Famous 18th Century British Inventors & Discoverers

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 1 
George Stephenson
(Father of Railways)
George Stephenson
5
Birthdate: June 9, 1781
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Wylam
Died: August 12, 1848

George Stephenson was a British mechanical and civil engineer. Stephenson is credited with pioneering rail transport which is widely regarded as one of the most prominent inventions of the 19th century. Regarded as the Father of Railways, George Stephenson is also credited with developing the standard rail gauge which is used by several railways around the world.

 2 
Charles Babbage
(Father of the computer)
Charles Babbage
4
Birthdate: December 26, 1791
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: October 18, 1871
Charles Babbage, or the “father of the computer,” invented the prototype of the world’s first mechanical calculator, the Difference Engine. With the help of mathematician Ada Lovelace, he also created the Analytical Engine, the first general-purpose computer and a precursor of the modern computer, with its looping and sequential mechanism.
 3 
Richard Trevithick
(Pioneer of steam-powered road & rail transport)
Richard Trevithick
3
Birthdate: April 13, 1771
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Tregajorran, Cornwall, England
Died: April 22, 1833

Richard Trevithick was a British mining engineer and inventor. A pioneer of rail transport and steam-powered vehicles, Trevithick is credited with developing the first working railway steam locomotive and the first high-pressure steam engine. He was a highly respected figure in the fields of engineering and mining during the peak of his career.

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 4 
Richard Arkwright
(English Industrialist and Inventor)
Richard Arkwright
3
Birthdate: December 23, 1732
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Preston, Lancashire, England
Died: August 3, 1792

Initially a wig-maker, Richard Arkwright later grew an interest in the spinning mechanism, building the Arkwright’s water frame, which used water power to produce cotton yarn. He soon became a name to reckon with in the textile industry, with many mills to his name. He was knighted for his feats.

 5 
Humphry Davy
(Inventor of Davy Lamp)
Humphry Davy
5
Birthdate: December 17, 1778
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Penzance, England
Died: May 29, 1829

Best remembered for his invention of the Davy lamp, a safety lamp for miners, Humphry Davy initially aspired to be a doctor but later deviated to chemistry. The Copley Medal winner had co-founded the Zoological Society of London. He also excelled in writing poetry and loved fishing.

 6 
Henry Shrapnel
(Inventor)
Henry Shrapnel
3
Birthdate: June 3, 1761
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bradford-on-Avon, England
Died: March 13, 1842
 7 
David Brewster
(Scientist)
David Brewster
3
Birthdate: December 11, 1781
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Jedburgh, Scotland
Died: February 10, 1868

David Brewster was a British scientist, inventor, and author. He conducted many experiments in physical optics, especially concerned with the study of the polarization of light. Fellow scientist William Whewell dubbed him the "father of modern experimental optics." He was also a pioneer in photography and invented an improved stereoscope. He wrote numerous works of popular science as well. 

 8 
James Hargreaves
(Weaver, carpenter and inventor who was was one of three men responsible for the mechanisation of spinning)
James Hargreaves
3
Birthdate: December 13, 1720
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire, England
Died: April 22, 1778
 9 
Edmund Cartwright
3
Birthdate: April 24, 1743
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Nottinghamshire
Died: October 30, 1823
 10 
Benjamin Thompson
(Physicist and Inventor)
Benjamin Thompson
3
Birthdate: March 26, 1753
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Woburn, Massachusetts, United States
Died: August 21, 1814
Sir William Congreve, 2nd Baronet
1
Birthdate: May 20, 1772
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 16, 1828
 12 
Samuel Crompton
(Inventor)
Samuel Crompton
3
Birthdate: December 3, 1753
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Firwood, England
Died: June 26, 1827
 13 
Joseph Bramah
(Civil engineer, Engineer)
Joseph Bramah
2
Birthdate: April 13, 1748
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Barnsley
Died: December 9, 1814

Joseph Bramah started his career as a cabinet maker and over time, revolutionized the lock-making industry with his pick-proof locks. Along with blacksmith Henry Maudslay, he changed the course of 19th-century British manufacturing. Best known for his hydraulic press, he also built water closets in Queen Victoria’s home.

