John Isaac Hawkins was born in Taunton, Somerset, England back in 1772 to Isaac and Joan. His father was a watchmaker later becoming a Wesleyan minister. John emigrated to the United States attending the College of New Jersey studying medicine and later, chemical filtration. He opened a non-vocational craft school in Bristol, Pennsylvania.
He returned to England in 1803, opening a London sugar refinery, he worked as a patent agent and consultant. He joined the Institution of Civil engineers in 1824. He superintended the construction of the Thames Tunnel. He also served as president of the Anthropological Society of London.
What you may not know about John is that he was also an inventor. He invented the “pianoforte” the first portable grand piano. He also invented and patented the first autopen. He moved back to the United States and died in poverty in 1855.
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