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British Industrial History

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Nasmyth, Wilson and Co

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1856. Hydraulic pumps and presses.
1869.Blowing Engines at the Wigan Coal and Iron Company Works.
1869.Blowing Engines at the Wigan Coal and Iron Company Works.
February 1888.
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Engine Of Motor Coach For East Indian Railway. 1907.
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Engine Of Motor Coach For East Indian Railway. 1907.
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1907.
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1907.
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Steam Railway Motor Coach-East Indian Railway. 1907.
1911.
1911.
1912.
September 1913.
May 1929.
1933.Chinese Government Railways - Freight Locomotive.
Centaur.

Bridgewater Foundry, Patricroft, Manchester.

formerly Nasmyth, Gaskell and Co

1867 Robert Wilson and Henry Garnett became the principal partners and the company's name was changed again, from J. Nasmyth and Co to Nasmyth, Wilson and Co.

From about 1873, the demand for locomotives from overseas increased and up to 1938, over a 1,650 locomotives were produced; over one thousand of which were exported. One buyer was the New Zealand Railways Department, and a misunderstanding with the firm regarding the weight limitations imposed on the NZR P class that delayed the delivery of the urgently needed locomotives precipitated a shift in New Zealand away from English manufacturers.

1878 Partnership change. Henry Garnett leaves.[1]

1882 company took limited liability status.

1891 Supplied horizontal twin-cylinder, slide valve, winding engine for Cwm Colliery

1894 Pair of blowing engines for a Russian ironworks. HP steam cylinder 34½" dia, LP 53", air cylinder 75" dia, stroke 4 ft 11", Corliss valve gear [2]

1908 Article about the works in 'The Engineer', 25th September 1908 [3]. The main building of the new boiler shop was 250 ft long, 90 ft wide, having two bays, served by three 15-ton overhead electric cranes made by Vaughan Crane Co. The works' main power station had a 150-kW Belliss and Morcom steam engine and a 70 kW Browett, Lindley and Co steam engine. Steam came from two dry-back marine-type boilers. The wheel and press shop had a new crane gantry to allow the erection of tall hydraulic presses for cotton, up to 70 ft high, 48 ft being above floor level. The main bay of the foundry was 240 ft by 40 ft. There was one 10-ton and one 20-ton crane, by Vaughan & Co. A deep pit was provided for casting long columns. A point of interest in the forge was a 5-ton steam hammer made 55 years earlier. It was used mainly for forging press columns.

1911 Superheater locomotive for Great Northern Railway of Ireland

WWI The factory was mainly engaged in munitions work but it built twenty 2-8-0 locomotives for the Chemin de Fer de l'État in France and thirty two for India along with a hundred small petrol driven locomotives.

1919 It became a Public limited company.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history

1930s In the early 1930s orders began to dry up after the Wall Street Crash of 1929. The last locomotive order dispatched was two 2-6-4T metre gauge tank locomotives, Works No. 1649 and 1650, dispatched in 1938 to the South Indian Railways. Only two other locomotives, Works No. 1651 and 1652, were produced in 1938; both were 0-6-0 standard gauge locomotives for the Palestine Railway.

As part of a planned reorganisation of the industry, the company ceased manufacture of locomotives and handed over all its drawings and patterns to the British Locomotive Manufacturers Association. The company however continued to make steam hammers and machine tools.

1940 On 1 June 1940 the Ministry of Supply took over the factory; and it became a Royal Ordnance Factory, ROF Patricroft. The company was wound up on 7 November 1940, having made a loss of £2,663 in 1939 having built 1,531 locomotives.

The Royal Ordnance Factory, too, has now closed and the works is now part of a business and technology centre.

A History of The Firm

From 'Short Histories of Famous Firms' by Ernest Leopold Ahrons The Engineer - 1920/03/19.

Nasmyth, Wilson and Co

The Bridgewater Foundry at Patricroft, near Manchester, had its origin in an old mill in Dale-street, Manchester, in the year 1834, when James Nasmyth, who was then twenty-six years of age, started in business on his own account as a machine tool maker and mechanical engineer. Readers of Smiles’ “Lives of the Engineers” will remember that James Nasmyth was the son of a talented Scottish landscape painter, and that the artistic tastes of the latter were inherited by the son to a very marked degree; so much so that had the latter not adopted engineering as a profession he would probably have made a considerable reputation in the world of art.

James Nasmyth’s skill in draughtsmanship was of a high order and proved of much service to him in applying to paper the numerous original mechanical ideas which came from his fertile brain.

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Sources of Information

  1. Lloyd's List - Saturday 26 January 1878
  2. 'The Engineer' 29th June 1894
  3. [1] 'The Engineer', 25th September 1908 (pdf)
  • The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978/9. ISBN 0-903485-65-6