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Cooke, Vick and Co

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of Dudbridge, Stroud, Glos.

1871 Advert: 'DUDBRIDGE PATENT MACHINE WORKS, STROUD, Gloucestershire.
ALFRED SMITH AND WM. CLISSOLD, (Of the late Firm of JAMES APPERLY & Co.)
In relinquishing the above business, desire to thank their Customers for their liberal support, and to recommend to them Messrs. JOSEPH COOKE, CHARLES WALFORD VICK, DANIEL PRICE, and ALBERT THOMAS LYDEARD as their successors, and who will carry on the business in all its branches, under the style of "COOKE, VICK, & CO.," at the same Premises.

'COOKE, VICK, & CO., In succeeding to the above business, respectfully inform the public that they have PURCHASED THE WHOLE OF THE STOCK OF PATTERNS, and are prepared to supply all kinds of WOOLLEN and other MACHINERY manufactured by the late Firm, and can execute any orders for SHAFTING, PULLEYS of all sizes, BEVEL and SPUR WHEELS, and will carry on the Business of GENERAL ENGINEERS and MILLWRIGHTS, and trust with prompt attention to all orders entrusted to their care to merit a continuance of their support.'[1]

1875 'A VISIT TO FROGMARSH PIN MILLS. ..... Messrs. Perkins, Critchley and Marmont .... On the ground floor is one of Messrs. Cooke, Vick, and Co.'s horizontal high-pressure steam engines, of twenty nominal horse power, though capable of being driven at nearly double that strength, and by a judicious arrangement, this acts is conjunction with a sixteen horse-power water wheel, of the ordinary breast-shot character, which is in juxta-position to the stem engine ; so that by the combined action of the two, there is a power equal to that of about fifty horses to drive the pin-making and other machinery throughout the mills. As is well known, the pins are chiefly made of brass ; though for mourning pins iron is substituted and japanned afterwards. The brass is first cast in ingots, and then cut in to strips about the thickness of wire, but this work is performed by other manufacturers, as the material is received at Frogmarsh Mills in skeins of wire several hundred yards in length. ....'[2]

1876 'PARTNERSHIP DISSOLVED. Cooke, Vick, and Co., Dudbridge Patent Machine Works, Gloucestershire, as regards J. Cooke.'[3]

1882 'NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN, that the PARTNERSHIP heretofore subsisting between us, the undersigned, ALBERT THOMAS LYDEARD and DANIEL PRICE, carrying on Business as Machinists and Iron and Brass Founders in Co-partnership under the Style or Firm of VICK, LYDEARD & CO." at Dudbridge, in the County of Gloucester, has been this day DISSOLVED by Mutual Consent, and that all Debts owing to and by the said Partnership wilt be received and paid by the said Albert Thomas Lydeard, by whom the said Business will in future be carried on under the said Style or Firm of "VICK, LYDEARD & CO." at Dudbridge aforesaid.
Dated this 21st day of February, 1882. ALBERT THOMAS LYDEARD. DANIEL PRICK. Witness to the Signatures of Albert Thomas Lydeard and Daniel Price, WILLIAM STEPHENS, Solicitor, Stroud.'[4]


1871 THE HORRIBLE DEATH AT DUDBRIDGE WORKS.[5]

'On Saturday an inquest was held by Mr. J. G. Ball, at the Railway Inn, Dudbridge, on the body of Charles Whitmore, whose death occurred on the previous day, at Dudbridge Works, under the awfully painful circumstances stated in last week's Journal, and more fully repeated in the evidence given below. The jury, of whom Mr. William Phillips was foreman, proceeded, in conjunction with the Coroner, to inspect the scene of the accident, and on returning they viewed the mutilated remains of the body, which were deposited in a shell, and lying in an upper room in the Inn.

'The Coroner, in stating to the jury the circumstances of the case they were sworn to investigate, said he remembered an accident of a somewhat similar nature occurring at Bowbridge some time since. In the present instance he believed no blame whatever could be attached to any person. They found that the regulations of the Factory Act were affixed in a conspicuous place in the works, and seemed to be properly complied with. If children or other persons were employed there, as he found was not the case, it was possible that one or two points might have arisen as to whether every precaution was taken to prevent accident. In the absence of that no question could arise. There was a certain amount of danger attending persons working at such places, and the fact of their constantly moving about amongst machinery made some of them rather daring, and not so cautious as they should be. He very much regretted that straps used in connection with machinery could not be adjusted in some other way than by the human hand being brought into close proximity with them. In the case of the man whose death had called them together, it was stated that he thoroughly understood his work, and had been employed at it a long time. The Coroner then described the circumstances under which the accident happened, and observed that death must have been instantaneous. If the jury, after hearing the evidence, were satisfied that the man had done his work with proper care, such an opinion would remove any feeling on the part of the friends of the deceased, that the poor fellow had accelerated his death by his own incautious conduct. If their enquiry that morning ended in some means being devised for placing straps on machinery without risk to the hand — and in this inventive age he did not think such a plan impossible — they would not have met in vain.

