Christopher Pinchbeck, English clockmaker and toymaker, c 1725.
© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Engraving by I Faber after an original painting by Isaac Whood. Christopher Pinchbeck (c 1670-1732) invented the copper and zinc alloy for making imitation gold watches, which is now named after him. Cheap and durable, the alloy was popular until the mid 18th century, when its use faded following the legalisation of nine karat gold and the introduction of the electro-gilding proces.