11th July 1838 – 24th October 1903
Samson Fox was born into the family of an “overlooker” in a Bradford textile mill. Aged eight, he left school and began his struggle to become an engineer.
Following an 1861 visit to the Great Machinery Exhibition in London, he issued his first patent “Improvements to Machinery”, and this was followed by a stream of patents issued every year, save 1897, until the end of his life. Samson Fox set up the Leeds Forge Company in 1874, and in 1877 patented his “Corrugated Boiler Flue”, which improved the efficiency of steam boilers to such a degree that he became famous and very rich. He leased Grove House in 1882, which he bought in 1885, and improved and enlarged between 1887-1890.
Further success came with his invention of the pressed steal railway bogie, which enabled super-strong railway wagons to perform with increased efficiency. With the help of his agent, “Diamond” Jim Brady, the new railway wagons were introduced to the United State, and manufactured at the Fox Steel Works at Jolliet, Illinois. Samson Fox paid for the building of the Royal College of Music in London. Mayor from 1889-1892, Samson Fox made Parliament and James Streets the first thoroughfares in the world to be lit with Fox Water-Gas.
The public Ox roastings of 1887, 1897, and 1903 were examples of his public generosity. Samson planned thirty-two houses for workers to prove that decent homes could be built for less than £100, and in winter his agents distributed coal and beef to the poor. Samson Fox joined The Club in 1882, as did his son Willie in 1898.
by Malcolm Neesam, 2011