Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Sugden, Bradbury and Firth

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of Primrose Bank, Oldham, before moving to Rhodes Bank, Oldham.

Partners: Frederick Sugden, Thomas Sugden (1816-1888), George Francis Bradbury, and Joseph Firth.

1855 Advert: 'To Machine Makers.
On Thursday and Friday, the 30th and 31st days of August, 1855, on the premises at Rhodes Bank, Oldham, in the occupation of Messrs Sugdens, Bradbury, and Firth, (in consequence of a dissolution of partnership): —
The Whole of the Valuable TOOLS, PATTERNS, TOOLS, MATERIALS, and STOCK, consisting of a self acting wheel-cutting machine, with a large quantity of cutters, by Whitworth and Co; one slide and screw-cutting lathe 12in centre and 15 feet bed; one ditto, 8½in centre and 10ft bed, by Oldham and Richards; one planing machine, to plane 6½ ft long, 2½ft wide, and 2½ft deep, by Oldham and Richards; one small hand planing machine; one 10in back-gear break lathe, which will take in a diameter of 3 feet with three face plates, spherical rest, and 15ft bed; several back-gear and single speed lathes, from 9 to 6 inches, with iron beds, top speeds, rests, face plates, &c, large and small upright drills; boring machine, with bars and cutters; milling machine ; two compound slide rests ; slide lathe bed, 12ft; turning and chasing tools, stocks, taps, and dies; 16 pairs of bench vices; a quantity of Machines and Tools, finished and in process, including one wheel-cutting engine; one 9in hand lathe; fast and loose headstocks for 9 and 12in lathes; 12 letter copying presses; ten patent sewing machines; several gas regulators; one self-acting twiner headstock, Hague and Firth's patent; a large quantity of Iron and Wood Patterns, including wood planing machine, and wheel cutting engine; new files and screws, shear and blistered steel, iron, smiths' circular bellows, anvils and tools, trepanners' ovens, gas fittings, &c. &c. The sale will commence ... Catalogues may be had .... at the office of W. H. FLETCHER, Auctioneer. Clegg-street, Oldham.'[1]

Sewing Machines

The following article highlights an interesting application of a sewing machine made by the company.

Application, was made on Thurday to the magistrates, by the friends of Stanly Feilding, for some assistance to defray the expenses incurred in searching for the body.
-The Chairman said, they had not the means of ordering any payment, but they considered the efforts made to recover the body so laudable and praiseworthy, that they should be willing to head a subscription, and recommend the case for the consideration of the humane. T. S. Mills, Esq. and Alderman Worthington then each subscribed 10s.
-In reference to this subject some interesting particulars have been furnished. It was supposed that the man, who had been missing for some weeks, was at the bottom of an old coalpit on Oldham Edge, which it would be very dangerous to descend on account of the foul air. It was suggested by a man named Robert Holt, an engineer at a coalpit, that a calico tube, lined with paper, might be made, down which, by the use of a fan, fresh air might be forced, and the foul air expelled. It was accordingly proceeded with, by six women working almost night and day for a week. When the tube was completed it failed; but the persevering inventor applied to Mr. J. D. Abrams, tailor, who has a sewing machine, to make another; this he consented voluntarily to do. The depth of the pit is 122 yards, and the tube being composed of two breadths of calico, it follows that 244 yards of backstitching had to be done. This was accomplished in 140 minutes, making eight to the inch, and a total of 70,272. The machine has been constructed by Messrs. Sugden, Bradbury, and Firth, of Oldham. When the tube was lowered, and the fresh air forced down, the foul escaped outside, when a miner named David Pickup descended inside the tube, and when within a short distance of the bottom, he discovered the body, to which he attached a chain, and both were successfully landed on the surface; the whole process occupying only about two hours. The body was removed to the White House Inn, where an inquest was held on Monday, before Mr. Dearden, the coroner, when an open verdict was returned, as there was no evidence to show how he had got there, although the general opinion is that he committed suicide.'[2]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Saturday 25 August 1855
  2. Manchester Times - Saturday 1 October 1853