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James Nasmyth


1808 - 1890

Engineer and inventor. Born in Edinburgh, the youngest son of the eminent landscape artist, Alexander Nasmyth (1758 - 1840), Nasmyth was mentored by the mining engineer Robert Bald (1776 - 1861). He started a foundry business and became a pioneer in the design and construction of steam-powered machine tools, including a steam hammer, planing machine, pile-driver and steam lathe. His tools were used widely in major engineering projects across Britain. Nasmyth also built a steam carriage in the late 1820s which he ran along the Queensferry Road in Edinburgh but did not pursue the idea which he felt had no commercial value. Nasmyth was also an enthusiastic amateur astronomer.


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