name = Joseph Gillott
image_size = 175px
caption = Bust of Gillott, in the foyer of The Council House, Birmingham.
birth_date = Birth date|1799|10|11
birth_place = Sheffield, England
death_date = Death date and age|1873|01|05|1799|10|11
Key Hill Cemetery
known_for = Pen maker
children = Joseph junior
Gillott was born in
Sheffield. For some time he was a working cutlerthere, but in 1821 he moved 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 which continues today as Mitchell & Gillott (following a merger with the firm of William Mitchell).
Gillott was a liberal art-patron, and one of the first to recognize the merits of
J.M.W. Turner. He died in Birmingham and was buried in Key Hill Cemetery. ["Official Guide to the Birmingham General Cemetery", E H Manning, Hudson & Son, Livery Street, Birmingham, 1915. Birmingham Public Libraries (Reference, Local Studies, B.Coll 45.5)] His collection of pictures, sold after his death, realized £170,000. A white marble bust of Gillott stands in the main foyer of Birmingham Council House, and may be viewed by members of the public.
His son, also Joseph, continued the family business of manufacturing steel pen knibs and continued to live in the Birmingham area, close to the large factory in the
Jewellery Quarterknown as the 'Victoria Works' on Graham Street. The family home for many years was 'The Grove' on Westbourne Road in Edgbaston and this was were Joseph junior grew up. In later years, Gillott (jnr) purchased a vast estate in the village of Catherine-de-Barnes, Solihullon which he built New Berry Hall, a large gothic mansion with North and South Lodges. He also built the school in the village.
* [http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~thegrove/gillott.html Gillott and his factory]
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