Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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J. Huxtable and Co

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Expanding horse-drawn rake.
Exhibit at the Bakelite Museum.
Extendable Rake.

John Huxtable and Co of Alexandria Works, Barnstaple

Founded by John Huxtable, who succeeded his father in a smithy at Brayford, north Devon. [1]

In 1873 he patented an improvement for one-way ploughs**. The manufacture of these ploughs meant that he outgrew Brayford. He moved first to the nearby village of Filleigh in 1884, then to Barnstaple, the local town in 1896. Here, at his new Alexandria Works, he was able to expand his output of ploughs, harrows, horse rakes, etc.

The Plough Works at Filleigh was described by Strong in 1889[2]. Power came from an 18ft diameter waterwheel made by Garnish and Lemon. Problems with water power led to the works being abandoned in 1896. The long dry summer of 1895 restricted the availability of power, as did the subsequent freezing of the leat in the winter of 1895/6. The final blow came in 1896, when a boy, a relative of John Huxtable, was killed when trying to ride the wheel. This led to the move to Alexandra Road, Barnstaple, into buildings previously used by Seldon's clay tobacco pipe factory. By 1971 the works at Filleigh had been converted to two cottages.

The firm was converted to a limited company in 1936.

  • Note: **
    • Also know as Huxtable's turn-wrest plough. [3]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. [1] Museum of English Rural Life Web site
  2. 'Strong's Industries of North Devon (1889)': A reprint with an Introduction and Notes by B D Hughes: David & Charles Reprints
  3. [2] Huxtables of Leary