John Brown

Sheffield norn inventor and industrialist. Inventor of the volute spring buffer used in the railways.

Sheffield Cultural Heritage


Sir John Brown, also known as the Father of the Iron Trade, was a Sheffield-born industrialist at the height of the Industrial Revolution who, in 1844, with financial help from his father, started the John Brown and Company steel manufacturing business.
Little is known about the life of John Brown, but his invention of the volute spring buffer proved instrumental in the design of ferrous items like railway tracks, coaches and early locomotives – items that are still in use today.
John Brown's retirement period was impressively listed with becoming the Mayor of Sheffield (1862-1863) and Sheffield’s Master Cutler (1865-1866), before being knighted in 1867.
One of John Brown's last business ventures was the funding of All Saints Church (now Saint Peter’s Church) on Ellesmere Road built to welcome new employees to the area.
Sheffield Cultural Heritage

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