English civil engineer and inventor of Scots descent. He travelled on the Continent in 1754 to study canals and harbours, and in 1755–6 he designed his Eddystone Lighthouse, near Plymouth, Devon, using a system of dovetailing the stones together, including the courses and the foundations in the rock. The building was completed in 1759, but was replaced in 1877–82. He designed several bridges, the best of which are in Scotland, including those at Banff, Coldstream, and Perth, using segmental arches, and with circular perforations in the spandrels. He also designed the Forth and Clyde Canal (begun 1768, completed 1790).
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (2004);Skempton et al. (eds.) (1981);Smeaton (1813, 1837)