Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 144,265 pages of information and 230,174 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Armstrong, Mitchell and Co

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1883. 160-ton crane at the Arsenale, Venice.
1883. Detail view of the crane.
1886. One hundred ton floating crane.
1887. The Dogali.
January 1888.


1893. The Argentine Cruiser 9 De Julio.
Engine No 1190. Cross-compound hydraulic pumping engine used in Tower Bridge, London. Exhibit at Forncett Industrial Steam Museum.
1894. Japanese Protected Cruiser Yoshino.
1897. 110-ton gun.
1897. The Gun Shop.

Armstrong, Mitchell and Co of Elswick-on-Tyne, Newcastle

1882 November 14th W. G. Armstrong and Co, maker of hydraulic devices, cranes, bridges and guns, merged with the shipbuilders Charles Mitchell and Co to form W. G. Armstrong, Mitchell and Co. The company initially had capital of £1.575M.

1882 December 1st: issued reports on testing of a 'Hundred Ton' Breech-loading gun at Spezia. Drawings were published in the Jan 1883 issue of The Engineer p.73

The vessel 'Esmerelda', a Chilean cruiser was the first supplied by the new company

1885 The ex-Mitchell Low Walker yard concentrated on merchant shipbuilding especially tankers.

1883 A shipyard was established at Elswick under the management of Mr. William White

1885 Mr. Philip Watts succeeded to the leadership of the Elswick yard when Mr White became Chief Constructor to the Navy; for the next 37 years the Elswick yard supplied an unbroken line of Chief Constructors to the Navy.

1886 The Gluckauf was completed in July as the world’s first ocean-going tanker; designed by Henry F. Swan to carry 3500 tons of oil from America or the Black Sea to Europe.

The Deutsch-America Petroleum Company subsequently placed orders for many sister tankers and the yard completed over 100 tankers up to the outbreak of war in 1914.

1889 HM First-class battleship 'Victoria'

1889 Italian cruiser 'Piemonte'

1889 A 110-ton gun bent during tests; this type of gun was expected to have a life of 95 rounds fired[1]

Supplied hydraulic machinery for Tower Bridge, London

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Details of extensive exhibits

1894 The Chilean Cruiser 'Blanco Encalada'. Full details in 'The Engineer'

1895 Charles Mitchell died in August of this year and company was reconstructed.

1897 The Armstrong Whitworth company was formed in 1897 as a merger of Armstrong, Mitchell and Co with Sir J. Whitworth's steel, armaments, tools and engineering products company, Joseph Whitworth and Co.

1898 Two Russian ice-breakers were completed with 'Sampo' (1339/98) being fitted with hydraulic elevators for raising and lowering carriages and trucks for the different levels of the river Volga.

1899 'Baikal' (4200/99) was considered to be the most spectacular ship for the Russians. It was a train ferry and was sent overland in 7200 pieces and reassembled on the banks of Lake Baikal as part of the Trans-Siberian Railway!

Over 35 dry-cargo liners were also ordered by German and British owners between 1880 and 1913

The yard was willing to tackle anything that came its way including coastal passenger steamers, cable layers, large cargo ships, suction dredgers and floating cranes.

See here for information on the history of Elswick works, with many illustrations, including maps and works plans.[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1889/11/15
  2. [1] BAe Systems - Elswick Works
  • British Shipbuilding Yards. 3 vols by Norman L. Middlemiss
  • The Imperial Journal 1852 Vol I. p55-57
  • The Engineer of 15th Feb 1889 p152
  • The Engineer of 26th April 1889 p354
  • The Engineer of 21st September 1894 p248
  • The Engineer of 14th December 1894 p503
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816