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British Industrial History

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Fawcett, Preston and Co

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1891.
1891. Cyclone hydraulic baling presses.
1891.
1891.
1904. Hinkford pumping engines.
1904. Vertical compound pumping engine.
‎‎
1906.
1907.
Portable Riot Shield. Exhibit at the Museum of Liverpool.
Portable Riot Shield. Exhibit at the Museum of Liverpool.
Portable Riot Shield (detail). Exhibit at the Museum of Liverpool.
1955.

Fawcett, Preston and Co of Phoenix Foundry, York Street, Liverpool.

See William Fawcett, Robert Preston and his nephew William Preston

1758 Established for marine engineering by George Perry as the Liverpool branch of the Coalbrookdale Co.[1]

1771 Perry dies and is replaced by Joseph Rathbone

1784 William Fawcett joins the management

1817 One of the first to apply steam to the propulsion of vessels; built the engines of the PS Etna, which began to ply on the Mersey in 1817

1834 Supplied a 36 HP stationary engine to the New Orleans Sugar Refining Co.[2]

1836 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, as Engineers and Iron-Founders, at Liverpool, under the firm of Fawcett, Preston, and Co. is dissolved, so far as regards the undersigned Isaac Shakespeare. Signed Isaac Shakespeare, Willm. Fawcett, Willm. R. Preston'[3]

1838-42 See 1839-1842 Marine Engine Makers for details of engines made for the Admiralty.

1840 the firm made the machinery of the President, the largest Atlantic steamer built up to that time.

1843 'A LARGE SPINDLE.-Yesterday week a large cylindrical mass of wrought iron, weighing no less than 22,400 lbs., was conveyed from the foundry of Messrs. Fawcett and Preston to the Clarence Dock, where it was to be shipped for London This immense piece of metal is intended for the spindle of one of her Majesty’s steam frigates. It was placed on two strong trucks, and was drawn through the streets by eleven powerful horses, twenty or thirty men holding by drag ropes in the rear to prevent the trucks attaining too much velocity in descending inclined planes.'[4]

1848 Built one railway locomotive and this was bought by the East Lancashire Railway.

1854 Announce they have acquired a large plot of ground fronting the Birkenhead Great Float where they will move their boiler works.[5]

1855 'At Fawcett’s foundry, Liverpool, mortars of large size are being cast, and the shells and the mortars are said to be superior to those supplied from other places. The mortars are all proved by hydraulic pressure before they leave the foundry. One of the engineers at Fawcett’s has made an important discovery in the construction of a shell, and the Admiralty and the War-office are delighted with the improvement. The shell is cast very thin, and lined inside in a way (which is secret) to resist the influence of molten iron. With molten iron the shell is to be filled, and, while in fluid state, fired. Each shell will contain 50 lb. of iron a state of fusion; and, where the shell falls, destruction extends around it, on damp ground no man can live within fifty yards of it. The filling of each shell will take twenty-five minutes, and there will be no difficulty, in ship or trenches, in preparing the molten metal. in ancient times forts were defended by pouring molten lead on the besiegers ; now, we shall project the molten metal upon the besieged.'[6]

Note: For more information on molten iron-filled shells, see HMS Colossus.

1863 The firm consisted of Herman James Sillem, William Thompson Mann, Jacob Willink, Henry Berthon Preston and David William Thomas.[7]

1869 Partnership change. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between the undersigned, Herman James Sillem, William Thompson Mann, Jacob Willink, and Henry Berthon Preston, carrying on business, under the style or firm of Fawcett, Preston, and Company, in Liverpool in the county of Lancaster, as Engineers mid Iron and Brass Founders, was, on the 31st day of December, 1867, dissolved and determined so far as the said Jacob Willink was concerned...'[8]

1872 Partnership change. '...the Partnership heretofore existing between the undersigned, Herman James Sillem, William Thompson Mann, and Henry Berthon Preston, carrying on business at Liverpool, as Engineers and Ironfounders, under the firm of Fawcett, Preston, and Co, was this day dissolved by mutual consent, so far as respects the said Herman James Sillem and Henry Berthon Preston...'[9]

1872 Partnership change. James Gregson Chapman and his brother Alfred Chapman became partners in the firm having worked for the firm overseas for many years and joining William Thompson Mann

1888 Conversion to limited liability. '...subscriptions in Fawcett Preston and Co. Limited, which has just been formed, the proposed capital being £100,000, in 10,000 shares of £10 each, and £60,000 in 600 debentures of £100 each.....Consequent on the death of Mr. W. T. Mann, the senior partner in the firm of Fawcett Preston and Co., of Liverpool, the surviving partners, who have for many years conducted the business, have formed this company for the purpose of carrying on the business under the provisions of the Limited Liability Acts, and have agreed to act as managing directors for a term of not less than five years. During the last three years the works have been to a very large extent reconstructed, and new buildings have been erected and fitted with powerful plant and tools of improved type, suitable for the economical manufacture of the various specialities of the firm. The works cover an area of about 13,669 square yards, of which about 11,640 are freehold and the remainder Liverpool Corporation...'[10]

1891 Description of their works in 1891 The Practical Engineer. Also manufactured the Cyclone press of Mr. James Watson, used for pressing jute, cotton, silk, feathers, etc.

1894 Two Woolf Compound Beam Engines for Wallasey Waterworks (Liscard Station).

1901 Mention of Alfred Chapman as managing director.[11]

1905 The company was registered in 8 June, to take over the business of the company of the same name, engineers. [12]

1907 Produced a light goods chassis.[13]

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

General Engineers, of Bromborough Port, Cheshire

1948 Acquired by Metal Industries

1949 Reconverted to private company

1955 Joint sales and service operation Fawcett-Finney for Finney Presses and Fawcett, Preston (see advert)

1958 Merged with another Metal Industries subsidiary, Finney Presses; operations concentrated at Bromborough; the Fawcett facility at Birmingham was closed[14].

1961 Hydraulic and general engineers, manufacturing presses, rubber and plastics machinery, electrical resistors. 800 employees. [15]

1967 Metal Industries sold Fawcett, Preston and Co, rubber and plastic extrusion machinery makers to Tube Investments[16].

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. National Archives
  2. [1] 'Steam Engines: Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury' by United States Dept. of the Treasury, 1838, p.308
  3. The London Gazette 15 November 1836 Issue:19437 Page:2053
  4. Liverpool Mercury, Friday 13 October 1843
  5. Liverpool Mercury - Friday 21 April 1854
  6. Illustrated London News - Saturday 01 September 1855
  7. Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 23 June 1863
  8. The London Gazette Publication date:5 March 1869 Issue:23476 Page:1531
  9. The London Gazette Publication date:27 December 1872 Issue:23932 Page:6489
  10. Liverpool Mercury - Saturday 14 April 1888
  11. St James's Gazette - Monday 24 June 1901
  12. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  13. Complete Encyclopedia of Commercial Vehicles. Edited by G. N. Georgano
  14. The Times, Jul 09, 1958
  15. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  16. The Times, 1 July 1967
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978. ISBN 0-903485-65-6