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  1. A Fatal Traction Engine Accident 1864

    Many thanks for your help Edmund, I'd come to the same conclusion about the Westgate Foundry and from what I remember of the faded picture in the library, that was taken from the other side of the river and showed the river in the foreground. Me again Edmund, I have received an email from syorks.archservice@sheffield.gov.uk <syas@sheffield.gov.uk> stating that the Westgate Foundry was almost certainly the one owned by the Harris Brothers. Brian
  2. A Fatal Traction Engine Accident 1864

    So it would appear that Graces Guide is incorrect. Grace's Guide British Industrial History Member Login | Register Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 123,606 pages of information and 190,968 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them. Midland Iron Co From Graces Guide Jump to: navigation, search 1866. 1867. 1901. Installed at Midland Iron Co by T. Ledward and Co. 1901. Condenser at Rotherham installed by T. Ledward and Co. 1912. of Union Street, Rotherham. Proprietors: R. and J. Harris 1862 Advertisement: 'MIDLAND IRON WORKS, MASBROUGH. TO be SOLD by AUCTION, by Mr. JOSEPH NICHOLSON, of Sheffield, ….. all those extensive IRON WORKS and Premises, well known as the MIDLAND IRON WORKS, situate at Rotherham, in the County of York, adjoining the Masbrough Station of the Midland Railway, …. comprising about three Acres of Freehold Land, …. with every requisite for a Trade of 230 Tons per week of finished Iron, the Erections and Machinery comprise twenty-six Puddling Furnaces, one Ball Furnace, one Hammer Furnace, eight Mill Furnaces, one Condensing Engine of sixty horse-power, one High Pressure Engine forty horse-power, also two smaller High Pressure Engines of eight horsepower each, two Steam Hammers, four Trains of Rolls, and a powerful Lathe for turning Rolls, with all the usual Offices and Warehouses required by the Trade. Also, all those Six DWELLING-HOUSES adjoining to the Works. The Premises are most eligibly situated on the Midland Railway, from which they have a siding to the Works, and they are in close proximity to ample supplies of Hard and Soft Coals. The Works, which have been established for fourteen years, are in full operation, and enjoy the advantage of an excellent Trade connection. The Works have been carried on under inspection for the last six months, and have yielded a clear profit at the rate of £5000 per annum. Further Particulars ….'[1] 1862 'FRIGHTFUL BOILER EXPLOSION and SERIOUS LOSS OF LIFE. An explosion of a most fearful character occurred at Messrs. Beatson and Co.'s, the Midland Iron Works, adjoining the Midland Railway Station, Masborough, on Wednesday morning, about half-past six o'clock. Fortunately the men employed on the night turn had just gone off, and those to be employed during the day had only arrived small numbers, or the consequences must have been much more serious. 'The cause of the calamity was the bursting of a horizontal boiler, adjoining which were three furnaces — one ball furnace situate one end, and other two puddling furnaces. These are completely demolished, and the roofs of nine others entirely stripped away. The length of the mill about yards, which were numerous sheds covering furnaces in daily use. These sheds were covered over with slates and sheet iron, and were supported by MASSIVE iron pillars and girders with MASSIVE beams. All are entirely swept away, leaving a debris of an indescribable character. The suddenness of the occurrence caused the greatest consternation amongst the men employed on the works, and the explosion is described as exceeding in intensity the most dreadful thunder. Immediately the entire neighbourhood was one mass of smoke and dust, and the adjoining fields were lighted with a nobody arising from the hot bricks which were sent by the force of the explosion all around, actually lighting up the grass in the adjoining fields, where numbers of bricks are buried to the depth of a foot, the field being literally ploughed up. Adjoining the boiler where the explosion occurred is a patent hammer, and a little further on a fly-wheel attached to the engine, the engine-house being about 80 yards distant from the exploded boiler. This fly-wheel weighs about 27 tons, and the spur wheel of only little smaller dimensions and less in weight. The fly-wheel was caught by a piece of the boiler and was entirely smashed, carrying away a piece of it, weighing two tons, which was driven a distance of 40 yards. The boiler divided itself into two parts, one taking a westerly and the other an easterly direction, and, whichever way it swept, it carried with it every opposing obstacle. 