Stevenson, Robert

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b. 8 June 1772 Glasgow, Scotland
d. 12 July 1850 Edinburgh, Scotland
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Scottish lighthouse designer and builder.
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After his father's death when he was only 2 years old, Robert Stevenson was educated at a school for children from families in reduced circumstances. However, c. 1788 his mother married again, to Thomas Smith, Engineer to the Northern Lighthouse Board. Stevenson then served an apprenticeship under his new stepfather. The Board, which is still an active force in the 1990s, was founded in 1786 to oversee the lights and buoyage in some of the wildest waters in Western Europe, the seas around the coasts of Scotland and the Isle of Man.
After studies at Andersen's College (now the University of Strathclyde) and later at Edinburgh University, Stevenson assumed responsibility in the field for much of the construction work sanctioned by the Board. After some years he succeeded Smith as Engineer to the Board and thereby the long connection between the Northern Lights and the Stevenson family commenced.
Stevenson became Engineer to the Board when he was about 30 years old, remaining in that office for the best part of half a century. During these years he improved catoptric lighting, adopted the central lamp refracting system and invented the intermittent flashing light. While these developments were sufficient to form a just memorial to the man, he was involved in greater endeavours in the construction of around twenty lighthouses, most of which had ingenious forms of construction. The finest piece was the Bell Rock Lighthouse, built on a reef off the Scottish East Coast. This enterprise took five years to complete and can be regarded as the most important construction of his life.
His interests fitted in with those of the other great men living in and around Edinburgh at the time, and included oceanography, astronomy, architecture and antiquarian studies. He designed several notable bridges, proposed a design for the rails for railways and also made a notable study of marine timber borers. He contributed to Encyclopaedia Britannica and to many journals.
His grandson, born in the year of his death, was the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–94).
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS Edinburgh.
Further Reading
Sir Walter Scott, 1982, Northern Lights, Hawick.
FMW

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Stevenson, Robert — ▪ British engineer born June 8, 1772, Glasgow died July 12, 1850, Edinburgh       civil engineer who in 1797 succeeded his stepfather, Thomas Smith, as a member of the Scottish Lighthouse Board. In that capacity until 1843, he designed and built… …   Universalium

  • STEVENSON, ROBERT —    an eminent Scottish engineer, born at Glasgow, the son of a West India merchant; adopted the profession of his stepfather Thomas Smith, and in 1796 succeeded him as first engineer to the Board of Northern Lighthouses, a position he held for 47 …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Stevenson,Robert Louis Balfour — Stevenson, Robert Louis Balfour. 1850 1894. British writer of essays, poetry, and novels, including Treasure Island (1883), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1886), and Kidnapped (1886). * * * …   Universalium

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis — ▪ British author Introduction in full  Robert Louis Balfour Stevenson  born Nov. 13, 1850, Edinburgh died Dec. 3, 1894, Vailima, Samoa  Scottish essayist, poet, and author of fiction and travel books, best known for his novels Treasure Island… …   Universalium

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis — (1850 1894)    He was a Scottish poet, born in Edinburgh, the son of a lighthouse engineer, who from about his eighteenth year dropped the use of his third Christian name, Balfour, and changed the spelling of Lewis to Louis. He was an imaginative …   British and Irish poets

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis (Balfour) — born Nov. 13, 1850, Edinburgh, Scot. died Dec. 3, 1894, Vailima, Samoa Scottish essayist, novelist, and poet. He prepared for a law career but never practiced. He traveled frequently, partly in search of better climates for his tuberculosis,… …   Universalium

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis — ► (1850 94) Escritor inglés. Situado por su salud y su sensibilidad al margen de la vida, personalmente y en sus novelas se complació en lo extraordinario y marginal. Son de fama universal La isla del tesoro (1883) y El extraño caso del doctor… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis (Balfour) — (13 nov. 1850, Edimburgo, Escocia–3 dic. 1894, Vailima, Samoa). Ensayista, novelista y poeta escocés. A pesar de que estudió leyes, jamás ejerció como abogado. Realizó muchos viajes, en parte para buscar mejores aires para mitigar su tuberculosis …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • STEVENSON, ROBERT LOUIS BALFOUR —    novelist and essayist, grandson of the preceding, born at Edinburgh, where in 1875 he was called to the bar, after disappointing his father by not following the family vocation of engineering; had already begun to write for the magazines, and… …   The Nuttall Encyclopaedia

  • Stevenson, Robert Louis —  (1850–1894) Scottish writer …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

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