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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

Article

Aveling, Thomas (1824–1882), engineer and manufacturer of steamrollers, was born at Elm, near Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, on 11 September 1824, the eldest of three sons of Thomas Aveling (1801–1835), a landowner, and his wife, Ann Hobson (1802–1873). The obstetric physician ...

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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, and baptized Gascoigne Baird at Bothkennar on 19 January 1767, one of the ten children of Nicol Baird, superintendent of the Firth and Clyde Canal...

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

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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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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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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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Holden, Sir Isaac, first baronet (1807–1897), inventor of a wool-combing machine, entrepreneur, and politician, was born on 7 May 1807 at Hurlet, near Paisley, the seventh child of Isaac Holden (d. 1826) and his wife, Alice, née Forrest. His father, a native of ...

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John Kay (1704–178081) by unknown engraver Science & Society Picture Library

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Kay, John (1704–1780/81), inventor of textile manufacturing machinery, was born at Park Farm in the township of Walmersley in the parish of Bury, Lancashire, on 16 July 1704, the fifth son of Robert Kay (1651–1704) and his wife, Ellen, née Entwistle, of Quarlton...

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Lee, William (d. 1614/15?), inventor of the stocking frame; little is known of his life. Tradition placed his birth in Calverton in Nottinghamshire (Thoroton, 3.42), but others believed him to be a native of Sussex (Lives, ed. Walker, 2.32). The former is more likely; many ...