John Whitehurst: Innovator, Scientist, Geologist and Clockmaker

Author: Maxwell Craven

John Whitehurst was one of a select number of eighteenth-century men of science whose minds were as remarkable for their breadth as for their depth of knowledge. Although primarily remembered today as a notable clockmaker from Derby - the town in which he lived and worked for over forty years - Whitehurst was also an instrument-maker, mechanical engineer, hydraulicist, home-improver, meteorologist, geologist, and contributor to the development of the steam engine.

John Whitehurst: Innovator, Scientist, Geologist and Clockmaker presents a brief life of this talented and engaging man, drawing together his various achievements and his wide circle of acquaintances ? many of whom were fellow members of the influential Lunar Society. Much of his work has left an intangible legacy, except, of course, for his clocks and instruments. This side of Whitehurst has been described in great detail, as well as the clock-making of his family and his successors. Details are given of the many types of clocks that came from the Whitehurst workshops, from complex designs conceived for Matthew Boulton to simple hook-and-spike wall and watchmen clocks. The book's appendices include details on all known Whitehurst turret clocks, its known numbered clocks, and the firm's apprentices.

Since his death just over two centuries ago, his other accomplishments have been largely neglected, and this book rehabilitates the reputation of a man whose ideas greatly influence the progress of scientific thought in the eighteenth century.