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Darwin Correspondence Project

Matthew Boulton


Manufacturer and entrepreneur. Joined his father’s steel-buckle manufactory in Birmingham at the age of seventeen, becoming sole proprietor in 1759. A founder member of the Lunar Society, which stimulated his interest in steam engines and cut-steel mounts for Josiah Wedgwood’s cameos. Built the Soho Manufactory in 1766, where he manufactured buttons, silver plate, and ormolu. Went into partnership with James Watt in 1775 to produce the steam engine patented by Watt, as well as other engines. Established a mint at the Soho Manufactory for the production of copper coinage for the government. Supplied the machinery for the imperial mint in St Petersburg and the new Royal Mint in London. FRS 1785.




ODNB: Oxford dictionary of national biography: from the earliest times to the year 2000. (Revised edition.) Edited by H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. 60 vols. and index. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2004.