Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Firth Brown

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1934. New Engineers' Tool Department of Thos. Firth and John Brown Ltd.
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Thomas Firth and John Brown of Atlas and Norfolk Works, Sheffield. Telephone: 20081. Telegraphic Address: "Firth, Telex, Sheffield"; "Atlas, Telex, Sheffield". (1937)

1902 John Brown and Co acquired seven-eighths of the ordinary shares of Thomas Firth and Sons by exchange of shares, the two companies continuing under separate management.

1930 Thomas Firth and John Brown formed by the merger into Thomas Firth and Sons of the heavy steel interests of John Brown and Co, neighbouring companies in Sheffield[1]. John Brown and Co would own 85% of ordinary shares of the amalgamated business.

1934 New company Firth-Vickers Stainless Steels formed to acquire the stainless steel interests of Thomas Firth and John Brown and the English Steel Corporation, which would jointly own the new company[2].

1936 The Engineers Tools Department was especially valuable in helping customers machine the steel products. The jointly owned company Firth-Vickers Stainless Steels Ltd was continually finding new uses for its products[3].

1937 Advert for Firth-Brown Engineers' Tools. Products for the Engineers' Tool Department, including the New Drill Point Grinder, Files, Hacksaws, "Insto" Metal Saws, Milling Cutters, Reamers, and other items made from Firth Speedicut High speed Steels. (Engineering/Metals/Quarry, Roads and Mining/Transport Section - Stand No. D.408) [4]

1937 Steel manufacturers. "Atlas" Steel. "Firth" Steel. [5]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1945 Advert for steel carbide. (Thomas Firth and John Brown Ltd) [6]

1946 Public company Firth, Brown Tools formed for purpose of acquiring from Thomas Firth and John Brown Ltd the tools department which had been established around 1900; several directors of John Brown and Co were to be on the board.

1946 Participated in a consortium of engineering companies, led by John Brown and Co, which joined together in an enterprise which would use surplus factory space at Yeovil belonging to Westland[7]

1951 Nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[8]

1952 John Brown and Co had received £5.5 million in British Iron and Steel stock for its shares in Thomas Firth and John Brown[9].

1955 On denationalization of Thomas Firth and John Brown[10], John Brown and Co arranged for its shareholders to have the right to invest in the shares themselves, rather than John Brown and Co acquiring them[11].

1960 Advert. 'Speedicut' tools. (of Speedicut Works, Carlisle Street East, Sheffield) [12]

1960 Subsidiary company was William Beardmore and Co; associated companies were Firth-Vickers Stainless Steels Ltd and Firth-Derihon Stampings Ltd[13]. Firth Brown Tools licenses Surform tools to Firth Cleveland Ltd

1961 Listed as Thomas Firth and John Brown Ltd of Sheffield and Scunthorpe. Employs 10,000 persons. [14]

1961 Steel manufacturers handling carbon and alloy steel forged blooms; billets and bars; carbon and alloy steel forgings; hollow forgings; forged steel die blocks; fully-hard, semi-hard and back-up forged steel rolls; slabbing and cogging forged steel rolls; rolled products including carbon and alloy steel billets, slabs, black bars and bright drawn or centreless ground bars, high speed, carbon and alloy tool and die steels, special steels, carbon and alloy tyres, carbon, alloy, stainless and heat resisting steel rings; steel castings; drop forgings in alloy, stainless, special creep-resisting steels and in nimonic and titanium alloys; fusion welded boiler drums and similar pressure vessels; welded fabrications for general engineering; ingots in acid open hearth and electric arc and high frequency steels. 10,000 employees[15].

1967 One of the larger steel makers not subject to nationalisation[16]

1972 Nationalized British Steel made agreement with private sector Thomas Firth and John Brown to rationalise stainless steel operations by taking over the rolling of strip and plate; Thomas Firth and John Brown would retain the Firth Vickers company[17].

1973 Merger with Richard Johnson and Nephew, company to be known as Johnson and Firth Brown Ltd.

1974 Lamson Engineering Co supplied 1,580m 75mm pressure air tube system at Sheffield.[18]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 23 June 1931
  2. The Times, 12 July 1934
  3. The Times, 27 June 1936
  4. 1937 British Industries Fair Advert p622; and p363
  5. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  6. Mechanical World Year Book 1945. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p87
  7. The Times, Dec 28, 1946
  8. Hansard 19 February 1951
  9. The Times, 27 September 1952
  10. The Times, 19 March 1955
  11. The Times, 26 September 1953
  12. Mechanical World Year Book 1960. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p170
  13. The Times, 29 January 1960
  14. 1961 Guide to Key British Enterprises
  15. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  16. The Times, Apr 26, 1967
  17. The Times, 3 May 1972
  18. The Engineer 1974/04/25
  • [1] Sheffield Forgemasters International
  • AA. [2] Image courtesy of Aviation Ancestry