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British Industrial History

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Thwaites and Carbutt

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1858. Improved Steam Hammer.
1867. Double cylinder steam hammer.
1867. 2 ton hammer.
1869. Reversing Rolling Mill Engines at the Landore Steel Works.
1869. Rail Straightening and Punching Machine.
1869. Landore steel works.
1869 rolling mill engine for Landore (Note; engraving differs slightly from the one above)
1869. Steam hammer.
1872. Roots' Blower at The West Cumberland Hematite Iron Works.
1873. Steel Tilting Hammer at The Vienna Exhibition.
1873. Steam hammer.
1875. Root's blower.
1877 Rolling mill engine for Bolckow, Vaughan and Co.
1877 Roots ventilator
1877. Steam hammer for the Elswick Works.

Thwaites & Carbutt of Vulcan Works, Thornton Road, Bradford

Producers of the Roots patent blower, Vulcan forges, smelting plant, cranes and hoists, pumps, gas engines, compressors and rolling mill engines.

formerly R. Thwaites and Co

Between 1861-3 Edward Hamer Carbutt entered into partnership with Robinson Thwaites

1866 5-ton steam hammer at Crewe Works [1]

1867 Started making Roots' blowers.

1869 Rolling mill engine for Landore Siemens Steel Co. See illustration [2]. Also steam-powered rail punching and straightening machine for Landore Siemens [3]

1871 Employing 130 men and 13 boys.[4]

1873 Detailed description of the works in this article including - '...We were first introduced into the machine shops, which contain a well-selected series of the must modern machine tools, among them being some fine examples of planing and shaping machines of large size and by the best makers. A considerable number of cylinder-boring machines find pretty constant employment on the steam cylinders of the hammers, for which the firm has so excellent a reputation; while a quantity of heavy work destined to do duty in the ironworks of the neighbourhood - such as machinery for rolling-mills, rail-straighteners. and blowing engines - was to be seen in various stages of progress. Throughout there was observed a methodical arrangement and sequence of processes, which spoke well for the management of the concern. It is, however, as hammer-makers that Thwaites and Carbutt are probably best known....The hammers turned out by the firm range through some sixty sizes, from the self-contained single-standard two-and-a-half cwt. hammer to the gigantic fifty-ton hammer constructed for the Russian Steel Gun Forge of St. Petersburg. The only other fifty-ton hammer in the world is said to be that in the possession of Krupp, of Essen. Another tool of formidable power, supplied by Thwaites & Carbutt, is the thirty-ton hammer used by Sir William Armstrong for forging the coils of his great gun...' [5]

A good deal has been written lately about the big steam hammer recently erected at the Woolwich Arsenal, and which is to be shown to the Czar as one of the wonders of the world. In the Times appears a paragraph containing the substance of a letter to the editor of that journal written by Messrs. Thwaites & Carbutt. of the Vulcan Ironworks, Bradford, who say that " the Emperor has had working in his own factory at Oboskoff Steel Works, St. Petersburg, for some years a steam hammer nearly twice the size of the one erected at Woolwich. The steam cylinder of the Russian hammer is no less than 6ft. 6in. in diameter. This hammer was constructed by this firm, and sent out in 1869. It is a fifty tons hammer. Messrs. Thwaites & Carbutt add that Sir W. Armstrong has had in operation for twelve months a thirty tons steam hammer of their make for hammering the gun coils, with . which he is capable of forging guns up to 100 tons in weight or even larger. The only other fifty tons hammer in the world is in the possession of Krupp, of Essen, constructed at his own works, and which has been in operation many years." — We may also mention that Messrs. Thwaites and Carbutt tendered for the construction of the big hammer at Woolwich, about which all the noise is made, but were unsuccessful, although their tender was lower than the one accepted.
While on this subject, we take the liberty of making a short extract from an article in the Builders' Reporter of last Saturday, on the machinery exhibited by this firm in the present International Exhibition. After referring to the Root's blewers and other specialities of the firm, the writer goes on to say : — "In steam hammers this firm particularly excels. That they have gained a high pre-eminence in this branch of machinery is proved by the medals won at Paris in 1867 and Vienna last year. They have supplied more than 600 steam hammers, both single and double action, of about sixty sizes, from half a hundredweight to fifty tons. The Commissioners of the Paris Exhibition declared that Thwaites & Carbutt's steam hammer shown there was ' superb, admired by all, and really worthy of the occasion.' Many notable improvements have been devised and successfully carried ont since that period, and the firm are constantly engaged in supplying steam hammers to most of the leading ironworks and many of the engineers and railway companies thronghout the kingdom, while their heaviest productions in this way are required for Government purposes, both at home and abroad. The Times, in giving, a short time since, a description of a steam hammer recently erected at Woolwich, evidently laboured under the mistake of supposing it to be the most powerful one in the world, and gave the public to understand that the Emperor of Russia, on his approaching visit, is to be invited to witness the working of the Woolwich hammer as something very exceptional, and by way of showing what can be done. But the Emperor is not likely to be very much startled by what he sees, inasmuch as he has had working in his own factories at home, for some years, a steam hammer nearly twice the size of the one erected at Woolwich. We allude, of course, to the fifty-ton hammer manufactured by Messrs. Thwaites & Carbutt, and respecting which the following report from Captain Kolokoltzoff, director of the Russian Steel Gun Forge of St. Petersburg, will be of interest. He says : — 'It is now some time since we started our fifty-ton steam hammer, and I am glad to inform you that in every respect this hammer proved to be quite satisfactory. We have forged already several eight-inch guns, each block weighing fourteen tons, and I may say that not a single nut has been touched. The guiding columns and all the structure to guide the tup appears to be very strong, and very little vibration is felt during forging.' "[6]

