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 162,869 pages of information and 245,382 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.

Thomas Smith and Sons

From Graces Guide
Aerial image of the works.
Crane at Gualeguaychu, Argentina.
Crane at Gualeguaychu, Argentina.
Crane No. 6204. Photo 2020 at Victoria Basin Dockyard, Cape Town, South Africa.
Plaque.
Original 'Town Street' sign.
1877. Travelling steam crane.
January 1880.
April 1880.
1880.
1891.
1891.
1892.
1893. Foundry Crane.
5-ton Steam Crane.
Staff.
Past Directors.
Directors.
Directors.
1910. Three Motor Electric Single-Rail Crane.
February 1911.
1922.
1922. The Crane Works, Rodley.
1928. Level luffing crane.
December 1929.
1930. First Smith Universal Excavator.
1933. Oil Engined Mobile Crane.
1935.
1937.
1944. Works No. 14861 at United Steel Co, Working in the early 1960s.
1945. Diesel Engine Driven Shunting Crane.
March 1946.
1947 Issue of The Smith.
Two Cranes on the Avon Valley Railway.
Steam crane at Astley Green Colliery
1951 Thomas Smith crane at Royal William Victualling Yard
Crane. Exhibit at the National Slate Museum.
Crane. (Detail). Exhibit at the National Slate Museum.
Crane. Exhibit at the National Slate Museum.
1960.
March 1968.
Super 10 Excavator.
Crawler Crane.
5 ton diesel mobile crane.
Diesel Electric Rail Crane.
Dockside Crane.
E 4000 Excavator.
L 4060 Truck Crane.
LT 30. Owned by Wigley Crane Hire.
Dockside Steam Gantry Crane. Supplied to HMS Dockyards.
Ford Gantry Dockside Crane.
Rough Terrain Crane.
Crane manufactured by Thomas Smith and Sons of Rodley being restored at Leeds and Middleton Railway (2014). Originally powered by steam but converted to diesel.
Nameplate on above crane.
ImSmithHN-20181125a.jpg
ImSmithHN-20181125b.jpg

Steam and Electric Crane Works of Rodley, Leeds.

Saltley Mill, Birmingham.

1820/2 A company was founded by Jeremiah Balmforth, David Smith and Jeremiah Booth.[1]

1840 The output of the firm consisted mainly of guy and derrick cranes, hand operated

1841 Balmforth, Smith and Booth, millwrights of Calverley, Pudsey (near Rodley)[2]

1847 Partnership change. '...the Copartnership subsisting and carried on by us the undersigned, Jeremiah Balmforth, David Smith, and Jeremiah Booth, as Brass and Iron Founders, Engineers, Millwrights, and Crane Manufacturers, at Rodley, in the township of Bramley, in the parish of Leeds, in the county of York, under the firm of Balmforth, Smith, and Co. is this day dissolved, by mutual consent, so far as relates to the said Jeremiah Booth. All debts due to and owing from the said copartnership will be received and paid by the said Jeremiah Balmforth and David Smith, who will continue to carry on the business of the said copartnership as heretofore, the said Jeremiah Booth intending to commence the said business on his own separate account...'[3] Jeremiah Booth started on his own account in adjacent works at Rodley as Joseph Booth and Brothers.

1858 Jeremiah Balmforth died, his share in the business falling to his son William Balmforth, with the consent of David Smith.

1859 January. David Smith died intestate, and his son, Thomas Smith, then 21 years of age, took over the direction of the firm. Documents describe the partners as Brass and Iron Founders.

1860 The sole draughtsman was John Brook and he designed the 3-ton and 5-ton Steam Guy and Derrick Cranes. They were of single cylinder type. Later, Brook evolved a drive for the travelling motion of locomotive cranes, operated by means of a shaft through the centre pillar.

1861 Dissolution of the Partnership between William Balmforth and Thomas Smith, as Brass and Iron Founders, Engineers, and Millwrights, at Rodley, near Leeds, in the county of York, under the firm of Balmforth and Smith, was this day dissolved by mutual consent. All debts owing to and by the said partnership will be received and paid by the said Thomas Smith, by whom in future the said businesses will be carried on.[4]

1861 April. Thomas Smith assumed full control of the company. Presumably then became known as Thomas Smith

1860s Smith's widened their range by the inclusion of overhead travelling cranes

1877 Travelling steam Crane. [5]

c.1880 Supplied a steam crane for setting 16-ton blocks at Folkestone Harbour.[6]

1881 employing 70 men and 20 boys.[7]

1887 Fitted a shovel attachment to a 3-ton steam crane to produce the first Smith excavator.

1888 Dissolution of the Partnership between Thomas Smith, James Smith, Sam Smith, and William Hitchen Smith, carrying on business as Ironfounders, at Ryburn Foundry, Sowerby Bridge, in the county of York, under the style or firm of Thomas Smith and Sons, as regards the said Sam Smith, who retires from the said partnership. All debts due to and owing by the said late firm will be received and paid by the said Thomas Smith, James Smith, and William Hitchen Smith, who will carry on the said business under the style aforesaid.[8]

1888 Combined excavator and steam crane. Illustration and details. [9]

c1900 Sponsored the invention of a Manchester engineer named Jubb who patented a design for a trencher attachment. This was fitted to a 3-ton Smith steam crane, and several of these machines were produced.

1902/1903 The three remaining sons of Thomas Smith entered into partnership, all having been brought up in the business — Frederick Hardcastle Smith, Walter Tom Smith and George Edward Smith [10]

1914 Manufacturers of electric, steam and hand cranes of all types and powers, cantilever cranes and special cranes for quays, capstans, Goliaths, permanent way cranes, transporters, overhead travellers, single rail cranes, harbour and dock cranes, breakdown cranes, locomotive cranes (electric and steam). Employees 400. [11]

1918 Private company. Presumably Thomas Smith and Sons (Rodley) Ltd

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history

1939 March 28th. Frederick Hardcastle Smith, Walter Tom Smith and George Edward Smith, described in the articles as the "First Directors" and "Life Directors", and who held all the Ordinary Share Capital in the Company, transferred three-fourths of their respective holdings to Thomas W. Ward Albion Works. Sheffield. As a result of this transfer, Thos. W. Ward, Limited, assumed financial control and appointed the following gentlemen as Directors: Joseph Ward, J.P. (Chairman), Frank Rutland Stagg, James Bussey, and Charles Albert Lee..

1947 Employing 860 persons on a 15-acre site

1960 Advert for shovels and draglines for strip-mining. [12]

1961 Crane and excavator makers. [13]

Booklets See Thomas Smith and Sons: Booklets.

Notes Mobile crane. Exhibit at Bradford Industrial Museum.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Oct 16, 1942
  2. Pigot & Co.'s Directory of Yorks, Leics, 1841
  3. [The London Gazette Publication date:19 January 1847 Issue:20693 Page:233]
  4. The London Gazette 19 April 1861
  5. The Engineer 1877/03/16
  6. Leeds Mercury - Saturday 15 October 1881
  7. 1881 Census
  8. The London Gazette 3 February 1888
  9. The Engineer of 15th June 1888 p503 & p510
  10. The Engineer 1903/01/02 p 26.
  11. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  12. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p701
  13. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  • A History of Thomas Smith and Sons (Rodley) Ltd. Privately Published 1947.
  • Many thanks to Philip Hardaker for his generous contributions of booklets, photographs and information regarding Thomas Smith and Sons.