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British Industrial History

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Joseph Oxley and Sons

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of St. Augustine's, Norwich

1818 'On Tuesday, at midnight, the first trial was made of the Gasometer, with its apparatus, erected by Messrs, John and Philip Taylor, of London, in the factory of Messrs. Joseph Oxley and Sons. Persons living at a distance, who chanced to be up at the time, were surprised by the sudden appearance in the north of two long and brilliant lines of light. To the few friends whom the kindness of the proprietors admitted into the interior of the factory, it was a most agreeable and gratifying display. From the Gasometer, which stands in the rear of the building, pipes are conducted throughout the whole of it, along the ceilings, and from these horizontal ducts, over each loom, descends a perpendicular one, terminated by a jet of three beautifully clear white flames, the intensity of which are increased or diminished at pleasure. By the use this novel kind of light, which to the eye of the vulgar seems produced from nothing but a species of magic, the common inconvenience is avoided of tallow, snuff, and oil dropping upon the stuff in the loom, when once ignited (an instantaneous operation) no time lost in attending to the light. The experiment (for such it was to the spectators) succeeded to admiration: the quantum of light seemed indeed more than sufficient for the occasion; the faint smell which was caused by the heated putty and paint on the first night was entirely gone on the second, when not the slightest disagreeable effluvia could be detected. At the same time the rooms were effectually warmed by the introduction of steam into pipes running parallel with those for gas; so that light and warmth are thus provided for throughout the extent of this large edifice. As admirers of works of art, we feel an obligation to Messrs. Oxley, for having been the first to introduce this new and unoffending gas into use in this city [Norwich]; nor would we withhold the just meed of praise from its two Natives, for having invented and brought it to perfection; thus subduing and as it were, binding in fetters two of the most terrible engines of Nature, and compelling them to minister to the uses of mankind.'[1]

1827 Mentioned. Joseph Oxley and Sons.[2]

1829 Partnership dissolved. '...Partnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned, Edward Oxley, Henry Willett, and Edward Willett, all of the City, of Norwich, Merchants arid Manufacturers, and carried on under the firm of Joseph Oxley and Sons, was this day dissolved by mutual consent...'[3]

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Sources of Information

  1. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 17 October 1818
  2. Norfolk Chronicle - Saturday 19 May 1827
  3. [The London Gazette Publication date:27 February 1829 Issue:18554 Page:382]