John Wilkinson

1728 (Clifton, England) – 1808 (Bradley)

Wilkinson’s technological advances made him an influential pioneer of the use of cast iron, and a significant developer of precision machine tools. He was a generous supporter of Priestley (married to Wilkinson’s sister), and had a close working relationship with Watt and Boulton, until Watt discovered he was pirating his own steam-engine designs. He supported Telford, and worked with Darby in the construction of the world’s first iron bridge. Young joined Watt and Wilkinson to help choose the design for a new London Bridge. While many of Wilkinson’s innovations were widely influential, his cast-iron shoes did not catch on.