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 163,113 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.

Smith and Coventry

From Graces Guide
January 1872.
1880s Smith and Coventry milling machine seen from viewing gallery at the Museum of Bath at Work
Detail of 1880s milling machine at the Museum of Bath at Work, showing the cross feed and vertical feed dials, graduated in 256ths of an inch
1887. 'Brass Finisher’s Lathe' in reserve collection of Manchester Museum of Science and Industry.
1887. 10 inch universal rest capstan lathe.
1887. Open spindle capstan rest chasing lathe.
1887. Hamilton's bevel wheel cutting machine.
1887. Cooper's turret lathe for brass finishing.
March 1888.
June 1888. Lightning Tapper.


December 1889.
June 1898.
August 1899.
February 1901.


January 1902.
1903. Planing machine.
1903. Heavy Boring Mill.
1904. 15.5 inch high-speed lathe.
1904. 10.5 inch lathe.




1906. Bevel Gear Planer
February 1911.
January 1920.
January 1920.
February 1921.
February 1929.
Planing machine exhibited (outdoors!) at the Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life.
Planing machine at the Summerlee Museum of Industrial Life.

Smith and Coventry of Gresley Ironworks, Ordsall Lane, Salford, Manchester, were makers of machine tools and twist drills. They established a second factory in Park Road, Timperley, Cheshire, and later relocated there.

Early 1850s William Ford Smith went into business for himself at the Bonding Warehouse, Chapel Street, Salford.

A year later he was joined by Arthur Coventry

1859 New works, purpose designed by Ford Smith at Ordsal Lane, Salford

A Smith & Coventry milling machine in the USA was featured in the American magazine 'Machinery' in 1896. The author described it as the 'The earliest machine of the well-known "Knee" type which I have found' and dated it at 'about 1860'. It was still doing fairly heavy work.[1]

1862 'Patents. .... William Ford Smith and Arthur Coventry, of Salford, engineers and machinists, for improvements to, and applicable to, lathes and machines for turning and for cutting screws; dated March 21, 1862.' [2]

1878 Exhibited machine tools at the Paris Exhibition[3]

1885 Gained a Diploma of Honour at the Antwerp Exhibition[4]

1889 May. Paris Exhibition. A large number of machine tools including a hollow mandril lathe. [5]

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Display of machine tools including a horizontal and vertical drilling machine. [6]

1894 Antwerp Exhibition. Awarded Diploma of Honour for Machinery and Machine Tools. [7]

1900 Bevel Gear Planer. Article and illustration in The Engineer. Also Horizontal boring mill, vertical milling machine, Universal milling machine and a radial drilling machine shown at the 1900 Paris Exhibition. [8]

1911 Robey-Smith Automatic Bevel-gear Planer

1913 Semi-automatic chucking lathe designed by Herbert Austin and made by Smith & Coventry, described and illustrated in the American Machinist[9]

1917 Advert for Novo high-speed twist drills. [10]. These were made at a new factory in the Manchester suburb of Timperley.[11]

1919 Advert for Novo high-speed twist drills. [12]

1920 September. Exhibited at the Machine Tool and Engineering Exhibition at Olympia with a Spiral Bevel Gear Planer and a sensitive drilling machine. [13]

1927 Salford premises advertised for sale due to the firm removing to their works in Timperley, Cheshire[14]

1927 Company voluntarily wound up because of its liabilities; Theodore Coventry was chairman; Gerald Cookman Roberts, of Gresley Iron Works, was appointed liquidator[15]

1929 OLD ESTABLISHED MACHINE TOOL BUSINESS CHANGES HANDS. Messrs. John Hetherington and Sons, Limited have purchased the goodwill, including drawings and patterns so far as relates to machine tools, excepting Vertical and Duplex Key seating Machines of the well-known Machine Tool manufacturing firm, Messrs. Smith and Coventry Limited, which was originally established in Ordsall Lane, Salford in about 1859 and has been carried on lately at Timperley. Messrs. Hetherington intend to run the Smith and Coventry business in conjunction with their existing machine tool manufacture at their Works in Pollard Street, Manchester. Under normal conditions Messrs. Smith and Coventry employed about 300 hands at their works in Salford and as Messrs. Hetheringtons have recently enlarged and modernized their own machine tool works they have every facility and accommodation for dealing with the increased business which will follow as result of their recent acquisition. They are prepared to supply any spare parts - for to duplicate in their entirety machines purchased the past from Messrs. Smith and Coventry [16]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • Machine Tools by James Weir French in 2 vols. Published 1911 by Gresham
  1. [1] Machinery, April 1896, p.221 (text) and p.229 (illustration)
  2. Manchester Times, 20 September 1862
  3. The London Gazette 18 December 1877
  4. London Gazette 22 September 1885
  5. The Engineer of 3rd May 1889 p365
  6. The Engineer of 27th July 1894 p85
  7. The Engineer of 2nd November 1894 p387
  8. The Engineer of 24th August 1900 p186
  9. [2] American Machinist, 4 Sept 1913
  10. Mechanical World Year Book 1917. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert on rear o/s cover
  11. The Engineer 1917/11/30, p 470.
  12. Mechanical World Year Book 1919. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert on rear o/s cover
  13. The Engineer of 3rd September 1920 p233 & p359
  14. Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 13 August 1927
  15. The London Gazette 9 August 1927
  16. Nottingham Evening Post - Thursday 2nd May 1929