Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 143,019 pages of information and 229,346 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
of Spittlegate Ironworks, Grantham, iron and brass founder.
formerly Seaman and Hornsby
1828 The firm became Richard Hornsby and Sons when Seaman retired. The company made ploughs and seed drills. The firm made ploughs and seed drills.
1840 The company made steam engines, which were used for traction engines in the 1850s. These were used for harvesting crops.
1849 Produced their first portable engine.
1850 Described as 'agricultural implement makers, iron and brass founder and paper maker'.
1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class IX.
1861 378 men employed 
1863 The first traction engine built under the Bonnall and Astbury patents.
1864 Richard, the founder, died.
1867 Won a prize for horse-powered turnip pulper at the Royal Agricultural Society's meeting
1873 Gold Medal at the Moscow Exhibition 
1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham. 
1879 Incorporated as a limited company. The company was registered on 20 November, to take over the business of the firm of the same name, as engineers and machine manufacturers. 
1880 The firm gained limited liability status.
1880 The firm offered 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 nhp engines.
1885 Gold medal for invention of string binding "Appleby" reaping machine, and a finishing threshing machine
1889 Portable Winding and Pumping Engine. 
1889 Showed engines at the RASE at Windsor. 
1891 Started production of an i/c engine following an agreement with Herbert Akroyd Stuart - the Hornsby-Akroyd engine became an immediate success. Eventually a total of 32,417 engines of this type were built.
1892 May. The first three Hornsby-Akroyd engines were installed at the Great Brickhill Waterworks at Fenny Stratford. The engines worked regularly until 1923.
1894 June. Took part in the Royal Agricultural Society’s Competitive Trial of Oil Engines. 8.0 bhp fixed engine and a portable engine. Article in ‘The Engineer’. 
1894 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited two oil engines. 
1896 the Hornsby-Akroyd type of engine was used to power the first oil tractor and the first oil locomotive.
1899 Ordinary General Meeting. H. Simpson Gee presided and other directors present were James Hornsby (Chairman of the Board), J. W. Hornsby, William Hornsby, H. H. Johnston and Edward Wood. Among the shareholders was R. W. Hornsby. 
1900 Paris Exhibition. Description of three oil engine shown. 
1906 Absorbed J. E. H. Andrew and Co of Stockport
1906 The manufacture of steam engines was discontinued.
1908 April. Details of their 35-hp chain-track tractor.
1911 Electrical Exhibition. Suction gas engines and others. 
1911 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited stationary oil engines, a binder, a straw trusser, mowers, ploughs and a drill. 
1912 L type engine introduced
1914 Listed as engineers. Specialities: oil, petrol and gas engines, suction gas plants, general agricultural implements. Employees 3,500. 
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.
Hornsby built 106 traction engines with 7 known to survive