Molineux, Thomas (DNB00)

MOLINEUX, THOMAS (1759–1850), stenographer, born at Manchester on 14 May 1759, received his education in the school kept at Salford by Henry Clarke [q. v.], who taught him Byrom's system of shorthand, and before he was seventeen he became a writing-master and teacher of accounts in King Edward VI's Grammar School at Macclesfield. He resigned that situation in 1802, and died at Macclesfield on 15 Nov. 1850, aged 91.

He published 'An Abridgement of Mr. Byrom's Universal English Short-hand,' London, 1796, 8vo, called the second edition, though it was really the first. It is mainly a simpler representation of the system with a few alterations. Molineux afterwards brought out other works on the same subject, with beautifully engraved copperplates. One of them is partly written in an epistolary form. They were very popular, and passed through about twelve editions. Some of these are entitled 'An Introduction to Byrom's Universal English Short-hand,' and others' The Short-hand Instructor or Stenographical Copy Book.' To the editions of the 'Instructor' published in 1824 and 1838 the portrait of the author, engraved by Roffe from a painting by Scott, is prefixed. Molineux was also the author of a small treatise on arithmetic.

His letters to Robert Cabbell Roffe, an engraver of London, whom he taught short-hand by correspondence, and who became the author of another modification of the same system, were edited and printed privately (London, 1860, 4to), but the impression was limited to twenty copies. The volume bears the title of 'The Grand Master,' suggested by the appellation given to Byrom by his pupils. This quaint book contains many gossiping notes on shorthand authors, including Byrom, Palmer, Gawtress, Lewis (whose 'History' and works are alleged to have been written by Hewson Clark), Carstairs, Nightingale, Gurney, Kitchingman, and Shorter.

[Bailey's Memoir of Dr. Henry Clarke, p. xxxviii; Biog. Dict. of Living Authors, p. 237; Evans's Cat. of Engraved Portraits, No. 7276; Journalist, 15 July 1887, p. 223; Phonotypic Journal, 1847, p. 332 n.; Sutton's Lancashire Authors, p. 161; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

T. C.