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Bickford, William (bap. 1774, d. 1834), currier and inventor of the safety fuse, was baptized in Ashburton, Devon, on 23 January 1774, the son of William and Mary Beckford. He was in business as a currier, dressing and colouring tanned leather, first rather unsuccessfully in ...

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Bramah [Bramma], Joseph (1749–1814), engineer and inventor of locks, was born on 2 April 1749 at Stainborough Lane Farm, near Barnsley, Yorkshire; he was the second son in the family of three sons and two daughters of Joseph Bramma (1713–1800), a farmer, and his wife, ...

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Crowther, James (1768–1847), botanist and porter, was born on 24 June 1768 in a cellar near the Wheat Sheaf inn, Deansgate, Manchester, the youngest of the seven children of Richard Crowther, a labourer, and his wife, Hannah. He attended three schools between the ages of six and nine before starting work as a draw-boy in petticoat weaving. For most of his working life he was employed as a porter, first in ...

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Gibson, Samuel (1793–1849), smith and naturalist, was born at Sowerby Bridge, Yorkshire. His father was a whitesmith and Methodist preacher at Butt Green chapel. Gibson attended Sunday school briefly before beginning to work as his father's apprentice. He soon became a skilled whitesmith and mechanic, and in 1814 was employed by a maker of spindles and flies in nearby ...

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William Sturgeon (1783–1850) by unknown engraver © National Portrait Gallery, London

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William Gee

revised by Frank A. J. L. James

Sturgeon, William (1783–1850), electrician and scientific lecturer, was born on 22 May 1783 at Whittington, Lancashire, near Kirkby Lonsdale, the only son of John Sturgeon, shoemaker, and his wife, Betsy Adcock (d. 1793), the daughter of a small shopkeeper. All accounts of his father, who had migrated from ...