This George Stephenson ‘Geordie’ miner’s lamp has been sold at auction in Sheffield for £2,600.
The safety lamp had been among boxes of unwanted items taken into the Sheffield Auction Gallery in Heeley.
The brass miner’s lamp, with mesh-covered central burner and an ‘11’ stamped on the base, caught the eye of one of the valuers. After considerable pre-auction interest the bidding opened at £1,200 and the successful bidder was in the saleroom when they secured the sale for £2,600.
A spokesman for the Sheffield Auction Gallery said: “In the early 19th century, Stephenson invented a lamp that would burn safely in the fiery environment of a mine without causing an explosion.
“Controversially, at the same time Sir Humphrey Davy devised a solution of his own, which was generally accepted as being the first. He even accused Stephenson of copying him.
“As Stephenson was originally from Northumberland, miners in the North East used the Stephenson lamp and there is even a theory that this is what gave them the nickname ‘Geordies’.”