Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Heppenstall Family

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Notes on the Heppenstall family connection with the steel industry.[1]

"The first Heppenstall to engage in the Steel Industry was George Heppenstall Snr....... who went to work for the Benjamin Huntsman Company, Attercliffe, Sheffield in the year 1792. The Huntsman Company had started in business in 1740, and was the first company to manufacture commercially Crucible Tool Steel. It was here that George Heppenstall learned the 'converting' process, also called the 'cementation' process, which consisted of impregnating bars of wrought iron, made from Swedish pig iron, with carbon, at a temperature below its melting point. This process was used for the production of bars which were the base for the manufacture of high grade Crucible Tool Steel. This 'converting' or 'cementation' process is now a lost art.

George Heppenstall Jnr.... learned the converting process under his father at the plant of the Benjamin Huntsman Company. George Jnr left the Huntsman Company and went to work for the Warrington Steel Company, commonly known as the Peter Stubs Company of Rotherham. He was later made head of the Converting Department of the Warrington Steel Company, and served this company for a great many years.

John Heppenstall, brother of George Heppenstall Jnr, learned the blacksmith trade at the plant of the Rotherham Forge Company, Rotherham. This company manufactured railroad locomotive tyres, which tyres were made from iron and were welded so as to make a ring. In 1857 John Heppenstall together with Charles Bartholemew, obtained an English Patent (Patent#1369) for a machine for rolling locomotive tyres in one piece, without welding, and this was the first tyre rolling machine made in the world.

George Heppenstall Jnr had a family of 9 children, one of whom was Sam Heppenstall..... Sam Heppenstall was born in Rotherham on the 23rd November 1842. At age 11 (1853) he went to work for the Tinsley Rolling Mill Company, Rotherham. He learned here to be a tool steel roller. The largest Crucible Tool Steel Ingot manufactured in 1853 weighed 28 pounds. In 1867 Sam Heppenstall left England and came to America, where he went to work for Henry Disston and Sons of Philadelphia as a roller." The account continues with what happened in the USA, but this is of less interest to me personally.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Frank Alan Heppenstall 20211005. 'George Heppenstall Jnr is my Great x 3 Grandfather'.