Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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William Dawson and Sons

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Printers and Printing machine-makers, etc. of Ashfield Foundry, Otley, Yorks.

1830 Company established.

1849 William Dawson employed David Payne and Robert Elliott, starting an iron foundry in Otley

1858 The first Wharfedale printing machine was built by Dawson and Payne; the design was so successful it was copied worldwide and provided for 50 years of growth of the company.

1872 "NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, William Dawson and Thomas Galloway Dawson, at Ashfield Foundry, in Otley, in the county of York, as Machine Makers and Engineers, under the style or firm of William Dawson and Sons, has been dissolved, as and from the 1st day of January last. The business will now be carried on by the said Thomas Galloway Dawson and Jeremiah Dawson, in partnership together, under the style or firm of William Dawson and Sons, and they will receive and pay all debts due to and from the late firm. — Dated this 8th day of May, 1872.[1]

1885 "NOTICE is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Thomas Galloway Dawson and Jeremiah Dawson, at Ashfield Foundry, in Otley, in the county of York, as Machine Makers and Engineers, under the style or firm, of William Dawson and Sons, has been dissolved as and from the 16th day of November, 1885. The business will now be carried on by the said Thomas Galloway Dawson alone, under the said style or firm of William Dawson and Sons, and he will receive and pay all debts due to and from the late firm. — Dated this 16th day of November, 1885. Thos. G. Dawson. Jerh. Dawson.[2]

1906 Incorporated as a private limited company.

1914 Printers' engineers. Specialities: original makers of the Wharfedale printing machines; inventors and patentees of various appliances for the production of high-class half-tone and three-colour work and for high-class magazines. Employees 500. [3]

1921 Acquired Payne and Sons

The company became Dawson, Payne and Elliott



An example of the Wharfedale Machine can be found in the Otley Museum. The museum's machine is one of the originals, dating back to 1862. It was presented by the late Mr. James Stott, former sales director of Dawson, Payne and Elliott, reassembled and restored to working order.


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. The London Gazette 10 May 1872
  2. The London Gazette 5 January 1886
  3. 1914 Whitakers Red Book