James Keir (1735-1820) - A Renaissance Man of the Industrial Revolution

James Keir is best remembered as a chemist and industrialist, but he was also an author, translator, geologist, metallurgist, and military captain. He was born in Stirlingshire, Scotland on 29 September 1735 and the last of eighteen children born to John Keir (1686-1743) and Magdaline Lind (1691-1775). Both the Keir and Lind families had considerable wealth and were influential in Edinburgh politics. John served in various capacities on the Town Council before he died in 1743 and Magdaline sold the family estates of Muirton and Queenshaugh to care for her large family, including James who was just eight years old.

Keywords: Keir, Lunar Society, Glass, Metal, Tipton, Black Country, Boulton, Watt, Darwin, Priestley, Day, Chemical, Dudley

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The Lunar Men

Led by Erasmus Darwin, the Lunar Society of Birmingham was formed from a group of amateur experimenters, tradesmen and artisans who met and made friends in the Midlands in the 1760s. Most came from humble families, all lived far from the centre of things, but they were young and their...


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