Carbutt was the youngest son of Francis Carbutt (1792–1874) of Chapel Allerton in Leeds. His father was a merchant and some-time mayor of Leeds and his elder sister was Louisa Carbutt was an educationalist. He was a linen and cloth merchant who became a justice of the peace, Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1848/1849, and a director of the Huddersfield and Manchester Railway.
Edward Carbutt went into business as a mechanical engineer in Leeds. When he was 24 (circa 1862) he entered into partnership with the engineer Robinson Thwaites (1811–1884) in the Vulcan Iron Works at Bradford. Carbutt and Thwaites exhibited a 'Patent Double-Action Self-Acting Steam Hammer' in the 1862 London Exhibition. Carbutt and Thwaites petitioned for a further patent 'for the invention of improvements in hammers to be worked by steam or other fluid' in 1867.
He entered local politics and was Mayor of Leeds in 1878 and in this role laid the foundation stone of civic buildings. In 1880 he was elected as MP for Monmouth Boroughs and held the seat until 1886. On 1 October 1892 he was made a baronet, of Nanhurst in the parish of Cranleigh in the County of Surrey. In 1896 he was appointed High Sheriff of Surrey.
In 1887 Carbutt was elected President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He represented the Institute on the committee of the National Physical Laboratory. He was also a vice-president of the Iron and Steel Institute. In 1891 he was concerned with the erection of a tower at Wembley to rival the Eiffel Tower in Paris.
In 1874 Carbutt married Mary Rhodes. The baronetcy became extinct on his death.
- "Carbutt [married name Herford], Louisa (1832–1907), schoolmistress and educational pioneer". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/58222. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
- Debrett's peerage, baronetage, knightage, and companionage
- 1862 London Exhibition: Catalogue: Class 7: Thwaites and Carbutt. 1728. Thwaites and Carbutt, Vulcan Iron Works, Bradford, Yorkshire. http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/wiki/1862_London_Exhibition:_Catalogue:_Class_7.:_Thwaites_and_Carbutt (with illustration)
- The London Gazette, 15 March 1867, page 1738 www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/23230/pages/1738/page.pdf
- Lord Mayors & Aldermen of Leeds since 1626 Archived 2009-03-04 at the Wayback Machine
- "No. 26334". The London Gazette. 14 October 1892. p. 5735.
- "No. 26720". The London Gazette. 10 March 1896. p. 1596.
- ICE Journal Minutes of the Proceedings Obituary Sir Edward Hamer Carbutt January 1905
- London Daily News Sir Edward's Tower 10 August 1891, Wednesday
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Edward Carbutt
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament for Monmouth Boroughs
Sir George Elliot
|Professional and academic associations|
| President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|
|New creation|| Baronet