Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 148,487 pages of information and 233,925 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

G. Birch and Co

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1892. Sliding and Screw-Cutting Treadle Lathe.
June 1898.
1903. Gear Cutting Machine.

of Islington Tool Works, Salford, Manchester.

Small but highly innovative makers of high quality machine tools, including Ornamental Turning lathes.

1887 Exhibited Self-acting Slide-surfacing and Screw-cutting Foot Lathe, fitted with various appliances for plain and ornamental turning. Foot Power Milling Machine. Hollow Mandrel Electrician’s Lathe. Amateur’s Work Bench. Small Tools case.

1904 they were also making machines for more brutal tasks, including circular saws up to 36 inches diameter for cutting risers off hard steel castings. They also made machines for automatically sharpening circular saw blades up to 66" diameter. Another line was a cylindrical grinding machine for internal and external work, parallel and tapered, taking up to 14" diameter and 6 ft long. They also made complete plant for producing wire mattresses.

1905 Description and illustrations of a 7" centre height toolroom lathe[1]

1912 Lathe bed design featured in 'Machinery'[2]

1913 Sale of plant and equipment, following voluntary liquidation of G Birch & Co., included 24 lathes, 5 planing machines, 5 dilling machines, shaping, slotting, milling, slot drilling, gear cutting, grinding machines, etc. Also 22 HP National gas engine and gas producer plant.[3]


The company occupied a small site in the area of central Salford between Chapel Street and the railway serving Manchester Victoria.The 1915 OS map shows a small tool works at the corner of Islington Grove and Grove Place, in a largely residential area. Latterly it was by no means a prosperous area. The ground area of the works was no more than about 50 ft by 50 ft.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Encyclopaedia of Practical Engineering and Allied Trades, Volume X, Edited by Joseph Horner, Published by Virtue & Co., London, 1905
  2. [1] Machinery, Feb 1912, p.452
  3. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser, 6 September 1913