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William Murdoch

William Murdoch (sometimes spelled 'Murdock\') (August 21, 1754 - November 15, 1839) was a pioneer of gas lighting. His home, a cottage in Boulton and Watt's Soho Foundry, was the first domestic residence in the world to be so lit.

He was born near Cumnock, Ayrshire in Scotland. In 1877, he walked to Birmingham, a distance of over 300 miles, in order to ask for a job with James Watt, the famous steam engine manufacturers. Matthew Boulton, impressed by Murdoch's wooden hat, made on a lathe of his own design, gave him a job and within a short term he was well respected within the firm. He also became a member of the Lunar Society.

In 1779 he was sent to Redruth in Cornwall as a senior engine erector. While there he occupied his leisure time in design and invention. Among his innovations were Britain's first steam-powered roadster in 1785 and gas lighting in 1792.

He is remembered by the Moonstones; a statue of him, Boulton and Murdoch, by William Bloye; and Murdock Road, all in Birmingham.