'Mr. Hartley, the manager, was on the spot, and rendered every aid. He succeeded in extricating one of the men from his fearful position in an inanimate state, and immediately swooned away. The bodies of five men were shortly recovered, all being dead, and nearly 20 others in a fearfully lacerated state. Two of these have since died, and the others are in precarious state. 'The names of those killed are:— Joseph Adams, puddler, married man and family; James Fitzgerald, labourer, single man, about 20; George Copley, married, with one child, about 27; William Curvoy, labourer, single man, John Cawthorne, Wm. Cawthorne (single, 17), father and son; John Ellis, engine tenter. Injured:—Thomas Cawthorne, John Ryals, John Day, Chas. Woodcock, Jas. Hainsworth, Chas. Sheldon, William Mirphin, Jas. Wadworth, Simeon Edwards, Joseph Bagley, Thomas Pinkney, Samson, Harrison, - Johnson, Samuel Willetts, and several others. 'All the medical gentlemen of the neighbourhood were present in attendance upon the injured workmen, several of whom were conveyed to the Sheffield Infirmary.'[2] 1863 'DREADFUL ACCIDENT AT ROTHERHAM. A shocking accident occurred at Rotherham yesterday, under somewhat singular circumstances. It will be recollected that at the explosion of a boiler at the Midland Iron Works, Masbro', on the 3rd Dec, an immense flywheel, which was attached to the large engine, was broken in several pieces by the boiler, which was driven through the works. An order to replace the wheel was given to Messrs. Walker and Eaton, of the Wicker foundry, and the casting was completed a day or two ago. The wheel is twenty feet in diameter, the rim being about fifteen or sixteen inches thick, and the weight about sixteen tons in its present unfinished state. The casting was sent by road to Rotherham, and in passing through the town it was found necessary to take it through the new road leading out of Howard Street into the bottom of Bridgegate. Near the termination of the new road, the wheels of the dray sunk deeply into the ground, and further progress was rendered impossible during that night. In the course of yesterday morning, the sunken wheels were raised, and no less than nineteen horses having been attached to the dray, a vigorous effort was made to complete the remainder of the journey to the Midland Iron Works. About one o'clock the casting was brought to the foot of Rotherham Bridge, the roadway of which, as most of our readers are doubtless aware, is of very scanty width, with footpaths scarcely sufficient for two persons to walk abreast upon. The passage of the enormous casting through the streets had excited great curiosity, and about a thousand persons had assembled in the neighbourhood of the bridge to witness the passage over. The bridge is approached by a slight ascent from the Rotherham side and the men in charge of the dray whipped their horses in order to get up the incline with greater ease The crowd of people who lined the sides of the road were not prepared for this movement, and considerable confusion occurred. The large number of powerful horses attached to the dray drew it over the bridge at a considerable speed, but, most unfortunately, the dray seems to have swerved to one side in passing the crown of the arch, and a number of persons were caught between the rim of the casting and the stone parapet of the bridge. The police and others gave instant attention to the sufferers, some of whom had received fearful injuries. The most distressing case was that of a married woman named Catherine Wilson, residing in Jubb's-square, Masbro'. One of her hips was broken, and she was otherwise so fearfully mangled by being crushed against the wall that her recovery is considered hopeless. The case is rendered the more lamentable by the fact that the poor woman was far advanced in pregnancy. Her son William, aged seven years, was standing by her side when the accident occurred, and he was also a severe sufferer, his head being very much bruised. Only a few days ago the little fellow had an arm broken, and it is feared that the effects of the accident, acting upon a frame already much weakened, may prove fatal. Two other boys, named respectively William Longden, ten years, and his brother Charles, six years, were also very much hurt, the eldest having his collar bone broken. Several men who were at the same side of the bridge got over the parapet, and hung suspended by their hands over the river until the danger had passed. Others escaped with some slight bruises. Mrs. Wilson and her son, and the two Longdens, were at once conveyed to the Dispensary, where the promptest attention was paid to them by the house surgeon, Mr. Darwin. Mrs. Wilson was afterwards removed to her home. Further investigation will show whether or no blame is attributable to any person, but persons who witnessed the accident ascribe it to the incautious conduct of the crowd, who nearly blocked up the road across the bridge, and persisted in endeavouring to go forward, despite the strenuous efforts of the police to keep the road clear. When the horses began to trot, the crowd could not recede quick enough, and consequently a large number of persons attempted to scramble on to the narrow footpaths, leaving only a foot or two of space between themselves and the rim of the casting. An accident was therefore inevitable if the dray went out of the straight line, and this unfortunately occurred. The casting subsequently reached the works, without any further casualty.'