Open Thread

Davy Lamp

Join Slate’s open thread for the week of January 9.

On this day in 1816, a safety lamp to prevent explosions in coal mines was tested in England for the first time. The Davy lamp, invented by Sir Humphrey Davy, had a wire mesh screen surrounding the wick of the lamp. The holes in the mesh allow light to shine out but were too fine for fire to escape its confines to ignite pockets of flammable gasses, such as methane, which can be found in mines.

You may use this page to discuss the history of coal mining, the controversy over Davy’s lamp and whether George Stevenson deserves credit for an earlier safety lamp on the same principles, or pursue whatever other avenues of freewheeling, off-topic discourse you prefer. Find previous discussions in the Open Thread archive. Excepting the entreaty that you remain on topic, all of Slate’s usual commenting policies apply.

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