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John Clark 1785 - 1853

John Clark,(1785-1853) was born 21 November at Greinton, the eldest son of Thomas Clark and Mary Metford and was a brother of Thomas Clark, the botanist. He was a grocer and later printer by profession.

He was educated at Compton School, near Sherborne,and was apprenticed to Joseph Metford of Glastonbury, shop-keeper and stocking manufacturer. He moved to Bridgwater in 1809 and set himself up as a grocer and later printer.

He discovered a method of making cloth waterproof. In his patent (3718 of 1813), he was described as an upholsterer. He is reputed to have sold it to Charles Macintosh for £40. He devised a fire-escape, air beds, an economising grate, and a printing device for the blind to write messages

Clark spent 13 years of his life building a machine for turning out Latin hexameter verse. It was exhibited in the Egyptian Hall in London in 1843, and survives in the Museum at Clarks of Street.

Clark had a gift of writing poetry and wrote a lengthy continuation of Byron's Don Juan: Canto xvii Published by the editor; and sold by the booksellers in town and country. Printed by John Coate, Huish Episcopi, Langport; and William Cass, Bridgwater., 1827 Length 32 pages.

He wrote The Avalonian Guide to the Town of Glastonbury and its environs, that was published in six editions between 1810 and 1839.

Clark died 23 May 1853


R. Clark, Somerset Anthology, 1975, pp 96-102, 111-5

Edward H. Milligan, Biographical Dictionary of British Quakers in Commerce and Industry, 1775-1920,,2007, p 106

© A P Woolrich 2011 All rights reserved. Webpage 26 January 2011

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