Baker, John Wynn (1726/7–1775), agricultural improver, was born in New York but lived in Lancashire until about 1761, when he settled in Ireland. In 1763 he took a farm at Loughlinstown, near Celbridge, Co. Kildare. He was the author of several pamphlets, the first of which, Some hints for the better improvement of husbandry (Dublin, 1762), brought about his appointment by the Dublin Society in 1764 to work on a new scheme of agricultural instruction and experimentation which was to occupy him for the next seven or eight years and establish his reputation as an agricultural improver. Encouraged by the society, he began a series of experiments in drill husbandry – the growing of cabbage, rape, clover, and wheat for feeding cattle. He also did experiments on the destructive nature of the red-worm on young corn. Baker's Experiments in agriculture, published each year by the Dublin Society (1764–70), were useful to practical farmers. The society paid him grants and from 1769 an annual salary of £300. He set up a workshop or factory to manufacture a wide variety of implements and tools; in 1768 tools worth £500 were sold.
His catalogue, A short description and list, with the prices, of the instruments of husbandry made in the factory at Laughlinstown (Dublin, 1767; 3rd ed., 1769), is an invaluable inventory of a progressive Irish farmer's needs. At the request of the society and in an attempt to encourage the ‘common farmer’, he brought out another booklet, Practical agriculture epitomized and adapted to the tenantry of Ireland (1771). He corresponded with Arthur Young (qv), whose tours of England (first published 1768–70) he abridged for ‘the common farmers of Ireland’ (1771) and who visited Baker's farm a few months after his death. Baker, who was a fellow of the Royal Society, died on 24 August 1775 aged forty-eight. He was buried at Celbridge, where his friend Gorges Edmond Howard (qv) erected a tombstone describing him as ‘one of the first improvers of this husbandry and its implements in this kingdom . . . His superiority begot him enemies whose severity broke his noble spirit.’ His son, also John Wynn Baker, died in 1770 aged nine.