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British Industrial History

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Wear Rolling Mills

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of Sunderland

Iron Masters

1870 'OPENING OF THE WEAR ROLLING MILLS. On Wednesday afternoon, the opening ceremonial of the extensive iron works, which have been some time in course of erection by Messrs T. Oswald & Co., Hylton Dene, took place. The foundation stone of the work laid during the latter part of April of this year by Mrs T. R Oswald, and from the favourable state of the season and perseverance of the proprietors, their officials and contractors, twelve puddling furnaces have been got into working order. The works will cover an area of twenty-one acres, and are situate on the Hylton Castle estate, belonging Wm. Briggs, Esq., High Sheriff of the county. They will form one of the most extensive and complete works of the kind in the kingdom, and will consist of 120 pudding furnaces, two pudding mills, two plate mills, three bar mills, six steam hammers, ranging from five tons and upwards. On Friday last, fire was got into twelve of the puddling furnaces; and on Tuesday afternoon, steam having been got up, the ponderous engines and machinery were got into motion, with the most satisfactory results. On Wednesday morning a great show of bunting and jets of steam proclaimed that the day of starting had arrived. A large number of spectators flocked to the busy scene. At three o clock, in the presence of the proprietors and several gentlemen interested in the iron trade, the officials of the works, contractors, and others, the first "ball" was drawn from the furnace, the principal of the firm, Mr T. Oswald, and Mr Robert Briggs, assisting in its manipulation, and, amid the cheers of the assembly, it was run to the powerful 5-ton steam hammer, where the process of shingling was performed by W. Oswald. From the hammer to the puddling mills the solidified mass was then borne when the ponderous mills were put motion, and the first bar of the puddling iron made in the Wear Rolling Mills was successfully produced. Practical men asserted that never in their experience did a more successful commencement of new works take place. For the more rapid completion of the undertaking, Messrs Oswald and Co. have erected, in close proximity to the works, steam brick maohines and drying sheds, kilns, &c., capable of producing 20,000 bricks per day, there being a fine seam of clay, of considerable depth, suitable for the manufacture of bricks of the best quality. The firm are also working a stone quarry for the supply stone for the various foundations; Mr Hillman late of West Hartlepool, is the manager of the mills; Mr Appleton is the engineer; and Mr. Brough superintendent of the bricklayers, and great credit is due to all of them for the energy and perseverance with which they have carried on the work. The machinery for the mills is being supplied by Messrs Claridge & North, of Bilston, and part of the engines and hammers are by Messrs Davy Brothers, of Sheffield, but they are being erected by Messrs Oswald Co.'[1]

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Sources of Information

  1. Shields Daily Gazette, 4 November 1870