Walter Taylor (engineer)
Walter Taylor (1734–1803) of Southampton, supplied wooden rigging blocks to the Royal Navy, greatly improving their quality via technological innovations which were a significant step forward in the Industrial Revolution.
From the age of 19, Taylor served as an apprentice to a block maker in Southampton. His father (also named Walter) had previously served at sea and had observed the problems caused by these blocks, which were traditionally handmade.
On acquiring the blockmaking business, Taylor and his father developed machinery to mass-produce the rigging blocks, repeatedly and to an exact specification. Subsequent developments led to the date stamping of blocks, and a commitment to replace any that failed.
Taylor subsequently established a sawmill on a stream that runs through what is now Mayfield Park in Southampton. In 1781, he moved to Woodmill, Swaythling, Southampton where there was a better supply of water and room to power some of the equipment by steam engines.
- Southampton. An Illustrated History. Adrian Rance. 1986. ISBN 0-903852-95-0. pp95-97
- Pannell, John Percival Masterman (1967). "Nelson's Boffins - the Taylors of Woodmill". Old Southampton Shores, Newton Abbott. David and Charles. pp. 51–71. ASIN B0000CNGOE.
- Daniel Lancaster. "A discourse occasioned by the death of the late Walter Taylor, Esq., of Portswood: Preached at South Stoneham Church on the 8th of May, 1803". Amazon. Retrieved 10 November 2009.