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British Industrial History

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John Gamble

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John Gamble was the brother-in-law of St. Léger Didot, the owner of a paper mill at Essonnes in France where Louis-Nicolas Robert designed and built the first 'endless wire' paper-making machine in 1798[1].

1801 Gamble, who had been in Paris organising an exchange of prisoners, brought the drawings for a paper-making machine to England from France and took out a patent in England; he then sold a share in the patent to the stationers, brothers Henry Fourdrinier and Sealy Fourdrinier.

The original machine was imported and erected at the Dartford works of John Hall, the Fourdriniers' millwright. There, a third Fourdrinier brother, Charles Fourdrinier, worked alongside Gamble, Leger Didot, who had been involved with the machine's development in France, and Bryan Donkin (one of Hall's former apprentices), to develop it.

1803 They installed the machine at a mill at Frogmore, Hertfordshire, acquired for the purpose. Gamble remained technically and financially associated with the Fourdriniers until 1811 when they had been declared bankrupt.

1804 Leased Okestubbe Mill to convert it from milling corn to making paper

1807 Extension of 1801 patent. '...Invention of Paper-Making by Machinery.......Henry Fourdrinier and Sealy Fourdrinier, of Sherborne-Lane, in the City of London, Paper-Manufacturers, and John Gamble, of St Neott's, in the County of Huntingdon, Paper Manufacturer, are now making Application to Parliament for Leave to bring in a Bill for prolonging the Term of certain Letters Patent hereinafter-mentioned, in relation to the Inventions hereinafter also mentioned...'[2]

c.1810 Donkin, Hall, and Gamble formed a business to acquire the English patent on canning from Peter Durand; Donkin was in charge of developing the process at Bermondsey. Donkin's adaptation of the process involved gradually heating the meat in tin cans in a bath of chloride of lime, thereby achieving complete sterilization. They also resolved the problem of how to solder the lids onto the tins. With the approval of the canned product by the Prince Regent, the process was a success. Donkin's tinned meat was taken to the Arctic by Sir James Ross in 1829, and by Sir John Franklin in 1845.

1819 The partnership was dissolved in respect of Hall; the business was continued by Donkin and Gamble [3].

1821 Dissolution of the Partnership between Bryan Donkin, of Grange-Road, Bermondsey, in the County of Surrey, and John Gamble, of Surrey-Square, Kent-Road, in the said County of Surrey, in the business of Patent Preserved Provision Merchants, carried on in Blue Anchor-Road, Bermondsey; the business was to be carried on by the said John Gamble only[4].

1822 John Gamble, of Blue Anchor-road, Bermondsey, provision preserver[5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Birth of an Industry [1]
  2. The London Gazette 31 March 1807
  3. [2]
  4. London Gazette [3]
  5. Pigot and Co's directory
  • Biography of Henry Fourdrinier, ODNB [4]