William Cookworthy

Infobox Scientist
name = William Cookworthy
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caption = William Cookworthy
birth_date = 12 April, 1705
birth_place = Kingsbridge, Devon
death_date = 17 October, 1780
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nationality = England
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field = Pharmacy
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William Cookworthy (12 April, 1705 – 17 October, 1780) was an English Quaker Minister, a successful Pharmacist and an innovator in several fields of technology.

Parents, birth, siblings and early life

He was born of Quaker parents in Kingsbridge, Devon on 12 April 1705. His father, also called William, was a weaver and his mother was Edith, the daughter of John and Margaret Debell of St Martins by Looe in Cornwall. They had married in 1704. Their children were:
* William - 1704
* Sarah - 1706
* Jacob - 1709
* Susannah - 1711
* Mary - 1714
* Philip - 1716
* Benjamin - 1717William was a bright child but his education was halted when his father died on 22 October 1718 and the family's investment in the South Sea Company failed in the autumn of 1720.

William had been offered an apprenticeship, at no cost, by the Bevan Brothers, two Quaker apothecaries, with a successful business in London [Silvanus and Timothy Bevan] . As the family had no spare money, William walked to London to take up the offer and, eventually, successfully completed the apprenticeship.


The Bevans set him up in business in Plymouth, where he was extremely successful. He brought his brothers Philip and Benjamin into the partnership. He bought out the Bevans' interest in 1745.


In 1835, he married Sarah Berry, a Quaker from Wellington in Somerset.They had five daughters:
* Lydia - 1736
* Sarah - 1738
* Mary - 1740
* Elizabeth & Susannah (twins) - 1743



He discovered china clay in Cornwall and devised a way of making porcelain, which previously was imported from China.

Lighthouse engineering

He was also an associate of John Smeaton, who lodged at his house when he was engaged in building the third Eddystone Lighthouse (1756-1759). Cookworthy helped Smeaton with the development of hydraulic lime, which was essential to the successful building of the lighthouseFact|date=March 2008.

Dietary advice

He advised naval officers that scurvey might be prevented and treated by supplying crews with fresh fruit and vegetables, and in their absence, sauerkraut (rich in vitamin c).


In 1767 Cookworthy, in conjunction with Rev Thomas Hartley, translated Emanuel Swedenborg's theological works, "The Doctrine of Life", "Treatise on Influx", and "Heaven and Hell", from Latin into English.

His initial reaction to Swedenborg's works was one of disgust, but with persistence, he was convinced of their merits and was a persuasive advocate. Hartley and Cookworthy later visited Swedenborg at his lodgings in Clerkenwell shortly before Swedenborg's death.

Porcelain factory

In 1768 he founded a works at Plymouth for the production of Plymouth Porcelain [ [http://www.kalendar.demon.co.uk/cookworthy.htm Three Centuries of Ceramic Art in Bristol - The Story of Bristol Pottery and Porcelain: William Cookworthy] (accessed 8 March 2008)] .


It is also known that prior to his departure, Captain James Cook and Captain John Jervis, together with the naturalists Dr Solander and Sir Joseph Banks, were guests of Cookworthy.


id = PMID:11639736
url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11639736
first=F H
publication-date=1993 Dec
title=William Cookworthy, the Bristol connection.
periodical=Pharmaceutical historian

id = PMID:11634368
url= http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11634368
first=A D
publication-date=1979 Dec
title=William Cookworthy, an 18th century polymath.
periodical=Pharmaceutical historian


*"Early New Church Worthies" by the Rev Dr Jonathon Bayley
*"Cookworthy's Plymouth and Bristol Porcelain" by F.Severne Mackenna(1947) published by F.Lewis
*"William Cookworthy 1705-1780: a study of the pioneer of true porcelain manufacture in England" by John Penderill-Church, Truro, Bradford Barton (1972).

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  • William Cookworthy — (* 12. April 1705 in Kingsbridge, Devon, England; † 17. Oktober 1780 in Plymouth) war ein englischer Apotheker, Chemiker und Erfinder. Er gilt als Pionier sowohl der Kaolin Industrie in Cornwall und Devon als auch der …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Cookworthy, William — SUBJECT AREA: Domestic appliances and interiors [br] b. 1705 Kings bridge, Devon, England d. 16 October 1780 Plymouth, England [br] English pioneer of porcelain manufacture in England. [br] The family fortunes having been extinguished by the… …   Biographical history of technology

  • Cookworthy, William — ▪ English porcelain manufacturer born April 12, 1705, Kingsbridge, Devonshire, Eng. died Oct. 17, 1780, Plymouth, Devonshire       china manufacturer who first produced an English true hard paste porcelain similar to that of the Chinese and… …   Universalium

  • pottery — /pot euh ree/, n., pl. potteries. 1. ceramic ware, esp. earthenware and stoneware. 2. the art or business of a potter; ceramics. 3. a place where earthen pots or vessels are made. [1475 85; POTTER1 + Y3] * * * I One of the oldest and most… …   Universalium

  • List of people from Plymouth — People from the English city of Plymouth are known as Plymothians or less formally as Janners.[1] The definition of Janner is described as a person from Devon, deriving from Cousin Jan (the Devon form of John), but more particularly in naval… …   Wikipedia

  • Plymouth porcelain — was a hard paste porcelain made in the English county of Devon in the 18th century [See Cookworthy s Plymouth and Bristol Porcelain by F.Severne Mackenna(1947) published by F.Lewis and William Cookworthy 1705 1780: a study of the pioneer of true… …   Wikipedia

  • Bristol blue glass — has been made in Bristol, England since the 17th century. History During the late 1700s Richard Champion, a Bristol merchant and potter, making porcelain, was working with a chemist, William Cookworthy. [cite web… …   Wikipedia

  • Bristol ware — ▪ porcelain  hard paste porcelain products of the Coxside porcelain manufactory that were produced between 1768 and 1781.       The Coxside porcelain concern, the first factory to manufacture hard paste porcelain in England, was started in… …   Universalium

  • Plymouth porcelain — ▪ pottery       first hard paste, or true, porcelain made in England, produced at a factory in Plymouth, Devon, from 1768 to 1770. Formulated by a chemist, William Cookworthy (Cookworthy, William), it is distinguishable from the Bristol porcelain …   Universalium

  • Silvanus Bevan — (1691 8 June 1765) was born into a prosperous Welsh Quaker family. He left Swansea as a young man and moved to Cheapside, in London. He obtained his Freedom from the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries in 1715 having served his seven years’… …   Wikipedia

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