Canton, John, was born at Stroud, Gloucestershire, in 1718, and brought up as a weaver of broadcloth. He spent his leisure in the study of mathematics, and in 1739 got a mastership in a school at Spitalfields. He now busied himself with electricity, and in 1750 won the gold medal of the Royal Society for his method of making artificial magnets. He subsequently served on the council of that body, and we owe to him the pith-ball electrometer, and the suggestion of the compressibility of water, and of the opposite electricity of clouds. He died in 1772.