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British Industrial History

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De Atlas (Amsterdam)

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Some events in the company's history are given below, arranged according to the sources of information, rather than chronologically, with apologies for errors and omissions arising from translation.

The business had a succession of names: "Dixon & Co.", "Dixon & Van Heukelom" (1841), "H. P. van Heukelom & J. F. Taunay", and finally "De Atlas"[1]

The firm of Dixon and Co. in Amsterdam, which in 1841 became De Atlas (see below), was established by Job Dixon after he had left Belgium. One source of this information dates from 1836, when a witness to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Artizans and Machinery said that he had encountered Job Dixon working at 'Sernag'. This was probably a misprint for Seraing (Belgium)[2]. A Dutch source refers to the Atlas Foundry being established by machine maker Job Dixon from Britain, who had previously been active in Belgium, but had settled in the 1830s in the Netherlands. It also records that he had previously been the technical director of the Enschede Katoenspinnerij. [3]

By 1841 Dixon had started his machine works, and it seems that there was a merger with the foundry of H.P.van Heukelom, establishing the firm Dixon & Van Heukelom ‘De Atlas’. In 1842 they supplied a large engine to a pumping station (Spaarndam), but it took several years to get it working satisfactorily. Several locomotives were also built by Dixon & Co, but these were not successful. Dixon resigned in 1848. At the 1883 Amsterdam World Fair, De Atlas exhibited 100-ton sheerlegs for the Soerabaja dockyard, and a block-setting crane for IJmuiden. The company was liquidated in 1886. [4]

In 1851 a new company was formed, the largest shareholder, with 10 shares, being Prince Frederik of the Netherlands. Directors included Hendrik Pieter van Heulekom and Jan Frederik Taunay. The company survived a slump in the engineering industry from 1855-1865, and subsequently faced steadily increasing competition. Eventually, in 1921, the company was liquidated, and the factory closed.[5].

c.1865: The company's cranes included some of the Fairbairn type (the type developed by William Fairbairn).[6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'Dampfmaschinen und Lokomotiven' website of Albert Gieseler, Mannheim, Germany
  2. [2] Selection of Reports and Papers of the House of Commons: Vol 17, 1836: 5th Report of the Select Committee on Artizans and Machinery
  3. [3] Geschiedenis van de techniek in Nederland. De wording van een moderne samenleving 1800-1890. Deel IV: auteur: H.W. Lintsen. Google translation to English: [4] 'History of Technology in the Netherlands. The making of a modern society from 1800 to 1890. Part IV' by H. W. Lintsen
  4. [5] Erven Van der Valk / Sevenbergen en De Lanoy/Sevenbergen en De Lanoy / De Atlas, Amsterdam Dik Nas / Elahuizen, 2014
  6. [7] 'Kraanbouwers uit Nederland van Railgebonden kranen behalve bouwkranen' website