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James Ferguson (1710–1776) by Robert Stewart, pubd 1776 (after John Townsend) © National Portrait Gallery, London

Article

Ferguson, James (1710–1776), lecturer on natural philosophy and inventor of scientific instruments, was born on 25 April 1710 at Core of Mayen, Rothiemay, Banffshire, the second of at least six children of John Ferguson, a farmworker renting a smallholding, and his wife, Elspeth Lobban...

Article

Hauksbee, Francis (1688–1763), instrument maker and lecturer on science, was born in April 1688 in London, the son of John Hauksbee of the Drapers' Company and his wife, Mary. He was the nephew of the instrument maker Francis Hauksbee the elder (d. 1713)...

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Benjamin Martin (bap. 1705, d. 1782) by unknown engraver, pubd 1785 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Martin, Benjamin (bap. 1705, d. 1782), lecturer on science and maker of scientific instruments, was baptized at Worplesdon, Surrey, on 1 March 1705, the third son of John Martin (d. 1731) of Broadstreet, who farmed near Worplesdon, and his wife, Jane. Nothing is known about his childhood; it is presumed that he spent his youth working on the land, during which period he acquired (apparently through extensive reading) knowledge of a wide range of subjects. In his late twenties he established a school at ...