Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,658 pages of information and 235,200 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.

Samuel Osborn and Co

From Graces Guide
Detail from 3/4 inch twist drill.
Detail from 3/4 inch twist drill.
January 1872.
June 1872.
June 1872.
June 1888. Self-hardening steel.
January 1896.
May 1896.
April 1903.
November 1950.
1951. Advert for tool steels, engineers' tools and steel castings.
January 1952.
March 1952.
November 1953.
November 1954.
November 1957. Trushank. Double Mushet.
November 1958.
May 1961.

as Samuel Osborn of Clyde Works, Sheffield

as Samuel Osborn and Co of Clyde Steel and Iron Works, Wicker; 184 Brookhill and Penistone Road, Sheffield; and London.

1852 Company established by Samuel Osborn, making files.

1869 Acquired additional premises,the Clyde Works in the Wicker, where the business was established as a steel refiner on a large scale.

1871 Robert Forester Mushet became associated with the firm who made use of his invention of self-hardening tool steel

1874 Liquidation by arrangement[1]

1886 Purchased the Rutland Steel Foundry, making steel castings for various industries.

1891 George Jackson Smith left the partnership with William Fawcett Osborn, and Samuel Osborn, formerly the younger, Arnold Pye-Smith as Samuel Osborn and Co, Manufacturers of steel springs, files, and Tools, rollers of steel and iron, and General Merchants[2]

1901 Railway Spring Manufacturers. [3]

1905 Public company.

1914 Manufacturers of steel, steel castings, springs, files, saws, hammers, tools, twist drills etc. Employees 1,080. [4]

1915 Acquired Regent Works.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history

1940 Advert for steels and tools. (of Clyde Steel Works, Sheffield). [5]

1943 Built Mushet Tool Works, to manufacture engineers' small tools.

1945 Advert for steels and tools. (of Clyde Steel works, Sheffield). [6]

1961 Manufacturers of special steels, steel castings, and engineers' small tools. 4,000 group employees. [7]

1960s Like other parts of the Sheffield steel industry, the company was reorganized into separate companies: foundry, steels, engineering, etc.

1967 Merged foundry operations with Hadfields[8] [9] to form Osborn-Hadfield Steel Founders, 59 percent owned by Osborn and 41 percent by Dunford and Elliott[10].

1968 Electroslag refining plant at Eckington supplied by AEI-Birlec of Staffs. [11]

1968 Formation of subsidiary Osborn-Mushet Tools and Samuel Osborn Overseas[12]

1969 The Osborn-Hadfields steel casting joint company was acquired by Weir Group for merging with their foundries.[13]

1970 The main parts of the business were Osborn Steels, Osborn Mushet Tools and Samuel Osborn Overseas[14]

1978 Osborn Steel was acquired by Aurora Holdings.[15]

1927 Article on the firm from The Engineer:

"The founder, the late Mr Samuel Osborn, was born at Eccleshall, just over a hundred years ago. Trying his hand first in the drapery trade and then with a firm of cutlery manufacturers, he turned eventually to steel making, and on April 1st , 1852, opened a small factory, at Brookhill, Sheffield, for the manufacture of files.

By 1856 he was the owner of a six-hole crucible furnace for melting and refining his own steel. Shortly afterwards he expanded his activities and began the manufacture of a wide range of steel articles, including small tools, hammers, agricultural implement knives and bayonets. In 1864 he introduced file-cutting by machinery, a bold step token in face of much opposition and discouragement, but one that was subsequently to be fully justified. In 1867 he took into partnership his brother-in-law, Mr. W. H. Fawcett, and a few years later was joined by Mr. J. E. Fawcett.

By 1868 the company was firmly established at the Clyde Steel Works, where it engaged not only in the converting and refining of steel, but in the manufacture of laminated springs, railway material and steel castings. In 1871 began the association of Mr. R. F. Mushet with the firm, and the development of that gentleman's discovery of the self-hardening property given to tool steel by the addition of tungsten. It took twenty years of hard work to convince engineers of the merits and advantages of the new tool steel.

In 1874 a variety of outside causes brought the firm into difficulties, and led to the filing of a petition in bankruptcy. Many offers of help were received, including one from the firm's workpeople to submit to a reduction of 5 percent in their wages for two years. Other arrangements were, however, made, the business was soon regained, and by 1884 all the creditors had been paid off.

Mr. Osborn died in 1891 in the same year as Mushet. From that date until the present (1927), the firm continued to expand and develop its products, notable events being the introduction of high-speed tool steel in 1900 and of a variety of manganese steel in 1906."[16]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. London Gazette 1 May 1874
  2. London Gazette 22 Dec 1891
  3. 1901 White's Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham p980
  4. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  5. 1940 Mechanical World Year Book. Advert p93
  6. 1945 Mechanical World Year Book. Advert p111
  7. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  8. The Times, Apr 22, 1967
  9. The Times, Mar 20, 1969
  10. The Times, Jul 25, 1969
  11. The Engineer of 5th January 1968 p16
  12. The Times, Aug 06, 1968
  13. The Times, Oct 27, 1977
  14. The Times, Nov 23, 1970
  15. The Engineer 1979/06/28
  16. The Engineer 1927/04/01