[3] 1865 Midland Iron Co registered[4] 1899 The company was registered on 9 August, in reconstruction of a company of the same name. [5] 1901 Midland Iron Co were Bar Iron Manufacturers. [6] By 1937 was owned by Thomas W. Ward[7] By 1966 was part of Midland and Low Moor Iron and Steel Co, a subsidiary of Thomas W. Ward
  3. A Fatal Traction Engine Accident 1864

    Graces Guide has information on The Midlands Ironworks of Union Street, Rotherham, proprietors R & J Harris. The entry is for 1962 and the works are for sale. Is this when they moved to premises at Wellgate? Graces Guide also states that The Midlands Ironworks was owned by Messrs. Beatson and Co.'s, in 1862 (so I am a little puzzled.) and was the scene of a huge boiler explosion. Sheffield library had a book that contained a very faded picture of the Wellgate works and I believe that it was library staff who told me that the site may be under a leisure centre or swimming baths. This would have been in about 1980 when I was working in Sheffield on the tram system. I don't live in Sheffield so it is not easy to check for myself. Brian
  4. A Fatal Traction Engine Accident 1864

    Many thanks for the information Edmund, the maps are very useful for working out possible routes that the engines took etc. Brian
  5. The Sheffield Daily Telegraph for Saturday 7th May 1864 records an inquest held at "The Batchers Arms", Moorgate, Rotherham into the death of Mr K.Harris of Harris Brothers, ironfounders of Westgate who died of crush injuries whilst transporting a large anvil block from Messrs Bessemer and Co on Carlisle Street, Sheffield. Is the location of "The Batchers Arms" known or could it be a misprint for "The Butchers Arms" ? I believe that the Harris Brothers foundry is under a leisure centre, can anyone confirm this? Where on Carlisle Street were the premises of Bessemer & Co? Any help gratefully received. Brian Hutchings
  6. Philadelphia

    I'm interested in information about Philadelphia Steel Works following some research into a story from the Sheffield Telegraph in 1863 about a large steam hammer anvil that was transported from Rotherham to the Philadelphia Steel Works. Did any of the machinery survive? Are there any remains of the buildings. Are the any pictures of the buildings and interior?
  7. I am a model engineer interested in Traction Engines and found a newspaper article describing a momentous journey from Rotherham to Sheffield. This was published as part of a personnal webpage some years ago. I am looking to change web hosts so my page is not online at the moment. Below is an extract from ‘The Sheffield Daily Telegraph’ for November 12th 1863 that I hope you will find interesting. THE JOURNEY OF TWO TRACTION ENGINES FROM ROTHERHAM TO SHEFFIELD The following account of the journey from Rotherham to Sheffield, and the description of the two engines, have been forwarded to us by Mr. E. Edwards Hewett, of the locomotive department, Midland Railway:- The dray loaded with the castings was removed from the foundry of Messrs. Harris on Monday the 2nd of November, when the engine purchased by Messrs. Harris, was coupled to the dray, being under the able management of Mr. Batrick, superintendent engineer to Messrs. Burrell, Messrs. Harris accompanying and having charge of the dray. The journey to Sheffield was then commenced, the engine (proving itself quite equal to its task whilst on level and good roads) dragging its monster load to the bottom of Eccles-hill, where the road being steep and bad the engine was for the time overcome, and the dray sank. In this dilemma Messrs. Burrell were telegraphed to for further assistance who immediately sent off a second engine, which was unloaded at the Victoria Station on Friday afternoon, arriving at the scene of the disaster the same evening. In the meantime the dray had been raised by powerful hydraulic lifts, balks (sic) of timber and iron plates being placed under the wheels; the two engines and four horses having been coupled to the dray, a start was made, and the procession moved off a good pace until it arrived at the Canal Bridge, over which planks had been previously laid. The dray had only just been drawn over when the right leading wheel of the first engine left the