My books on manufacturing

My books on manufacturing
My books on manufacturing history

Friday, July 29, 2022

Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World largely by addressing obstacles to progress

Manchester mills were transporting tons of cotton goods to the port of Liverpool by canal, built by the Duke of Bridgewater, but which took some thirty-six hours and which was expensive. What was needed was a steam railway. 

George Stephenson planned the rail route to Liverpool, which included sixty-four bridges and viaducts along thirty-five miles of track. It was, though, more likely that his son, Robert, designed and built his “Rocket”, ‘by the happy combination of the multitubular boiler and the steamblast, Mr Robert Stephenson succeeded in producing an engine far superior to any previously built in point of speed and efficiency.’ Heavy rails were laid at considerable cost and, with heavier locomotives, ‘the superiority of the railway system to every other mode of conveyance was placed beyond question’. By 1850, the line was carrying two million tons of cotton a year. It also carried passengers to ships leaving Liverpool for the new world with emigrants seeking a new life, in place of their previous cargo of slaves. It was the first twin track line in the world that carried paying passengers and so may rightly lay claim to be the birthplace of modern passenger railways.

Fifty years later damage was being caused to Manchester’s cotton trade by the cost of rail transport and Liverpool dock fees. The answer was to dig a new thirty-five mile long canal from Manchester to the sea. The traditional method of digging, by the employment of many thousand navvies, was simply not viable and so an alternative had to be found and it was, in the shape of Ruston & Proctor of Lincoln. Joseph Ruston had, in 1885, delivered a paper to the Institution of Mechanical Engineers in Lincoln on his steam navvy, described as being something between a traction engine and a crane. He had impressed, for the Manchester Canal Company engaged seventy-one of these massive machines. He impressed even more when the many machines, buried by flood water in 1890, were soon in full working and returned to work successfully to complete the canal.

You can find more of the story of How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World in my book of the same name available from publishers, Pen & Sword

Friday, July 15, 2022

Textile machinery

 Looking at textiles, where it all began, Bury man, John Kay invented the flying shuttle to be followed by James Hargreaves and the spinning jenny, Richard Arkwright and his water frame and Samuel Crompton’s mule. Famously Arkwright built the first factory. The sewing machine followed from American and, not long after, companies like Hyam & Co of Manchester sold garments from a chain of stores. Hyams were also writ large as advertisers in the catalogue of the Great Exhibition.

Textiles were the product; in time more power was needed - steam!

You can buy How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World from Pen & Sword

Saturday, July 9, 2022

10,000 post views

 Thank you everyone for viewing this blog. An exciting time following the publication of How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World. Some positive feedback and Amazon have accepted the review post I offered from the foreword to the book:

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Podcast on How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World

 Delighted to talk to Stuart Whitehead and Joe Reynolds on the MTDMFG podcast. It was good to dig a little beneath the surface of How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World.

You can listen to the podcast by following this link

How Britain Shaped the Manufacturing World is now available to pre-order

Phil Hamlyn Williams has completed his sixth book beginning an exploration of British manufacturing. His great-grandfather exhibited at the ...