John Canton was born at Stroud, Gloucestershire on 31 July 1718 and died in London on 22 March 1772. He was apprenticed to a broadcloth weaver and in 1737 was sent to London. Here he was articled to, and subsequently went into partnership with, a schoolmaster in Spital Square; the school was later continued by his son. He had shown an early interest in science and attained early fame as an experimentalist, especially in the field of electricity. He was elected FRS in 1749 and elected to the Council of the Royal Society in 1751, in which year he was also awarded his first Copley Medal – the second came in 1765.
From The Continuum Encyclopedia of British Philosophy in Oxford Reference.