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British Industrial History

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John Jacob Holtzapffel

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John Jacob Holtzapffel (1768-1835) of Holtzapffel and Deyerlein and Holtzapffel and Co

1768 Holtzapffel was born and lived in Strasbourg (then part of France) where his father trained him as a turner.[1] [2]

He moved to London in 1792 and worked for two years in the instrument workshop of Jesse Ramsden (1762-1800).

1794 He formed a partnership with Francis Rousset, working as mathematical turners, at Brewer Street, London. The partnership didn't last long. The terms of the agreement forbade Holtzapffel from setting up as a turner.[3]

1794 October 19th. Married Ann Eckstein at St. Andrew, Holborn.

1795 He started a business as Lathe and Tool manufacturer. The first recorded lathe was sold to Mr Crisp in June.[4]

He is credited with introducing cast iron lathe headstocks. There's no indication when the first was made.

c1797 Birth of daughter Ann Caroline (married Jacob Erat in 1825)

1798 He is also credited with the introduction of cast iron lathe beds. The first recorded example was lathe no. 50, sold in July.[5] Before the introduction of the planing machine, the shears had to be made accurate with chisels, files, and scrapers.

1800 He wrote an Inventory of the company in December.[6] It shows that accurate work was produced by manual skill, fitted rather than measured. Making gun cleaning rods was a major sideline.

From 1795 to 1803, the firm produced and sold 385 lathes, including Holtzapffel's first rose engine lathe in 1797.

1804 Formed a partnership with his assistant John George Deyerlein, conducting business under the name Holtzapffel and Deyerlein.[7]

1804 January 11th. Birth of son John Frederick Holtzapffel at St. Martin in the Fields

1805 Birth of son Charles Holtzapffel

1826 Deyerlein dies and Charles Holtzapffel joins his father in the business

1835 Died

1835 April 12th. Buried at St. Andrew, Holborn.

1848 Marriage of his daughter. 'At Saint Marylebone, Stephen Siding, jun. Esq. of Clement's-lane, Lombard-street, to Julia Louisa, youngest daughter of the late John Jacob Holtzapffel, Esq. of Long-acre and Charing-cross.'[8]


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Sources of Information

  1. From a note in a cashbook held by Guildhall Library, MS21520.
  2. From Jean-Daniel's (John Jacob's brother) journal.
  3. Partnership Agreement at London Metropolitan Archives CLC/B/121 MS21517.
  4. Holtzapffel Register of Lathes, London Metropolitan Archives CLC/B/121 MS09475.
  5. Holtz Register of Lathes.
  6. London Metropolitan Archives CLC/B/121 MS21518.
  7. Deyerlein's position in the company is uncertain. He was clearly the most skilled employee. It's possible he joined the company at the start, in 1795. His metalworking skills may have been essential to the company. It's possible he invested in the company from the start.
  8. Oxford Journal - Saturday 08 April 1848