Matthew Boulton

( 1728 - 1809 )

Matthew Boulton of Birmingham ran a complex manufactory, employing good design and increasing quality while keeping prices low. As one of the Lunar Society and very much part of the Industrial Revolution, he started both the Birmingham and Sheffield Assay Offices in 1773 and was one of the first to curtail child labour and introduce a social and medical security plan for his craftsmen. With his partner, John Fothergill, Boulton established the Soho Manufactory near Birmingham in 1762 and produced ormolu, Sheffield-plate, silver, clocks and other ornamental wares for English and European royal and noble patrons including George III, Catherine II, The Empress of Russia, and The Prince of Wales, later George IV.