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William Murdock

Died 15 Nov 1839 at age 85 (born 21 Aug 1754).Scottish inventor, the first to make extensive use of coal gas for illumination and a pioneer in the development of steam power. He joined James Watt and Matthew Boulton and in 1784 he was sent to supervise the installation of Boulton & Watt steam engines working pumping equipment in Cornish tin mines. While there, he tested his ideas to use the gas given off by burning coal. From an iron retort in the backyard of his home, he ran a metal tube into his living room. On 29 Jul 1792, Murdock achieved a gas flame inside the room. In 1802, Boulton installed two gas lamps outside his Soho factory. Next year, the foundry was entirely illuminated by gas. Shortly, Boulton & Watt began to sell lighting and heating equipment with Murdock as a partner in the business.

Watch For Fallen Rocks

Driving down a remote road, a motorist sees a sign that says: "Watch For Fallen Rocks."

A couple of miles of careful driving later, he spots some pebbles and stops to pick a few up. Arriving in the next town, the motorist carries the stones into the highway maintenance office.

Placing them on the counter, he says to an official: "Here are your fallen rocks. Now where's my watch?"

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