 14 
Peter Mark Roget
(Lexicographer)
Peter Mark Roget
2
Birthdate: January 18, 1779
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Soho
Died: September 12, 1869
 15 
John Wilkinson
(Pioneer in cast iron manufacturing)
John Wilkinson
3
Birthdate: 1728 AD
Birthplace: Bridgefoot
Died: July 14, 1808
 16 
Henry Maudslay
(English Machine Tool Innovator, Tool and Die Maker Who is Considered a Founding Father of Machine Tool Technology)
Henry Maudslay
3
Birthdate: August 22, 1771
Sun Sign: Leo
Birthplace: Woolwich, London, England
Died: February 14, 1831

While he initially apprenticed under a lock maker, he later joined the factory of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, where he invented scores of machines, the most notable of them being the metal lathe. He also developed plane surfaces to aid his workmen at his factory. He was married to inventor Joseph Bramah's housemaid.

 17 
Thomas Earnshaw
(Watchmaker)
Thomas Earnshaw
2
Birthdate: February 4, 1749
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Ashton-under-Lyne, England
Died: March 1, 1829
 18 
William Sturgeon
(Physicist, Inventor)
William Sturgeon
2
Birthdate: May 22, 1783
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Whittington
Died: December 4, 1850

William Sturgeon was an English physicist and inventor. He invented the first practical English electric motor and made the first electromagnets. A self-taught genius, he became a lecturer at the East India Company's Military Seminary at Addiscombe, Surrey. Along with John Peter Gassiot and Charles Vincent Walker, he was instrumental in founding the London Electrical Society in 1837. 

 19 
William Thornton
(British-American Physician, Inventor, Painter and Architect Who Designed the 'United States Capitol')
William Thornton
3
Birthdate: May 20, 1759
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands, England
Died: March 28, 1828

British-American William Thornton was initially trained in medicine and that is when he began drawing and sketching as part of his medical notes. He later won a contest for the design of the Library Company of Philadelphia's new hall. He also designed the Capitol in Washington, D.C.

 20 
Percivall Pott
2
Birthdate: January 6, 1714
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: London, England
Died: December 22, 1788
 21 
Henry Cort
(Ironmaster)
Henry Cort
2
Birthdate: 1740 AD
Birthplace: Lancaster, England
Died: May 23, 1800
 22 
Philip Astley
(Equestrian)
Philip Astley
4
Birthdate: January 8, 1742
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Newcastle-under-Lyme, England
Died: January 27, 1814
 23 
Thomas Hancock
(inventor, engineer)
Thomas Hancock
2
Birthdate: May 8, 1786
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Marlborough, Wiltshire
Died: March 26, 1865
 24 
Benjamin Huntsman
2
Birthdate: June 4, 1704
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Epworth, England
Died: June 20, 1776
 25 
Goldsworthy Gurney
1
Birthdate: February 14, 1793
Sun Sign: Aquarius
Birthplace: Treator, Padstow, England
Died: February 28, 1875
 26 
Richard Lovell Edgeworth
1
Birthdate: May 31, 1744
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Bath, England
Died: June 13, 1817
 27 
Matthew Murray
(British Engineer Known for Designing and Building the First Commercially Viable Steam Locomotive)
Matthew Murray
1
Birthdate: 1765 AD
Birthplace: Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died: February 20, 1826

After quitting school at 14, Matthew Murray apprenticed to be a blacksmith or a whitesmith. He then worked for a Leeds-based flax spinner and later established his own factory, developing innovations in the domain of steam engines. His locomotives for collieries were the first to be commercially successful.

 28 
Eleanor Coade
(Businesswoman)
Eleanor Coade
2
Birthdate: June 3, 1733
Sun Sign: Gemini
Birthplace: Exeter, Devon, England
Died: November 16, 1821

Eleanor Coade was a British businesswoman known for her astute entrepreneurial, business, and marketing skills. She manufactured Neoclassical statues, architectural decorations, and garden ornaments. She created stoneware for many famous buildings, including St George's Chapel, The Royal Pavilion, Brighton, and Carlton House. She was one of the few women to run a highly successful business in the Georgian era. 

