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British Industrial History

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John Royle (USA)

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John Royle (c.1822-1908)

Founder of John Royle and Sons (USA), now Royle Systems Group of Oakland, NJ

An extract from 'Prominent Families of New Jersey' [1]:-

'A boy of seven or eight years of age when he came to America in 1830 and settled in the city of Paterson. John Royle became, in 1855, the founder of John Royle & Sons, of this city, builders of photoengraving machinery, Jacquard card-cutting machinery and extrusion and straining machinery for rubber and plastics. Of English birth, he brought to the New World with him a sturdy heritage of thrift and ingenuity, and the enterprise that he initiated in Paterson became one of ever-increasing importance. .... Mr. Royle was born in the early twenties of the nineteenth century in the ancient English village of Lymm, near Manchester, in the county of Chester. He set out from his native land for America, along with his parents, sisters, an uncle named Benjamin Bailey .....
Jeremiah Royle, John Royle's father, had been a gardener in England. Coming to America because of some dissension in the family, he quickly formed friendships in the New World. It was impossible for him to follow on with the work in which he had been engaged in England, however, and he bcame a laborer in the Rogers, Ketchum & Grosvenor machine shops. This company later became the Rogers Locomotive Works. He suffered a tragic accident there when he was one of a group of men handling heavy castings. Someone slipped. A casting fell, and he was in its path. He died a short time late from the injuries that he suffered. His wife, Mrs. Lucretia (Worthington) Royle, of Lancashire, was left mainly dependent on the earnings of her son.'

The source provides much interesting detail, including the fact that young Royle had very little schooling, and was initially employed at the cotton mill of Mark Collet for $1 a week, working from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. He then served an apprenticeship at the Rogers Locomotive Works, and his first year there, 1839, was the year of his father's accident. He became adept at metal turning. Surprisingly, the firm had no slide lathes at that time, relying on hand-held tools. His inventive abilities were very evident, but he had to leave due to ill health, and appears to have worked on a farm for two years, before returning to industry, working for a number of engineering firms. In about 1855 he started business on his own account, in a small way, but business was hard hit by the Civil War, and he went back to work for a former employer, the Watson Machine Co. He eventually started again on his own, making machinery. The business became John Royle and Sons. He retired in 1884, leaving his sons Vernon E. and John Sr. in charge. He died on 31 October 1908.


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Sources of Information

  1. [1] 'Prominent Families of New Jersey: In Two Volumes' by William Starr Myers, Vol 1, 1945, p.67ff.