Authorised form of nameCanton; John (1718 - 1772); natural philosopher
Dates1718 - 1772
Place of birthStroud, Gloucestershire, England
Date of birth31 July 1718
Place of deathLondon
Date of death22 March 1772
Research fieldPhysics
1738 articled to Samuel Watkins, master of a school in Spital Square London. In 1745 he succeeded Watkins and kept the school himself until his death in 1772. Contributed experiments to Joseph Priestley's 'Histories of Electrical Discoveries', and described by Dr Thomson as 'one of the most successful experimenters in the golden age of electricity'. Verified Benjamin Franklin's hypothesis as to the identity of lightning and electricity, and was the first Englishman to repeat the experiments successfully.
Membership categoryFellow
Date of election22/03/1750
Royal Society activityMedals and prizes:
Copley Medal 1751 and 1764
Bulloch's Roll; DNB; DSB
M Yakup Bektas and Maurice Crosland, 'The Copley Medal: the Establishment of a Reward System in the Royal Society, 1731-1839' in NR 1992 vol 46 pp 43-76
Douglas McKie, 'Priestley's Laboratory and Library and Other of his Effects' in NR 1956-57 vol 12 pp 114-136
Virtual International Authority File
Royal Society codeNA5672
Archives associated with this Fellow
Reference numberTitleDate
EC/1749/34Canton, John: certificate of election to the Royal Society22 March 1750
IM/000299Bayes, Thomas2001
NLB/3/85Copy letter from Herbert Rix, to George Scharf, National Portrait Gallery Offices, 20 Great George Street11 March 1889
MM/1/17Letter from Rev Thomas Bayes to John Canton1763
L&P/2/88/1Paper, 'A method of making artificial magnets without the use of natural ones & far superior' by John Canton1750
L&P/2/458Paper, 'Electrical experiments - thunder clouds' by John Canton1753
L&P/2/482Letter, 'Of the late hard weather' from Henry Miles to John Canton28 February 1754
L&P/4/207Letter, 'Of cold in Bedfordshire, 22 November 1763' from John Howard to John Canton12 April 1764
L&P/5/55Paper, 'An easy method of making a phosphorus that will imbibe and emit light' by John Canton20 November 1768
L&P/5/110Letter, 'Of the transit of Venus and the solar eclipse' from John Canton to Nevil Maskelyne9 June 1769
L&P/5/139Paper, 'Luminouness of the sea' by John Canton1769
L&P/5/228Letter, 'Experiments with the new phosphorus' from Giovanni Battista Beccaria to John Canton1771
L&P/2/88Paper, 'A method of making artificial magnets without the use of natural ones & far superior' by John Canton1750
MS/426/537Copy letter from W [William] Sharpey, Secretary of the Royal Society; to Edwin Canton28 April 1855
IM/004127Franklin, Benjamin to Canton, John2000
L&P/5/106Paper, 'Report on preserving St Paul's Cathedral from the effects of lightning' by the Royal Society Committee7 June 1769
MOB/025Magnet by John Cantonc.1750
MS/597Canton Papers1738-1772
MC/8/69Letter from James Yates, Lauderdale House, Highgate, to Walter White, [Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society]13 July 1867
MC/8Volume 8 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1867-1869
MC/9/102Letter from James Yates, Lauderdale House, Highgate, to Dr [William] Sharpey, [Secretary of the Royal Society]22 June 1870
MC/9Volume 9 of miscellaneous correspondence regarding business matters, sent to the Royal Society1870-June 1873
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