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British Industrial History

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Magnesium Metal Co

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of Patricroft, Manchester

1865 advert: 'REDUCTION IN THE PRICE OF MAGNESIUM.—The Magnesium Metal Company Limited have the pleasure to announce that, having entered upon the manufacture on an extensive scale, with the view of the metal becoming an article of large utility, they have been enabled to effect a very considerable reduction in the price. The Wire Ribbon (and requisite apparatus) sold by all the principal opticians and chemists. J. MATHER, Secretary.'[1]

1865 Dublin International Exhibition: 'Magnesium, produced under Mr. Sonstadt's patents, and exhibited for the Magnesium Metal Company by Messrs. Johnson, Matthey and Co., as their sole agents.—
Pure distilled magnesium; weight, 134 ounces. Obelisk of pure magnesium metal (a solid casting), weight 162 ounces. Turnings of pure magnesium metal, weight 13 ounces. Pure magnesium wire—a coil one mile and six yards in length, weight 47 ounces. Pure magnesium ribbon — a coil 4800 feet in length—weight 40 ounces.[2]

1867 British Association meeting: 'SCIENTIFIC APPARATUS AT LAST NIGHT'S SOIREE. Several very interesting scientific instruments were exhibited last night. Mr Samuel Mellor, manager of the Magnesium Metal Company at Manchester, exhibited a magnesium lamp, the invention of Mr Henry Sarkins, engineer, Eagle Court, Clerkenwell. This lamp is ingeniously devised to economise magnesium, for the metal is reduced to a state of very fine powder, and afterwards mixed with about twice its bulk of dry sand. In using the lamp the mixture of sand and magnesium is placed in an upper vessel, and passes through a fine seive into a pipe beneath. This pipe can be opened or closed at pleasure by turning a tap. Beneath the tube a small spirit lamp is always burning, so that when the tap is turned a fine shower of magnesium and sand falls through the flame. This flame ignites the metal, which burns in the lamp like an oval tongue of fire. The light is somewhat flickering, and it has rather a ghastly effect; but after the eye becomes used to it, objects appear their natural colour by daylight, and the ghastly effect ceases. The lamp is elegantly constructed of copper, and has a chimney to carry off the smoke.
Another lamp was also exhibited by Mr Mellor. which is an American invention, aud burns magnesium ribbon instead of magnesium powder. Two coils of ribbon are wound upon wheels, which wheels are driven by clockwork. The ribbon is thus passed vertically down the chimney of the lamp, and then between two small metal rollers. Between these rollers the ribbon is ignited, and the lower bar of the rollers cuts off the fine ash which falls from the light. If it were not so cut off, the heavy ash would be liable to fall occasionally and suddenly into the lamp, and thus extinguish the light. This lamp, therefore, is an improvement upon the older ones burning ribbon.'[3]

1871 In the context of municipal elections, Mr. Samuel Mellor was described as a magnesium metal manufacturer, of Springfield Lane, Salford.[4]

1888 'Dreadful Accident at Magnesium Works. — An inquest was held on Saturday morning by Mr. J. F. Price, County Coroner, at the Patricroft Hospital, on the body of a youth, 16 years of age, named William Taylor, son of William Taylor, canal labourer, of 28, Phillip-street, Patricroft. It appears that the deceased was employed as a metal grinder at the Magnesium Metal Company's works, Patricroft. Soon after six on Thursday night he was at work, when witness named Edmund heard a shout, and, on turning round, found that the deceased was going round the shaft of a machine which works the blast of a furnace. His clothes appeared to have caught the shaft. The witness ran to stop the engine, and when he returned saw the deceased in the arms of James Startt, and the strap of a drilling machine close by was round his body. He must have been drawn along the shaft to the pulley of the drilling machine, where he had become entangled in the strap. The belt had to be cut before he could be got down. Blood was coming from under his arms. Deceased was taken at once to the Eccles and Patricroft Hospital, and examined by the house surgeon, Dr. J. R. Wilson, who found his right arm to be broken, and torn at the shoulder, his lower jaw broken, and his neck very much crushed. Deceased died almost immediately after admission. The witness Dean said that deceased had no right to be near the drilling machine, as he did not work there. Mr. Vaughan, inspector of factories, was present at the inquiry. In summing up, the coroner said that possibly the jury would wish to recommend that the shaft around which the lad's clothes were first entangled should be fenced. Mr. Vaughan, interposing, said that he had had some conversation with Mr. Mellor, managing partner, while the jury were viewing the place whore the accident had occurred, and Mr. Mellor had undertaken to have the place fenced, but that it would be dono without prejudice to any responsibility for the accident, or admission of responsibility, and Mr. Vaughan referred to a case tried at the assizes, where the judge said it would be wrong to hold employers liable to damages because he put a fence afterwards where he did not think it necessary before.—A verdict of accidental death was returned.'[5]

1909 Funeral of Samuel Mellor. Attended by representatives of the Magnesium Metal Co: Messrs Sellon, Moss, Pendlebury, Matthey. [6]

The 1905 O.S. map shows the Magnesium Metal Works occupying a triangular plot immediately north of a complex of railway lines centred on Patricroft locomotive shed. Adjoining the magnesium works was a brass and iron foundry. The magnesium works had its own rail connection, and had road access from Green Lane. Nasmyth's Bridgewater Foundry was 200 yds to the west.


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Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 15 April 1865
  2. Dublin Medical Press - Wednesday 28 June 1865
  3. Dundee Advertiser - Wednesday 11 September 1867
  4. Manchester Times - Saturday 04 November 1871
  5. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Monday 10 December 1888
  6. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Thursday 15 April 1909