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R. and W. Hawthorn Ltd of Forth Banks Works in Newcastle was a locomotive manufacturer and maker of marine and other engines.
1817 Robert Hawthorn first began business at the Forth Banks Works building marine and stationary steam engines.
1820 His brother William Hawthorn joined him and the firm became R. and W. Hawthorn.
1829 Possibly after having attended the Rainhill Trials, they became interested in locomotives, and sold their first engine, a 2-2-2 named Modling, to a railway in Vienna.
There followed a number of orders for the Stockton and Darlington Railway. They were great innovators - not always successfully - and their locos had many original features.
In 1838 two were built for the broad gauge Great Western Railway to the patent of T. E. Harrison, who later became the chief engineer for the North Eastern Railway. These could be viewed as the forerunners of the Garratt, with the boiler carried on a separate carriage to the cylinders and valve gear. This allowed the boiler to be large and low down, being carried on smaller wheels, while the driving wheels could be up to ten feet in diameter. With little weight on the drivers, adhesion was poor, but they ran very smoothly up to sixty miles per hour. However, the flexible steam coupling gave a great deal of trouble and they were withdrawn. They continued to build more conventional engines, possibly under sub-contract, among them, three for the Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway.
1846 They bought the Leith Engine Works in Leith, Scotland, for the assembly of locomotives prepared in Newcastle - see Hawthorns and Co.
1847 Locomotive for the North British Railway in 1845. Illustrated.
1849 Two Cornish engines for Derby Waterworks (Little Eaton Station), and also one for Nottingham (Ropewalk Pumping Station) with combined bucket (lift) and force pumps.
1850 The Leith works were sold to another company also called Hawthorns and Co, which produced some four hundred locomotives on its own account until 1872.
1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class V.
In the 1850s, they built a number of Crampton type locomotives, and in the quest for a low centre of gravity, four 0-4-0s with the drivers spaced at twelve feet apart connected to the cylinders by a dummy crankshaft. These were soon withdrawn, but the Cramptons were more successful, particularly on the continent.
1850s onwards, the company placed more emphasis on marine engines. In the next 20 years, they constructed 200 sets of marine engines.
1858 Beam engine for the Nottingham Waterworks Co (Basford Station) and worked for 107 years. Exhibit at Nottingham Industrial Museum.
1870 William Hawthorn retired; Benjamin Chapman Browne, Francis Carr Marshall, William Hawthorn, Junior and the late manager J. Scott acquired the Forth Banks works of Messrs. R. and W. Hawthorn; the style of the firm was unchanged. The firm soon also acquired St. Peter's works, which had been the property of Messrs. T. and W. Smith, and there the construction of marine boilers was undertaken, in addition to the existing manufacture of locomotives.
1882 The works were enlarged to meet the growing business from many foreign navies.