John C Taylor


One of World’s Greatest Living Inventors Celebrated with Six Postage Stamps

One of the world’s greatest living inventors is to be celebrated with a set of six postage stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office (, focusing on different areas of his life’s work.

Dr John C Taylor OBE (, 80, who was born in Buxton, Derbyshire and has lived in the Isle of Man for the greater part of his life, spent his career creating safety-critical electrical components and switches that are vital to many pieces of technology we use today, most notably the kettle controls that switch our kettles off when they have boiled, and the 360° cordless kettle.

Dr Taylor has over 400 patents to his name.  He has also invented temperature and current-sensitive safety controls used in small electric motors utilised in a wide range of appliances and cars.

He also created the iconic Chronophage clock series, the most famous of which is the Corpus Chronophage at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, which has become the most popular attraction in the city.

The Isle of Man Post Office has created six stamps, ranging in value from 47p to £1.86, focusing on Dr Taylor’s inventions, love of horology, philanthropy and home – the elliptical shape of which inspired the island’s post office to create their first stamps with elliptical perforations.  The intricate design of the stamps combines stunning photography and high-quality printing, with a varnish and metallic ink finish.  The stamps are to be on sale now.

Dr John C Taylor OBE said, “I’m delighted by the creativity shown by the Isle of Man Post Office, who have captured my life story in a colourful and imaginative way.

“I have lived my life deliberating, inventing, creating, producing and perfecting.  Through this unique issue of stamps, the Isle of Man Post Office has captured my life’s work.  It would be marvellous if others seeing the stamps were to follow my motto, ‘Cogitate Incogitata’, Think the Unthinkable.”

Dr Taylor is committed to inspiring and supporting the next generation of engineers, inventors and innovators, and has made generous philanthropic donations to many individuals and institutions:

  • In 2008, a donation making possible the building of the new Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, followed by the gift of the Corpus Chronophage Clock that has become the main visitor attraction of Cambridge.
  • In 2015, he became the main sponsor of the new Dr John C Taylor Enterprise Hub, otherwise known as the Taylor Centre, in the Royal Academy of Engineering, London.
  • In 2017, the establishment in perpetuity of the Dr John C Taylor Professorship of Innovation in the Engineering Department of Cambridge University.

Dr Taylor said, “The UK has a great history of invention and enterprise, and our reputation as a nation of problem-solvers and innovators continues to this day. It is vitally important that, in a globalised world, we support the next generation of innovators, who will support their communities by creating jobs, financial growth and opportunities for others.”

All funds received by Dr Taylor from the sale of the stamp issue will be donated to the Teapot Trust, which works with chronically ill children in hospitals and hospices.

It was established in 2010 to build resilience in children with chronic illness by encouraging them to express emotions, mentally overcome the challenges linked to their condition and develop healthy coping mechanisms. Participating in art therapy can contribute to positive mental health, provide peer interaction and a sense of community for youngsters within the hospital environment.

The Trust was founded by Dr Laura N Young MBE and her husband Dr John Young after identifying gaps in the care of their daughter Verity.  Verity spent a lot of time in hospital during her eight years of life receiving treatment for Lupus and then cancer.

Find out more or pre-order the stamps here (

About Dr John C Taylor

Dr John C Taylor OBE was born in Buxton in Derbyshire in 1936. Having spent six years living in Canada during his childhood, he returned home towards the end of the Second World War and attended King William’s College on the Isle of Man before studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

After finishing his education he took a job at Otter Controls, founded by his father, and began working in bi-metal. His work with these controls led to Dr Taylor designing the thermostat systems that are used in almost two billion kettles and small household appliances.

Dr Taylor left Otter Controls to build his own company, Strix, which holds four Queen’s Awards. Three are for Export and one is for Innovation, granted for his 360-degree cordless kettle connector, which is used every day by almost every household and workplace in the UK and many throughout the world.

As well as being one of the world’s most prolific inventors, Dr Taylor has also conducted a lot of research into the subject of horology. He is one of the world’s leading experts in the work of John Harrison, an early pioneer of timekeeping and sea clocks. This led him to design and help build the Corpus Chronophage, a three-metre-high clock that is displayed in an exterior wall of the Corpus Christi College building at the University of Cambridge.

Dr Taylor has been the recipient of many honours including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year honours list for his services to business and horology
  • Appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of British engineering, innovation and commerce
  • The Harrison Medal, awarded by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers for excellence in horology
  • Being conferred an Honorary Doctorate from University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST)
  • Being conferred an Honorary Doctorate from Durham Universit

Comments are closed.

Interesting Facts

Diamonds are actually unstable at surface temperature and pressure. Every diamond above ground is very, very slowly altering into graphite, another form of pure carbon.

Latest News

The Luxury of Time: Exhibition Extended at the Manx Museum

Manx National Heritage confirms that it has extended ‘The Luxury of Time’, an exhibition at the Manx Museum featuring some of history’s most significant British timepieces. The Luxury of Time features 30 different outstandingly beautiful timepieces from Dr Taylor’s private collection. The exhibition, which showcases the golden age of clock and watch making, is the largest exhibition of clocks and timepieces ever staged on the Isle of Man and the first dedicated to horology at the Manx Museum. The exhibition is on display at the Manx Museum until Sunday 27 September 2020.  Admission is free but donations are welcome.  … 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