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Science & Invention

John Loudon McAdam

John Loudoun McAdam's Snuff Box

19th Century

Silver gilt snuff box, presented to John Loudon McAdam, pioneer of road construction, in recognition of the improvements he made to roads in Britian. Made by Joseph Wilmore, Birmingham, 1826.


This snuff box, made in Birmingham in 1826, was presented to John Loudon McAdam (1756 - 1836), pioneer of road management and construction. The box is decorated with a representation of a coach travelling on one of McAdam’s newly improved roads. It was presented by ‘a few…commercial travellers who have frequent opportunities of observing the great improvement made in the state of the Road.’   McAdam's hard-wearing and easily-maintained road surfaces were adopted throughout Europe and the USA. He believed that a levelled and well-drained subsoil was the key to supporting a road and that heavy expensive foundations were not necessary.

Place of Production:
Birmingham, England
Silver gilt
National Museums Scotland
Accession number:
Digital Number:
NMAC004a, b, c
Creation Date:
Board of Trustees, National Museums Scotland

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