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 163,352 pages of information and 245,904 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.

Wellman, Smith, Owen Engineering Corporation

From Graces Guide
1922. TheClere Mechanical Rotary Excavator.
1927. Erecting cranes for Sydney Harbour Bridge.
1945. 15-Ton Level-Luffing Portal Jib Crane.
May 1950.
February 1959.
1959. Wellman Cranes.

of Darlaston (1937)

of Wilton Road, London (1961)

Wellman, Smith, Owen Engineering Corporation

1919 Incorporated as a private company for the purposes of taking over Wellman-Seaver and Head, steel works engineers and contractors, and James Smith Hoisting Machinery Co Ltd, specialists in dockside cranes and hoisting machinery of all sorts. Also purchased the engineering department of Messrs Rubery, Owen and Co[1].

1923 The Rear-Admiral Sir Godfrey M. Paine who was the Fifth Sea Lord of the Admiralty and Air- Vice-Marshal during the war, was elected chairman of the company of London and Darlaston.[2]

1924 Company made public.

1924 Description of Clere mechanical shovel (bucketwheel type) designed and made by Wellman.[3]

1924 Increased holding in Wellman Seaver Rolling Mill Co which supplied complete rolling mills to the steel industry[4].

1925 Order for cranes to build the Sydney Harbour bridge[5].

1925 Acquired controlling interest in Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co of Cleveland, Ohio in order to prevent it amalgamating with another company that would have been against the British company's interests. Assimilated the designs of coke oven machinery and gas producers from the US company[6]

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1932 Working arrangement with Newton, Chambers and Co to consolidate their interests in the iron and steel industries; Newton Chambers had acquired shares in Wellman and placed directors on the board[7].

1934 Orders had picked up after several years of depressed trade in the British iron and steel industry[8]

1936 Disposed of share holding in Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co but would still have access of designs from that company[9].

1937 Engineers.

1938 Acquired Basic Industries Equipment Co[10].

WWII Constructed many plants for making shells, some of which were exported; also made and fitted bridge laying equipment to tanks; supplied parts for Mulberry Harbour and Pluto. Added a research station which would also be of future value[11].

1947 Acquired the shares of Wellman Bibby Co Ltd, specialists in torsional problems in power transmission[12].

1950 The work of Wellman Seaver Rolling Mill Co was transferred to the parent company[13].

1952 Opened branch engineering workshop at Kirkby in Liverpool and design office in Glasgow[14].

1956 Acquired Falls Foundry Engineering Works in Belfast[15].

1959 Collaborated with Brymbo Steel Co to develop a pre-refining vessel using oxygen and lime injection[16].

1960 Due to the increase in business in furnace construction, especially for oxygen steel-making processes, a new subsidiary was formed Wellman Smith Owen (Furnaces) Ltd[17] including electric furnaces which were built under licence from Italy. Had acquired Robinson and Kershaw structural engineers of Dukinfield in 1959. Ross Valve Division was continuing to experience increased business[18]. Agreement with Schloemann AG to design and construct steel mills[19].

1961 Steelworks' engineers, furnace and crane builders.

1961 Acquired Incandescent Heat Co Ltd which provided diversification as well as some reinforcement of existing business lines. Would establish a Wellman-Incandescent branch in India. New subsidiaries established were Wellman Rolling Mills Ltd and Wellman Crane and Machine Co Ltd[20]

1961 The company was a member of group that offered to subscribe to new shares in Hadfields as a way of injecting cash into that company[21].

1963 Formation of Wellman Incandescent International to handle international sales for the group's companies[22]. Increasing diversification of the group's business, serving a wider range of industries than just iron and steel.

1964 Metalectric Furnaces made agreement with Inductotherm of USA to manufacture range of induction melting equipment[23]

1965 Name changed to Wellman Engineering Corporation; business divided into 5 major groups:

1966 The Corporation acquired John Boyd and Co (Engineers) Ltd, makers of dock side cranes of Annan, and the designs and goodwill of Brayshaw Furnaces Ltd[25].

1967 Wellman Incandescent Natural Gas Systems was formed which could call on other parts of thw Wellman Group, specifically Incandescent Heat Co, W. S. O. Furnaces, Brayshaw Furnaces, Controlled Heat and Air, Manchester Furnace Co, Selas Gas and Engineering Co[26].

1969 Clarke, Chapman and Co took over the 3 heavy-crane making companies in the Wellman Engineering Corporation with backing from the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation[27], namely parts of Wellman Machines and Wellman Structures, and also Wellman Boyd.

1970 Purchased the complementary business of Albert Mann Engineering Co from TI. Formed Wellman Gas Engineering Ltd[28]

1972 Successful performance in difficult times because of earlier reorganisation and diversification. Albert Mann operations transferred from Clacton to Darlaston and included in new division - Wellman Mechanical Engineering - which also included Wellman Mechanical Equipment Ltd and Process Engineering[29].

1978 Acquired from Hanson Trust parts of British Furnaces[30]

1979 Acquired industrial heating business IHBD from General Electric Co[31]

1980 Acquired Frank Wigglesworth and Co power transmission business from Carclo[32]

Took over Edwin Danks and Co which later became Wellman Robey

1982 Under the Lazard scheme to reduce capacity in castings, the Wellman Alloys foundry was closed[33]

1985 Established Wellman Process Engineering Ltd as a separate business specialising in evaporation and crystallisation processes.

1994 Loss making Wellman acquired several businesses from FKI including Bradbury, Crypton, Tully, Transervice and Data Recording Instruments and Babcock Robey[34]

2013 Wellman consisted of 3 parts: Wellman Robey for boilers, Wellman Furnace Engineering, and Wellman Process Engineering.

Wellman Robey

Boiler service and full support to many types of boiler plant. Boilers supported by Wellman Robey include:

Wellman Furnace Engineering

Manufacture and install all major types of furnaces plus exothermic and endothermic gas generators, maintain them, and upgrade to the latest standards. Incorporated many famous names in UK furnace building including:

Wellman Process Engineering

Specialists in evaporation and crystallisation processes.

Provide process, electrical and mechanical design, project management, site erection supervision, and commissioning. Licenced technology from Swenson Technology Inc.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 2 February 1924
  2. The Engineer 1923/09/21
  3. Engineering 1924/04/18
  4. The Times, 24 June 1924
  5. The Times, 21 January 1925
  6. The Times, 12 August 1925
  7. The Times, 25 May 1933
  8. The Times, 6 June 1934
  9. The Times, 30 September 1936
  10. The Times, 4 July 1938
  11. The Times, 3 August 1945
  12. The Times, 25 September 1947
  13. Mark The Times, 29 September 1950
  14. The Times, 25 September 1952
  15. The Times, 26 September 1957
  16. The Times, 25 September 1959
  17. The Times, 4 February 1960
  18. The Times, 23 September 1960
  19. The Times, 2 December 1960
  20. The Times, 29 September 1961
  21. The Times 20 April 1961
  22. The Times, 26 April 1963
  23. The Times, 28 September 1964
  24. The Times, 9 August 1965
  25. The Times, 26 September 1966
  26. The Times, 4 October 1967
  27. The Times, 4 March 1969
  28. The Times, 11 September 1970
  29. The Times, 8 September 1972
  30. The Times, 7 July 1978
  31. The Times, 18 July 1980
  32. The Times, 18 July 1980
  33. Competition Commission report on William Cook, 1990
  34. The Times, July 19, 1994