Short was born around 1690, probably in Edinburgh, and died in Sheffield some time in 1772. He studied medicine in Edinburgh and then moved to Sheffield, where he established himself in practice as a physician. Through his work he became interested in the health-giving properties of various waters and drinks; he made a study of the efficacious properties of the Yorkshire spas, and wrote a series of works on beverages, of which A Dissertation upon Tea (1730) remains best known. He also became interested in problems of public health, and this led to his major work, the two-volume A General Chronological History of the Air (1749). This was closely followed by New Observations (1750), a short but influential work on population.
From The Biographical Dictionary of British Economists in Oxford Reference.