Joseph Moxon

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death_date = death date and age|1691|02|28|1627|08|08
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Joseph Moxon (8 August 1627 - February 1691 [ ['Moxon') Royal Society archives] state his death date as 28 February; the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography states that he was buried on 15 February] ), Hydrographer to Charles II, was an English printer of mathematical books and maps, a maker of globes and mathematical instruments, and mathematical lexicographer. He produced the first English language dictionary devoted to mathematics. In November 1678 he became the first tradesman to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Between the ages of around 9 and 11, Moxon accompanied his father, James Moxon, to Delft and Rotterdam where he was printing English Bibles. It was at this time that Moxon learned the basics of printing. After the First English Civil War the family returned to London, and Moxon and his older brother James started a printing business which specialized in the publication of Puritan texts, with the notable exception of "A Book of Drawing, Limning, Washing or Colouring of Mapps and Prints" of 1647 which was produced for Thomas Jenner, a seller of maps.

In 1652 Moxon visited Amsterdam and commissioned the engraving of globe-printing plates, and by the end of the year was selling large celestial and terrestrial globes in a new business venture. He specialized in the printing of maps and charts, and in the production of globes, and mathematical instruments made of paper.

In January 1662 he was appointed hydrographer to the King, despite his Puritan background. Moxon's 1683 book "Mechanick Exercises" provides descriptions of contemporary printing methods that have proved useful for bibliographers.

Moxon theorized that the Arctic was ice free, and warmed by twenty-four hours of sunlight in the summer. He also speculated that Arctic ice was created near land, and that if one sailed far enough northwards, one would be free of northern land masses and, subsequently, ice.

These views led him to believe that the Northwest passage would be found by sailing near the North Pole. These views later influenced Daines Barrington and Samuel Engel, whose refinement of Moxon's ideas would in turn influence Captain Cook's Third Voyage in search of the Northwest Passage.


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