'The following evidence was then given:-

'Mr. Charles W. Vick was the first witness called, and deposed that he was an engineer living at Dudbridge, and one of the firm of Cooke, Vick and Co The deceased had been in the employ of his firm about a month, but he had known him for five or six years before he came to work for them. His age was 25, and he had been working at the Waggon Works at Gloucester before he came to work at Dudbridge. He learnt his trade as a fitter and turner at Messrs. Wailes and Co.'s. The accident occurred in what they called the erecting shops. Witness was about three or four yards away, and had turned round to a bench to do something. The deceased was putting a strap on a pulley, and he had often to put these straps on in the course of his business. The pulley was about eight and a quarter feet from the ground. The first thing he heard was something knock against the beam, and on looking round he saw the body of the deceased going round the shaft. The shaft was revolving at the rate of 140 revolutions a minute. Deceased might have been in that position four or five seconds. The body was torn to pieces, and his head was torn off and lying on the ground. He heard something drop, and concluded it was the head. Witness ran to the engine driver for him to stop the engine. He never had any conversation with the deceased about turning off the strap.

'The Coroner enquired if some mode might not be devised by which straps might be put on without the application of the hand, and these dangers thus avoided ?

'Mr. Vick did not see how it could. The deceased was constantly putting the strap on and off his lathe.

'The Coroner thought whether it could not be done by something directed by the hand ; but Mr. Tick affirmed that he did not think it could be done, because they had got to make the machine, and then the machine had got to be put to a certain place and the strap put to it.

'By a Juryman : The strap was on the coupling, and not on the drum. Mr. Vick said he thought the deceased got his thumb underneath the strap, which carried hie arm round the shaft.

'A Juryman suggested that the use of a stick would perhaps be more dangerous than to do it with the hand, as the stick was so liable to become entangled with the pulley.

'The Coroner thought that such a contingency would be attended with less injury than with the case at present.

'Another Juryman observed that a blow from a stick might kill a man. The Coroner said the only object he had in view was to elicit any suggestion that would tend to preserve human life.

'Joel Clissold deposed that he was assisting the deceased to put on the strap at the machine pulley. Witness was on his knees, endeavouring to connect the strap with the machine. He had often done it, and it was being done in the usual way. The first thing he found of the accident was by being kicked on the arm, and as soon as he looked round he saw the deceased falling from the shaft, and subsequently saw the head on the floor. The body was nearly under where it was carried up, and the head about a yard away. By the Coroner: He could not suggest any means by which putting on the strap could be done without using the hands. He had put on some thousands, and thought the hand was safer than using a stick, Deceased was acquainted with his work.

'By the Foreman : It was the first time the deceased had put on a strap of that description, but he had put straps on other machines where there was more danger.

'John Jakeway, the engine driver, proved that he had been accustomed to pat straps on. It could only be done by the hand. He stated that by Mr. Vick's instructions he stopped the engine as quickly as he could. In reply to a question from the Coroner, the jury intimated that they were perfectly satisfied that there was no blame attaching to anybody, and returned a verdict of " Accidental Death."’


1873 DUDBRIDGE PATENT MACHINE WORKS[6]

'In accordance with a notice in the News a few weeks ago, of our intention to give Notes on Local Manufactures from time to time, we this week fulfil our promise by recording what we saw on a recent visit to the Dudbridge Patent Machine Works. These old-established and extensive works are in the occupation of Messrs. Cooke, Vick, and Co., as engineers and machinists, and brass and iron founders, being situated close to the Dudbridge Station of the Midland Railway Company, and within a mile of the important manufacturing town of Stroud. The premises cover an area of something like an acre in extent, and consist for the most part of about a dozen spacious workshop' and storerooms, severally fitted up with appliances and conveniences for the due carrying out of the special object for which each is intended. The present firm have been in possession about a couple of years, and while their primary object is to maintain the justly-earned reputation with which these Patent Machine Works have ever been regarded, they have also an ardent desire to extend their field of operation ; and therefore, while the principal work for which the firm has hitherto been noted has been patent condensing, diagonal feeding, carding, and other machinery requisite in the manufacture of woollen goods, yet steam engines, roping and washing machines, gig and indigo mills, also come within the wide scope of these extensive works.

