Taylor, John

Taylor, John
SUBJECT AREA: Medical technology
b. 16 August 1703 Norwich, England
d. 17 September 1772 Prague, Bohemia
English oculist and exponent of surgical treatment of squint and cataract.
In 1722, employed as an apothecary's assistant, he studied surgery and especially diseases of the eye under Cheselden at St Thomas's Hospital, London. He returned to Norwich to practise, but in 1727 he assumed the role of itinerant surgeon oculist, with a particular reputation for putting eyes straight; at first he covered the major part of the British Isles and then he extended his activities to Europe.
He obtained MDs from Basle in 1733, and from Liège and Cologne in 1734. In 1736 he was appointed Oculist to George II. It is likely that he was responsible for Johann Sebastian Bach's blindness, and Gibbon was one of his patients. The subject of considerable obloquy on account of his self-advertisement in the crudest and most bombastic terms, it is none the less certain that he had developed a technique, probably related to couching, which was considerably in advance of that of other practitioners and at least offered a prospect of assistance where none had been available.
Dr Johnson declared him "an instance of how far impudence will carry ignorance". Without justification, he styled himself "Chevalier". He is said, not improbably having regard to his age, to have become blind himself later in life. His son carried on his practice.
1727, An Account of the Mechanism of the Eye, Norwich.
1736, Treatise on the Chrystalline Humour of the Human Eye, London. 1739, De vera causi strabismi, Lisbon.
Further Reading
1761, The History of the Travels and Adventures of the Chevalier John Taylor, Ophthalmiater, London.

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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