Those of you who are regular travellers up Market Hill have probably noticed a new Public House. It is called the Joseph Bramah but I wonder if any of the regulars, or come to think of it, anyone in Barnsley have ever heard of him or knows who he was.
Joseph Bramah was born in 1748 in the village of Stainborough near Barnsley, the eldest of five children he was destined to work on his father's farm. In what little spare time he had, he made high quality musical instruments but when he was 16 years old, he had an accident to his ankle which made him lame and made it impossible for him to continue work on the farm. While he was confined at home it occurred to him that he was now of no use on the farm so he decided to become a mechanic instead. Accordingly, he was apprenticed to the village carpenter and by the time his apprenticeship was finished had acquired such skill that he determined to try his fortune in London. Despite his lame leg, he made the journey to London on foot and he soon found work with a cabinet maker. After some time, he set up in business and it was then that Bramah made his first successful invention, the modern water closet which he patented in 1778. Bramah then turned his attention to locks. Locks had been in general use since the early days of the Egyptians, but they had always been, and still were, of such an imperfect character that they could be picked very easily.
In 1784 he patented his lock which for many years had the reputation of being absolutely unpickable. He offered £200 to anyone who could pick his lock and although many tried it - it was not until 1851 that the money was won by an American who took him 16 days to do it! In 1785 he invented his Hydrostatic Machine. This name came into practical use but it was the forerunner of his Hydrostatic or Hydraulic Press which he patented in 1795. In 1797 he invented a beer-pump, and then a quill-sharpener. Bramah never seemed to be at a loss for inventions. Thus, when the Bank of England asked him to construct a machine for more quickly and accurately numbering bank notes, he proceeded to invent it in one month.
He then turned his attention to the writing implements of the day and invented a machine for making quill pens which continued in use until the steel nib was invented.
The last patent (at one time he held more than 20) of his versatile genius was that taken out in 1814 for the purpose of applying Roman cement to timber to prevent dry rot. Joseph Bramah should deservedly be remembered and admired as one of the earliest mechanical geniuses of his day but sadly due to anti-British, self loathing credentials of marxist-liberals that run our educational system it is doubtful that any pupil in Barnsley will ever know who he was. They would obviously much rather our future generations grow up with no knowledge of their own history or culture just in case the flood of immigrants pouring in from countries whom have more or less contributed nothing to the civilised world start to get jealous and upset.