Paper making machine
Bryan Donkin was born in Northumberland in 1768 and became a successful engineer and industrialist. Bryan Donkin Company Ltd began life in Bermondsey and moved to Chesterfield in 1902 to benefit from the local coal and iron industries and also to take advantage of the well-developed local transport routes.
In 1802 Donkin was tasked with building and perfecting the first practical paper-making machine in the world. Working with a London stationer after which the device was named, the Fourdrinier machine was developed and improved over the next few years. Before this machine, paper was made by hand and large-scale production was a long process. This pen and ink sketch shows a design for a model from 1814.
Donkin was also an innovator in other areas of engineering. In 1808 he patented the first steel nib pen, as an alternative to the commonly used quill pen and in 1812 he began experimenting with canned food. Having enlisted the help of the British Admiralty to test his products, in 1824 H.M.S. Fury took tinned beef and pea soup on its voyage to the Arctic. Some of these tins were opened in 1937 and were found to be in edible condition 113 years later.