Henry Hindley

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Henry Hindley (1701–1771) was an 18th-century clockmaker, watchmaker and maker of scientific instruments. He was the inventor of a screw-cutting lathe, a fuse cutting engine and an improved wheel cutting engine amongst others. He made one of the first dividing engines,[1] These devices are essential for the construction of accurate graduated arcs on scientific instruments.

Hindley was a Roman Catholic born in Wigan (Lancs) in 1701 it is not certain who he was apprenticed to he made clocks in Wigan in 1726 - 1730 and moved to Petergate York in 1731 and moved to Stonegate York in 1741 until his death in 1771, he was succeeded by his son who died in 1775 ref Loomes 'Watch and Clockmakers of the World' NAG Press London, 2006 ISBN 0-7198-0330-6.

He made turret clocks for York Minster (although much modified over the years) and the Bar Convent amongst others.

He made watches in some numbers (ref J R M Setchell Transactions of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society 1972) and examples exist in the Science Museum (South Kensington), the Victoria & Albert and the Castle Museum, York. They are of the high quality typical of all of Hindley's work.

He made bracket clocks, an example of which may be seen in York Minster.

Most of his surviving clocks are longcase clocks being of universally high quality incorporating such features as long going, frequent use of deadbeat escarpments, six spoke wheels, high count trains, repeating, enclosed movements, and a general high standard of workmanship at least equal to that of London makers of the time. A year going clock with bolt and shutter maintaining power exists in the Castle Museum (York)together with four other eight day clocks. A year going clock, together with four eight day clocks can be seen in the Castle Museum (York). A further example, fitted into a walnut marketary case of ca 1690, with a genuine Hindley movement ca 1740, is at Temple Newsome House (Leeds).(Clocks magazine Jan 1985 pp 19 & 20). Others exist in private collections

Little is known about the man, outside of his relationship with John Smeaton. appears to be difficult to come by. Smeaton's cousin John Holmes was apprenticed to Hindley (Loomes, 'Watch and Clock Makers of the World', NAG Press, London 2006 ISBN 0-7198-0330-6 He is thought to have made the world's first equatorially-mounted telescope, which can now be seen in Burton Constable Hall.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Scientific Instruments of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth centuries and their Makers, Portman Books, London 1989 ISBN 978-0-7134-0727-3