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John Loudon McAdam

John Loudon McAdamBorn: 21-Sep-1756
Birthplace: Ayr, Ayrshire, Scotland
Died: 26-Nov-1836
Location of death: Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland
Cause of death: unspecified
Remains: Buried, Moffat, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

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

Nationality: Scotland
Executive summary: Macadam method of roads

Scottish inventor, who gave his name to the system of roadmaking known as "macadamizing", was born at Ayr, Scotland, on the 21st of September 1756, being descended on his father's side from the clan of the McGregors. While at school he constructed a model road-section. In 1770 he went to New York, entering the counting-house of a merchant uncle. He returned to Scotland with a considerable fortune in 1783, and purchased an estate at Sauhrie, Ayrshire. Among other public offices he held that of road trustee. The highways of Great Britain were at this time in a very bad condition, and McAdam at once began to consider how to effect reforms. At his own expense he began at Sauhrie, despite much opposition, a series of experiments in roadmaking. In 1798 he removed to Falmouth, where he had received a government appointment, and continued his expenments there His general conclusion was that roads should be constructed of broken stone. In 1815, having been appointed surveyor-general of the Bristol roads, he was able to put his theories into practice. In 1819 he published a Practical Essay on the Scientific Repair and Preservation of Roads, followed in 1820 by the Present State of Road-making. As the result of a parliamentary inquiry in 1823 into the whole question of roadmaking, his views were adopted by the public authorities, and in 1827 he was appointed general surveyor of roads. In pursuing his investigations he had travelled over thirty thousand miles of road and expended over 5000. Parliament reimbursed him for his expenses and gave him a handsome gratuity, but he declined a proffered knighthood. He died at Moffat, Dumfriesshire, on the 26th of November 1836.

Father: James McAdam (d. 1770)
Mother: Susanna Cochrane
Brother: James
Wife: Gloriana Nicoll
Son: John
Wife: Charlotte

    High School: Mr. Doick's School, Maybole

    Eponyms macadam, tarmac
    Scottish Ancestry



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