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British Industrial History

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John Drane

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John Dane (c.1790-1833) of Jennens (or Jenning's) Row, Birmingham

Lathe, stamp. press and die press maker

1828 Advert: 'SALE at No. 73, ISLINGTON, of LATHES, &c. made by J. DRANE.
To be SOLD by AUCTION, by H. GIMBLETT, on the premises as above, on Wednesday next, July 30, all the valuable Lathes and Tools belonging to Mr. D. Hill, consisting of a superior powerful bed lathe, with male centre, sliding quadrant rest, large wheel and other tools complete, also a foot lathe complete, both made by that eminent Mechanic, J. Drane ; also several sets of stocks and dies, with taps, &c. turning tools, large die-sinkers' and other vices, drilling apparatus, die-sinkers' punches, swage anvils, bellows, &c. etc. particulars of which appear the catalogues. Sale to begin precisely at ten o'clock in the morning, under the usual conditions.'[1]

'We now return to St. Bartholomew's Chapel, which is bounded by Masshouse-lane, St. Bartholomew-row, and Jennens's-row; in the latter our attention was attracted by the productions, unassuming residence, and still more unassuming manners, of one of the most talented and ingenious mechanics that, perhaps, this or any town can boast; and we cannot even, at the risk of giving pain to a man of modest but superior merit, pass over it without mentioning the name of Mr. John Drane, lathe and press manufacturer; the great beauty, correctness, and mechanical precision, of the lathes, presses, &c., manufactured by this gentleman, cannot be surpassed; nor can we offer a higher eulogium than has already been bestowed by the approbation of Mr. Oldham, the highly esteemed engineer to the Bank of Ireland, and of whom we have made mention in another part of our work. We are gratified to hear that Mr. Drane is now engaged on some commissions for his grace the Duke of Northumberland, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland.'[2]

1832 Drane's lathes were favoured for inclusion in Brewster's Edinburgh Encylopedia, being highlighted as 'the best makers of turning apparatus' 'for medium and light work' (along with Paterson and Mitchell of Edinburgh). The article on Turning also refers to 'amateur's lathes made by Drane of Birmingham, which, in point of accuracy and efficiency, could not be exceeded.'[3]

1833 Death notice: 'On the 13th inst. in his 44th year, Mr. John Drane, a celebrated mechanist of Birmingham, by whose scientific attainments and mechanical skill many important improvements in the tools and apparatus necessary to the perfection of our manufactures have been effected.'[4]

1833 'On Monday, in his 44th year, Mr. John Drane, a celebrated mechanist of this town, by whose scientific attainments and mechanical skill, many important improvements in the tools and apparatus necessary to the perfection of our manufactures have been effected, and whose removal in his prime of life and usefulness may justly be considered a national loss. He was the eldest son of the late Mr. Henry Drane, Weybread, Suffolk.'[5]

To be disposed of by private Contract, the very excellent and valuable Working Tools of the late Mr. John Drane, Machinist, of 17, Jenning's-row, consisting of Lathes of various dimensions, fitted up with right-angled, compound sliding and plain rests, and other essential appendages for cutting screws, spur or bevil wheels, racks, &c. Machines for accurately planing metallic surfaces, Hubs, Taps, Dies, Boring Tools, and other Instruments for effecting mechanical operations ; an extensive collection of Models or Patterns (for casting from) of Lathes and other Machines; also the residue of the valuable Stock in Trade of the deceased. Applications to purchase the whole or any portion of this important property to be made (if by letter, post paid) to the Executors, No. 17, Jenning's-row, Birmingham.'[6]

1834 Advert: 'MR. JOSEPH EVANS (from the late Mr John Drane's) respectfully informs his Friends and the Public that he has commenced business on his own account as a Lathe, Press, and Copying Machine-maker, and also a Machine Planer ; and he pledges himself to plane all kinds of Metal, either flat or angular surfaces, with perfect accuracy, and on the most reasonable terms. Docker's Mill, Bagot-street, May 12, 1834.[7]

TO be SOLD, a SLIDE LATHE, six feet three inches on the beds, seven inch centre, with screw cutting apparatus, wheel cutting apparatus, slide rest, drill slide, and a number of useful chucks, all made by the late John Drane, of Birmingham, and not more than a few months in use, now parted with in consequence of the owner having gone to America.
—The lathe may be seen and further particulars learned at Kennan's, Artists' Warehouse, 19, Fishamble-streer, Dublin.
The price that will now be taken for the lathe and apparatus is £100, being less than two-thirds of its original cost.
None but post paid letters can be attended to.'[8]

