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Anderson, Sir John (1814–1886), inventor of ordnance manufacture machinery and arsenal manager, was born at Woodside, near Aberdeen, on 9 December 1814, the posthumous child of a local merchant, J. Anderson, and his wife, Helen Hosie. His mother remarried and his stepfather, Irvine Kempt...

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Sir Richard Arkwright (1732–1792) by Joseph Wright of Derby, 1789–90 private collection; photograph ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Arkwright, Sir Richard (1732–1792), inventor of cotton-spinning machinery and cotton manufacturer, was born on 23 December 1732 at Preston, Lancashire, the sixth of the seven children of Thomas Arkwright (1691–1753), a tailor, and his wife, Ellen Hodgkinson (1693–1778). The family was rooted in ...

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See Aveling, Thomas

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Aveling, Thomas (1824–1882), engineer and manufacturer of steamrollers, was born at Elm, near Wisbech, on 11 September 1824, the eldest of three sons. He came from an old-established Cambridgeshire family, but he moved to Rochester in Kent as a boy, when his widowed mother remarried. About 1836 he was apprenticed to a farmer, ...

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Baird, Charles (1766–1843), engineer and manufacturer of steam-driven machinery, was born on 20 December 1766 at Westertown, near Carron, Stirlingshire, one of the ten children of Nicol Baird, superintendent of the Firth and Clyde Canal, and his wife, Christian. In 1782 he was apprenticed to the ...

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Patrick Bell (1799–1869) by unknown engraver, pubd 1868 (after E. Strachan) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Bell, Patrick (1799–1869), Church of Scotland minister and inventor of agricultural machinery, was born in April 1799 at mid-Leoch, in the parish of Auchterhouse, a few miles north-west of Dundee. He was one of at least two sons of George Bell, a tenant farmer at ...

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Bell, Thomas (fl. 1783–1784), inventor of cylinder printing in the textile industry, was probably born in Scotland. He became a copperplate-engraver and printer, and by the 1780s he was living at Mosney, then at Walton-le-Dale, near Preston, an important region of calico printing. His move to ...

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Crompton, Samuel (1753–1827), inventor of the spinning mule, was born at Firwood Fold, Tonge, near Bolton, Lancashire, on 3 December 1753, the eldest son of George Crompton (1726–1758) and Elizabeth Holt (1725–1799) of nearby Turton. Firwood Farm had been held by Cromptons since Tudor times; ...

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Samuel Crompton (1753–1827) by Samuel William Reynolds senior, pubd 1828 (after Charles Allingham) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Sir William Cubitt (1785–1861) by Samuel Bellin (after Sir William Boxall, exh. RA 1849) ? National Portrait Gallery, London

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Cubitt, Sir William (1785–1861), civil engineer and millwright, was born at Dilham, Norfolk, the son of Joseph Cubitt, miller, and his wife, Hannah, née Lubbock. He was educated at Dilham village school, and also had access to the libraries of two local clergymen, ...

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Davidson, Sir Samuel Cleland (1846–1921), inventor of tea processing machinery and manufacturer, was born on 18 November 1846 at Ballymachan Farm, near Belfast, the youngest of the seven children of James Davidson (1799–1869), corn miller, and his wife, Mary Taylor (1808–1896), also of Irish stock. Until the age of fifteen ...

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G. J. Holyoake

revised by Philip S. Bagwell

Edmondson, Thomas (1792–1851), inventor of ticket-printing machinery, was born at Lancaster on 30 June 1792. The son of Quaker parents, John and Jane Edmondson, trunk manufacturers, he was a brother of George Edmondson. He was educated at Ackworth School, Yorkshire, a Quaker institution. In his youth he displayed great aptitude for mechanical invention; and his mother, seeing that he could never be kept out of mischief, taught him knitting to keep him quiet and useful. He became a journeyman cabinet-maker with the firm of ...

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Gestetner, David (1854–1939), inventor of duplicating machinery and industrialist, was born on 31 March 1854 in Csorna, Hungary, the first son of the four children of Sigmond Gestetner, a small businessman, and his wife, Theresa Figdor. He left school at the age of thirteen and in 1871 moved to ...

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Hall, Samuel (bap. 1782, d. 1863), cotton spinner and engineer, was baptized on 17 March 1782 at Basford, Nottinghamshire, the second son of Robert Hall (1754–1827), cotton manufacturer and bleacher, and his wife, Ann. Marshall Hall, the physiologist, was his younger brother. In 1813 ...

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Hargreaves, James (bap. 1721, d. 1778), inventor of the spinning jenny, was born in Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, and baptized at Church Kirk on 8 January 1721. His exact birthplace is unknown, and apart from the fact that he became a hand-loom weaver, little has been discovered of his early life. His parents had one other child, ...

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Heathcoat, John (1783–1861), inventor of the bobbin net machine and lace manufacturer, was born at Duffield, near Derby, on 7 August 1783, the son of Francis Heathcote (or Heathcoat), a farmer and grazier, and his wife Elizabeth née Burton. The family moved to ...

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John Heathcoat (1783–1861) by William Holl ? National Portrait Gallery, London