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Lancashire Engineering and Compression Casting Co

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of St Helens

It appears that the business was established by James Cross after he stopped building locomotives. However, it is clear that the business was carried on in the former locomotive factory - or part thereof - which was equipped with high class machinery intended for locomotive work. The 'Compression Casting' process was for ornamental work, totally different to Cross's previous heavy engineering activities.

1870 'NEW PROCESS OF CASTING METALS —On Saturday a number of gentlemen from London, Manchester, and Liverpool met at the works of the Lancashire Engineering and Compression Casting Company, St. Helen's Junction, on the Manchester and Liverpool line of railway, to witness the new process of casting, in brass and iron, chased and embossed work of the most elaborate description. The process, which was here for the first time exhibited in England, is an American invention, and its utility was shown to consist in this—that any design, whether in high or low relief, chased on metal of any required pattern or shape, whether flat as a door plate or round as vase, can be reproduced by castings from it ad infinitum, and each casting will show upon it all the sharpness and beauty of the original chaslng. Moulds are made with a preparation of fine clay from the articles to be reproduced. The making one of these moulds takes a person from five to ten minutes. The moulds have then to stand 24 hours to air dry, after which they are baked in a furnace for eight hours. These clay moulds, into which the metal is afterwards poured, are to all intents and purposes encaustic tiles. These clay moulds are placed in a box, and the air is extracted from them so as to form a vacuum, after which the molten metal is forced into them, and in this way in ten minutes a casting can be completed. When the casting is taken out, the design, however intricate, is found to be perfectly represented, with the exception of removing a slight surface of clay from it, which can be done in half hour, and the article is then ready to be sent to the bronzer, instead of having to be kept from a fortnight to a month in the chaser's hands. In this way an enormous amount of cost and labour on ornamental articles in metal is saved. As illustrations of the utility of the Invention, various finely-chased articles of room furniture, such as finger-plates, door knobs, bell-pulls, and castings for inlaid cabinet work, were cast in the presence of the visitors, and when taken out these articles were found to possess all the delicacy and beauty of the designs from which the moulds had been made. The process was pronounced by all present to be a complete success. - Standard.'[1]

1871 Advert: 'Locomotive Engine Works, St. Helens. T. M. FISHER, SONS, and CO. have been instructed to offer for Sale Auction in one lot. at the Clarence Hotel, Spring Gardens, Manchester……
THE Valuable and Well-arranged LOCOMOTIVE WORKS, situate at St. Helens, and now in the occupation of the Lancashire Engineering and Compression Casting Company Limited. The land contains 7A 2R 16f., subject to ...... The buildings, which are nearly new, are spacious and lofty, and comprise erecting, tool, and turning shops, two smithies, coppersmiths' and boiler shop, iron and brass foundries, engine and boiler houses, storerooms, stables, and range of and other offices. The tools and machinery are modern construction, by Whitworth ; Sharp, Stewart, and Co.; Craven Bros.; Muir, and other celebrated makers, and consist of 35 lathes, 15 drilling, eight slotting. nine planing, ten shaping, three boring, three screwing, five punching and shearing machines, hydraulic forcing press, 10ft, plate bending rolls, steam rivetter, three steam hammers, together with full complement of miscellaneous plant for carrying on works of this description. The works are alongside the London and North-Western Railway, with sidings on to two main lines of railway in direct communication with all parts of the country. The works are well adapted and commodious, and have every facility for turning out forty first-class locomotives per annum, independent of which there is a great local trade connection with the glass works, chemical works, &c., in the neighbourhood. For further particulars, or orders to view, apply to Messrs. RICHARDSON and TREVOR,.....'[2]

1871 Advert 'MACHINES AND TOOLS.— FOR SALE by Private Treaty, at St. Helens Junction, PLANING MACHINES, to plane from 4 ft. to 24 feet in length, by Whitworth, Muir, and others ; drilling machines, to take in from 1 ft. to 6 ft. centres, by Sharp, Stewart & Co., Collier, Walker, and others ; shaping machines, by Collier, Nasmyth, Knowles, and others; punching and shearing machines, by Sharp, Stewart & Co., Walker, and Leigh ; slotting machines, by Whitworth, and Sharp, Stewart & Co. ; screwing machines, by Muir, Smith & Coventry, and Sellars ; lathes from 6 in. centres to 4 ft. 4 in., by Sharp, Stewart & Co., Muir, Smith and Coventry, Emmerson, and others ; a fine large lathe, with 8 ft. faceplates ; a splendid wheel lathe, for turning locomotive and railway waggon wheels ; a large heavy plate-framing and slotting machine, by Smith, Beacock & Tannett, quite new ; universal boring machine, by Smith & Coventry ; steam hammers, 5 cwt., 15 cwt., and 40 cwt., by D. Joy ; a four-lift bolt machine, by Ryder, nearly new; a good band sawing machine, by Powis, Janes & Co. ; travelling cranes, jib cranes, smith forges, hydraulic press, for putting on and taking off wheels from axles ; grinding stones and frames; also a great quantity of turning tools, drills, and extra slide rests, vices, anvils, &c.; set of gauges, from ¼ in. to 3 in., by Sharp, Stewart and Co. All the above machines and tools may be seen and further particulars obtained at the works of the Lancashire Engineering and Compression Casting Company, Limited, St. Helens Junction, upon application to Mr. G. D. Dows, the managing director.'[3]

1874 ' The Paris Pianoforte and Harmonium Company and the Lancashire Engineering and Compression Casting Company are to be wound up in the Court of Chancery.'[4]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Liverpool Daily Post, 20 July 1870
  2. Leeds Mercury, 29 April 1871
  3. Bradford Observer, 7 June 1871
  4. Morning Post, 31 January 1874