track, which had been laid down by the South Yorkshire Railway Company on their bridge, and as some few minutes were lost in getting it on again, the dray had in the meantime sunk to such a depth as to necessitate the use of the lifts, thus occupying the remainder of the day in setting it to rights. On Monday, the Railway Bridge and the embankment leading to it were laid with sleepers, and the dray, having been raised to its proper level, the engines and horses were again coupled at 1.30p.m., when they showed by the speed which they attained the immense power they were able to exert, the horses being dispensed with when the hills were mounted, the engines doing the work themselves from Attercliffe Common to the Twelve o’Clock, where a halt was made for the night. On Tuesday morning the engines moved off with their load, accompanied by an immense concourse of people, turning the corners from the Wicker to Nursery-street, and thence over the Corporation bridge with greatest ease. In Corporation-street, at the corner of Spring-street, owing to the heavy state of the road the dray again sank, causing a further delay, but having passed into Spring-street the engine owned by Messrs. Harris proved its immense power by dragging the load, unaided by the other engine, as far as Bowling-green-street. Gilbraltar-street being in good repair, a first-rate speed was maintained, which was not allowed to decrease materially until the load was stopped opposite the works of Messrs. Butcher, at five o’clock. On Wednesday morning the casting was easily drawn into the yard and pulled by the engines to within a few yards of the hammer for which it is the anvil block, after which Messrs. Burrell’s engine commenced the return journey to Rotherham. The weight of the casting and dray is over 54 tons. The engine bought by Messrs. Harris was built by Messrs. Burrell in 1859, according to the original design by Mr. Boydell, the patentee of the endless railway for common roads. The length of the boiler is 7 feet, diameter 2ft. 6 in., the fire box is 1 ft. 11in. by 2ft. 5in., the fire box shell 2ft. 7½in. by 2ft. 1½in. by 2ft. 1½in., the dome is placed over the fire box, the bottom of which is 1ft. 3 in. From the top of the fire box. The boiler is multitubular, having in it 34 brass tubes 2½in. in diameter. The cylinders which are placed at the extreme end of the boiler and partly over the smoke box, are 7 in. In diameter, the centres being 1ft. 9 in., the stoke of the pistons is 12 in. The eccentric straps are of brass, the rods being bolted to them, the radius of the links is 1ft. 10½ in., the travel of the valves is 2 in., the lap in., and lead 1/16th in. The slide bars are of cast-iron, curved at the cylinder end to miss the glands, and having feet cast on them to bolt to the cylinder covers, the other ends of the bars are supported by pillars. The reversing shaft is carried by a high pillar; the radius links being worked by double lifting links, to the bottom of which they are coupled. The pump for feeding the boiler and that for filling the tank are placed close together and are worked by a double lever attached to a rod worked by an eccentric on the crank shaft. At each end of the crank shaft there is a small pinion having 11 teeth, working into a large spur wheel, having 108 teeth; the pinions have clutches cast on them, and by means of a loose clutch and lever can be thrown in and out of gear when pumping. &c. Behind the crank shaft there is a plain shaft carrying a small intermediate spur wheel, which is thrown in and out of gear by raising and lowering it. The driving wheels which are 7 feet in diameter, are of wood, strengthened by iron bands, every alternate spoke being bolted to a projection cast on an arm of the spur wheel. The tyres are of wrought iron, being 4 inch by 1 inch in section, and fastened to the wheel by countersunk bolts. The wheels are provided with six shoes, to each of which is fastened an iron link; this link works easily in a long slotted bracket, bolted on the outside of the rim, having a pin though the top, which slides on the circular side of the bracket. Each shoe is further provided with a rail 3 feet 6 inches by 3½ inches by 1¼ inch, on which the driving wheel revolves, and is strengthened and made more durable by iron plates bolted across the under side. In descending, the shoe is held in its proper place by a wrought iron finger bolted to the side of the rim, and the ends of the shoes are rounded off, so as to lower on to and leave the road easily. The right driving wheel is keyed fast on the axle; but on the left the boss of the driving wheel is provided with a clutch, and by means of a loose clutch is thrown in and out of gear. This loose clutch is moved by a lever which is worked by a screw and wheel bracketed to the side of the fire-box. The leading