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Francis Preston (1823-1891) of Manchester.
See also Francis Preston and Co
1856 Machinist, of Ardwick Spindle Works, Manchester
See "'Clay's' Breech Loader 1862" by Steven Roberts for a summary of Preston's involvement in arms production . The source also refers to his partnership in the Ardwick Spindle Works with William Seed, and with Preston's involvement with the Lancashire Steel Co. During the Crimean war Preston adapted his machinery to produce bayonets. In 1861-2 Preston contracted to make army equipment and Enfield rifles for the British and United States governments. A contract for 25,000 rifles for the USA was voided due to his inability to deliver on schedule. He over-reached himself in becoming director and manager of the Lancashire Steel Company, a Bessemer licensee, in January 1866, and became bankrupt.
1892 Obituary 
FRANCIS PRESTON was born at Higher Ardwick, Manchester, on 10th January 1823.
For the greater part of his life he was actively engaged in engineering works of a varied character.
He died suddenly of heart disease on 24th December 1891 at Blackpool, in the sixty-ninth year of his age.
He became a Member of this Institution in 1856.