Tangye Brothers of Cornwall Works, Clement St., Birmingham.
Makers of pumps, lifting equipment and engines. Produced Hydraulic rams (used to launch the SS Great Eastern), steam pumps, horizontal steam engines and the differential pulley still known by the Tangye name.
1857 Company established by the five Tangye brothers, as James Tangye and Brothers,
Obtained order for screw-jacks which necessitated move to larger premises at Clement St..
1859 Took George Price into partnership and the company became Tangye Brothers and Price
1862 Advert by Tangye Bros seeking to hire a steam engine for about one week .
1862 Exhibition. Demonstration by Tangye Brothers and Price of working model of hydraulic wool and cotton press, and an hydraulic ship jack .
1864 August: Weston's patent assigned to Tangye Bros .
1865 Tangye Bros successful in action against someone infringing Weston's patent .
1866 Advert by Tangye Bros, Clement St., seeking chain-maker .
1867 Prizes awarded at Paris Exhibition: Tangye Bros, Manchester (sic), machine for lifting, pulley tackle; also T. A. Weston, Birmingham, hoisting apparatus .
1868-70 Joseph produced a Velocipede; an example is in the Cornwall Museum at Truro.
1870 There were 800 people employed.
1870 Advert for patternmaker by Tangye Bros, Cornwall Works, Soho.
1871 Notices in papers threatening action against those infringing Weston's patent .
1871 Extension of Soho works included a dining room for the employees to accomodate 1000 persons .
1871 Reference to Tangye Brothers of Smethwick voluntarily taking action in relation to the nine hours movement .
1872 Note that one of the companies opening their works to visitors were Tangye Brothers of Rabone Bridge, Soho and Clement St, Birmingham .
1872 James and Joseph retired from the company.
1873 Order by Kidderminster Town Council for one of Tangye Brothers patent pumps for supplying 7300 gallons/hour of water to the town's reservoir .
1873 Tangye Brothers displayed Tonkin's patent pump, hydraulic lifting jack and hydraulic punching bear at the annual exhibition .
1875 Novel compact, low vibration 40 hp engine to design of Willans constructed by Tangye Brothers and installed in a steam launch .
1875 Company annual soiree for workers and their families provided opportunity to review the reasons for the company's success; about 1300 employees in Birmingham plus others in London, Newcastle and South Shields .
1876 Brake pulley block and safety hoist announced to H. Cherry's patent, (head draughtsman).
1876 Direct-acting compound steam pumping engine. Tangye Brothers.
1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham with Cameron's special pumps and steam engines.
1878 Vertical engine. Gold medal Paris. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum.
1879 At Yorkshire Industrial Exhibition, Tangye Brothers showed a 25 h.p. horizontal engine which supplied power to almost all of the machinery in motion at the exhibition. Also boilers, steam pumps, hydraulic lift jacks, hydraulic punching bears, "Weston" patent safety blocks, hoists, screw-jacks, an assortment of steam fittings, injectors, winches, and centrifugal pumps.
1880 2,000 on payroll.
1880 Manufactured Robson and Pinkney's gas hammer. Advert: Tangye’s patent “Soho” engines; New design; 3-14 hp; all size in stock with or without boilers; Gold medal Paris exhibition.
1881 The company was made into a private limited liability company Tangyes Ltd. The company was registered on 31 December, to acquire the businesses of Tangye Brothers, hydraulic engineers, and of Robert Price and Co, malleable ironfounders, of Winson Green, near Birmingham. 
1887 The Newcastle Exhibition, 1887: 'Messrs. Tangyes Limited show a 2½ -horse power Robson's gas engine, in which an ignition is obtained for every revolution. Unlike the Otto and other engines, the cylinder is closed at both ends, and all the operations are fulfilled in one cylinder. The same firm exhibit a new departure in gas engineering, in the form of a Robson's patent gas hammer with Pinkney's improvements. The. mixture of air and gas is introduced above the piston, where it is compressed and ignited. The explosion then gives the blow, after which the hammer is raised to its former position by means of a spring. It is simple, and the force of the blow can be regulated with the greatest accuracy. One of these hammers has been working regularly for the last twelve months, and has proved to be equal in efficiency to the steam hammer, and much cheaper in point of economy. 
1888 Hydraulic Baling Steam Pump. 
1888 June. Engines and machinery for the Birmingham Cable Tramway
1890 Electric light and pumping engines for 'SS Teutonic' and 'SS Majestic'. Illustration and article in 'The Engineer'. 
1890s 'Colonial' steam engine. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum).
1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Diploma of Honour for Large Mechanical Constructions. 
1895 Two engines for Wellingborough Corporation (Irthlingborough Road Station).
1896/7 Directory: Listed as makers of steam boilers. 
1900 June. Royal Agricultural Show at York. Showed steam, oil and gas engines. 
1900 Paris Exhibition. Description of the oil and steam engines shown. 
1903 Three inverted triple-expansion engines for Ilkeston and Heanor Waterworks (Whatstandwell Station).
1906 Type S Gas Engine. Exhibit at Anson Engine Museum.
1906 Another business was absorbed.
1911 They produced machine tools in including Lathes; milling machines for cams. 
1914 Listed as engineers and manufacturers of gas, oil and steam engines, pumps, hydraulic machinery and lifting appliances. Employees 3,000. 
1920 At the Machine Tool Exhibition in Olympia they showed an axle end facing and centering machine for railway axles and an axle turning lathe. They appointed Alfred Herbert as the selling agents.
1927 Advert for heavy-fuel oil engines from 12 to 500 bhp. 
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history
1961 Hydraulic and general engineers, specialising in the manufacture of diesel engines, pumps, hydraulic and special machinery. 
