John C Taylor

My Vision

Science and Engineering

I’m an engineer through and through and proudly express myself as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering.

I studied natural sciences at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge which perhaps surprisingly provided an amazing education in all things practical.

Many of the hundreds of patents that I hold are for domestic appliances, thermostats and electrical equipment.  My single most famous invention is the thermostat controls for the cordless kettle, patented and used throughout the world. 

It’s been calculated that over two billion of the bi-metal blades I designed – used in thermostats to switch off kettles – have been produced since their invention in the 1970s.

The company I founded, Strix, holds four Queen’s Awards, three for Export and one for Innovation, granted for my 360-degrees cordless kettle connector. 

My personal interests include flying, first flying solo in 1953.  I love aeronautical design – from the streamlined shape of the plane’s exterior to the dial and numerous ‘clock’ faces in the cabin.

I was awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year’s honours list for services to business and horology.

My interest in engineers stretched to the design and building of innovative clocks, including the Corpus Christi Chronophage, which was donated to and on permanent display at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.  I’ve also designed an intelligent pendulum.

Over the years I’ve made numerous contributions to educational establishments, including the support of the Centre for Manufacturing at UMIST, which opened in 2001. 

I’ve been an active benefactor to my former Cambridge College, contributing £2.5 million in 2008 towards the construction of a new Taylor Library for students.  I’ve also funded many scholarships and bursaries that are aimed to help shape the engineers of tomorrow.

An Honorary Doctorate from UMIST and the title of Visiting Professor of Innovation were awarded in recognition of my numerous patents.  I am also an elected Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College.

Interesting Facts

Thousands of years ago in the Middle East, a random genetic mutation caused a group of grapes to spontaneously abort their own seeds before the seeds could develop hard casings. The result: seedless grapes. To reproduce the fruit, a farmer simply cloned the vine — meaning that all seedless grapes today are direct descendants of that one mutated grape vine.

Latest News

New Royal Academy of Engineering Centre Named after Dr John C Taylor OBE

The Royal Academy of Engineering has opened the new Taylor Centre, a space for the Academy’s Enterprise Hub, which supports entrepreneurs, and which is named after one of Britain’s most successful engineers, Dr John C Taylor OBE. Dr Taylor, who is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) made his name creating small electrical components that are vital to many pieces of technology we couldn’t live without. Early electric kettles would not turn off when the water was boiling, meaning that they needed constant supervision and were in danger of melting and starting fires if they were not… read more

Interesting Quotes

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

Elliott Erwitt