Davy Lamp
Sir Humphrey Davy
Abominated gravy.
He lived in the odium
Of having discovered sodium.
   This was the first clerihew written by Edmund Bentley. And although there's no record of Sir Humphrey Davy's dislike of gravy, it is true that he discovered sodium. He also is credited with many other important discoveries that have been beneficial for mankind and have been a boon to science. For example, he discovered the exhilarating effect of nitrous oxide, dubbed "laughing gas." He isolated sodium, potassium, and strontium by passing an electric current through fused soda, potash, and strontia. For this achievement alone, Davy was regarded as one of the greatest chemists.
   But Davy's remarkable invention, one that saved many lives, was the Davy lamp, a lamp made for miners. Its safety feature was an enclosed cage of fine-meshed wire that prevented high heat from escaping to ignite explosive gases in the mines. The Davy lamp has been replaced by modern mining lamps, but it saved untold numbers of lives during the many years of its use.
   Davy (1778-1829) was the son of a poor wood carver in Penzance, Cornwall, England. When twenty-two, he was appointed assistant lecturer for the Royal Institute, London. During the next year, he became a professor of chemistry there; he was knighted by the British king in 1812 and was thereafter invited to visit France, where he was also honored. Davy was presented by grateful coal mine owners with an expensive silver dining service. He asked that it be melted down to cover expenses for a Davy medal, to be "given annually for the most important discovery in chemistry made anywhere in Europe or Anglo-America."

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Davy lamp — (drawing) Davy lamp (photo) …   Wikipedia

  • Davy lamp — Lamp Lamp (l[a^]mp), n. [F. lampe, L. lampas, adis, fr. Gr. ?, ?, torch, fr. ? to give light, to shine. Cf. {Lampad}, {Lantern}.] 1. A light producing vessel, device, instrument or apparatus; formerly referring especially to a vessel with a wick… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Davy lamp — n. [after DAVY Sir Humphry, its inventor] an early safety lamp for miners, in which the flame was enclosed by wire gauze as a protection against firedamp …   English World dictionary

  • Davy lamp — Da vy lamp See {Safety lamp}, under {Lamp}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Davy lamp — noun an oil lamp that will not ignite flammable gases (methane) • Syn: ↑safety lamp • Hypernyms: ↑oil lamp, ↑kerosene lamp, ↑kerosine lamp * * * ˈDavy lamp 7 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Davy lamp — Devio apsauginė lempa statusas T sritis fizika atitikmenys: angl. Davy lamp vok. Davysche Sicherheitslampe, f rus. безопасная лампа Деви, f; лампа Деви, f pranc. lampe de Davy, f …   Fizikos terminų žodynas

  • Davy lamp — a safety lamp formerly used by miners. [1810 20; named after Sir H. DAVY] * * *        safety lamp (q.v.) devised by Sir Humphry Davy in 1815. * * * …   Universalium

  • Davy lamp — /ˈdeɪvi læmp/ (say dayvee lamp) noun an early safety lamp for miners. {named after Sir Humphry Davy} …   Australian English dictionary

  • Davy lamp — noun historical a miner s portable safety lamp with the flame enclosed by wire gauze to reduce the risk of a gas explosion. Origin named after the English chemist Sir Humphry Davy (1778–1829), who invented it …   English new terms dictionary

  • Davy lamp — noun A miners’ lamp or safety lamp used in coal mines to warn against methane (firedamp) …   Wiktionary

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