1834 Advert: 'Valuable Working Tools, Lathes, Presses, Condensing Steam Engine, Collection of Lathe and other Patterns to cast from, double and single-barrel Guns, &c. No. 17 Jennenss-row, opposite Saint Bartholomew's Chapel, Birmingham.
BY RODERICK. TO SOLD by AUCTION, on the premises (by direction of Executors) on Tuesday and Wednesday, the 28th and 29th of October inst.-.the remaining valuable Tools and other Property of the late Mr. John Drane, Machinist; consisting of excellent turning and drilling lathes, bead and comb machines, three pair of rolls, two-sided press, valuable assortment of dies, taps, hubs, and miscellaneous tools, Lancashire and Sheffield files, vices, benches, grindstones and frames, several highly finished double and single-barrelled guns, about one ton of best cast steel, shelves, counters, writing desks, and other fixtures, with the valuable collection of lathe, press and other machine patterns to cast from.
The sale to commence each day at ten o'clock.
May be viewed, with catalogue, seven days prior to the sale.
At twelve o'clock on Wednesday morning will be sold a very elegant Condensing STEAM ENGINE, with six-inch cylinder and twelve-inch stroke, beautifully designed and made by the late Mr. Drane. It is applicable to any purposes for which such power may be required, and could be a great and useful ornament in the possession of gentleman requiring a supply of water to a fountain, mansion, &c.'[9]

1834 'TO be SOLD AUCTION, at his Sale Room, Temple-street, Birmingham, To-morrow (Tuesday) the 4th day of November, by direction of the Executors of Mr. John Drane, a handsome modern mahogany winged Bookcase, with secretaire and drawers, 5 feet 4 inches wide and 8 ft. high ; a Library of valuable Books, including Lizar's System of Anatomical Plates of the Human Body; Manuel du Tourneur, 2d. edition, et Atlas contenant 96 planches; Smeaton's Narrative, &c. of Edystone Lighthouse, and his Reports, 2 vols. Landscape and Comic Annual, 7 vols.; History of Cheltenham and Edinburgh, with plates; Hogarth's works ; Gentleman's Magazine for 1800 to 1832 ; Sterne's works, 7 vols. ; Monthly Magazine, 3 vols., Shakspeare's Plays, 8 vols. ; Bloomfield's History of Norfolk, 11 vols. &c.; a capital French clock, in a neat brass case; silver snuff-boxes, two with music, a silver two-handled cup, Mudie's series of National Medals, in bronze and morocco case, ; also at the same time will sold the under-mentioned articles, the property of a Lady having no further use for them — an elegant silver tea service, waiter, table and tea-spoons, dish-stand, wine strainer, sugar-tongs and sifter, 3 silver mounted jugs, plated two-light branch, 5 doz. and 10 bottles of rich claret wine, and other property.
Particulars appear in catalogues, to be had of the Auctioneer.'[10]

1842 Sale of the effects of F. A. Wheeler, percussion gun cap maker, of Birmingham: 'Important sale of PERCUSSION GUN CAPS, ROLLED COPPER, GILDING METAL, VERY SUPERIOR LATHES AND PRESSES, By Evans, Successor to Drane.... The SHOP TOOLS, FIXTURES, &c. consist of 16 very superior NEW PRESSES, made by Evans, successor to Drane, four valuable LATHES of the same make equal to new, press benches, smiths'bellows, scales and weights, counters, shelving, desks, &c.[11]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 28 July 1828
  2. [1] 'The History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire: Inclusive of Some ...' by William West, 1830
  3. [2] Edinburgh Encylopedia, Vol XVIII, David Brewster, 1832
  4. Wolverhampton Chronicle and Staffordshire Advertiser - Wednesday 22 May 1833
  5. Bury and Norwich Post - Wednesday 29 May 1833
  6. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 25 November 1833
  7. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 19 May 1834
  8. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 13 October 1834
  9. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 13 October 1834
  10. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 3 November 1834
  11. Aris's Birmingham Gazette - Monday 2 May 1842