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Naylor and Sanderson

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Naylor and Sanderson of Sheffield

1776 A pioneer crucible steel business was established in Attercliffe

The original Naylor and Sanderson concern had two sides, cutlery and steel, but after a few years the steel side predominated. The Naylors were cutlers of Coalpit Lane (now Cambridge Street) and some early Naylor and Sanderson premises were not far away, in Carver Lane.

The firm went through a number of partnership changes in its early days. At one time it consisted of George Naylor, Thomas Sanderson and Daniel Bramall (or Brammall). The latter gentleman, a file-maker, had his works and residence at the White House and Bramall Lane was afterwards named after him. The White House, near the present Sheffield United football ground, was pulled down only recently.

At first, steel was merchanted from such suppliers as Richard Swallow of the Attercliffe Works.

1821 Partnership dissolved. '...Partnership subsisting between George Naylor, Thomas Sanderson, and Daniel Brammall, of Sheffield, in the County of York, Merchants, Factors, and Cutlers carried on in the firm of Naylor and Sanderson, is this day dissolved* by mutual consent....'[1]

1822 Naylor and Sanderson, who were vigorous exporters, were in a position to take over the Swallow Works. By this time the Sanderson concern was the largest maker of crucible steel in Sheffield, with a Works in West Street.

By acquiring the Attercliffe Works on a lease from the Duke of Norfolk they gained control of a forging and rolling complex exceptionally well placed for water power and endowed with metal working traditions going back to the earliest days of iron and steel in Sheffield.

Production at the original Attercliffe crucible furnaces at Oakes Green was discontinued and melting concentrated at the West Street Works.

In 1820-22, significant experiments were undertaken in the manufacture of alloy steels. The work was instituted by Michael Faraday - best known for his electrical researches - who was also interesting in the alloying of metals. Nickel and rhodium steels were made, some being used for razors and others for stove fronts. It is believed that this was the first commercial production of alloy steel articles.

1829 George Naylor retired and the partnership was reconstituted as Sanderson Brothers and Co The shareholders were now Thomas Sanderson, John Sanderson, James Sanderson and Edward Fisher Sanderson. Previously they had owned three quarters of the shares and now, by purchase, had acquired the rest of the shares from George Naylor and some minor shareholders. Naylor's son, George Portus Naylor left to start the new firm of Naylor, Hutchinson, Vickers and Co with Edward Vickers and John Hutchinson.

Sanderson Brothers and Co acquired additional production units in the 1830's. The Wadsley Bridge Works, taken over about 1834, had once been a paper mill in the tenancy of John Hoult who converted it into a steel tilt. The Sandersons enlarged the Works. The goit (water channel) came from the Don at Niagara Weir. Parts of the old stone buildings are still there today, but are no longer occupied by Sanderson's.

1835 Sanderson Brothers and Co took out a lease of 21 years on premises in Darnall Road from John Fisher, David Walker and their mortgagees at a yearly rent of £13-13s-0d. The property had been a glasshouse and it became the genesis of the Darnall Works where the firm ultimately concentrated its steel converting and melting.

1836 Thomas Sanderson died on December 27.

1839 A new deed of partnership was entered into in September, retrospective from October 1836. The partners were now John Sanderson, his son Edward Fisher Sanderson, James Sanderson, Henry Furniss and Edward Hudson. The latter two had married Ann and Maria respectively ,the daughters of Thomas Sanderson.

Steam engines were in use at the Attercliffe Works by at least 1848. Two beam condensing engines were installed for working tilt hammers.

1850s A two ton Nasmyth hammer was installed but the firm still continued to make extensive use of water power.

1869 Sanderson's was reformed into a limited company on October 27, 1869. The subscribers were Henry Furniss, Edward Hudson, Charles Elam, Edward Tozer, Charles Henry Halcomb, Bernard Wake and Ebenezer Hall. Of these, the first six were appointed directors, Bernard Wake being the chairman and Edward Tozer and Charles Henry Halcomb, joint managing directors. In addition to the Darnall, Newhall Road and West Street Works, the company's assets included stock in trade at New York, Boston, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

It was very soon decided to quit the West Street Works, as that site was too built-in to admit further development. Extensions were contemplated at the Newhall Road Works but initial new development was eventually concentrated at Darnall.

