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Austin, John (b. 1752, d. before 1838), music stenographer and inventor of a power-loom, was born at Craigton, near Glasgow, on 17 April 1752, the son of the gardener to John Baird, esquire. Nothing is known of Austin's early life or education. On 30 May 1777 he married ...

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Bacharach, Alfred Louis (1891–1966), food scientist and musician, was born in Hampstead, London, on 11 August 1891, the son of Otto Leonhard Bacharach, a stockbroker, of Hampstead, and his wife, Alice Eva Wagner. He lived throughout his life in Hampstead. Bacharach was educated at ...

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Clagget, Charles (1740?c. 1795), musician and inventor of improvements for musical instruments, was born in Waterford, Ireland, probably in 1740. This date of birth was preferred by The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, but Edmund van der Straeten believed he was born about 1755. Part of the reason for the dearth of accurate biographical information may be confusion with his brother ...

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Clark, Alfred Corning (1873–1950), record and electrical goods manufacturer, was born in New York, USA, on 19 December 1873, the elder son of Walter Lowry Clark, a chocolate manufacturer, and his wife, Mary Rowe. His parents' families were both of English extraction and his background was distinctly patrician—his great-uncle had been a ...

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Cocks, William Alfred (1892–1971), clockmaker and bagpipe scholar, was born on 8 October 1892 at St Mary's Terrace, Ryton, co. Durham, the son of John Cocks, banker's clerk, and his wife, Elizabeth Cummings, née Dunlop. As a small boy he conceived what proved to be a lifelong interest in the pipes after being given a toy set as a present. He worked as a master watch- and clockmaker but in his leisure became an expert craftsman and skilled player of the bagpipes. Over the years he made many fine sets of Northumbrian small pipes, taking pride in doing everything himself, down to sewing the bags and bellows. From the time of the First World War onwards, he travelled the country in search of instruments made by others. The important collection which he gradually acquired is now held at the ...

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Goodey, Tom [performing name Roger Clayson] (1885–1953), parasitologist and singer, the ninth and last child of Thomas Goodey, boot manufacturer, and his wife, Hannah Clayson (d. c.1887), was born on 28 July 1885 at Wellingborough, Northamptonshire. He won a scholarship to the ...

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William Herschel (1738–1822) by Lemuel Francis Abbott, 1785 ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Herschel, William (1738–1822), musician and astronomer, was born at Hanover on 15 November 1738, and baptized Friedrich Wilhelm. He was the fourth of the ten children (and the third of six to survive infancy) of Isaac Herschel (1707–1767), a former gardener who was then an oboist in the ...

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Lewis, Sir Edward Roberts (1900–1980), record and gramophone company executive, was born at Allerton Mount, Duffield Road, Derby on 19 April 1900, the only son in the family of four children of Sir Alfred Edward Lewis (1868–1940), banker, and his wife, May Roberts...

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L. M. Middleton

revised by Anne Pimlott Baker

Light, Edward (1746/7–1832), inventor of musical instruments and composer, was probably the man of that name who on 6 August 1774 married Elizabeth Hawkins at St Mary's, Marylebone Road, Middlesex. Nothing is known of his early life.

Light invented a number of instruments for ladies to play as an accompaniment to singing, at a time when the piano was not yet widely available. His first invention, about 1798, was the harp-guitar, which looked like a small pedal harp, but with seven gut strings, tuned like an English guitar, giving a more powerful tone than a guitar. This was followed by the harp-lute-guitar, with longer strings. He worked on the harp-lute between 1810 and 1813, adding five open strings off the fingerboard and a harp-like pillar to support the extra strings, with brass ring stops which could be used to raise their pitch by a semitone. He then went on to develop the British harp-lute, patented in 1816, with devices known as ‘ditals’ which when pressed by the fingers would change the pitch of the strings. This became known as the dital harp and although held like a guitar was in effect a small harp, played with both hands....

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Liston, Henry (1771–1836), inventor of a musical instrument and writer on music, the eldest son of Robert Liston, minister of Aberdour, Fife, was born on 30 June 1771. He matriculated at Edinburgh University in 1787 and read physics and mathematics before studying for the church. In 1793 he became minister of the parish of ...

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Marshall, James Charles [Jim] (1923–2012), audio equipment manufacturer, was born on 29 July 1923 at 3 Snarsgate Street, Kensington, London, the son of James Charles Marshall (1898–1965), a leading seaman who went on to own a fish and chip shop in Southall, and his wife, ...

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James Charles Marshall (1923–2012) by Rob Wyatt, 1992 ? Rob Wyatt

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See McEwen, Alexander Dundas [Alex, Eck]

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Mell, Davis (1604–1662), violinist and clockmaker, was born on 15 November 1604 at Wilton near Salisbury, where his father, Leonard Mell (d. 1641), was in the employ of William Herbert, third earl of Pembroke. Although not appointed to a place in the court musical establishment until late in 1626, ...

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John Joseph Merlin (1735–1803) by Thomas Gainsborough, 1782 ? English Heritage Photo Library / The Bridgeman Art Library

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Merlin, John Joseph (1735–1803), inventor, was born or baptized, or possibly both born and baptized, on 17 September 1735 at Huy, Southern Netherlands, into a family who were probably inventors. He was the third child of Maximilien Joseph Merlin (born at Cambrai, 8 January 1710) and ...

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Poekrich [Pockrich], Richard (1696/7–1759), inventor of musical glasses and social and economic reformer, was born in Aghnamallagh, near the town of Monaghan, Ireland, and was descended from a Cromwellian planter family which had been granted land in co. Monaghan in the seventeenth century. His father, a landed gentleman also named ...

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Pole, William (1814–1900), engineer, musician, and authority on whist, was born on 22 April 1814 at Birmingham, the fourth son of Thomas Pole. He was educated at Mr Guy's private school in the city before being apprenticed in 1829 to Charles H. Capper...