Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,128 pages of information and 245,598 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Robert Morrison and Co

From Graces Guide

Robert Morrison and Co of Ouseburn Engine Works, Newcastle

1853 Robert Morrison started the business at Ouseburn.

1855-60 Built ten out of an order for twenty locomotives for the East Indian Railway

Within a few years, the works were extended so that they covered about 10,000 square yards of ground, and employed more than five hundred men, in the manufacture of marine and other classes of engines, as well as of an improved steam-hammer which Morrison had invented and patented. These hammers were extensively used by both the English and Russian Governments, by Sir William Armstrong for his big guns, and by many large engineering firms in Britain and America where they were made under licence by Messrs. Wm. Sellers and Co., of Philadelphia.

1858/9 Made a large steam hammer for the Mersey Steel and Forge Co.[1]

1859 'Monster Casting.—On Saturday last a large anvil block was cast at the foundry of Messrs. Morrison and Co., Ouseburn, Newcastle-on-Tyne. The block is for an immense hammer to be used in the making of Sir William Armstrong's guns at the Elswick Engine Works in that town. When finished it will weigh upwards of 21½ tons. It was cast in one run, and the quantity of metal melted for it was 23 tons. The size of the base the block is 6 feet inches by 9 feet, and its thickness 9¾ inches, and the size-of the body part 3 feet 10 inches by 3 feet 9 inches. In consequence of the great heat still in the casting it will have to lie a week before it will be possible to raise it.'[2]

1859 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Annual gathering at Leeds:
'DESCRIPTION OF A STEAM CRANE. A "Description of a Direct-Acting Steam Crane," by Mr. Rbt. Morrison , of Newcastle-on-Tyne, was the next paper brought before the meeting. The writer remarked that the advantages of being able to remove heavy weights with facility at the lowest possible cost, and in the shortest time, were in many cases of great importance, and he had for a long time endeavoured to invent a machine to further these objects. The result of his labours had been the construction of a machine which, he said, did away with wheels and pinions, axles, barrels, brakes, ordinary steam cylinders, piston rods, chains, crane checks, and all other complications of gearing necessary to enable the ordinary steam crane to lift, lower, and swing round both ways. In place of these was substituted a piston, with a flexible piston-rod, working steam tight through a stuffing-box in the top of the crane post, passing over two pulleys and forming the chain. By this arrangement the different movements of the crane were performed with the greatest facility and precision, the lifting being performed by the admission of the steam above the piston forcing it down the cylinder or crane-post to a distance equal to the lift required. When the steam was shut off and let on to the turning round disc, the crane was thereby swung round to the required position. The steam in the crane-post or cylinder was then allowed to escape fast or slow, as might be required, and the weight was thereby lowered. The steam was again let on above the piston to lift the empty tub, and also upon the disc, to swing the crane bock to its first position to get loaded, and the same operation was repeated so long as the crane was required to work. By these means a crane with a lift of 22 feet and a radius of 20 feet would lift, swing round, discharge, and swing back to reload three times per minute, or, in other words, it would discharge three tubs of coals, of two tons each, in one minute. The writer described the crane in minute detail, and stated that be was at present making one of the machines for the River Tyne Commissioners, for discharging ballast from their ballast barges into waggons, alongside. The cost of one of the ordinary steam-cranes, boiler complete, was about £350, and it would discharge 200 tons of material per day of 10 hours. The cost of one of the writer's invention would be less, and it would discharge at least 600 tons in the same time. — A discussion arose, in the course of which Mr. Morrison was complimented for the ingenuity he had displayed in the construction of the machine. — Mr. Bastow, while admiring much in Mr. Morrison's invention, stated that he had a crane at his works at West Hartlepool, which was simpler in construction, and he believed in some respects better than the one which had been brought under their notice.'[3]

Note: The Practical Mechanic's Journal of May and June 1859 including a description and several illustrations of Morrison's steam cranes for various applications.

1862 Morrison's steam-hammer gained first medal and prize at the Exhibition of 1862.

1862 'Engine Beam for Colliery.—Messrs. R. Morrison & Co., Ouseburn Engine Works, Newcastle, have completed a very large cast-iron beam for the owners of West Sleekburn New Winning, which will be attached to the other portions of the pumping engine, already erected there by the same firm. This huge casting is 39 feet long and 7 feet 6 inches in breadth, and weighs about 30 tons. It was safely removed from the manufactory, yesterday, without accident, by Messrs Carver and Co., with a team of upwards of fifty horses, and its passage through the streets, en route to its destination, attracted much attention.'[4]

1864 Made a very large steam hammer for the Russian Government. Rating 40 tons; total weight 550 tons. The piston rod, to which the hammer was attached, weighed 42 tons in its rough forged state, reduced to 35 tons on machining. Forging took 44 days. Piston road length 38 ft, diameter 28". Stroke 14 ft 6", piston dia 6ft 8". The two standards weighed nearly 40 tons each.[5]

1865 Order for thirty engines for East India (of Phoenix Foundry, Ouseburn)

Pumping engines of considerable size were occasionally made at the Ouseburn Works; a pair was erected for the Sunderland and South Shields Water Co, each cylinder being 5 feet in diameter.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Practical Mechanic's Journal, April 1859
  2. Hereford Journal, 25 May 1859
  3. Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 10 September 1859
  4. Shields Daily Gazette, 2nd October 1862
  5. The Practical Mechanic's Journal, May 1864, p.53
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816