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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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Lofting, John (c. 1659–1742), merchant and manufacturer of engines, was a native of the Netherlands, one of at least two brothers. He later recorded that he 'lived seven years at Amsterdam with one of the masters of the fire engines there, and is thoroughly acquainted with the methods practised in those parts in quenching of fires...