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British Industrial History

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S. Moulton and Co

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of Kingston India Rubber Mills, Bradford, Wiltshire

Stephen Moulton (7 July 1794 – 26 April 1880) was an Englishman (born in Whorlton, County Durham) who, as an agent of Charles Goodyear (USA), first brought samples of vulcanized rubber to the UK.

Moulton subsequently shared the samples with Thomas Hancock, who then beat Goodyear to a UK patent for the vulcanization process by a matter of a few weeks in 1843.

1848 After various disputes with Thomas Hancock and Charles Goodyear (USA) over patents and manufacturing rights, Stephen Moulton established his own factory S. Moulton and Co at Kingston Mill, near Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, England. He specialised in rubber applications for engineering industries.

1869 Advert. Manufacturers of steel embedded and other India rubber springs for locomotives etc [1]

1880 Moulton died at Kingston Mill.

1891 Company amalgamated with that of George Spencer in London, to become George Spencer, Moulton and Co.

In 1973 a historic calendering machine, built c.1848, was removed from the works for preservation. Its components remained in storage in Bristol until funds were raised to restore it and put it on public display. This was completed in November 2016, and the machine can now be seen on the site of Kingston Mill in Bradford-on-Avon. See photo. See also 'Iron Duke': Bradford-on-Avon.

Location of Kingston Mills

The 25" 1887 O.S. map (surveyed 1884-5) shows several separate mill buildings. At the eastern end of the town a large mill leat is taken from River Avon at a weir. A skew bridge takes the railway over the leat near its entrance. After doing its work, the water returned to the river via three spillways. The mills were overlooked by the impressive Kingston House.

Immediately to the west were New Mills (woollen). A multi-storey building has been converted for multiple uses.

Today the Kingston Mills site is largely given over to a new housing development. Several of the mill buildings remain, as does the flowing leat, while Kinsgston House and its garden remain intact, surrounded by high walls. It is difficult to relate the site to rubber production, but the difficulty was reduced in 2016 by the placing of the preserved rubber calender, named the Iron Duke (see photo).

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Bradshaw’s Railway Manual 1869