Professor Lyon Playfair (1818-1898)

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Various Academic Posts
Director, Young's Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co. Ltd.


Lyon Playfair was a Scottish scientist and politician who held various academic posts in, amongst other places, the Royal Manchester Institution and the University of Edinburgh.

He first met James Young when Young was studying at Glasgow. In the 1840s Playfair suggested that Young investigate petroleum found dripping from sandstone at a coal mine in Derbyshire. From this investigation grew Young's interest in the properties of shale, and the oil that could be extracted from it.

The relationship between the two continued through the years and when Young founded the Paraffin Light & Mineral Oil Co. Ltd. in 1865, Playfair was invited to become a director.