Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,092 pages of information and 210,772 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Britannia Iron Works, of Middlesbrough
1871 Bernhard Samuelson built the Britannia Iron Works, Middlesbrough, to manufacture iron rails but would consider making steel rails in the future. The Britannia works housed the largest plant then in operation with a vast output of iron, tar, and by-products. Samuelson was anxious to make steel from Cleveland ore; on learning of the Siemens-Martin process, he experimented with it but the attempt proved unsuccessful.
c.1874 Britannia Ironworks was sold to a private company - presumably Skerne Iron Works Co.
1875 Skerne Iron Works Co. Ltd foundered because of the over-ambitious take-over of the Britannia Works, between Middlesbrough and Newport, which offered an increase in capacity and direct shipping facilities.
1882 Dorman Long purchased the works
1883 Rolled its first girders. Up to that time girders had been almost exclusively made in Belgium and Germany.
1886 Dorman Long introduced new steel making techniques - half the 120 puddling furnaces at Britannia were pulled down, and seven Siemens-Martin open-hearth steel furnaces were erected in their place.
Subsequently all of the puddling furnaces were pulled down and replaced by steel furnaces
1894 William Henry Panton, general manager, tried producing high-class steel from Cleveland iron using one of the furnaces at the Britannia Works.
1897 Further experiments were made at the Roseberry Foundry and eventually it was proved that steel could be made profitably from Cleveland iron.