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British Industrial History

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Railway Steel and Plant Co

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Gibraltar Works, Newton Heath, Manchester.[1]

Note: The plant was built on the site of the works established by William Irlam.

1865 'CASTING ANVIL BLOCKS.- We had the opportunity of witnessing on Wednesday the process of casting an anvil block of 100 tons weight, for a steam hammer, on the spot which it is intended to occupy, for the manufacture of Bessemer steel, at the new works of the Manchester Railway Steel and Plant Company, Newton Heath. We are informed that there is no other anvil-block of equal size in Manchester, though it is not at all unprecedented elsewhere; but the novelty of the present operation consisted in turning to account the patent "upper tuyere" cupola furnace of Mr. J. Ireland, foundry-engineer, of Manchester. It is distinguished from other furnaces by the superior rapidity of its working. It has a second, or upper tow of tuyeres (the holes by which the air blast enters), and through this improvement the melting takes place higher up in the furnace, before the metal falls under the influence of the lower, or ordinary blast. By this furnace Mr. Ireland is enabled to cast anvil blocks of the unusual weight of 200 tons (for which he has several orders on hand for works in this district), or even larger ones, at the works where they are required, in such a manner that when cast they only require turning over to their seats. The advantage is that such immense blocks are obtained for much less cost than by being made elsewhere in segments, which can only be moved at great expense. The operation performed on Wednesday by one of the improved furnaces would have found employment for several of those ordinarily in use, The melting of the pig-iron in the furnace began at twelve o'clock, and at intervals two or three tons of fluid metal were tapped, flowing in a stream of fire to the pit prepared for it, 10ft. deep and 11ft. 6in. square. At the rate of progress during the afternoon, melting ten tons an hour, the work would be completed in ten hours from. the beginning; but a slight breeze would have enabled 15 tons per hour to have been melted in the same furnace. The 100 tons of fluid metal in the pit will require four or five weeks to cool. To prevent the action of the atmosphere on the surface, as the molten mass rose in the pit, a layer of charcoal was kept upon It, so that the upper part might not first cool and form a crust. An unequal rate of cooling in different parts would have resulted in brittleness. Several other anvil blocks are to be laid down at the new works of the same company, which are among the most extensive in Manchester. It claims to possess one of the finest rolling mills In the country. The company is "limited;", its managing director is Mr. Perrin [actually John Shae Perring], and it has been formed for the development of the Bessemer steel process. At the old works of Messrs. Irlam and Co., Newton Heath, which the company have purchased, they are turning out several hundred tons weight of finished railway plant, weekly; and from the size of the new works it may be expected they will sensibly contribute to the commerce of Manchester. A large number of visitors were at the works on Wednesday to witness the casting of the big block.' [2]

1883 Sale Notice: 'The Railway Steel and Plant Company, in Liquidation.
To Steel and Iron Makers, Railway Plant Manufacturers, Ironfounders, Engineers, Brokers, and others.
GRUNDY & SON received instructions to SELL BY AUCTION, on Tuesday, the 16th day of October, 1883, and three following days, commencing each day at eleven o'clock prompt, on the premises, Gibraltar Works, Newton Heath, Manchester, the Whole of the Valuable PLANT, MACHINERY, and TOOLS, made principally by Galloway and Sons, D. Adamson and Co., Craven Brothers, Collier and Co., De Bergue, Ellis, Thwaites and Carbutt, Tannett and Walker, and Kirkstall Forge Co Company, and consisting of eleven high pressure cylindrical and six furnace steam boilers, from 17ft. By 6ft. 6in. to 30ft. By 7ft.; Green's fuel economiser, with 224 pipes; pair of horizontal blowing engines, with 24in. air [steam?] and 27in blowing cylinders, 3ft. stroke; 13 high-pressure horizontal and vertical steam engines, from 9in. to 32in. cylinders, l2in. to 48in. stroke; two pair horizontal and six Cameron Steam pumps, from 4½ in. to 8in. stroke; water injectors: 7ft. tyre, 28in. cogging, 24in. rail, and 15in. merchant mills; eight, six, three, two, and one ton double standard steam hammers, bossing ditto, 5-cwt. smithy ditto, 16 reheating and other furnaces, 42 overhead, jib, floor, smiths' cranes, up 20 tons: two treble-geared roll-turning lathes, nine slide and screw-cutting, nine wheel and tyre, two turntable and seven hand lathes, from 8in. to 27in. centres, and iron beds from 6ft. to 43ft. long; eight single and double geared drilling machines, two rail ditto, eight self-acting planing machines, from 12ft. to 18ft. beds; double and single shaping machines, four - wheel and other slotting machines, up to 20in. stroke; three bolt-screwing machines, four single and double-ended punching and shearing machines, from 5/8 in. to 1¼in.; rail-end cutting and punching machines, hot saws, hydraulic bending and testing machines, 3ft. 6in. bending rolls, turntable and cart hoop blocks, steam crab and four legs, testing tup. Ring press, steam windlass, Speigel and other cupolas, from 3ft. 6in. to 7ft. 6in. diameter; three sets of hydraulic pumps, with engines attached; five blast fans, three patent blowers, smiths' wheel and bossing hearths, two bolt olivers, four 3-ton Bessemer converters, with hydraulic ingot cranes, accumulators, and lifts ; ladle cranes and ladles, four 20-ton and one 10-ton waggon weighing machines, eight turntables, from 12ft. to 15ft. ; about 4,000 yards steel rails, with chairs and crossings; two 5ft. loam mills, core stove rail stands, dipping trough, six producers, grindstones, 500 ft. wrought shafting, with pulleys and fixings ; the whole of the steam, water, and gas piping throughout the works; cast cisterns, circular saw bench, dormant weighing machines, about 1,000 tons cast floor plates, strapping vices and benches, sand furnace and riddle, bodies, spare rolls, anvils, and tups; steel saws, wood cabins, partitioning, heating apparatus, office fixtures, erection of mill and forge covering an area of 8,000 superficial yards, brick and iron erection of cupola, stage covering area of 570 square yards, wood sheds, collection of working drawings, and other miscellaneous effects. —May be viewed Friday, Saturday, and Monday, the 12th, 13th, and 15th days of October, 1883, from 10 to four o'clock on the mornings of sale, and catalogues (without which no person will admitted), may be had on application to the Auctioneers, 54, John Dalton-street ; Messrs. Broome, Murray, and Co., chartered accountants, 104, King-street; or Messrs. SALE, SEDDON, HILTON, & LORD, solicitors, 29, Booth-street, all the city of Manchester.'[3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1875/09/17
  2. Manchester Times, 14th January 1865
  3. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 22nd September 1883