Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,176 pages of information and 245,641 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.

Tredegar Iron Works

From Graces Guide

Tredegar Iron Works of South Wales

c1800 Samuel Homfray obtained a lease of mineral land of about 3,000 acres at Tredegar on very cheap terms, in conjunction with Richard Fothergill and Matthew Monkhouse. Erected the ironworks.

1801 A blowing engine with a 40 inch cylinder was ordered from Boulton and Watt, together with a crank engine to power either a forge or a rolling mill (at the same time an engine was ordered for Sirhowy). The firm originally ordered a 45 horse power engine but changed the order to a 56 horse engine c.January 1803[1]

1803 The blowing engine was erected and paid for but its performance was not satisfactrory; also Fothergill wanted Boulton and Watt to take back the rolling mill engine.

1805 The engine was moved to Newport, but attempts to sell it came to nothing. By November, the company was constructing the engine house and the engine was erected in 1806.

1809 the Monmouthshire Canal carried 9,105 tons of iron from the works, a greater amount than any of the other Monmouthshire iron-works except Blaenavon.

1813 Samuel Homfray left the Penydarren Ironworks to concentrate on developing the Tredegar Iron Works which did not suffer from Penydarren's shortage of coal on the property.

1817 Homfray's connection with Penydarren was reestablished when his daughter Amelia married one of the works' owners, William Thompson

1822 After Samuel Homfray's death his sons, Watkin Homfray (1796–1837) and Samuel Homfray, Junior (1795–1883), continued to take an active role in the management of the Tredegar Iron Works.

By 1823 Tredegar had five furnaces in blast, producing over 16,000 tons of iron each year.

By 1830 was owned by Thompson, Forman and Co

1830 Built a steam locomotive

1832-54 Built nine locomotives

1866 Explosion at Bedwelty New Pits where one man was killed [2]

1860 'THE GREAT BLOWING ENGINE AT TREDEGAR. To the Editor of the Hereford Times.- Sir, I beg to record a pleasing circumstance that occurred at Tredegar Iron Works on Monday last, viz., the starting of the monster blowing engine, which has been for some time in course of erection. The late R. P. Davies Esq., manager of the works, being fully awake to the advantage of large quantities of air passing through the blast furnace, if good yield and quantity of make were to be expected, and, finding the old machinery at the works deficient for that purpose, ordered Messrs. Price and Watson to prepare plans for the giant that breathed for the first time on Monday last; and, so well had the plans been concerted and the work carried out, that on starting everything was complete at maximum speed, so that the listener could scarcely hear a sound. To give some idea of the size of the machine, I may state some of the dimensions. The steam cylinder is 57 inches diameter, with a 13 feet stroke ; the blowing cylinder 144 inches with a 12 feet stroke. The beam connecting these cylinders is upwards of 50 feet long, with a breadth across the centre of 6 feet. The weight of each side of this beam is upwards of 25 tons. The whole beam, with centre gudgeons, distance pieces, parallel motion, &,c, weighs upwards of 70 tons (the beam was cast by Mr. Charles Jordan, of Newport, Mon.), but so well proportioned, that it does not appear be anything like the weight. The taste displayed throughout the whole engine does great credit to the engineers ; and the manner the work has been finished and put together by Mr. Williams, one of the fitters who contracted for the work, is praiseworthy. So complete is the whole machine that all who saw it start could not help admiring it. Rowland Fothergill, Esq., one of the proprietors of the works, expressed himself pleased with the movements of this Goliath. I had almost forgotten to mention that one particular improvement in the blower was the piston worked by a cam, instead of the clumsy, old-fashioned method of flap leather valves at top and bottom of the blowing cylinder. September 18th, 1860.' [3]

1868 The Homfray family's involvement with the Tredegar ironworks ended when they sold their shares to the Fothergill and Forman families, who were co-partners.

1870s Edward Williams (1826-1886) and others acquired the Tredegar Iron Works which were then remodelled.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Boulton and Watt correspondence [1]
  2. The Engineer of 25th May 1866 p387
  3. Hereford Times, 22 September 1860
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • Welsh Biography online [2]