Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Colin Mather Senior

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Colin Mather, Senior (c1812-1877)

c.1812 Born North Shields, Durham [1] or Scotland [2], son of Colin Mather (b.1788 in Montrose)

1833 Married Anne Dunn[3] (born c. 1815 Sparstone, Cheshire [4])

1834 Machine maker, Brown St, Salford[5]

1834 Webster, Birch and Mather of Brown St, Salford, was closed; Colin Mather intended to carry on the business in the same manner.

1837 William Mather, Colin Mather and John Tenney Newstead, ironfounders, engineers and machine makers, of Manchester and Salford, were bankrupt[6]

1845 The business of W. and C. Mather prospered and the Mathers leased part of the Salford Iron Works.

1851 Living in Broughton, Salford[7]

1851 The partnership between William Mather and Colin Mather was dissolved; Colin Mather would settle all debts[8]

1852 Colin Mather entered into a partnership with William Wilkinson Platt, the son of John Platt (who had died in 1847), to form Mather and Platt[9] of Salford Iron Works

1855 Millwright, of Mather and Platt, Willow Bank House, Higher Broughton[10]

1855 Described an earth-boring machine he had invented to the Society of Arts; his works were in Garden Lane Salford[11]

Filed several patents on machinery related to cloth finishing, weaving, etc via Salford Iron Works and Mather and Platt

1861 Took a prominent part in the movement for Parliamentary reform[12]

1862 Patent to Colin Mather of Willow Bank, Brompton near Manchester, for improvement in spittoons[13]

1871 Lived in Broughton, Lancs (age 59) with wife Ann (b. 1815), 3 daughters (Martha age 34, Ann age 26, Sarah age 24) and sons John H. Mather (age 20, calico printer, chemist) and Colin Mather (age 17, apprentice machinist)[14].

1876 Retired from Salford Council[15]

1877 Died on 2 May, age 65[16]; probate proved by his sons William Penn Mather of Salford Iron Works, John Henry Mather, of Chadderton, calico printer, and Colin Mather, of Salford Iron Works[17]


"Cast Iron Colin", as he came to be called, was an engineer of ingenuity and brilliance. As the active head of the business, with Grundy as his manager, he not only built up an efficient organisation to produce textile finishing machinery, he also concerned himself with a wide range of ingenious ideas, including the design of piston rings, particularly for use in ships engines. There was also well boring, the production of magnesium in quantity in cast iron pots instead of expensive platinum and porcelain vessels which had been used previously; and the method of preventing coastal erosion with a system of cast iron plates. He had something of Wilkinson’s zest for turning iron into a universal material and it was easy to see from the list of his pre-occupations how he came to earn his nickname[18]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1851
  2. 1871 census
  3. Manchester, England, Marriages and Banns, 1754-1930
  4. 1851 Census
  5. UK, City and County Directories, 1766 - 1946
  6. The Morning Post, December 27, 1837
  7. 1851 census
  8. London Gazette 16 December 1851
  9. Biography of William Mather, ODNB
  10. UK, City and County Directories
  11. Manchester Times, June 6, 1855
  12. Manchester Times, March 30, 1861
  13. London Gazette 25 April 1862
  14. 1871 census
  15. Manchester Times, October 14, 1876
  16. The Engineer
  17. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966
  18. Mather and Platt History [1]