Smeaton, John (smēˈtən) [key], 1724–92, English civil engineer. He became an instrument maker, improved navigation instruments, and carried out many experiments on mechanical apparatus. Between 1750 and 1755 his interests turned increasingly to engineering, as evidenced by a number of papers read before the Royal Society during this period. He rebuilt (1756–59) the Eddystone lighthouse and worked on the Forth and Clyde Canal, Ramsgate Harbour and many important bridges. Within 10 years he became recognized as the first fully professional engineer of his time.