Bicentenary of the James Watt Patent for a Separate Condenser for the Steam Engine, Glasgow, 1969.

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