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Who is Matthew Boulton and why is there a college named after him?

He was also famous for applying modern techniques to the minting of coins.

Matthew Boulton was a key member of theLunar Society, a group ofMidlands-basedmen interested in the arts, sciences and theology. The group took this name because they used to meet when it was a full moon. The Society was given credit for developing concepts and techniques in science, agriculture, manufacturing, mining and transport that laid the groundwork for theIndustrial Revolution.

Birmingham’s College of Advanced Technology (CAT) became known as Matthew Boulton Technical College in 1957, before turning into Matthew Boulton College.

Five things you might not know about Matthew Boulton –

  • He was minted! In 1788, he established the Soho Mint (steam engine powered machines) which pressed between 70 and 84 new coins every minute.
  • He had his own homeware range. His factories made small silver items and vases decorated with ormolu (ground or pounded gold), some of which were purchased by King George III’s wife, Queen Charlotte.
  • He knew how to accessorise. When he was 17, Matthew Boulton invented a technique for adding powdered glass enamel to buckles. The buckles were a big hit in France before being reimported back to Britain as the ‘latest thing’.
  • He invented sick pay. In the 1770s, he introduced an insurance system for workers that provided compensation in the event of illness and injury. It was the first of its kind to be provided by a large employer.
  • He was in to music festivals. When money was needed to build a hospital, Boulton came up with the idea to fundraise by holding a music festival which took place in 1768.

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