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Coined by David Milne-Home to describe the instrument invented by James David Forbes in 1842.

SINCLAIR, Sir John of Ulbster (1754-1835)

Born Thurso, Scotland. He was responsible for creation of the Board of Agriculture, of which he was the first president. It was the precursor of what is known today as the Ministry of Agriculture Fisheries and Food. His Statistical Account of Scotland was compiled during the years 1791 to 1799 in 21 volumes. It was based on returns of formulated questionaires from the ministers of every parish in Scotland, and was the beginning of today’s census. During that mammoth task he was the first to use the words statistics and statistical in the English language. In 1793 the UK government adopted his plan for the issue of Exchequer Bills, saving the possibility of financial ruin. He was also one of the first to record details of certain Scottish archaeological sites.


Iain Norman MacLeod (1913-1970) Conservative MP and government minister.

Statistic, Statistics, Statistical

SINCLAIR, Sir John of Ulbster (1754-1835). First use in the English language in his book Statistical Account of Scotland 1791-1799.

Statistics and Statistical

SINCLAIR, Sir John of Ulbster. The first person to use these words in the English language in his Statistical Account of Scotland, compiled during the years 1791 and 1799.


Named by its inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, b. Edinburgh, Scotland (1847-1922).

The roof of the world

John Wood, Scottish cartographer, from a native expression heard during an expedition up the Pamir River to Lake Zorkal (Woods Lake) in the Pamir Mountains.


Lord Kelvin in his paper An Account of Carnot’s Theory of the Motive Power of Heat.

Uncle Sam

Edward and Lucy Wilson emigrated from Greenock, Scotland, in the mid-eighteenth century. Samuel, sixth of their thirteen children was born at Metonomy, (now Arlington) Massachusetts, on 13 September 1766. He eventually went into the meat packing business and became very successful. He was also very good to his employees who called him uncle Sam. There are two versions of how Uncle Sam became synonymous with the US administration. One is, In 1812 the US Army gave him a contract to supply meat to their forces. The barrels he supplied it in were all stencilled with the letters US, a combination of letters not widely recognised at that time. Someone asked one of Sam’s employees what the letters on a barrel stood for, and he replied jokingly Uncle Sam. It spread rapidly, at first through the army, and soon any government property became Uncle Sam’s. The other version is that Sam had a hand in spreading the story himself, but whichever is true, it is a fact that the House of Representatives unanimously approved a resolution establishing his grave as a national shrine, and in 1961 President John F Kennedy signed a resolution officially establishing him as the original Uncle Sam.


The unit of power in the metric system is called the Watt in honour of the Scottish engineer James Watt. One of his horsepower equals 746 Watts.

Scottish Achievement, Influence & Heritage is a work in progress