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Shortridge, Howell and Jessop

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of Hartford Steel Works, Willey Street, Sheffield

1855 Fatal boiler explosion.[1]

1855 CAST-STEEL GUNS FOR THE GOVERNMENT.- Messrs. Shortridge, Howell, and Jessop, of the Hartford Steel Works, Willey-street, Sheffield, are engaged in the manufacture of a cast-steel gun for the government, with every probability of success. Guns of small dimensions have for some time past been made of cast steel, but it has hitherto been considered impossible to make a sound ingot of cast steel of the size necessary for guns of large calibre. Messrs. Shortridge, Howell, and Jessop have, however, overcome this difficulty by an improvement in the process of manufacture.[2]

1858 'On Friday the largest steel casting which has ever been tried in Sheffield was made at Messrs. Shortridge, Howell's, and Jessop’s works. It was a cylinder for an immense hydraulic press required for the arsenal at Woolwich. It required 93 pots, each containing 53lb. of molten steel, which was poured into the mould in eight minutes by 33 workmen. The weight of the casting will be about 4,800lb. A novel method was adopted in forming the mould which it is expected will yield considerable advantage. The channels through which the molten metal was poured did not enter the mould the top, but half way down the sides, so that instead of all the mould running downward, after the lower level would have to rise in the part above till it reached the level from which the metal was poured from without. It is believed that the action thus given to the metal within the mould would tend to expel the air from the casting end promote its soundness.'[3]

1858 'DR. LIVINGSTONE'S "LAUNCH."
- It has been announced that the vessel which is about to take out Dr. Livingstone to the south-east coast of Africa would have on board a launch of very light draught of water, provided by Government, to enable the veteran traveller to prosecute the important investigation of the Zambesi river, from the results of which so much is expected. This launch has been built by Mr. John Laird, at his new ship building works at Birkenhead, the material employed being the new homogeneous metal, commonly called "steel plates," manufactured by Messrs. Shortridge, Howell, and Jessop, of Sheffield. The great advantage of using this description of plates is, that the same amount of strength is obtained as that found in the best iron plates of double the thickness, so that a vessel of a much lighter draught of water can be built, to the removal of the obstacles which have hitherto been in the way of navigating shallow rivers. After having made a variety of experiments in working this homogeneous metal, Mr. Laird thought it might be made applicable for this purpose in the construction of vessels of adequate strength with light draught of water. The launchhas been built with great despatch, the order for its construction having been given only five or six weeks ago. For convenience of transhipment it, has been built in three sections on a patent taken out by Mr. Macgregor Laird five or six years ago. The centre section contains the boiler and a single horizontal high-pressure engine of 12-horse power, and the two end sections are fitted up for the accommodation of the persons engaged in the expedition. Each compartment is made secure with water-tight bulkheads. In the aft section is a neat dockhouse, which will be comfortably furnished, and will have every necessary appliance for securing ventilation. The vessel is a paddle steamer, her dimensions being - length, 75ft. ; breadth, 8ft. ; and depth, 3ft. She will not draw mere than 12 or 14 inches, so that she is expected to be able to navigate the shallowest parts of time river. The boiler, as well as the hull of the launch, is made of these steel plates, which are only 1-16ths of an inch thick. The boiler has been proved to 160lb. pressure, though it will only be necessary to work up to 40lb. This, we believe, is the first application of this cheap steel to boat-building purposes. If it should answer there can be little doubt that not only numerous vessels of a similar class will be built for the navigation of shallow rivers, but that it will also be applied to the construction of vessels of large burden. The trial trip of the little launch will be made in the Mersey on Saturday or Monday next. The expedition is expected to sail from Liverpool in a few days. -Times.'[4]

1858 Partnership change. '...the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, John Shortridge, Joseph Bennett Howell, and James Jessop, carrying en business at Hartford Steel Works, in Sheffield, in the county of York, as Steel Manufacturers, under the firm of Shortridge, Howell, and Jessop, is this day dissolved by mutual consent, so far as regards the said James Jessop. All debts due to and owing by the said firm will be received and paid by the said John Shortridge and Joseph Bennett Howell, who will in future carry on the said business...'[5]

Became Shortridge, Howell and Co

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Sources of Information

  1. Sheffield Independent - Saturday 18 August 1855
  2. Preston Chronicle - Saturday 29 September 1855
  3. Evening Mail - Monday 18 January 1858
  4. Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 12 February 1858
  5. The London Gazette Publication date:15 October 1858 Issue:22191 Page:4481