‘In our cursory glance through the establishment, the first department to which our attention was directed was the pattern-making, the shop set apart for this branch being supplied with circular and band saws, and other needful facilities. Here also was to be observed a segment plane, or in other words, a huge revolving iron wheel, about three inches in thickness, and fitted at equi-distances with blades similar to those in the ordinary planes. Each segment, previous to being fitted on the cylinders of the carding machines, has to be placed on this revolving plane, and thus a most perfect shape and smoothness is effected. In connection with this branch we must not omit to mention a machine called a dividing engine, which has been constructed by the firm to supersede the manual cutting of cog wheels as patterns for castings, and which ensures a perfection of finish which the hands of the most skilled artificer would fail to produce. During our visit a cog wheel was cut out in about ten minutes, which, by hand power, would have occupied a mechanic the greater portion of a day. This engine will operate on brass or iron, as well as wood, and by simply turning a disc any number of teeth may be cut, and at any required pitch. Adjoining the pattern-making shop is another in which is fixed a lathe of unusual size, and said to be one of the largest in the county ; while in close proximity is a powerful iron-shaping machine, of such a length as to be capable of shaping a piece of iron nine feet long.

‘We passed on to the moulding shop, where was stacked a quantity of Scotch pig iron, as received from the puddling furnaces, and which is usually used by this firm. Here we noticed the frames of several machines which had just been cast, and which came out of the moulds remarkably bright and smooth ; moulding, in fact, seems one feature in which the firm excels, for we were shown some wonderfully good specimens of this art in the shape of a number of stripper shields for condensers, which terminated in a point almost as fine as the edge of a knife, and yet there was not the slightest flaw perceptible. The brass and iron foundry in connection with this firm has been added within the last few months, but having secured the service of some of the old hands, who made the late firm so famous for its good castings, there is evidently no likelihoods of the presage of the Dudbridge Patent Machine Works declining in this respect. This recent addition thus enables Messrs. Cooke, Vick, and Co. to carry out every process necessary for the metal to undergo from the time it is received from the smelting furnaces until manufactured into machines.

‘In the belt-making shop we noticed a very novel kind of belt in course of manufacture, and known as Clissold's patent bevel-edged link driving belts, which consisted of a series of malleable links and plates, firmly rivetted together and geared with wooden cogs. The great advantages possessed by these belts are that they are of great strength and durability, and are extremely simple in construction. Messrs. Cooke, Vick and Co. are the sole manufacturers of these belts, which are different from those of the ordinary kind, inasmuch as they take the strain on the sides of groove or V pullies, made of the required angle to suit the width of the belt. A large number of them are in use all over the kingdom, and they have lately been introduced into India for the special Postal Service. Many of them will run for six or eight years without requiring any repairs whatever, but when repairing is necessary, it is simply to take out the worn or broken sections, and replace them by new ones, which are kept in stock, and this may be effected in a very few minutes. One of these belts was taking the first motion from the engine which drives the machinery at these works, and which was going at the rate of 140 revolutions per minute.

‘The lathe shop is a very spacious building, and in it were nearly a dozen carding engines, with compound iron and mahogany cylinders, which have recently been constructed by the firm. Each of these consist of a series of rings keyed on to the shaft, and on these rings are laid cross pieces of wood to receive the segments of mahogany, which are cut to the required cylindrical shape, and firmly glued and nailed on. To several of these carding engines the firm has supplied the diagonal feeders, which are so celebrated for their mixing qualities, and for which many orders are still on hand. In this shop there were likewise numerous grinding machines, which are employed for the purpose of turning and grinding up the workers and strippers of the carding engines, and are se well adapted that they will take two workers at one time and of any width. A couple of vertical engines were also in the same shop, and a miscellaneous collection of other machinery.

