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Lawrence Greatrake was born c.1759 in Hertfordshire, England.
1799 Emigrated to Philadelphia
He became Manager of Thomas and Joshua Gilpin's Brandywine Paper Mills in Delaware. c.1815-6 he returned to England to glean information about the John Dickinson and the Fourdrinier papermaking machines. It seems that Greatrake had once been a fellow apprentice with John Dickinson in the firm of Richardson and Harrison, stationers to the East India Company, and used his friendship in order to obtain details of his invention. With Greatrake's information, Thomas Gilpin developed a paper-making machine and claimed credit for it as his own invention.