Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,385 pages of information and 233,518 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Orb Works

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Orb Works seen from the Transporter Bridge, Newport

Orb Works, of Newport, Mons., producers of grain oriented steel for use in electric motors, generators, transformers, etc.

1897 The Orb Works was opened by John Lysaght as an ironworks under the management of William Lysaght. It was built on farmland of Pill farm, the farmhouse of which became the main offices. A goods only branch of the Great Western Railway was opened in 1898 and the works used this as well as a private wharf on the river to transport materials and goods.

1912 Normanby Park Steel Works began operation, supplying steel bar to the Orb Works.

c.1912 Installed an engine from Galloways at the Orb Works, Newport.

By 1913 the works employed c.3000 workers.

WWI A member of the Eastern Group of firms organised under the Ministry of Munitions, making a significant contribution to the war effort. The works had to adapt to the rolling of brass and zinc for war purposes due to the excess of rolling mills already working with steel. William Lysaght became a key figure in the Ministry of Munitions for his insights into the steel and spelter industry.

The works' steel plate was used extensively in munitions manufacture and for the production of trench plates.

1936 A gatehouse complex was added; later Air Raid Protection shelters were built.

1967 The complex became part of British Steel Company

Later became part of the Corus Group specialising in the production of high grade electrical steel and sheet steel.

Orb Works became a division of Cogent Power, part of TATA Steel. Cogent Power: history webpage.

2020 Orb works closed down in July.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • GGAT 130: The Sinews of War: South East Wales Industry and The First World War, 2015, by Johnny Crawford