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Alexander Bain (1811-1877) A Posthumous Emmy for Invention of Scanning for Image Transmission.

A Scottish clock and instrument maker, Born Caithness, Scotland, invented and patented the first electric clock in 1841 and patented his “facsimile” machine in 1843, whereby a message was scanned, sent electronically, and received and printed on chemically sensitive paper. He also invented an earth battery, insulation of electric cables and the electric fire alarm. It is claimed that in 1846 he was using perforated tape to speed up telegraph transmissions, but some proof of that is required. It was however his invention of the fax machine which led to an Emmy award, 139 years after his death, by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Friday 8th January 2016. His invention contained the fundamentals that would become television including image scanning, transmission and image reconstruction. It was so advanced that a further 80 years elapsed before television became a reality. It also contained the whole idea of pixels and image manipulation that is in digital photography today.

BUICK, David Dunbar (1854-1929) Founder of the Buick Motor Company

Born Arbroath, Angus, Scotland. Buick cars became a cornerstone of the General Motors leviathan and over 35,000,000 cars were built in his name. He also invented the overhead valve (OHV) engine which is still used in the vast majority of cars produced today. He was also responsible for the invention of the technique for coating cast iron baths with vitreous enamel.

Carbon Fibre Composits

in 1963 Edinburgh born Dr William Watt (1912-1985) led a Royal Aircraft Establishment team at Farnborough which invented and successfully patented a Carbon Fibre Composite, which today is widely used in the aircraft industry, top level motorsport and many other advanced lightweight products. In 2015 the Post Office issued a commemorative stamp celebrating the achievement.

CUMMINGS, Alexander FRS (1733-1814) The S Bend

Born Edinburgh. A watchmaker, mathematician and mechanic who filed a patent in 1775 for the S-bend in water closets, to prevent sewer gases from entering buildings. This along with several variations is still in use today in all modern flush toilet systems.

DAVIDSON, Robert (1804-1894) Invented and Built World’s First Electric Locomotive.

Born and educated in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is also credited with building the world’s first electric car.

ELDER, John (1824-1869) Marine Engineer & Ship Builder.

His major contribution to engineering was his thorough understanding of the principles of thermodynamics, and through that development of the first practical compound or combined high and low pressure steam engines, previous attempts at  which had all proved to be failures. It resulted in fuel savings of 30 to 40% and opened up the world’s oceans to ships powered by steam. The days of  commercial sailing vessels were numbered from then on.

FORSYTH, Alexander John (1769-1843) Inventor of the percussion cap

Scottish Invention

Websites listing Scottish inventors and invention.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress