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British Industrial History

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Charles Henry Pugh

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Charles Henry Pugh (1840-1901) founded the Whitworth Cycle Co, Senspray and the Charles H. Pugh company

1840 Charles Henry Pugh was born in Newtown, Montgomery, Wales,

1867 Married Elizabeth the second daughter of the late John Vernon Esq. of Uttoxeter [1]

1871 Living at 34 and 36 High Street, Rotherham (age 30 born Newtown), a Jeweller employing 2 men and 2 boys. With his wife Elizabeth (age 26 born Uttoxeter) and their children Charles Vernon (age 2 born Rotherham) and Margaret F. (age 5 months born Rotherham. Also a servant. [2]

1881 Living at Heath Cottage, Bordesley, Birmingham (age 40 born Newtown), a Bedstead Manufacturer (Iron) employing 11 men and 30 women. With his wife Elizabeth (age 36 born Uttoxeter) and their children Charles V. (age 12 born Rotherham), Margaret (age 10 born Rotherham), John V. (age 8 born Rotherham), Edwin R. (age 6 born Birmingham) and Elizabeth E. (age 5 born Birmingham). Also two servants. [3]

1891 Living at Hawthorndell, Penns Lane, Sutton Coldfield (age 50 born Newtown), a Manufacturer in Metals (Employer). With his wife Elizabeth V. (age 46 born Uttoxeter) and their children Charles V. (age 22 born Rotherham), Manager of Works; Margaret F. (age 20 born Rotherham); John V. (age 18 born Birmingham); Edwin R. (age 16 born Birmingham); and Elizabeth V. (age 15 born Uttoxeter). Also two servants. [4]

1901 Living at Hawthorndell, Penns Lane, Sutton Coldfield (age 60 born Newtown), a Manufacturer in Steel and Iron (Employer). With his wife Elizabeth and daughters Margaret F. and Elizabeth B. Also a visitor and three servants. [5]

1901 Q2. Died at Aston


1901 Obituary [6]

CHARLES HENRY PUGH was born at Newtown, Montgomeryshire, on 6th June 1840, and was the second son of Richard Pugh of that town.

He was educated at Welshpool Grammar School, and in his eighteenth year after a visit to Canada entered his father's ironmongery and general hardware business.

In 1860 he became manager to Messrs. Mellard of Uttoxeter, Staffs., ironmongers and implement makers, and while there brought out his first invention — one for improvements in cheese-making machinery — which was successfully worked for many years.

In 1867 ho bought the ironmongery business of Messrs. Brooks of Rotherham, to which he added a wholesale department.

This business he sold in 1872 and removed to Birmingham, where he founded the Screw, Rivet, Bolt and Nut Works at Dean Street and Bishop Street, and subsequently at the Whitworth Works, Rea Street South, of which he remained owner till his death.

In 1891 he added to this business a bicycle works in partnership with his eldest son under the style of the Whitworth Cycle Co. Owing to its rapid development this was in 1893 converted into a private company, and in 1894 was amalgamated with the Rudge Cycle Co., of Coventry, under the style of "Rudge-Whitworth Limited," now one of the largest and most successful cycle manufacturing concerns in the United Kingdom.

In 1892 he was led by difficulties in building bicycle wheels to investigate the subject of making for them steel rims which should be mathematically true and circular. The result of a long and costly series of experiments was his invention of the jointless rim, to manufacture which he founded in 1894 the Jointless Rim Co.

He sold his interest in this business in 1897, and since then had been constantly travelling abroad for health.

His death took place at his residence, Hawthornden, Penns, near Birmingham, on 9th April 1901, in his sixty-first year.

He became a Member of this Institution in 1890; and was also a Member of the Iron and Steel Institute.


1901 Obituary [7]

CHARLES HENRY PUGH died on April 9, 1901, at Isis residence at Penns, near Birmingham, at the age of sixty-one years. He was originally a screw manufacturer, and carried on business at Rea Street, South Birmingham, but in 1892 he entered the cycle trade, and formed the Whitworth Cycle Co., which developed to such an extent that in 1896 it was amalgamated with the Rudge Co., thus forming the Rudge-Whitworth, Limited. He was also connected with the Palmer tire, and he was inventor of the jointless rim. He was elected a member of the Iron and Steel Institute in 1890.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Leeds Mercury, Saturday, May 25, 1867
  2. 1871 Census
  3. 1881 Census
  4. 1891 Census
  5. 1901 Census
  6. 1901 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Obituaries
  7. 1901 Iron and Steel Institute: Obituaries