‘In the lathe-room No 2. was employed a planing machine (by Butterworth and Co., Manchester) of extraordinary power, capable of planing and shaping iron to any pattern or angle. A screw-cutting machine also stood near, and so superior is this to the old system of cutting pins by hands, that the machine can do as much work in one hour, as a man could do in double that time by the old process. A spacious room upstairs is called the fitting-room, and here there were several machines which had been completed, and were ready to be despatched to their respective destinations. One is a newly-patented machine, known as a Spinning Condenser, and is the invention of Mr. Wm. Clissold, Engineer, of Cainscross, being intended to supersede the present mule, in the manufacture of woollen fabrics. It is about 6 feet 6 inches in length by 2 feet wide, and stands about 4 feet high. The arrangement of this machine is to take the spool from a condenser, and to pass the slivers between two sets of discs on to another spool prepared for a mule or a throstle machine. The slivers when between the two sets of discs receive a temporary twist and at the same time are drawn out in length to the extent of 40 or 50 per cent. The machine is very simple in construction, and may be made to take • large or small number of slivers, as may be required. The one in question had two row, of discs, each row taking nineteen slivers, and was manufactured for Messrs. Alfred Apperley and Co., of Dudbridge Mills, to which it has since been sent. Each disc consists of a circle of cast iron lined with leather, and is about one and a half inches thick, and four inches in diameter. Another similar machine is being manufactured by Messrs. Cooke, Vick and Co., for Ebley Mills, which will be considerably larger, taking t wenty-five slivers instead of nineteen. The machine is self- feeding, and is considered to answer very well indeed, being destined to benefit largely both by the saving of power and labour and in room occupied. Another specially deserving of notice is Vick and Cooke's patent cross-feeding machine. Simplicity of construction is also a chief characteristic of this machine, their being about one-fourth of the ordinary minuteness of detail, while its purpose is even more effective than is the case with the old machine. By a very simple arrangement of a stop and spring motion, its traversing motion is made to return on its arrival at the end of the feeding apron, whilst the most even work is ensured. These machines are being largely employed in the manufactories of the West of England, and give general satisfaction, many orders for them remaining still on hand. A third machine greatly in demand at these works, is one for woollen shawl fringe twisting, and which was the invention of Mr. Clissold some twenty years ago. It has a double action, working on two shawls at the same time, the fringe of which it will twist at the rate of fifty shawls per day. It is a small compact machine, being something like 5 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 3 feet high. The driving wheel is applied to the centre, and at each end there is ant of three wheels, placed side by side, and severally furnished with projecting spikes about an inch apart, while the distance between the wheels is determined according to the length of the fringe. Across each set the fringe is tightly strained, and as the wheels gradually revolve the fringe is picked up from the centre by grippers —somewhat in the form of a couple of fingers — and called dividers, and by these it is held until the twist is put in it, this being accomplished by its being rolled between two flat bars, faced with leather, moving backwards and forwards in a horizontal position. As soon as the twist is given, the fringe falls down at the back of the wheel, and gives place to another piece, which is picked up in a similar manner and twisted, and then this also gives place, and thus a continuous rotary notion is kept up. In another part of the establishment we saw a fulling machine in course of mannfacture, which is designed to supersede the old-fashioned stocks, for thickening the cloth. A large number of these have been turned out by the firm, and what is more gratifying to them is that not a single accident has occurred with any of these machines. In addition to the machines already mentioned, Messrs. Cooke, Vick, and Co., are also executing orders for stationary steam engines, shafting, plummer block and pulleys, turned iron doffers, condensers and spools for ditto, engine chains, and so on. Having a commodious store-room attached to the works replete with all kinds of wheels, brackets, pins, bolts, screws, and the other component parts of these patent machines, the firm is in a position to execute all orders expeditiously.

‘The engine employed to drive the machinery at these Patent Machine Works is of horizontal construction, and of twenty-horse-power. The number of hands employed is about forty, and the nine-hour movement is in force here, but owing to a lack of workmen a great deal of overtime has to be made. In such an important cloth district as the West of England, works of this kind are of course highly essential, and we may honestly say that the Dudbridge Patent Machine Works have obtained a world-wide reputation in the manufacture of all descriptions of machinery for the woollen cloth trade. Under the new management we doubt not that that reputation will be maintained, as the system adopted at the works is such as to ensure success. The several members of the firm are the working foremen, each having his particular department to superintend, and thus the advantage of economy is combined with that of personal supervision, which latter cannot but prove highly satisfactory both to the firm and to those by whom they are employed. We understand Messrs. Cooke, Vick and Co. have been entrusted with the re-fitting of several of the adjacent mills with new and costly machinery, and in this, as well as in other future orders, we can but wish this enterprising firm every success.’


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Stroud Journal, 2 December 1871
  2. Stroud News and Gloucestershire Advertiser - Friday 14 May 1875
  3. North Wilts Herald - Monday 11 December 1876
  4. Stroud Journal - Saturday 4 March 1882
  5. From the Stroud Journal, Saturday 30 December 1871
  6. From the Stroud News and Gloucestershire Advertiser, 28 February 1873