Beefing up the reputation of Scots inventors

TO THE pantheon of great Scottish inventors, another name must be added. Alongside Lord Kelvin, Alexander Graham Bell and John Logie Baird, the name of John Lawson Johnston must immediately be recognised.

It is not for a great scientific breakthrough that he should be honoured, nor for a discovery that has changed the way in which we communicate, but for something even more beneficial to mankind: giving us Bovril.

It is Mr Johnston, who started experimenting with a beef drink in his butcher's shop in 19th-century Edinburgh, whom football fans must thank for the beefy beverage that traditionally goes with their half-time pie.

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One can only marvel at the ingenuity of this hitherto unrecognised hero of Caledonian creativity, who also demonstrated his entrepreneurial flair by selling the drink to the French army after he emigrated to Canada.

As a nation, we should be embarrassed his talent went largely unremarked for so long, but now, at long last, he is to get the recognition he deserves, with an exhibition of his life and work being staged in the capital.

To adapt the drink's slogan, we must take strength from Mr Johnston's success, a triumph for the Scots as a nation of inventors. We've given the world television, telephony, tar macadam – and a beef drink. Wha's like us?