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William Cockerill

William Cockerill (1759–1832) was a British entrepreneur who settled in France. By using some of British industrial inventions (not covered by patents in France), he built one of the greatest companies in Europe dealing in textiles, steam engines, iron, mining, cannons, bridge materials, locomotives, and more.

He was a Lancashire man who settled in Verviers in 1799. Innovations by Cockerill (and others) made Verviers a leader in the mechanization of woolen textiles production. Thus Verviers became a city made by the Industrial Revolution.

In 1807, Cockerill founded a textile factory near Liège (today's Belgium). At that time, due to the Napoleonic blockade, Europe was deprived of British industrial products. To expand his textile machines, Cockerill moved into iron-making to monopolize this branch of industry. Around 1817, the Cockerill and his sons had built the largest iron-foundry and machine manufactory in Europe (at Seraing).

William's son John Cockerill (1790–1840) was a leading European iron founder.

In 1835, the Cockerills’ works made the rails for the Europe's first continental railway, as well as its locomotive ("La Belge").

For Cockerill's efforts, Belgium became the second industrialized country in Europe (after Britain).

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "William_Cockerill". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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