A Nottingham engineer, inventor of the steam or pressure gauge which he patented in 1847. George Stephenson was among those who commended his achievement, especially for its effect in improving safety in steamboats.
He was educated at Repton School, but failed to shine academically, except in mathematical ability. He followed in the footsteps of his father, a mining and civil engineer remembered for the innovative design of the Derby Shot Tower, and many of his inventions were registered in the Patent Office.
He became a Wesleyan about 1829 and was a member at Tennyson Street, Nottingham, where he served as a class leader. Many causes benefited from his 'unassuming godliness'. His interests included astronomy and optics and were enhanced by his manual skills. In his retirement from 1864 his hobbies varied between mathematical puzzles and poems on biblical subjects. He died on 31 March 1882.
His grandson, J.T. Smith, established a brass foundry and general engineering business in Nottingham. The family firm continues in Nottingham as the Peter Smith Valve Company Ltd.