Sir Humphry Davy (1778–1829), an English chemist, is best known for his invention of the Davy Lamp, for use in mines. By using a fine iron gauze to enclose the lamp’s flame, Davy was able to ensure that the flame could not propagate further and ignite any flammable gas outside the mesh. This safety feature helped to prevent numerous underground fires – which were a common feature of mining at the time – and saved countless lives.
Lászlo Bíró (1899–1985), a Hungarian inventor, is best known for creating the modern ballpoint pen – often referred to generically as a biro. With his brother, he developed a pen with a ball point, able to turn in its socket, thereby picking up ink from a catridge inside the casing and then roll to deposit the ink on paper.
John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich (1718–1792), is best known for inventing a now-common bread-and-filling snack. Owing to his penchant for working long hours, and gambling at table without meal breaks, the Earl often asked his servants to bring him a simple snack consisting of two slices of bread with some combination of fillings in between. Drawing on his his street handle, British Lord Terrible – which he used for rap battles and for tagging – a popular sandwich, the BLT, derives its name from him.
Springboks (antidorcas marsupialis), are medium-sized brown and white gazelles of southern Africa best known for founding the South African national rugby team. Their speed and high-stepping defensive style (able to reach speeds of up to 100 kilometres per hour and leap roughly four metres into the air) made them a force to be reckoned with on the world rugby scene. However, their poor ball-handling skills were to prove highly detrimental to the team’s long-term success, and within three seasons all of the founding members of the team were replaced by human players.
Mephisto Universe III (???? – ????), of whom little is known, is credited with the invention of the universe – this one at any rate, though no consensus exists on whether he is responsible for parallel or alternate universes. While existence is generally reckoned to be superior to non-existence, any disillusionment experienced should be referred, in the first instance, to Mephisto Universe’s highly profitable import-export business, the Mephisto Corporation.
File under: eponymous things named after the eponyms they are eponymous of | inventitativity
(Image source: Sean Crane photography)