, a man of a most uncommon genius for mechanical inventions, and
, a man of a most uncommon genius for mechanical inventions, and who particularly excelled in planning and conducting inland navigations, was born at Tunsted, in the parish of Wormhill, and county of Derby, in 1716. His parents were possessed of a little freehold, the small income of which his father dissipated by a fondness for shooting and other field-diversions, and by keeping company with people above his rank. The consequence of this was, that his son was so totally neglected, that he did not receive the ordinary rudiments of education. The necessities of the family were so pressing, that young Brindley was obliged, as early as possible, to contribute towards its support; and, till he was nearly seventeen years of age, he was employed in those kinds of light labour which are usually assigned, in country places, to the children of the poor. At this period of his life, he bound himself apprentice to one Bennet, a mill-wright, near Macclesfield, in Cheshire, and soon became expert in the business; besides which, he quickly discovered a strong attachment to the mechanic arts in general, and a genius for extending them much farther than they had hitherto been carried. In the early part of his apprenticeship, he was frequently left by himself, for whole weeks together, to execute works concerning which his master had given him n previous instructions. These works, therefore, he finished in his own way; and Mr. Bennet was often astonished at the improvements his apprentice, from time to time, introduced into the mill-wright business, and earnestly questioned him from whence he had gained his knowledge. He had not been long at the trade, before the millers, wherever he had been employed, always chose him again, in preference to the master, or any other workman; and, before the expiration of his servitude, at which time Mr. Bennet, who was advanced in years, grew unable to work, Mr. Brindley, by his ingenuity and application, kept up the business with credit, and supported the old man and his family in a comfortable manner.