1876 Supplied steam hammer to Landore Siemens Steel Co.[7]

1876 'MESSRS BOLCKOW, VAUGHAN, AND CO.'S NEW CLEVELAND STEEL WORKS AT ESTON. REVERSING ENGINES These new works, now rapidly approaching completion, are highly interesting and instructive to the engineer, the new machinery and plant being all of the most substantial and modern character, supplied by the leading makers. As an example of the style of machinery which will be used, we give a short description of a very powerful pair of high-pressure reversing engines on Ramsbotham's principle, which are being put down by the well- known firm, Messrs Thwaites and Carbutt, of the Vulcan Ironworks, Bradford. These engines are intended to drive the ingot cogging mill-trains, and are probably the strongest and most powerful of the class for this purpose. The engines are placed parallel to each other on massive cast-iron beds, whose weakest point is 1 ft. 9in. deep, and the strongest, viz., the gearing-end, 3ft. 3in. deep. The diameter of the cylinders is 36in., and the stroke 4ft. 6in. The centres of the beds are 12ft. apart, and the total area which they occupy is 43ft. long by 17ft. wide. The engine beds are truly planed so as to have a thorough bearing upon the foundation, the top of which is composed of ashlar stones 3 ft. thick, below which there is a solid mass of concrete 19 ft. deep, and they are held down upon this foundation with twenty-four 3-in. bolts, 23 feet long. The bottom slide bars and the shaft bearings are cast solid with the beds. The crank shaft, second motion shaft, piston-rods, and crank pins are all of Krupp's steel. The cranks are wrought iron, and have solid balance-weights forged opposite the cranks. The connecting-rods are also of wrought iron, 9 in. diameter in the centre ; the gearing is in the ratio of 3 to 1. The large wheel, which weighs 20 tons, is 12 ft. 8 7/8 in. in diameter, and has 8-in. pitch and 20 in. breadth of tooth ; the bearings are made extra large. The link motion for reversing is on the straight link system, and by a neat and specially devised arrangement, the motion block can be retained in any part of the motion link, so that the steam can be worked expansively between ½ to 7/8 cut off. The steam valves are pistons, packed with simple cast-iron rings, — an arrangement which answers better for this class of engine than flat D valves. The steam ports are very short, to save steam ; and the exhaust ports very large to maintain a free exhaust. Great attention has been paid to the getting rid of condensed water in the steam-pipes and cylinders. The total weight of the engine will be 130 tons, and it can be reversed up to as many as sixty times per ?minute? with great ease by one man. The makers of this engine are supplying to the same works six powerful double-ended rail-straightening machines, each of which is supplied with a self-contained engine, so that it can be worked independently. We are informed that Messrs Thwaites and Carbutt make a speciality of these machines, as also rail-end planing machines, rail saws, and all other plant requisite to lit up steel works complete. — Capital and Labour.' [8]. See illustration. This engine was described and illustrated in 'The Engineer' in 1877[9] (see illustration).

1877 Roots mine ventilator for the South Durham Coal Company, Chilton Colliery, near Ferryhill. ‘Pistons’ 25 ft dia, 13 ft wide, driven via bevel gears by a two cylinder horizontal steam engine with cylinders 28" dia and 4 ft stroke. Only one side of the engine was envisaged to be required for the initial duty of 87,000 cu ft/min at 15 rpm (maximum capacity 200,000). Running clearances of the rotary pistons were only 1/8" [10]

1879 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned, Robinson Thwaites and Edward Hamer Carbutt, carrying on business at Bradford, in the county of York, as Engineers, under the style or firm of Thwaites and Carbutt, was dissolved by mutual consent...'[11]

1879 Partnership dissolved. '...the Partnership lately subsisting between us the undersigned, Robinson Thwaites, Thomas Hirst Thwaites, and William Henry Thwaites, carrying on business at Bradford, in the county of York, as Engineers, under the style or firm of Thwaites and Carbutt, was dissolved, by mutual consent, on the 28th day of April last; and that all debts owing to and from the said firm will be received and paid by the undersigned, Thomas Hirst Thwaites and William Henry Thwaites, who will henceforth carry on the said business on their own separate account, under the style or firm of Thwaites Brothers....'[12]

1880 The company name was changed to Thwaites Brothers

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1866/02/09 p100
  2. 'Engineering' 29th Oct 1869
  3. 'Engineering' 8th October 1869
  4. 1871 Census
  5. Bradford Observer - Friday 26 December 1873
  6. Bradford Observer - Thursday 14 May 1874
  7. * The Engineer 1876/07/07 p10 & p13
  8. Daily Gazette for Middlesbrough, 30th December 1876
  9. The Engineer, 19th January 1877
  10. The Engineer 15th June 1877
  11. The London Gazette Publication date:9 May 1879 Issue:24720 Page:3270
  12. The London Gazette Publication date:9 May 1879 Issue:24720 Page:3270