The Thunder & Lightning is credited to James Wright, and can be followed back to the 1850ies, so it's older than that. By how much remains unknown.
It's a relative simple fly compared to the other classic salmon flies of the Victorian era. It sports a single strip wing of mallard (which is just as hard to tie as the, in the Victorian era, more common married wings), generally dark colours garnished with an orange palmer hackle. I've fished the fly for decades, and since it's a single strip wing, it converts very well to a modern hairwing without loosing it's intended overall apperance. Married wings 3-4-5-6-7 colours are impossible reproduce with hair.
It fished well under many different circumstances, and it remains a very popular fly. When I began travelling to Norway in the 1990ies, shops still sold the classic version with mallard wing.
The famous Swedish salmon fisher and flytier, Mikael Frödin, has done a very succesful, and extremely beautiful, version, where he converted it to a spey fly. Another famous swede, Mikael Lindström (no, not all Swedish salmon fishermen are called Mikael) has done another spey-version, this time wingless, which is also very beautiful and equally effective.
In my experience, it does well in both clear and slightly coloured water, large sizes for coloured/high/colder water, and quite small sizes for clear water - especially late season with coloured fish in the stream.
Have a great weekend,