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Encyclopedia > Lunar Society

The Lunar Society was a discussion club of prominent industrialists, natural philosophers and intellectuals who met regularly between 1765 and 1813 in Birmingham, England. At first called the Lunar Circle, 'Lunar Society' became the formal name by 1775. The society's name came from their practice of scheduling their meetings at the time of the full moon. Since there was no street lighting, the extra light made the journey home easier and safer. They cheerfully referred to themselves as "lunaticks", a pun for lunatics. Venues included Erasmus Darwin's home in Lichfield, Matthew Boulton's home, Soho House, and Great Barr Hall. A club is an association of people united by a common interest or goal. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Business magnate. ... Natural philosophy or the philosophy of nature, known in Latin as philosophia naturalis, is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe that was regnant before the development of modern science. ... 1765 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Year 1813 (MDCCCXIII) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar). ... Birmingham (pron. ... Motto (French) God and my right Anthem No official anthem - the United Kingdom anthem God Save the Queen is commonly used England() – on the European continent() – in the United Kingdom() Capital (and largest city) London (de facto) Official languages English (de facto) Unified  -  by Athelstan 927 AD  Area  -  Total 130... Year 1775 (MDCCLXXV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... Composite image of the Moon as taken by the Galileo spacecraft on 7 December 1992. ... A lunatic (colloquially: loony) is commonly used term for a person who is mentally ill, dangerous, foolish or unpredictable, a condition once called lunacy. ... Stone-cast bust of Erasmus Darwin, by W. J. Coffee, c 1795 Erasmus Darwin (12 December 1731 – 18 April 1802), was an English physician, natural philosopher, physiologist, inventor and poet. ... Matthew Boulton. ... Soho House, Matthew Boultons home in Handsworth, Birmingham, England, is now a museum (opened in 1995), managed by Birmingham City Council, celebrating his life, his partnership with James Watt and his membership of the Lunar Society. ... Great Barr Hall, a Grade 2* Listed building, is a sadly neglected stately home in Great Barr, Walsall, very near Birmingham, historically in the county of Staffordshire, England. ...


The members of the Lunar Society were very influential in Britain. Amongst those who attended meetings more or less regularly were Matthew Boulton, Erasmus Darwin, Samuel Galton Junior, James Keir, Joseph Priestley, Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt, John Whitehurst and William Withering. Matthew Boulton. ... Stone-cast bust of Erasmus Darwin, by W. J. Coffee, c 1795 Erasmus Darwin (12 December 1731 – 18 April 1802), was an English physician, natural philosopher, physiologist, inventor and poet. ... Samuel Galton Samuel John Galton Jr. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Joseph Frederick Priestley is often credited for the discovery of oxygen. ... Josiah Wedgwood Josiah Wedgwood (July 12, 1730 – January 3, 1795, born Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent) was an English potter, credited with the industrialization of the manufacture of pottery. ... James Watt James Watt (19 January 1736 – 19 August 1819) was a Scottish inventor and engineer whose improvements to the steam engine were fundamental to the changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution. ... John Whitehurst (10th April 1713 - 18th February 1788) of Cheshire, England was a clockmaker and scientist, and made significant early contributions to geology. ... William Withering (March 17, 1741 - October 6, 1799) was a British botanist, physician and the discoverer of digitalis. ...


