John C Taylor

My World


Life


I’ve enjoyed my life very much.  I’ve always tried really hard to have fun in my life and also in my work.

I was lucky to be able to study Natural Sciences at Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University.  I remember thinking I was very smart at school – until I got to university – when I realised that there were a lot of people much smarter than me!

However, after a long career, I’m now immensely proud to be considered one of Britain’s greatest inventors.  I returned to live on the Isle of Man 40 years ago after running the highly successful Otter Controls business in Buxton, Derbyshire.

Many of the hundreds of patents that I hold are for domestic appliances, thermostats and electrical equipment. Probably my 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 my bi-metal blades – used in thermostats to switch off kettles – have been produced since their invention in the 1970s.

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

My personal interests are varied and include mountaineering, sailing and flying, having first flown solo in 1953.  One of my proudest moments in public life was being awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year’s honours list for services to business and horology.

I’ve always been fascinated by clocks and throughout much of my adult life, I’ve been immersed in the study and collecting of early English clocks.  I set up Fromanteel Ltd, a horological development company, named after the Fromanteel family of clockmakers of 17th-century London.

I’ve helped curate many major exhibitions on 17th and 18th century horology, with a special interest in the works of Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695).

I’m thrilled that the Isle of Man Post Office managed to sum up my life’s work in six colourful stamps.

Interesting Facts

Between 1912 and 1948, art competitions were a part of the Olympics. Medals were awarded for architecture, music, painting, and sculpture.

Latest News

Luxury of Time Exhibition at National Museum of Scotland

A special display of rare and significant historical timepieces telling the story of a golden age of innovation in British watch and clockmaking will go on show at the National Museum of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, which runs to 26 January 2020. The Luxury of Time: Clocks from 1550-1750 features objects from the private collection of Dr John C Taylor OBE. The 25 objects to be shown demonstrate the golden age of British clock and watch-making and illustrate the delicate workmanship and incredible technical skills involved.  Exquisitely made and decorated in precious metals, they were labour-intensive, luxury items… read more

Interesting Quotes

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.

Helen Keller