Dr John C Taylor OBE FREng

Dr John C Taylor OBE FREng was born in Buxton, Derbyshire in 1936.  Having spent five years living in Canada during his childhood, he returned home towards the end of the Second World War.  He attended King William’s College on the Isle of Man before studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge.

Dr John C Taylor is one of the UK’s most successful and prolific living inventors and, over a sixty-year career, has invented, produced and sold components for numerous electrical appliances around the world. 

While at his company Strix Ltd, Dr Taylor established the business as the world-leading manufacturer of kettle controls.  His research was instrumental in designing the ubiquitous safety switch that turns a kettle off when it boils and prevents it from overheating, and he also designed the 360˚ cordless connectors in modern kettles.

Dr Taylor’s innovations led to the production and sale of almost two billion kettle controls - 75% of the global market.  His inventions in the development of bi-metallic safety critical cut-outs for electric motors are also used in domestic appliances such as hairdryers and fan heaters.  His work has also seen over four hundred patents filed, including automatic windshield wipers, electric motor protectors and cordless kettle connectors and controls, and it is a testament to these components’ visionary design that they continue to be in prolific use today.


Dr Taylor has been the recipient of many honours including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Appointment as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2011 for his outstanding contribution to the advancement of British engineering, innovation and commerce
  • Appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the 2011 New Year honours list for his services to business and horology
  • Four Queen’s Awards given to the company he started, Strix Ltd. Three are for Export and one is for Innovation, granted for his 360˚ cordless kettle connector, used by millions around the world each day
  • The Harrison Medal, awarded by the Worshipful Company of Clockmakers for excellence in horology
  • Awarded the Chancellor’s 800th Anniversary Medal for outstanding philanthropy from the University of Cambridge, presented by HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

He is also an elected Honorary Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge, and has been conferred Honorary Doctorates from University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST) and Durham University.  When he’s not inventing and innovating, Dr Taylor is a keen aviator, mountaineer, yachtmaster and philanthropist.


Dr John C Taylor is a committed philanthropist and has made a number of donations in order to ensure that young engineers in the UK have the tools they need to be competitive in a global market.  In 2017, he became the main sponsor of the new Dr John C Taylor Enterprise Hub, affectionately known as the Taylor Centre, in the Royal Academy of Engineering.  He also established in perpetuity a Chair Professorship of Innovation in the Engineering Department of the University of Cambridge. 

Following his career in creating electrical control switches, Dr Taylor became well-known for his interest in clocks and is one of the world’s leading experts in the work of John Harrison, an early pioneer of timekeeping and sea clocks. This led him to design and help build the Corpus Chronophage, a large, time-eating clock which that stands proud on the exterior of the Taylor Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.  Dr Taylor donated the clock, alongside a bestowment to make the Taylor Library possible, to his alma mater in order to support bright students of future generations.



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