John Whitehurst: Innovator, Scientist, Geologist and Clockmaker

Author(s): Maxwell Craven 

ISBN: 9781781552650
£28.00 £40.00
A fascinating and detailed account of a truly remarkable engineer, inventor, and clockmaker from Derby.
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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 and angle barometers, 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.

BOOK ISBN 9781781552650
FORMAT 248 x 172 mm
BINDING Hardback
PAGES 320 pages
PUBLICATION DATE 15 December 2015
ILLUSTRATIONS 270 illustrations



Maxwell Craven was born in London in 1945 and educated in the West Country. He first came to Derby in 1966, and after five years in London, returned in 1973. After seven years at Derby Museum, he was appointed Keeper of Antiquities in 1982, a post he still holds. For over twenty years, he has lectured on Derby and Derbyshire-related topics, and has produced more than fifteen books, including The Illustrated History of Derby (1988), A Derbyshire Armoury (1991), and ‒ with his friend and former colleague Michael Stanley ‒ The Derbyshire Country House (1981, 1984, 1991). Craven and his wife Carole live in central Derby, with their daughter Cornelia and rather a lot of books.