About This Blog

This blog was originally started as a thread on the forum pages of an animal rescue site. Now it's here!

The articles you find in here are purely for entertainment (yours and mine) and (with one or two exceptions) are all tongue-in-cheek chronicles of the World (my bit, anyway) as I see it.
No disrespect is intended towards anyone unless I make a mistake and make it too obvious.

I hope you enjoy my offerings. Feedback and comments of any kind are welcome.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Let Me Tell You About 'WHUMP'

WHUMP in case you didn't know is a British invention, as so many things in this world are.

The first known street lighting were the torches and oil  lamps of the Greek and Roman civilisations and were primarily used for security of property rather than to facilitate the safe passing (as in 'going past', not dying}of travellers.  They were a light-fingered bunch back then and would steal anything not nailed down so the HAVE'S would go to great lengths (lots of lamps) to prevent the HAVE NOT'S from sharing their wealth and belongings.

Pretty dangerous having all those torches and oil lamps hanging around.  History records a number of towns and cities coming to an end due to the unwise deployment of early lighting.

Back in 1733 to 1735 people like Sir James Lowther and Dr. John Clayton began messing about with coal gas and eventually, probably by eyebrow removing accident, discovered it's flammability. However, scientists being scientists, they hadn't a clue (then) what on earth they could use it for.

Anyway, eventually a German, Friedrich Winzer, became the first person to patent coal-gas lighting in 1804

Are you yawning? Are you are starting to lose interest?

Oh dear!

My point, which I have so obviously failed to make, is that none of  these early gas lighting geniuses used WHUMP.

Early gas-lamp-lighters, those who would travel the streets in the evening igniting the gas lanterns and lamp, found themselves at time in danger due to a lack of WHUMP.

William Prendergast Thackley invented WHUMP and patented his idea in 1822.  WHUMP was designed as a safety feature; a method of informing the lamp-lighter that the lamp he was lighting was, in fact, safely lit.

To this day all gas heating, lighting or power systems have a built in WHUMP!

However William Prendergast Thackley died penniless in 1845.

An oversight on his part however (the fact that gas when lit made light and heat) meant that he never made a penny from his invention.

The WHUMP that you hear now when your gas central heating ignites was adopted in the 1950's, not as a safety feature as it was designed, but (so they said at the time) as a mark of respect to one of the United Kingdom's greatest ever engineering/scientific failures.

The WHUMP is one British invention that we would have been happy to let an American take the credit for.

1 comment:

  1. The Brits invented the WHUMP!

    Next they'll be ruling the world! ;-)



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