(1789–1864), English inventor.
Born on 22 April 1789, at Llanymynech on the borders of England and mid-Wales, Roberts may have received a rudimentary education at the local church school, where the priest recognized his practical abilities and taught him some woodworking and lathe-turning. After working in the local quarries, Roberts was employed as a patternmaker at the Brosley and then the Horseley Iron Works. Trying to avoid being conscripted into the militia, Roberts went first to Liverpool and then to Manchester, seeking work. In Manchester, he helped a wood turner but again had to flee the militia officers and so moved to London, where he was employed for a couple of years by Henry Maudslay as a turner and fitter. Roberts learned from Maudslay the importance of machine tools for producing high-class work.
From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History in Oxford Reference.
Subjects: Economic History.