1968 Heavy duty jacks. Of Gough Road, Greet, Birmingham. 
Display of engines. Exhibit at Anson Engine Museum.
Extract from Steam Locomotion on Common Roads by William Fletcher. Published 1891.
Messrs. Tangye, of Birmingham, in 1862, constructed the road locomotive as per Fig. 62.
The illustration (kindly lent by Messrs. Tangye) shews the engine so clearly that little descriptive matter is needed. The centre of the carriage afforded ample space for seating six or eight persons, whilst three or four more could be accommodated in front, one or two of whom performed the duties of driver and steersman. The stoker was of course stationed at the boiler behind. The driver who sat in front had full control of the stop valve and reversing lever, so that the engine could be stopped, or reversed by him as occasion required, whilst by means of a very powerful and well arranged foot brake at his command, he was able to bring the carriage to a standstill in an incredibly short time and distance. The management of the whole engine was so simple that the most unskilled persons might have undertaken it without the slightest fear of accident. The speed of 20 miles an hour could be readily attained, and the engine with its load ascended the steepest gradients with perfect ease and safety.
The body of the carriage was made of iron and supported on steel springs of great flexibility, the motion over the roughest roads being smooth and easy. The length of the carriage was 16 ft, and the width 5ft. 9in. The two cylinders were 5.5 in. diameter and 11in. stroke. The cylinders were neatly lagged, and with the guides were pro- tected by an iron casing as shown in the illustration Fig. 62,
The driving and steering wheels were each 39 in. diameter, and 2 in. on the face, made of wood and strongly tyred with iron. The whole vehicle was remarkably compact and simple in construction, and the working parts were few in number and not liable to derangement. The vertical boiler had a copper firebox, and contained 100 brass tubes enabling steam to be raised in a few minutes.
No inconvenience was felt from the heat of the boiler by persons seated in the body of the carriage, it being partly surrounded by the feed water tank, the steam was dried before entering the cylinders by passing through a conical coil of pipes in the smoke-box. When burning coal, a small jet of steani was employed to introduce air above the fire, and was found to be very effectual in preventing smoke. The loco- motive carried sufficient fuel and water for a journey of 20 miles.
From Mr Richard Tangye's interesting autobiography recently published, we quote the following respecting this atcam carnage: — "About 1862 the subject of providing 'feeders' in country places for the main lines of railway came again into prominence. Branch lines had been proved to be unremunerative from their great cost in construction; and amongst other systems proposed was that of light, quick- speed locomotives for carrying passengers, and traction engines for the conveyance of heavy produce and other goods. We detennined to construct a locomotive of the former class and succeeded in making a very successful example with which we travelled many hundreds of miles. The carriage occupied no more space than an ordinary phaeton; when travelling at over 20 miles an hour, the engine was easily managed and under perfect control. Fig. 63 shows the Cornubia on the village green.
"Great interest was manifested in our experiment, and it soon became evident that there was an opening for a considerable business in these engines, and we made our preparations accordingly, but the 'wisdom' of Parliament made it impossible. The squires became alarmed lest their horses should take fright; and although a judge ruled that a horse that would not stand the sight or sound of a locomotive, in these days of steam, constituted a public danger, and that its owner should be punished and not the owner of the locomotive, an Act was passed providing that no engine should travel more than four miles an hour on the public roads. Thus was the trade in quick speed locomotives strangled in its cradle, and the inhabitants of country districts left unprovided with improved facilities for travelling."
In no single instance did Messrs. Tangye*s carriage cause an accident attributable to horses. At one time a countryman tumbled out of his cart from fear that his horse might bolt, but the latter was wiser than his master, for he stood quite still.
Sources of Information
- Cornwall Museum at Truro
- The Engineer of 25th August 1876 p128
- The Engineer of 14th July 1876 p33 & p40
- The Engineer of 15th October 1920 p381
- The Engineer of 19th November 1920 p512
- The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
- Autobiography of Richard Tangye
- Birmingham Daily Post, 30 December 1875
- Birmingham Daily Post, 18 December 1865
- Birmingham Daily Post, 13 November 1862
- 1862 London Exhibition: Catalogue: Class VIII.: Tangye Brothers and Price
- Birmingham Daily Post, 18 December 1865
- Birmingham Daily Post, 26 October 1864
- Birmingham Daily Post, 18 December 1865
- Birmingham Daily Post, 29 October 1866
- Daily News, 3 July 1867
- Birmingham Daily Post, 18 August 1870
- Birmingham Daily Post, 20 February 1871
- Birmingham Daily Post, 5 July 1871
- Newcastle Courant, 7 July 1871
- Birmingham Post, 25 October 1871
- Birmingham Daily Post, 15 June 1872
- Birmingham Daily Post 7 August 1873
- Royal Cornwall Gazette, 30 August 1873
- York Herald, 5 April 1875
- Birmingham Daily Post, 30 December 1875
- The Engineer 1876/07/14
- York Herald, 30 August 1879
- Birmingham Daily Post, September 15, 1880
- The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
- Leeds Mercury, 27 May 1887
- The Engineer of 6th April 1888 p296
- The Engineer of 29th June 1888 p531
- The Engineer of 13th June 1890 p477
- The Engineer of 2nd November 1894 p387
- The Engineer of 14th December 1894 p533
- Peck's Trades Directory of Birmingham, 1896-97: Boilers - Steam
- The Engineer of 22nd June 1900 p650
- The Engineer of 16th November 1900 p487
- Machine Tools by James Weir French in 2 vols. Published 1911 by Gresham
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- Mechanical World Year Book 1927. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p47
- 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
- The Engineer of 13th August 1968 p410