Joseph Gillott - Encyclopedia




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JOSEPH GILLOTT (1799-1873), English pen-maker, was born at Sheffield on the 11th of October 1799. For some time he was a working cutler there, but in 1821 removed to Birmingham, where he found employment in the "steel toy" trade, the technical name for the manufacture of steel buckles, chains and light ornamental steel-work generally. About 1830 he turned his attention to the manufacture of steel pens by machinery, and in 1831 patented a process for placing elongated points on the nibs of pens. Subsequently he invented other improvements, getting rid of the hardness and lack of flexibility, which had been a serious defect in nibs, by cutting, in addition to the centre slit, side slits, and cross grinding the points. By 1859 he had built up a very large business. Gillott was a liberal art-patron, and one of the first to recognize the merits of J. M. W. Turner. He died at Birmingham on the 5th of January 1873. His collection of pictures, sold after his death, realized 170,000.

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