Steam, Science and the six shilling sciences: Dr Dionysius Lardner (1893-1859) was an expert in all three. One of the most famous men of his age, his multivolume encyclopaedias included volumes commissioned from Sir Walter Scott, Mary Shelley and John Herschel and were advertised and quoted in the press every month. He was celebrated in songs, poems and characatures and is even mentioned in Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, but after eloping with a married woman he was expunged from history.
Promoting the work of innovators such as Sir Rowland Hill and Charles Babbage, he both praised and criticized George Stephenson and Isambard Kingdom Brunel. His books and lectures inspired many, including mathematician Ada Lovelace, economist Stanley Jevons and a young Charles Darwin, to take up science as a profession.