National Records of Scotland

Preserving the past, Recording the present, Informing the future

William Murdoch (1754-1839)

William Murdoch (1754-1839)

Engineer and discoverer of coal gas

William Murdoch discovered coal gas at Redruth in Cornwall and began its installation for lighting purposes in 1792. He worked for the firm of Boulton and Watt and made new discoveries as well as improvements to existing machinery such as the steam-engine. The invention of 'iron cement' is attributed to him. He lived most of his life in England and died at Handsworth on 15 November 1839.

Birth in 1754

William Murdoch was baptised on 22 September 1754, the son John Murdoch and Anna Bruce. The entry in the Old Parish Register (OPR) for Auchinleck doesn't give his date of birth.

Baptism entry for William Murdoch

Baptism entry for William Murdoch in the OPR for Auchinleck (16 KB jpeg)
National Records of Scotland, OPR 577/1, page 374