Biography of Joseph Moxon
By LONG, A. Derek , 2013

'At The Sign of Atlas': the Life and Work of Joseph Moxon, a Restoration Polymath

Reference Books
  • Author: LONG, A. Derek
  • Publication place: Donington, Lincolnshire
  • Publisher: SHAUN TYAS (an imprint of 'Paul Watkins')
  • Publication date: 2013.
  • Physical description: Hardback, 130pp. text, 64pp. colour plates.
  • Inventory reference: 2926


Joseph Moxon was born in Wakefield in 1627. After a period in Holland with his father and brother he established himself in London as a printer, publisher, type-founder and maker of scientific instruments and globes, including pocket globes and the Castlemaine globe. He became Hydrographer to King Charles II in 1662. He was well known in Restoration London and acquainted with Pepys, Hooke, Halley and Evelyn. He was elected to the Royal Society in 1678.
He published some eighty books, many of great importance. Some are splendid examples of publishing skills. In his later years he himself wrote and published two famous books, The Mechanick Exercises, Volumes I and II. The first deals with smithing, carpentry, joinery, and woodturning; the second with all aspects of printing. They gave accurate accounts of these crafts, so breaking the traditions of secrecy in the Craft Guilds. These books remain of interest today and are still available in facsimiles. Moxon died in 1691.

Derek A. Long is Emeritus Professor of Structural Chemistry in the University of Bradford. Previously he held posts in the University of Oxford and the University of Wales, Swansea; he was also a Research Fellow in the University of Minnesota, USA.
He is an international authority on Raman spectroscopy. He has published extensively in this field and his authoritative monograph, The Raman Effect, has been much acclaimed.
He has a Docteur es Sciences degree, Honoris Causa, from Reims University, France, and is a Foreign Member of the Lincei Academy, Rome. He has also been a visiting professor in six European Universities: Paris, Bordeaux, Reims, Lille, Bologna and Florence as well as Keele in the UK.
His other major interest include Pembrokeshire, the creation of gardens, the history of science, the history of woodworking tools and the Moxon Museum of Tools and Crafts. He has a number of publications on the history of science and on the history of tools and crafts. In 2008 he was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London.