Graham, George

, clock and watch maker, the most ingenious and accurate artist in his time, was born at Horsgills, in the parish of Kirklinton in Cumberland, in 1675. In 1688 he came up to London, and was put apprentice to a person in that profession; but after being some time with his master, he was received, purely on account of his merit, into the family of the celebrated Mr. Tompion, who treated him with a kind of parental affection as long as he lived. That Mr. Graham was/ without competition, the most eminent of his profession, is but a small part of his character he was the best general mechanic of his time, and had a complete knowledge of practical astronomy so that he not only gave to various movements for measuring time a degree of perfection which had never before been attained, but invented several astronomical instruments, by which considerable advances have been made in that science he also made great improvements in those which had before been in use and, by a wonderful manual dexterity, constructed them with greater precision and accuracy than any other person in the world.

A great mural arch in the observatory at Greenwich was made for Dr. Halley, under Mr. Graham’s immediate inspection, and divided by his own hand: and from this incomparable original, the best foreign instruments of the kind are copies made by English artists. The sector by which Dr. Bradley first discovered two new motions in the fixed stars, was of his invention and fabric. He comprised the whole planetary system within the compass of a small cabinet; from which, as a model, all the modern orreries have been constructed. And when the French academicians were sent to the north, to make observations for ascertaining the figure of the earth, Mr. Graham was thought the fittest person in Europe to supply them withinstruments by which meant they finished their operations in one year while those who went to the south, not being so well | furnished, were very much embarrassed and retarded in their operations.

Mr. Graham was many years a member of the royal society, to which he communicated several ingenious and important discoveries, viz. from the 3 1st to the 42d volume of the Philos.Transactions, chiefly on astronomical and philosophical subjects particularly a kind of horary alteration of the magnetic needle a quicksilver pendulum, and many curious particulars relating to the true length of the simple pendulum, upon which he continued to make experiments till almost the year of his death, which happened Nov. 20, 1751, at his house in Fleet-street. He was interred in Westminster abbey in the same grave with his predecessor Tompion.

His temper was not less communicative than his genius was penetrating; and his principal view was the advancement of science, and the benefit of mankind. As he was perfectly sincere, he was above suspicion As he was above envy, he was candid and as he had a relish for true pleasure, he was generous. He frequently lent money, but could never be prevailed upon to take any interest; and for tjiat reason he never placed out any money upon government securities. He had bank-notes, which were thirty years old, in his possession, when he died; and his whole property, except his stock in trade, was found in a strong box, which, though less than would have been heaped by avarice, was yet more than would have remained to prodigality. 1


Gent. ms. vol. XXI^-Hutchinson’s Hist, of Cumberland.