More peripheral characters and correspondents included Sir Richard Arkwright, John Baskerville, Thomas Beddoes, Thomas Day, Richard Lovell Edgeworth, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Anna Seward, William Small, John Smeaton, Thomas Wedgwood, John Wilkinson, Joseph Wright, James Wyatt, Samuel Wyatt, and member of parliament John Levett. Richard Arkwright Sir Richard Arkwright (23 December 1732 – 3 August 1792) was an Englishman credited with the spinning frame — later renamed the water frame following the transition to water power. ... John Baskerville (January 28, 1706 - January 8, 1775) was a printer in Birmingham, a member of the Royal Society of Arts, and an associate of some of the members of the Lunar Society. ... Thomas Beddoes (April 13, 1760 - December 24, 1808), English physician and scientific writer, was born at Shiffnall in Shropshire. ... Thomas Day (22 June 1748 - 28 September 1789), was a British author. ... Richard Edgeworth, 1812 Richard Lovell Edgeworth (May 31, 1744-June 13, 1817) was a British writer and inventor. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... Anna Seward (December 12, 1747 – March 25, 1809) was an English writer, often called the Swan of Lichfield. ... William Small (1734-1775) was a British physician and a member of the Lunar Society. ... Portrait of John Smeaton, with the Eddystone Lighthouse in the background John Smeaton, FRS, (June 8, 1724 – October 28, 1792) was a civil engineer – often regarded as the father of civil engineering – responsible for the design of bridges, canals, harbours and lighthouses. ... Thomas Wedgwood (1685-1739) Master Potter of the Churchyard Work, Burslem. ... John Iron-Mad Wilkinson (1728 – 1808) was a British industrialist who suggested the use of iron for many roles where other materials had previously been used. ... An Experiment on a Bird in an Air Pump (1768). ... Fonthill Abbey. ... Samuel Wyatt (1737-1807) was a member of a leading family of 18th and 19th century English architects. ...


Antoine Lavoisier frequently corresponded with various members of the group, as did Benjamin Franklin, who also visited them in Birmingham on several occasions. Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, born on August 26, 1743, and executed on May 8, 1794, the father of modern chemistry, was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry, finance, biology, and economics. ... Benjamin Franklin (January 17 [O.S. January 6] 1706 – April 17, 1790) was one of the most well known Founding Fathers of the United States. ...


As the members grew older and died, the Lunar Society ceased to be very active and was closed in 1813. Most former members had died by 1820. 1820 was a leap year starting on Saturday (see link for calendar). ...


Among memorials to the Society and its members are the Moonstones; two statues of Watt and a statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch, by William Bloye; and the museum at Soho House – all in Birmingham, England. The Moonstones are a set of eight carved memorials to various members of the Lunar Society. ... A gilded bronze statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch by William Bloye stood until recently on a plinth of Portland stone, outside the Register Office, in Birmingham, England. ... William Bloye was a sculptor, active in Birmingham either side of the second world war, and head of sculpture at Birmingham School of Art, where one of his pupils was Raymond Mason. ... Birmingham (pron. ...


Modern Lunar Society

In more recent times a new Lunar Society was formed in Birmingham, England by a group led by Dame Rachel Waterhouse with the aim of playing a leading part in the development of the city and the wider region.[1] Birmingham (pron. ... Dame Rachel Waterhouse DBE, MA, PhD, Hon FGIA, HonDLiH(Lough), HonDSocSc(Birm) (b. ...


Further reading

  • Uglow, Jenny The Lunar Men: Five Friends Whose Curiosity Changed the World Faber & Faber (2002) ISBN 0374194408

See also

The Scottish Enlightenment was a period of intellectual ferment in Scotland, running from approximately 1740 to 1800. ...

References

  1. ^ Lunar Society award to Rachel Waterhouse

External links

  • Webpage on the Lunar Society
  • BBC page, with link to audio discussion
  • Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield
  • Article in Science
  • The Lunar Men who shaped the future (from the Birmingham Stories website)
  • The modern Lunar Society
  • Revolutionary Players website

  Results from FactBites:
 
Lunar Society - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (291 words)
The Lunar Society was a discussion club of prominent industrialists and scientists who met regularly between 1765 and 1813 in Birmingham, England.
As the members grew older and died, the Lunar Society was closed in 1813, and most former members had died by 1820.
Among memorials to the Society and its members are the Moonstones; two statues of Watt and a statue of Boulton, Watt and Murdoch, by William Bloye; and the museum at Soho House – all in Birmingham, England.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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