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1863 Firm was established by Benjamin Wright, in north Leeds, located near the tanning districts of Buslingthorpe and Meanwood. Benjamin was the son of a cloth dresser and only 19 when he set up the millwrights business with his younger brother David.
The firm named B. & D. Wright was one of the four major manufacturers in Leeds contributing production machinery for the leather trade. Old established leather firms including Wilson, Walker and Co., J. J. Flitch, J. S. Stocks and W. L. Jackson were all situated very close to the premises of B. & D. Wright.
1880 Wright's first patent was for a pair of self-contained pendulous stocks with spring loaded connecting rods.
1881 Business offered a glazing wheel, embossing, fluffing, rolling and "Burdon" scouring machines.
During the early 1880s the business moved from the first premises into the "Oxford Works". This was a building located further along Meanwood Road and formerly used for leather manufacture by the currier Francis Simpson.
1888 Huxham and Browns of Exeter took out High Court action against B. and D. Wright in November with intention to restrain them from publishing, printing or circulating any catalogue, book or trade circular containing any illustrations copied from copyrighted drawings contained in Huxham and Browns catalogue.
Wright's were one of four engineering concerns in the Leeds area specialising in machinery production for the leather trade - the others being Haley's, Joseph Hall & Co., of Kirkstall, and Farrar, Whitley and Co
1890's B. and D. Wright were offering "Union" splitting machines, setting and scouring machines in several designs, "Grasshopper" glazing machines and brushing machines all marketed under the trade name "Excel"
1897 "The introduction of a machine for extracting water from hides or skins patented by Wrights in 1897, was the first machine of its type to be produced in Leeds."
1898 A leather finishing department had by now, been established at The Oxford Works. Benjamin Wright and his son James focussed on the engineering side of the business - James travelling throughout the country acting as a representative for the leather machinery. David Wright and his son took care of the leather dressing and currying interests of the firm.
1904 During this year the firm supplied a very distinctive consignment of machinery to the Leather and Accoutrement Works in Kabul, Afghanistan. In order to be suitable and convenient enough to transport on camels, the bulk of machinery had to be made in sections and as close as possible to the weight of around 75kg. The larger items of machinery that could not be reduced to less than 500-600kg were taken to their final destination by elephants after making the majority of the journey by steamship and railway. The entire set of machinery included a band knife, splitting machine, embossing, brushing and fluffing machines, drum tumbler, striking out machine including shaving, scouring, setting and tolling machines all despatched in some 250 cases.
1906 Registered as a limited liability company on 29th July 1906, with a capital of £20,000.
The directors were listed as:
Around the year 1906 the Oxford Leather Works moved out into premises formerly used by W. and H. Miers in Meanwood Road, leaving the full premises for increased machinery production. 1906 was also the year a blacking and seasoning machine was introduced.
1907 A roller embossing or printing machine was added to the firms' range of machinery. A second assignment to Afghanistan saw equipment such as tan presses, bark mills, stocks, tumblers and liquor pumps, disintegrators, unhairing and fleshing machines together with a large sammying machine to the Ameers tannery.
1908 B. and D. Wright introduced an improved scudding machine based on the American Vaughn design. It incorporated simplified direct gearing in place of complicated belt and clutch mechanisms.
1909 Improved the carriage drive of the embossing or ironing machine to keep up with the imported German built machines of this type.
1912 Developed a machine with an oscillating blade for removing and levelling thick sections of calf skin necks.
1913 Made developments for a self contained putting out machine based on the American Turner design.
The threat of foreign imported tanning machinery began to affect the business of the British leather trade engineers and at the start of the century leading up to the beginning of the First World War competition reached its peak.
The start of the war provided a breathing space for the leather traders of Britain as foreign imports were diminished and a massive increase in the demand for leather intensified. This and the loss of skilled workers for the war effort led tanners to seek out more machinery to increase production.
1915 B. and D. Wright reported that they were exceptionally busy as German competition was non-existent.
The 1920s were difficult times for not just B. and D. Wright, but the entire leather trade. British manufacturers suffered a heavy blow as German built tanning machinery imports increased.
1927 Aged 76, David Wright withdrew from the business and the firm became known as B. and J. Wright and Sons. It is presumed that Benjamin Wright, now aged 83, had little to do with the daily running of the business and the control was with James and his sons.
The company moved out of the Oxford Works in Meanwood Road and into premises formerly occupied by the Hill Top Leather Works of J. S. Stocks and Co in Buslingthorpe Lane.
March 1928 An advertisement indicated that the main lines produced by the firm at the time were splitting, setting out and embossing machines.
1931 Benjamin Wright died aged 87 on 24th February.
1934 B. and J. Wright and Sons was taken over by G. L. Murphy, a firm established in 1919 which developed rapidly, specializing initially as importers of foreign built tanning machinery and reconditioners of all types of leather trade equipment. The Hill Top Works still continued under the name of "B. and J. Wright and Sons" but was controlled by Messrs Murphy who was based at Menston, near Ilkley.
1935 David Wright died on 13th September aged 85.
It seems likely that the firm of 'B. and J. Wright and Sons' made substantial losses from 1927-34 after the business was transferred to the Hill Top Works.