John Harrison, an English mechanician, born at Faulby, Yorkshire, in 1693, died in London in 1776. He was the son of a carpenter, and in his youth worked in his father's shop. A taste for mechanical pursuits led him to study the construction of clocks, and in 1726 he effected improvements which insured much greater accuracy than had previously been attained in timepieces. In 1714 parliament offered prizes of £10,000, £15,000, and £20,000 respectively for a method of ascertaining longitude within 60, 40, or 30 miles. Mr. Harrison constructed a chronometer which was satisfactorily tested on a voyage in 1736, and by successive improvements on it secured the highest prize in 1767. His inventions, the gridiron pendulum, the going barrel, the compensation curb, and the remontoir escapement, were considered the most remarkable in the manufacture of watches of the last century. (See Clocks and Watches.)
John Harrison, an English regicide, executed in London in October, 1(360. He was a colonel in the parliamentary army, and superintended the removal of Charles I. from Hurst castle to Windsor, Dec. 19-23,1648. The king had been told that Harrison was appointed to assassinate him, and, struck with his soldierly appearance, told him his suspicion, when Harrison replied that the parliament would not strike the king secretly. On Jan. 19, 1649, he escorted Charles from Windsor to London for trial. He was appointed major general, and was one of a conference of the chief men at the house of the speaker of the commons, in 1651, to decide upon the policy of the government. When Cromwell was about to dissolve the long parliament, the same year, he told Harrison, who advised against haste. In 1653 he was considered by the Anabaptists as their leader. Upon the restoration, in 1660, he was executed with nine others.