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British Industrial History

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Crosfield and Shanks

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Crosfield Brothers and Co, formerly Gamble and Crosfields, later known as Crosfield and Shanks, chemical manufacturers of St. Helen's

1828 Because of the atmospheric pollution created by his factory, James Muspratt built a new works using the Leblanc soda process at St Helens. He invited another Irish chemist, Josias Gamble (1775–1848), to join him as junior partner [1].

1830 When Muspratt moved on, Gamble found other partners (eventually John Crosfield, then in business in Warrington)[2]. The business became Gamble and Crosfields.

1836 William Gossage engaged James Shanks (1800–1867) and George Elliott to assist in the erection and development of Gossage's absorption towers at the British Alkali Works at Stoke Prior, Worcestershire.

1841 James Shanks moved to St Helen's and erected Gossage towers for Gamble and Crosfields.

1841 Shanks took out the first of several patents, this on the manufacture of carbonate of soda.

1845 The partnership of J. C. Gamble and J., S., and J. Crosfield, alkali manufacturers of St Helen's, was dissolved[3]; Shanks became a partner in the new firm, Crosfield Bros. and Co, a position he held for the rest of his life.

1854 Fire at Crosfield Brothers and Co, St Helen's[4]. Visited by party from the British Association meeting[5].

The firm later became known as Crosfield and Shanks.

c.1857 John Brock worked for Crosfield and Shanks; after ten years he had risen to be manager.

1858 Shanks patented a process for preparing chlorine using calcium chromate, for which he was awarded a medal at the 1862 international exhibition.

1861 Shanks' vats were introduced for the extraction of the soda from black ash in the Leblanc method.

1863 Shanks patented improvements in the manufacture of caustic soda and caustic potash.

1866 The partnership between James Shanks and Alfred Crosfield, together with Simon Crosfield (now deceased), all of St. Helen's, manufacturing chemists, under the title Crosfield, Brothers and Co expired on 24 November 1866. All debts would be paid by James Shanks and Alfred Crosfield[6].

1867 Partnership of Crosfield Brothers and Co was dissolved[7].

1867 Brock left Crosfield and Shanks to join Sullivan and Co. James Shanks died.

1878 Auction of parts of the plant, tools, materials, etc at Crosfield Brothers and Co[8].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Biography of James Muspratt, ODNB [1]
  2. Biography of Sir David Gamble, ODNB [2]
  3. The Manchester Times and Gazette, 27 December 1845
  4. Liverpool Mercury, 24 February 1854
  5. Liverpool Mercury 29 September 1854
  6. London Gazette, 1 February 1867
  7. The Preston Guardian 9 February 1867
  8. Liverpool Mercury 14 June 1878
  • Biography of James Shanks, ODNB [3]