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Robert Stevenson

Born: 8-Jun-1772
Birthplace: Glasgow, Scotland
Died: 12-Jul-1850
Location of death: Edinburgh, Scotland
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Engineer

Nationality: Scotland
Executive summary: Scottish lighthouse designer

Scottish engineer, the only son of Alan Stevenson, partner in a West Indian house in Glasgow, and was born in that city on the 8th of June 1772. He was educated at Anderson's College, Glasgow, and Edinburgh University. In his youth he assisted his stepfather, Thomas Smith, in his lighthouse schemes, and at the age of nineteen was sent to superintend the erection of a lighthouse on the island of Little Cumbrae. Subsequently he succeeded Smith, whose daughter he married in 1799, as engineer to the Commissioners of Northern Lighthouses, and during his period of office, from 1797 to 1843, he designed and executed a large number of lighthouses, the most important being that on the Bell Rock, begun in 1807. For its illumination he introduced an improved apparatus, and he was also the author of various valuable inventions in connection with lighting, including the intermittent and flashing lights, and the mast lantern for lightships. As a civil engineer he improved the approaches to Edinburgh, including that by the Calton Hill, constructed harbors, docks and breakwaters, improved river and canal navigation, and constructed several important bridges. In consequence of observations made by him George Stephenson advocated the use of malleable- instead of cast-iron rails for railways, and he was the inventor of the movable jib and balance cranes. Chiefly through his interposition. an admiralty survey was established, from which the admiralty sailing directions for the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland have been prepared. Stevenson published an Account of the Bell Rock Lighthouse in 1824, and, besides contributing important articles on engineering subjects to Brewster's Edinburgh Encyclopaedia and the Encyclopaedia Britannica, was the author of various papers read before learned societies. He died at Edinburgh on the 12th of July 1850.

Father: Alan Stevenson
Son: Alan Stevenson (lighthouse engineer, b. 1807, d. 1865)
Son: David Stevenson (surveyor, b. 1815, d. 1886)
Son: Thomas Stevenson (lighthouse engineer, b. 1818, d. 1887)

    University: University of Edinburgh



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