Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Fairbairn Engineering Co

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1870. Crosland's direct-acting three-cylinder engine.

1864 William Fairbairn and Sons, having sold off the locomotive building side of the firm, the large machinery and iron business changed its name to Fairbairn Engineering Co, and incorporated as a public company[1]

1866 'A few years ago the works of Messrs. Fairbairn and Sons was carried out at four separate places, at some small distance from each other, in the Ancoats district of Manchester. Since the formation of the limited company this has been altered, and all the operations are now concentrated in the engine side and the former boiler yard. To this last portion has been removed the present very large foundry. A large fresh plot of ground has here been purchased, affording an extensive area, now being covered by new workshops. Very considerable contracts for bridge work, principally for Indian lines, are now being executed by the company'

1870 Won the contract for the first of the iron-plated forts at Spithead[2]

1871 Contracts to supply iron bridges in Canada and ironwork for the customs house in Montevideo[3]

1872 Completed the ironwork for the first Spithead fort; had invested in special machinery for the work[4]

1874 After the death of William Fairbairn, his heir Thomas wound up the firm.

1875 The company was liquidated

Liquidation of Canal Street Works in 1875

1875 Advertisement: 'Manchester.—The Fairbairn Engineering Company, in liquidation. Messrs. Fuller, Horsey, and Co., are instructed by the Liquidators to sell by auction, on Tuesday. October 19, and following day, at twelve precisely each day at the Works, Canal-street, Great Ancoats Street. Manchester, in lots, the first portion of the costly TOOLS, PLANT, MACHINERY, and STORES of the Fairbairn Engineering Company Limited, including five Whitworth's self acting radial drilling machines, one ditto by Roberts and Fothergill radial drilling machines, two Whitworth’s self-acting multiple drilling machines, one ditto by Craven, one very powerful eccentric punching and shearing machine by P. Fairbairn, Leeds, two ditto by De Bergue, fly-lever and eccentric punching and shearing machines, one De Bergue's patent riveting machine. one Fairbairn's riveting machine, two Craven's plate planing machines, Shank's very powerful eccentric cutting machine, a set of 10 feet plate straightening rolls, two sets of plate bending rolls, one Bennies' patent bar straightened, one Peel's hydraulic angle iron press, one new patent Tweddell's portable hydraulic riveting machine, by Fielding and Platt Gloucester, one bar straightening machine, four self-acting planing machines, by Collier: one very powerful self-acting wall boring and drilling machine, one large surfacing lathe, seventeen self-acting slide lathes, various, four Buckton's horizontal boring and drilling machines, five vertical drilling machines by W. Muir. Smith and Coventry, and others ; five self-acting wall drilling machines, three screwing machines, Smith and Coventry and others; one very powerful slotting machine by Hetherington; two smaller slotting machines, three shaping machines, a 5 cwt. steam hammer, one hydraulic locomotive wheel press, one testing machine (Fairbairn's), 2000 feet turned wrought iron shafting with hangers and pulleys: two Fairbairn’s pillar high-pressure steam engines with and inch cylinders; two Fairbairn's high-pressure steam with 12 and 13 inch cylinders, one double-flue Cornish steam boiler, two single flue ditto, one Fairbairn's patent five-tube steam boiler of 30 horse power, pair of hydraulic pumps, two 10 ton Wellington travelling cranes 40 feet span, one smaller ditto, two 6-ton travelling cranes by Ellis of Manchester, 38 feet span, wish timber gantry 170 feet long, two 20-ton overhead travelling cranes, 18 feet span, four iron post cranes, ten smiths' cranes, ten smiths' anvils, several tons smiths' and engineers’ tools, vices, sets of steel gauges, surface plates, grindstones, double and single purchase crabs, powerful blocks, chain slings, portable forges, 50 tons shaping slabs, 25 tons rod bar iron, and numerous other effects. To be viewed on Saturday and Monday previous to the sale by catalogues only, without which no person will admitted. Catalogues, 6d. each may be had ten days prior the sale, of Messrs. Fuller, Horsey, Son, and Co., 11, Billiter-square, London, EC.’ [5]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jan 18, 1864
  2. The Times, Jan 29, 1870
  3. The Times, Nov 14, 1871
  4. The Times, Jan 11, 1872
  5. Liverpool Mercury - Friday 01 October 1875