wheels are of cast iron, with wrought-iron tyres. The boiler can be easily lowered, when ascending an incline, and raised when descending one, by suitable gearing worked from this steering platform. The steering apparatus consists of a toothed segment, bolted on the inside of the leading axle (which is of wood), which is turned right and left by a pinion on a spindle, which has a spur wheel keyed on the top, worked by a small pinion and large steering wheel. The tank is placed under the boiler, the height of water in it being indexed by a float and rod. The engine, with its full complement of coal and water, weighs about 12 tons. The pressure of steam under which the engine works is 100lbs. per square inch. When about to turn sharp angles the left driving wheel is thrown out of gear by the arrangement of the loose clutch described above. When the boiler requires refilling both the working pinions are thrown out of gear; and when a quick speed is required the small intermediate spur wheel is thrown out of gear and the driving spur wheels are worked direct. The engine sent by Messrs. Burrell was built in 1862, and then by them exhibited in the International Exhibition. The boiler contains 72 tubes, 1¾ inch in diameter, fire box, 2 feet 5 inches by 2 feet 5 by 2feet 5 inches in height. Considerable saving and a greater compactness is noticed in the engine. The driving wheels are of wrought iron, the rims, spokes and boss being welded into one solid mass. The links attached to the shoes work through slots in the face of the wheel. There are also two rails laid on each shoe instead of one, giving increased bearing surface. The driving spur wheels are of wrought iron case hardened. Considerable improvement has also been introduced in the arrangement for the gearing of the driving wheels. The large wheel guards and the raising and lowering apparatus for the boiler have been dispensed with. The steering gear has also been much simplified, and the leading wheels so connected that a difference in their level does not affect the boiler. This engine, with its full complement of coal and water, weighs only seven tons five cwt. Although this engine is a great improvement on the other, yet on account of the cylinders having been placed 2ft. 3 in. from the centre of the smoke box, and the driving wheels being so near to the fire box nearly all the dead weight is thrown at the back of the engine, and consequently when much strain is put upon her she begins to rear, otherwise this engine is under the most perfect control of the driver
  8. Surgical Instrument Makers

    Many thanks for your reply Edmund, that fills in details that I was not aware of. I have read that a ship carrying Hutchinsons medical equipment ran aground during the American civil war and have infered from that, and from your information that they were quite a large enterprise.
  9. New Member.

    My name is Brian Hutchings and I live near Alfreton in Derbyshire. My interest in Sheffield at the moment concerns a surgical instrument manufacturer named W&H Hutchinson. I should first point out I that the reason for my interest is that I do 1940’s re-enactments as a civilian doctor and I have a surgical post mortem set, parts of which are stamped with the name Hutchinson. Pictures of this can be found on the ‘Made in Sheffield’ forum. The reason for the post mortem set is because in those days doctors performed post mortems on deceased patients to find out if their diagnosis and treatment was appropriate. My first visits to Sheffield were many years ago to a laboratory to carry out analysis on steels for use in aircraft and then later, with a different company, to inspect the installation of road signs for the new tram system. Other visits were made to research the delivery by traction engine of a large steam hammer anvil (or possibly a tilt hammer anvil) from Rotherham to the Butcher Brothers Philadelphia Works. This epic journey was well recorded in The Sheffield Daily Telegraph in 1863. Since we have retired my wife and I have discovered the antique quarter, although we haven’t fully investigated all the shops yet.
  10. Surgical Instrument Makers

    I have a Post Mortem set in a wooden case with 2 of the items stamped "Hutchinson". I have established that they were a Sheffield company through 2 flyers advertising their products, and they appear to have been a supplier of surgical equipment to the Confederates during the American civil war. Sheffield Museums have no other information on this company. Does any subscriber to these forums have any information? (PS: Some items have been added to fill the spaces in the box but are no items by Hutchinson. e.g scissors, tweezers & scalpels The chain with hooks and the needles are probably supplied by Hutchinson but not made by them) Thank you Brian Hutchings