Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,461 pages of information and 233,884 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Holman Brothers

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1929. Silenced Road Ripper.
1929. Portable Air Compressor.
1931. Petrol Driven Air Compressor.
August 1933.
Power hammer found in South Africa.
Power hammer found in South Africa (detail).
Steam-driven air compressor at Beamish Museum.
Steam-driven air compressor at Beamish Museum.
A pneumatic rock drill exhibited at Treasure Park Museum.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. The Holman Climax Rock Drill.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. The Holman Silver Three Drill.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. Holman SO13 Silver Rock Drill
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. Advert for the James style separating tables.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. Vibration motors for the separating tables used at Geevor.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. Winding gear.
Exhibit at Geevor Tin Mine Museum. This water powered rock stamp is still in operation. It is thought that the stamps were made by Holmans and the cast iron wheel was made by Sara and Co.
Model DH.
Model DH (detail).

of Camborne, Cornwall.

1839 One of Nicholas Holman's sons, John Holman, established a separate company.

Cornish manufacturers pioneered dust suppression in mining by delivering a water spray to the drill tip which also had the benefit of providing lubrication. One of the major manufacturers was Camborne-based Holman Brothers which, with James McCulloch, developed what became known as the Cornish Rock Drill. It was to see use in South Wheal Crofty, Dolcoath Mine, Tincroft Mine, East Pool Mine, Kit Hill, and also mines in Wales by 1882.[1]

An example of the Cornish Rock Drill is in the Cornwall Museum at Truro. They were designed to drill vertical holes supported by an internal airleg, that pushes the drill bit upwards. Its maximum extension was 60 cms (2ft), so to drill a 1.8 metre hole, three different drill-steels of 60cms, 120 cms and 180cms were required. They could achieve approximately 30 cms per minute and weighed about 45 Kg.[2]

1887 Supplied beam engine for East Pool Mine.

John Holman was succeeded by John Henry Holman

1906 Incorporated as a limited company - Holman Brothers

John Henry Holman was succeeded by James Miners Holman.

1914 Directors: James Miners Holman (Managing Director), and J. Leonard Holman

1914 Specialities: Mining Machinery of all kinds including Air Compressors, Rock Drills, Pumping and Winding Engines, Ore-dressing Machinery and Boilers. [3]

1922 Directors: James Miners Holman (Managing), John Leonard Holman, Arthur Treve Holman and Percy Mynors Holman. Manufacturer of air compressors, rock drills, drill sharpeners, haulages, concentrators, general mining and quarrying plant, pneumatic tools.

1937 Pneumatic tool and plant manufacturers. "Rotodrill" Pneumatic Drills and "Rotogrind" Pneumatic Grinders. [4]

1951 Acquired an interest in Climax Rock Drill and Engineering Works

1957 About two-thirds of Climax's equity was owned by Holman Brothers[5]

1957 Incorporated Goodyear Pumps as a private company, to develop certain patents in relation to pumps; partly-owned by Holman Brothers[6]

1957 Company made public. Wholly-owned subsidiaries included Cornwall Drop Stamping Co and Dustuctor Co.

1958 Holman acquired the rest of the shares in Climax; Maxam Power was established as a separate subsidiary company to develop and exploit its technology for industrial automation[7]

1960 Rock drills, air compressors and other tools. (Of Camborne). [8]

1961 Mining and civil engineering equipment manufacturers. 2,500 employees.[9]

1961 Sales of Maxam Power automation and control systems, Goodyear Pumps and Rotair screw compressors[10]

1968 Merger of Broom and Wade and Holman Brothers, with the encouragement of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation, to form the International Compressed Air Corporation[11] with principal tradenames Broomwade, Holman and Maxam[12]

1974 Renamed CompAir Construction and Mining

An excellent illustrated history of the company is available, first published in 2001 [13]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978/9. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
  1. [1] Cornish Rock Drill
  2. The Geevor Tin Mine Museum
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  4. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  5. The Times Jul 08, 1957
  6. The Times, Jul 08, 1957
  7. The Times, Aug 13, 1958
  8. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert Back Cover
  9. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  10. The Times, Aug 18
  11. The Times, Dec 13, 1968
  12. The Times Jan 04, 1969
  13. Holman - Cornish Engineering 1801 - 2001 by Clive Carter, published by CompAir UK. ISBN 0904040593