Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,173 pages of information and 245,641 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

G. Birch and Co

From Graces Guide
1892. Sliding and Screw-Cutting Treadle Lathe.
1892.
June 1898.
1899.
1902.
1903. Gear Cutting Machine.

of Bloom Street, then Islington Tool Works, Salford, Manchester.

Small but highly innovative makers of high quality machine tools, including Ornamental Turning lathes.

Founded by George Birch (1842-1900).

Birch had been a manager at the Railway Steel and Plant Company in Newton Heath in the 1870s, when he became acquainted with a local ornamental turner, Jesse Lowe. In 1884, he founded G. Birch & Co, making machine tools with input from Lowe.[1]

1885 Advert: 'Lathe and Vice. - A good opening for an IMPROVER: must have some experience in Electrical or Philosophical instrument making.- G. BIRCH and Co., Bloom-street, Salford.'[2]

1887 Exhibited Self-acting Slide-surfacing and Screw-cutting Foot Lathe, fitted with various appliances for plain and ornamental turning. Foot Power Milling Machine. Hollow Mandrel Electrician’s Lathe. Amateur’s Work Bench. Small Tools case.

1903 Description of a sophisticated automatic machine for cutting spur, bevel and worm wheels. The machine was made in several sizes to cut gears from 2ft. diameter and 9in. wide up to 8ft. diameter and 13in. wide.[3]

1904 they were also making machines for more brutal tasks, including circular saws up to 36 inches diameter for cutting risers off hard steel castings. They also made machines for automatically sharpening circular saw blades up to 66" diameter. Another line was a cylindrical grinding machine for internal and external work, parallel and tapered, taking up to 14" diameter and 6 ft long. They also made complete plant for producing wire mattresses.

1905 Description and illustrations of a 7" centre height toolroom lathe[4]

1911 Made a versatile 4.5" centre lathe for the use of a captain of an ocean-going liner.[5]

1912 Lathe bed design featured in 'Machinery'[6]

1913 Sale of plant and equipment, following voluntary liquidation of G Birch & Co., included 24 lathes, 5 planing machines, 5 dilling machines, shaping, slotting, milling, slot drilling, gear cutting, grinding machines, etc. Also 22 HP National gas engine and gas producer plant.[7]

1918 A 6.5" Birch lathe was included in the sale of fire damaged equipment from the works of John Holroyd and Co [8]

Location

The company occupied a small site in the area of central Salford between Chapel Street and the railway serving Manchester Victoria.The 1915 OS map shows a small tool works at the corner of Islington Grove and Grove Place, in a largely residential area. Latterly it was by no means a prosperous area. The works shared three of its walls with terraced houses, and the ground area was no more than about 100 ft by 100 ft.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] OrnamentalTurning.net: Victorian Era Toolmaker: George Birch
  2. Manchester Evening News - Wednesday 16 September 1885
  3. The Engineer 1903/07/10
  4. The Encyclopaedia of Practical Engineering and Allied Trades, Volume X, Edited by Joseph Horner, Published by Virtue & Co., London, 1905
  5. [2] The Engineer 28 April 1911, p.447
  6. [3] Machinery, Feb 1912, p.452
  7. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 6 September 1913
  8. Rochdale Observer - Saturday 18 May 1918