John Bradbury Robinson (1802 - 1869)
John Bradbury Robinson was born in Belper in 1802. He became apprenticed to a Mr Claughton, a chemist and druggist in Chesterfield in 1818 and then eventually set up his own business in Belper.
In 1825 he married his cousin Martha Bradbury and they had 8 children. Later he set up a chemist and druggist business in Packers Row, Chesterfield. At this time, pills were put in paper screws to be given to patients, and John saw an opportunity to improve on this packaging when, in 1839, he bought a pill box business from a Mr Fletcher of Middleton by Youlgreave and moved it to his house in Wheatbridge. This was the start of the round box production.
In 1839, John B Robinson became mayor of Chesterfield.
In 1846 a square box department was founded, and the company continued to expand. In 1854, his son William Bradbury Robinson became a partner in the company, which subsequently became known as Robinson & Sons.
The Crimean War had led to greater demand for medical dressings and William bought a second-hand linting frame from which he developed the world’s first power-operated linting machine. This could produce surgical dressings at a much greater rate than previously. From that time on Robinsons formed two separate departments, the box department and the cotton, later called dressings, department and the company expanded to become at one time, the biggest single employer in Chesterfield.
John Bradbury Robinson died in 1869.