Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,152 pages of information and 245,599 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Fraser and Chalmers

From Graces Guide


c1900s. Mining machinery at Britannia Copper Mine ruins on the foothills of Snowdon, North Wales.
Name plate: Fraser and Chalmers Engineering Works. Proprietors General Electric Co Ltd
June 1898.
August 1899.
February 1901.
January 1902.
September 1902.
1906. Winding Engine at Sherwood Colliery.




1919. Stone Crushing Plant installed at the Pulacayo Silver Mine, Bolivia.
1932. Mechanical Coal Handling and Shipping Plant at Dover.
1934. 60 ton side discharge wagon tippler.
1937. Adjustable Floor.
1955. A machine for screening stone.[1]
Charles Sayers spent his entire working life at Fraser & Chalmers, starting as an apprentice fitter and turner sometime before WW1. Here he is working on a Churchill cylindrical grinder which works on the same principle as a lathe, but with a very sophisticated and expensive grinding appendage instead of a simple carriage and toolholder.

Anglo-American company specialising in boilers, engines, pumps, mining machinery etc.

of 23 Bucklersbury, London. (1889).

of 3 London Wall Buildings, London (1908).

of Erith, Kent

1872. Founded by Thomas Chalmers in Chicago.

1880 Employed more than 170 workers.

1890. Directed by William James Chalmers, (Thomas' son), it expanded its manufacturing to England and its sales worldwide. The company employed about 1,000 workers at its Chicago plant and had become one of the world's largest manufacturers of mining equipment. [2]

1890 The company was registered on 7 January, to acquire the entire capital, shares and bonds, of an American company, to whom the business of manufacturers of mining and other machinery of the firm of Fraser and Chalmers had been transferred, and also to extend the business by the erection of works in England. [3]

Maker of stationary engines. [4] and steam locomotives. [5]

1901 The American business at Chicago was disposed of and (along with the Gates Iron Works of Chicago) merged with Edward P. Allis and Co of Milwaukee, to form Allis-Chalmers Co. [6]

1906 Supplied winding engine for Penallta Colliery.

1911 Made ten turbines for Bolckow, Vaughan and Co. [7]

1914 Engineers. Specialities: mining machinery and power plants, boilers, engines and compressors, pumps, turbines; concentration, conveying, dredging, metallurgical, mining and miscellaneous plant. [8]

1918 After WW1, the turbine business was acquired by GEC. Practically all the staff transferred their services to the GEC, and carried on the business under the title of Fraser and Chalmers Engineering Works Proprietors The General Electric Company Ltd.[9]

1924 Description of Fraser & Chalmers' heavy oil engine. 'The design of the new engine was undertaken by Mr. B. Pochobradsky, the Chief Engineer of the Fraser and Chalmers Engineering Works of the General Electric Company at Erith, who is well-known in connection with the design of the large steam turbines and turbo-blowers built at those works. The engine has four cylinders 21.5 in. diam. by 22 in. stroke, and develops normally 1,000 brake horse-power at 300 revolutions per minute. .... The engine is now installed in the Power Station of the Macclesfield Electric Light and Power Company driving a 750 kw. generator. .... Tested .... The starting of the engine was in all cases effected within a few seconds and without any hitch. The governing of the speed was exceptionally good at ah loads, and when the load corresponding to 1,154 brake horse-power was suddenly thrown off, the tachometer showed a momentary increase in speed of less than 2 per cent., and it became normal again within a few seconds. During the overload trial there was no indication that the engine was overloaded, the exhaust gases were invisible, and the engine worked as smoothly as it did at all other loads. There was no indication that there was any limit to the time during which the engine would work under this load. Professor Watkinson also remarks that, on the day following the completion of the trials, he one of the pistons withdrawn from its cylinder. The cylinder liner was in perfect condition and had a brilliant polished surface, without a visible scratch. The piston and its rings were also in perfect condition, as also was the oil fuel valve.[10]

1934 Supplied three 3.75 MW pass-out turbine generators for the Wiggins, Teape and Co paper mill at Dartford [11]

Makers of the Bettington water tube boiler for atomized fuel[12]

1959 Image. A Magnetic Separator of cross belt configuration, manufactured by the Fraser and Chalmers Engineering works, Erith, of the General Electric Co.

See Also


Sources of Information

  • The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978/9. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
  1. Oxford Junior Encyclopaedia. Volume VIII. Engineering. Oxford University Press, 1955
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  4. Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain by George Watkins. Vol 10
  5. British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  7. The Engineer of 4th August 1911 p126
  8. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  9. The Engineer 1918/10/25 p 362
  10. Engineering 1924/06/06
  11. Engineering 1934/04/20
  12. 'Steam Boiler Construction' by Walter S. Hutton, 5th edition, Crosby Lockwood & Co, 1921