 29 
Alexander Gordon Laing
1
Birthdate: December 27, 1794
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Edinburgh, Scotland
Died: September 26, 1826
 30 
John Byrom
1
Birthdate: February 29, 1692
Sun Sign: Pisces
Birthplace: Manchester, England
Died: September 26, 1763
 31 
Jesse Ramsden
(Mathematician)
Jesse Ramsden
1
Birthdate: October 6, 1735
Sun Sign: Libra
Birthplace: Salterhebble, Halifax, England
Died: November 5, 1800
 32 
William Nicholson
(Chemist and inventor)
William Nicholson
1
Birthdate: December 13, 1753
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: London, England
Died: May 21, 1815

William Nicholson is best remembered for discovering the electrolysis of water, which revolutionized the chemical industry. His inventions also include his own hydrometer and launched the first independent science journal. Inspired by his writer friend Thomas Holcroft, he also penned An Introduction to Natural Philosophy, his best-known written work.

 33 
Thomas Mudge
(Watchmaker)
Thomas Mudge
1
Birthdate: 1715 AD
Birthplace: Exeter, England
Died: November 14, 1794
 34 
Alexander John Forsyth
1
Birthdate: December 28, 1768
Sun Sign: Capricorn
Birthplace: Belhevie, Scotland
Died: June 11, 1843
 35 
Ebenezer Kinnersley
1
Birthdate: November 30, 1711
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: England
Died: July 4, 1778
 36 
John Roebuck
(Inventor)
John Roebuck
3
Birthdate: 1718 AD
Birthplace: Sheffield, England
Died: July 17, 1794
 37 
John Wyatt
(Inventor)
John Wyatt
1
Birthdate: 1700
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Thickbroom, England
Died: November 29, 1766
 38 
Bryan Donkin
(Developer)
Bryan Donkin
2
Birthdate: March 22, 1768
Sun Sign: Aries
Birthplace: Sandree, England
Died: February 27, 1855
 39 
David Hartley, the Younger
(Politician and inventor)
David Hartley, the Younger
1
Birthdate: 1732 AD
Birthplace: Bath, England
Died: December 19, 1813
 40 
William Hedley
(Engineer)
William Hedley
1
Birthdate: July 13, 1779
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Newburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, England
Died: January 9, 1843
 41 
Arthur Woolf
(British Engineer Famous for Inventing a High-Pressure 'Compound Steam Engine')
Arthur Woolf
1
Birthdate: 1766
Sun Sign: Scorpio
Birthplace: Camborne, England
Died: October 16, 1837

British engineer Arthur Woolf was a pioneer of the compound steam engine. Starting his career as a carpenter, he later worked for Joseph Bramah. While working at a London brewery, he began working with steam power and ended up inventing the Woolf high-pressure compound engine, almost twice efficient as James Watt’s engine.

 42 
William Cockerill
1
Birthdate: 1759 AD
Birthplace: Lancashire, England
Died: 1832 AD
 43 
Jonathan Hornblower
1
Birthdate: July 5, 1753
Sun Sign: Cancer
Birthplace: Chacewater, England
Died: February 23, 1815
 44 
Thomas Boulsover
0
Birthdate: 1705 AD
Birthplace: Sheffield, England
Died: September 9, 1788
 45 
Chester Moore Hall
0
Birthdate: December 9, 1703
Sun Sign: Sagittarius
Birthplace: Leigh, Essex, England
Died: March 17, 1771
 46 
William Radcliffe
(British Inventor Who Known for His Innovations to 'Power Looms')
William Radcliffe
0
Birthdate: 1761 AD
Birthplace: Mellor, Derbyshire, England
Died: May 20, 1842

William Radcliffe had his own powerloom weaving factory and invented a machine for improving the quality of cloth, though his mill was later destroyed by the Luddites. His iconic essay on the new technology of weaving was later published as a significant treatise of the Industrial Revolution.

 47 
Daniel Quare
(Clockmaker)
Daniel Quare
0
Birthdate: 1648 AD
Birthplace: Somerset, England
Died: March 21, 1724
 48 
Gowin Knight
(Scientist)
Gowin Knight
0
Birthdate: September 10, 1713
Sun Sign: Virgo
Birthplace: Corringham, England
Died: June 8, 1772
 49 
Lionel Lukin
(Inventor)
Lionel Lukin
0
Birthdate: May 18, 1742
Sun Sign: Taurus
Birthplace: Great Dunmow, England
Died: February 16, 1834
 50 
Charles Chubb
(Businessman)
Charles Chubb
0
Birthdate: 1779 AD
Birthplace: Fordingbridge, England
Died: May 16, 1845