William Taylor (1865-1937)
William Taylor was born in Hackney in 1865. He served his apprenticeship
from 1880 to 1885 with Paterson and Cooper, electrical engineers and scientific
instrument makers. He also studied electrical engineering at the City and
Guilds of London Technical College at Finsbury.
After further experience with Paterson and Cooper, mainly in the design and
installation of electric lighting plants, he joined his brother, an optician, in
Leicester. They founded the company of Taylor, Taylor and Hobson in 1886.
William’s intention had always been to apply mechanical engineering principles
to the different processes involved in making lenses. He made a comprehensive
study of these methods, and embodied the results in production machines of his
own design. Some of his earliest inventions were related to engraving machines
and appliances for the mathematical division of lines and circles. His most
important work was relating to the screw thread. He was made a member of the
Engineering Standards Committee on screw threads and limit gauges and of the
British Association Small Screw Gauge Committee.
During the First World War, Taylor designed machines for the accurate
polishing of lenses, and made it possible to produce large numbers of such
lenses for binoculars. He also devised new methods of lens manufacture for
aerial photography, and produced lenses for range finders, gun sights, and
telescopes. He was awarded the OBE for his services. After the war he was
responsible for the manufacture of special photographic lenses for cinematograph
cameras. He was known as an expert in the field, and was often consulted on
He served on the Council of the National Physical Laboratory and on the
Sectional Committees on Optical Instruments and Optical Instrument Standards of
the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research. He was made a Fellow of
the Royal Society in 1934.
He was President of the IMechE in 1932, and was made an Honorary Life Member
He died on 28 February 1937.