Birthplace: Stainborough, Yorkshire, England
Location of death: London, England
Cause of death: unspecified
Race or Ethnicity: White
Executive summary: Inventor of the hydraulic press
English engineer and inventor, the son of a farmer, and born at Stainborough, Yorkshire, on the 13th of April 1748. Incapacitated for agricultural labor by an accident to his ankle, on the expiry of his indentures he worked as a cabinet-maker in London, where he subsequently started business on his own account. His first patent for some improvements in the mechanism of water closets was taken out in 1778. In 1784 he patented the lock known by his name, and in 1795 he invented the hydraulic press. For an important part of this, the collar which secured water-tightness between the plunger and the cylinder in which it worked, he was indebted to Henry Maudslay, one of his workmen, who also helped him in designing machines for the manufacture of his locks. In 1806 he devised for the Bank of England a numerical printing machine, specially adapted for banknotes. Other inventions of his included the beer-engine for drawing beer, machinery for making aerated waters, planing machines, and improvements in steam engines and boilers and in papermaking machinery. In 1785 he suggested the possibility of screw propulsion for ships, and in 1802 the hydraulic transmission of power; and he constructed waterworks at Norwich in 1790 and 1793. He died in London on the 9th of December 1814.
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