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British Industrial History

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James Fox (1760-1835)

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James Fox (1760-1835), founder of Fox of Derby

Married Ann. Possible marriage 1783 August 26th at Church Eaton, Staffs to Ann Butter

Fox was originally a butler in the service of the Rev. Thomas Gisborne, of Yoxhall Lodge, Staffordshire. Gisborne (1758-1846) inherited the lodge in 1783. James had a strong interest in handicraft and his employer not only encouraged him, but enabled him to set up in business on his own account.

1787 Advertising his engineering business from Tatenhill Mill. (See entry for Fox of Derby)

The growth and extension of the cotton, silk, lace and hosiery trades, in the neighbourhood of Derby, created a great demand for skilled machine-makers and provided Fox with opportunities and he soon found ample scope for employment. His lace machinery became celebrated, and he supplied it largely to the neighbouring town of Nottingham; he also obtained considerable employment from the great firms of Arkwright and Strutt - the founders of the modern cotton manufacture. Fox became celebrated for his lathes, which were of excellent quality, and besides making for British demand, he exported much machinery abroad, to France, Russia, and the Mauritius. Fox is also said at a very early period to have invented a screw-cutting machine, an engine for accurately dividing and cutting the teeth of wheels, and a self-acting lathe, but details are obscure.

Fox made one of the first planing machines, reportedly in 1814 but the priority between Fox, Matthew Murray of Leeds and Richard Roberts of Manchester has not yet been established due to the secrecy of the makers.

1788 Birth of son Joseph Fox at Tatenhall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs

1789 Birth of son James Fox at Tatenhall, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs

1835 August 8th. Burial at St Alkmund's Church,​ Derby, age 75


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