Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Steve Sargent




Lunar Society, knowledge, correspondence, primary sources


This thesis examines the scientific and technological advancements facilitated by members of the Lunar Society of Birmingham in eighteenth-century Britain. The study relies on a number of primary sources, which range from the regular correspondence of its members to their various published scientific works. The secondary sources used for this project range from comprehensive books about the society as a whole to sources concentrating on particular members. The Lunar Society comprised only fourteen members throughout its existence, but for the purposes of this study, three of them were analyzed: Joseph Priestley, James Watt and William Withering. These three individuals played different roles within the society and their respective careers reflected these roles. Joseph Priestley’s personality had a large impact on the Lunar Society. His selflessness and wide base of knowledge became quite welcome within the group, and this level of acceptance was valuable for him. He also appeared to be an effective facilitator for the other members of the Society. James Watt also gave himself tirelessly to the Lunar Society. He was a hard worker who devoted himself diligently to the group and received much in return. Watt constantly looked to other members of the society either for personal support or for the scientific knowledge he needed to benefit his scientific pursuits. Despite his capitalistic tendencies, Watt was also very helpful to other associates of the Society.