Biggar Gasworks made coal gas from 1839 to 1973. It was one of the first small-town gas works in Scotland to open and was among the last to close. The gas made was used by the town and surrounding district. Coal gas was made by heating coal to very high temperatures.
This ‘Shorts Gas Leak Indicator' was made by Abbott, Birks and Co Ltd in London. It would be used by an engineer to detect gas leaks in the gasworks. The dial indicated the level of methane gas in the air. Too much methane in the air could be highly dangerous. This detector was therefore an important technology that increased health and safety at the gasworks.