Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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J. and E. Hall

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c.1838 beam engine at London Science Museum.
1883. Hart's cyclic elevator.
1892. Carbonic Anhydride Refrigeration Plant.
June 1898.
March 1907.
March 1907.
March 1907.
November 1907.
1911. Refrigerating machinery.
May 1921.
March 1922.
September 1925.
1929. High Speed Ammonia Compressor.
1929. Twin Speed Ammonia Compressor.
1929. Automatic Electrically Driven Methyl-Chloride Refrigeration Compressor.
1929. Carbon dioxide refrigeration compressor.
1933. Horizontal Twin Marine Type C02 Compressor.
1933. Twin Cylinder NH3 Compressor.
1933. Vertical CO2 Compressor for Ship Use.
1933. The Grimsby Ice Factory.
May 1949.
June 1949.
July 1949.
August 1949.
August 1949.
1951. Escalator Construction.
October 1952.
February 1959. Escalators.
1959. Hydro-cooling plant for vegetables.
1964. Refrigeration plant, grain storage.

of Dartford, Kent.


1785 Company started.

In 1785 John Hall established himself as a smith and millwright in Lowfield Street, Dartford.

1792 On the advice of Smeaton, Bryan Donkin took up an apprenticeship with Dartford millwright, John Hall.

1798 Hall advanced £250 to Donkin to set himself up as a paper mould maker.

c.1800 Hall had moved to larger premises on land which had been part of Dartford Priory.

1801 The Fourdrinier brothers imported from France the first machine for making paper in continuous rolls and erected it at the works of J. and E. Hall. There, a third brother, Charles Fourdrinier, worked alongside John Gamble, Leger Didot, and Bryan Donkin, to develop it.

c.1830 Hall worked with Richard Trevithick.

1833 May 17th. Edward Hall took out a patent for the Trevithick engine in France.

c.1840 Small 25 HP A-frame beam engine driving machinery in the Boxmoor Ironworks (agricultural engineering) of Davies and Bailey. [1]

1881 Developed horizontal dry-air refrigeration machine which would be suitable for use on ships[2]

Largely occupied in making refrigerating machinery for shipping meat from Australia[3]

1887 Introduced carbonic anhydride refrigerating machines

1894 Brewer’s Exhibition. An Ammonia compressor ice-making machine. [4]

c.1890 Developed a practical CO2 refrigerating machine.

1900 Manufactured refrigerating systems to what was stated to be the three largest meat-carrying steamers afloat - The Suffolk, Norfolk and Sussex. The refrigerating machines, were on Hall's dry air carbonic system.[5]

1900 The company was registered on 30 November, to acquire the business of a company of almost similar title, manufacturers of refrigerating machinery. [6]

1904 DEtails of their 2.5 ton petrol lorry.[7][8][9][10]

1906 Produced a commercial vehicle with a 25hp four-cylinder engine using Sauer patents under the brand name Hallford.

1907 Making under the Saurer patents.

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Petrol Motor Commercial Vehicles see the 1917 Red Book.

1926 - December. Acquired a controlling interest in Medway's Safety Lift Co and the manufacture of that company's electric, hydraulic and hand power lifts and hoists, both land and marine, was transferred to their works at Dartford.[11]

1959 Private company.

1959 Merger with Thermotank, forming Hall-Thermotank[12]

1961 Manufacturers of refrigerating and air-conditioning equipment, lifts, escalators and associated products. 4,000 employees. [13]

1968 New machine installed for the machining of crankcases. [14]

John Jr. and Edward Hall

John Hall Sr. died in 1836, and in his will he left the engineering business to his eldest sons, John (1792-1850) and Edward (1799-1875). They had served their time as apprentices in their father's works. Edward was recalled from Paris, where he had been sent in 1817 as their overseas representative.

The death of John in 1850 dealt a serious blow to the business. Edward Hall continued until his death in 1875, but failed to invest in new plant.

A Company History

An official history was published in 1985[15]. We learn that after Edward Hall's death in 1875, his executors sold what was left of the business to E. L. Beckwith and F. E. Burke, who struggled on with the old equipment.

In 1878, a young Everard Hesketh started with the firm to gain experience, having served his time with the prestigious firm of Easton and Anderson. He entered the drawing office, where James Snowden was in charge, having joined the firm in 1837. The firm struggled on, and Beckwith retired, followed by Burke, who sold their shares to Hesketh.

Following a visit to the Paris Exhibition in 1878, Hesketh decided to embark on the production of refrigeration machinery, which was to prove a valuable business line. In 1881 Hesketh's friend, Bernard Godfrey joined as a partner.

Automobiles and Buses

J. and E. Hall of Dartford Automobile Engineering Works produced commercial vehicles from 1906 under the name of Hallford (a combination of the company name and the location).

See Hallford

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Plate 98, 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain, Volume 6: The South Midlands', by George Watkins, Landmark Publishing Ltd
  2. The Engineer 1881/05/13
  3. The Engineer
  4. The Engineer of 2nd November 1894 p388
  5. The Engineer 1900/05/04 p 472.
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. Automotor Journal 1904/06/25
  8. Automotor Journal 1904/07/02
  9. Automotor Journal 1904/07/09
  10. Automotor Journal 1904/07/16
  11. The Engineer 1926/12/24
  12. The Times, Jun 23, 1959
  13. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  14. The Engineer of 12th April 1968 p577
  15. 'Halls of Dartford 1785-1985' by Harry Miller, Hutchinson Benham, 1985
  • Richard Trevithick by H. W. Dickinson and Arthur Titley. Published 1934