Additional land was acquired there and in August 1871, it was resolved to erect a new "48-hole melting furnace and sheds for coke, steelhouses, etc."

At the third annual general meeting a considerable improvement in the company's position was noted. "The American Steel Question" - that is on valuation for import duty - had been resolved by the sending of special commissioners to Sheffield by the Washington Government. The American trade had increased, fortunately, in view of the fact that the Franco-German War had restricted trade with the continent of Europe. However, the war had been short and business had again reopened with both countries.

1872 At the fourth annual general meeting on July 26, 1872, it was reported that the position of the company had further improved. There was a great increase in trade in the country generally. The increase in Sanderson's trade was uniformly distributed between America, Europe and England, but an "uncomfortable restlessness at the American Customs House was noted … where the authorities persistently made efforts to raise the rate of duty. "During the past year there had been considerable extensions at Darnall and new boilers and a new steam hammer had been put in at Newhall Road. At Darnall, in addition to the coke melting holes of which there were now 132, they also put down gas melting furnaces to equal the output of 60 coke melting holes. This also entailed the erection of gas producers and the extension of shops for making crucibles, weighing-up shops, and storage for the blister steel, bar iron and alloys.

The workpeople were transferred from West Street to Darnall and the West Street Works sold.

1876 On September 29 a new Company with a capital of $450,000 was formed called Sanderson Brothers Steel Co, with premises at Syracuse, New York. The manufacture of Sanderson steels was begun in America, and workmen from Sheffield were sent to the Syracuse works. The tariff wall built up by America had rendered non-competitive high-quality steel made in Sheffield.

Records left by members of the firm who went out to Syracuse are still in existence. These show that a number of alloy tool steels were already being made by Sanderson's both in Sheffield and America at that early date. The steels included 1.0 per cent. carbon, 1.5 per cent manganese steel of the Pitho Non-Shrink type, and a 22 per cent tungsten steel with a substantial chromium content similar to our present Kerau Wunda high-speed steel. This is termed a "self-hardening steel" in the record, but it is far removed from the self-hardening steels as originally developed which had much lower tungsten. It is clear that even in those days Sanderson's were well to the forefront in the search for improved tool steels.

1891 A new product was introduced into the Sanderson range in 1891, when the Company began the manufacture of sword bayonets. Mr. C. H. Halcomb negotiated contracts with the War Office, extensive new shops were erected and additional labour engaged for the work. Formerly the manufacture of sword bayonets in England had been confined to Enfield, The firm manufactured bayonets up to the end of the 1914-18 War.

1900 the American steel-manufacturing interests were relinquished and Sanderson Brothers Steel Co was absorbed by the Crucible Steel Company of America. The Sheffield Company were thus in a position to consider developments to the original concern. They therefore absorbed the firm of Samuel Newbould and Co Ltd. with its goodwill, trademarks and world-wide reputation for saws, edge tools and machine knives. When the two firms merged, they represented an ideal combination. The Sanderson side produced steel for sale or as raw material for the tools made by the former Newbould end of the concern. A new company was established to own the constituent companies: Sanderson Brothers and Newbould.

Over the years, Sanderson's not only pioneered the manufacture of alloy steels, they also developed a range of specialised engineering items. The production of machine knives was started a century ago and the department now occupies a floor area of 70,000 square feet.

1915 Manufacture of hacksaw blades (the high speed steel variety) was started.

1920s A high speed steel inserted-tooth circular metal saw was made, followed by the Newbould segmental saw introduced in the early 1930s.

1933 The manufacture of Heliocentric speed reducers began.

1960 Sanderson Kayser Limited was formed on the merger with Kayser, Ellison and Co of Carlisle Steelworks and Darnall Steelworks, Sheffield. The latter site included the old Sanderson Darnall Works, where the remains of some of the original crucible shops may still be seen adjacent to the modern plant.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette Publication date:20 February 1821 Issue:17682 Page:451
  • [1] Sanderson Steel Web Site