24 Facts About Joseph Whitworth


Sir Joseph Whitworth, 1st Baronet was an English engineer, entrepreneur, inventor and philanthropist.


Joseph Whitworth created the Joseph Whitworth rifle, often called the "sharpshooter" because of its accuracy, which is considered one of the earliest examples of a sniper rifle.


Joseph Whitworth was created a baronet by Queen Victoria in 1869.


Joseph Whitworth was born in John Street, Stockport, Cheshire, where the Stockport Courthouse is today.


Joseph Whitworth was the son of Charles Whitworth, a teacher and Congregational minister, and at an early age developed an interest in machinery.


Joseph Whitworth was educated at Idle, near Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire; his aptitude for mechanics became apparent when he began work for his uncle.


The plan was that Joseph Whitworth would become a partner in the business.


Joseph Whitworth then moved to London where he found employment working for Henry Maudslay, the inventor of the screw-cutting lathe, alongside such people as James Nasmyth and Richard Roberts.


Joseph Whitworth developed great skill as a mechanic while working for Maudslay, developing various precision machine tools and introducing a box casting scheme for the iron frames of machine tools that simultaneously increased their rigidity and reduced their weight.


Joseph Whitworth returned to Openshaw, Manchester, in 1833 to start his own business manufacturing lathes and other machine tools, which became renowned for their high standard of workmanship.


Joseph Whitworth is attributed with the introduction of the thou in 1844.


Joseph Whitworth received many awards for the excellence of his designs and was financially very successful.


Joseph Whitworth supplied four six-ton blocks of stone from Darley Dale quarry, for the lions of St George's Hall in Liverpool.


Joseph Whitworth was conferred with Honorary Membership of the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland in 1859.


In January 1887 at the age of 83, Sir Joseph Whitworth died in Monte Carlo where he had travelled in the hope of improving his health.


Joseph Whitworth was buried at St Helen's Church, Darley Dale, Derbyshire.


Joseph Whitworth directed his trustees to spend his fortune on philanthropic projects, which they still do to this day.


Joseph Whitworth was president of the Whitworth Institute from 1890 to 1895 and was much interested in the medical and other charities of Manchester, especially the Cancer Pavilion and Home, of whose committee he was chairman from 1890 to 1893, and which later became the Christie Hospital.


In recognition of his achievements and contributions to education in Manchester, the Joseph Whitworth Building on the University of Manchester's Main Campus is named in his honour.


Joseph Whitworth popularised a method of producing accurate flat surfaces during the 1830s, using engineer's blue and scraping techniques on three trial surfaces.


Joseph Whitworth's next innovation, in 1840, was a measuring technique called "end measurements" that used a precision flat plane and measuring screw, both of his own invention.


Joseph Whitworth was commissioned by the War Department of the British government to design a replacement for the calibre.


The Joseph Whitworth rifle had a smaller bore of 0.451 inches which was hexagonal, fired an elongated hexagonal bullet and had a faster rate of twist rifling [one turn in twenty inches] than the Enfield, and its performance during tests in 1859 was superior to the Enfield's in every way.


An unspecified number of Joseph Whitworth rifles found their way to the Confederate states in the American Civil War, where they were called "Joseph Whitworth Sharpshooters".