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British Industrial History

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J. Vickary

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John Vickary of Exe Island and 84 Fore Street, Exeter

1849 Advertisement: 'GALVANISED IRON, ZINC, COPPER, and TIN PLATE WORKS, and BRASS FOUNDRY. J. VICKARY, 122, FORE-STREET HILL, EXETER, Begs to inform the Public that he is Manufacturing improved VAPOUR BATHS, for the instantaneous application of heat at any temperature to the whole surface of the body. They have been approved of the whole of the Medical faculty of Exeter, and their use adopted by the BOARD OF HEALTH OF THE CITY. They are kept at the Guildhall, where the Poor can avail themselves of their use, on application, day or night. The old Stomach Warmer, or hot water bottle for fomentations, which may be applied in bed without dripping, made to any size or shape.'[1]

1850 Advertisement: 'No. 84, FORE STREET, (Five Doors from South-Street, adjoining Milk-Street )
In addition to the above, he has added an Extensive Stock of Every Description of FURNISHING AND GENERAL IRONMONGERY, selected on advantageous terms, in the principal Manufacturing districts, which will be offered at prices much less than have usually been charged in Exeter. He has efficient assistance to conduct the Retail Department, continuing himself, as hitherto, to give his utmost attention to the Manufactory ; feeling convinced that by perseverance, and a strict regard to economy in charges, his exertions to please, will be appreciated by a discerning public. Nothing will be sold "at a sacrifice," but every article that has been purchased at the present time's prices, will be sold at a fair remunerating profit, the business not being encumbered with an old stock. Dated March 15th. 1850.'[2]

1852 'The late reduction in the price of gas has been duly appreciated by the public, and has increased the demand so extensively as to require an outlay by the Gas Company of above £3,000, to make their present apparatus and machinery adequate to the supply. The company has accepted the plans and estimate of Mr. John Vickary, gas apparatus manufacturer, Fore-street, for the erection of an immense gasometer and tank, capable of containing above 600,000 gallons, and which will require above 170 tons of iron in its construction. Messrs. Martin and Parkin, of the Bonhay foundry, have contracted for the castings, so that the whole of the work will be performed within the city.'[3]

1856 Advertisement: '84, FORE STREET, EXETER. MR. J. VICKARY, Manufacturing, Furnishing, and General Ironmongery Establishment.
WANTED a Respectable YOUTH, as an APPRENTICE, at the above. Also Youth as JUNIOR CLERK, at his Foundry, Iron, Brass and Copper Works, Exe Island.'[4]

1858 'The Metal Works of Exeter.— Very few persons, even Exonians themselves, are aware of the extent of the old city's manufacturing capabilities, or the energies with which some of our manufactories are carried on. One of the most important is the iron foundry and engineering works belonging to Mr. John Vickary, in Exe Island. The works cover an acre of ground, and furnish employment to 170 artizans. In one large building there are in full work, boring, planing, drilling, and cutting machines, fashioning iron as easily as a carpenter shapes wood; a self-acting lathe and other machinery, all worked by a steam engine outside the building. In this apartment, there is, in process of construction, the largest high pressure condensing steam engine ever made Exeter, and which is intended for Mr. Carthew's mills at Crediton. Over this building is a large range of workshops filled with small lathes and all sorts of machinery for manufacturing the lighter description of metal work in brass, copper, iron, and zinc. On the opposite side of the yard the foundry, 140 feet long and46 wide, where are two large blast furnaces, one of which will fuse eight tons of iron. The molten metal is carried by travelling cranes, from the furnaces to the moulds in cauldrons, which are adjusted by rack work so as to pour out a stream as small a quill, or as large as man's arm. Connected with the foundry are the forges, where all the wrought iron work is carried on. A brass foundry is adjacent, where copper and zinc are fused in the proper proportions, and the metal moulded into the most delicate ornaments, or the most ponderous portions of machinery, as the case may be. Various important works have been completed in this establishment for different places in England, Ireland, and Wales; and we may remark that Mr. Vickary has now an order for constructing a twenty ton iron crane, for the ordnance, for lifting heavy cannon from ships, at the Devonport Dockyard—the work having been thrown open to general competition. Mr. Vickary recently obtained a prize offered by the Land Draining Company for the design of a hundred feet span self-supporting iron bridge, over the Exe, near Dulverton, there being twenty other competitors. Exonians, or strangers, who may be disposed to visit Mr. Vickary's large industrial establishment, will thank us for having directed attention to it. Western Times.'[5]

1859 Exeter: 'More Light.— New and larger main pipes are being laid down by the Gas Company to give the city a larger supply. The pipes were cast at Mr. Vickary's foundry, the Island, and are the first made in Exeter for the purpose.'[6]

1859 Advertising as 'The Largest Iron Foundry, General Metal, and Engineering Works in the West of England. PLANS and Estimates given for Steam Engines of every description, and heavy Iron Structures..... every kind of Metal Work. Turning, Planing, &c, done for the trade. JOHN VICKARY will be glad to see any of his Business Friends at the above Works.'[7]. The advertisement includes and engraving of the works, which featured a boiler yard, pattern shop, engine fitting and erecting shop (120ft x 40ft), iron foundry (146ft by 40ft), brass, copper and zinc shops (90ft by 30ft), brass foundry, brass lacquering shop, stove and grate shop, and offices.

1868 John Vickary died at the age of about 50.

1868 Advertisement: 'GAS ENGINEERING ESTABLISHMENT, EXE ISLAND, EXETER.
C. VICKARY, CONTRACTOR, AND MANUFACTURER OF IMPROVED WET & DRY GAS METERS, CHANDELIERS and GAS FITTINGS, PLUMBERS' BRASS WORK, &c,
RETURNS her sincere thanks for the liberal support bestowed upon her husband, the late John Vickary, during the last 20 years, and begs to say that having engaged a competent Engineer, she, in connection with her Son, is carrying on the above Establishment, and respectfully solicits a continuation of the commands of her Patrons, which shall receive her best attention. It is requested that all communications may be addressed to MRS. C. VICKARY, EXE ISLAND, EXETER.'[8]


See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 8 September 1849
  2. Western Times, 30 March 1850
  3. Western Times, 19 June 1852
  4. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette, 2 August 1856
  5. Taunton Courier, and Western Advertiser, 15 September 1858
  6. Western Times, 16 April 1859
  7. Western Times, 16 December 1859
  8. Western Times, 31 July 1868