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of Manchester, machine tool makers.
Note: some sources confuse this company with that of Richard Roberts, also of Manchester. There was no connection.
1838 New Patents: 'To John Roberts, Manchester, machine-maker, for certain improvements in machinery or apparatus for planeing or cutting metals.—Sealed 18th December — 6 months for inrolment.'
1839 British Association Meeting: Exhibition: J. Roberts & Co exhibited a self-acting planing machine for cutting both ways, a self-acting lathe, and a portable drilling machine. 
1840 A bench-top planing machine by John Roberts was shown in action at the Polytechnic Exhibition in Newcastle 
1841 Advert: 'TO BE DISPOSED OF by Private Contract, all that Eligible and First-rate ESTABLISHMENT for TOOL MAKING, lately carried on by the firm of Messrs. Jno. Roberts and Co., Oxford-road, Manchester. The stock consists of slide lathes, single and double geared lathes, planing machines, screw-cutting machines/drilling machines, vices, smiths' hearths, large quantity of patterns, and every other requisite for carrying on the business of tool making in all its branches. Also on Sale, the follow ing NEW TOOLS:-
2 Planing Machines, to plane ? feet.
1 Ditto ditto ditto 4 feet.
1 Screw-cutting Slide Lathe, 20 feet bed.
1 Ditto ditto ditto 16 feet bed.
2 Ditto ditto ditto 10 feet bed.
2 Screwing Machines.
Slotting Machine to take 4 feet diameter; and
3 Bench Planing Machines.
Applications to be made to Mr. E. RADCLIFFE, on the premises, who has no objections to retain a share in the concern.'
1841 Advert: 'Highly Valuable Planing, Boring, Drilling, and Slotting Machines; Slide and other Lathes; Tools, &c.
By T. M. FISHER, (by order the Trustees of Messrs. John Roberts and Co. on Thursday and Friday, the 28th and 29th days of October, 1841, on the premises occupied by them, known as the Cayley Banks Mill, Oxford Road, Manchester ; sale commences each day punctually at eleven o'clock in the forenoon:
THE Very Valuable WORKING TOOLS, all in first-rate condition, including portable upright drilling machine, with drills from l-16th to 2-inch: driving apparatus and knocking-out gear. 9-inch single-geared lathe, one 8-inch, one 8 1/2-inch, four 8-inch, one 9 1/2-inch, one 10-inch and one 11-inch double-geared lathes; 6-inch double-geared screw cutting lathe; 16-inch, raised to 26-inch, double geared slide lathe with compound slide rest and break for taking in wheels up to 6-feerdiameter : 10-inch double-geared slide lathe, bed 10 feet long, 12 inches wide, with table chuck and compound slide rest ; cutting engine for spur, bevil and skew gear ; power planing machine, bed 28 feet long, 4 feet 2 inch wide — ditto, bed 4 feet long, 1 foot 6 inches wide — and ditto, bed 3 feet long, 1 foot 6-inches wide — all self-acting in the vertical and horizontal cuts, and fitted with Roberts's patent action for cutting both ways; drills, files, maundrills, rosebits : cutting, grooving, chasing, and turning tools ; grindstones, cast iron troughs; benches, vices, wood and iron lathe bearers, smiths' bellows, anvil, swage block, tools; stocks, taps, and dies wrought, scrap, nnd cast iron ; several hundred feet of bright shafting and pulleys; cast and shear steel ; joiners' benches and tools: stock well seasoned timber ; hand cart; and a most valuable stock of complete sets of patterns for all the after-named and other modern machines :
Also a variety of NEW TOOLS, finished in the very best manner, comprising —
Capital 8-inch and 9-inch single-geared lathes.
10-inch double-geared ditto.
Two 6 1/2 inch, and two 10-inch double-geared slide lathes, with regulating screw, compound slide rest, revolving nut, White's patent universal chuck, and set of wheels for screw cutting.
Bench planingand filing machine.
Strong portable slotting or key grooving machine, with transverse tables, rotary motion for circular cutting, self-acting and universal, fixed on three columns, will take in 4 feet diameter, and groove 18 inches deep.
Boring apparatus for lathe headstocks.
Heavy lathe bed pinned, fitted with carriage, compound slide rest, and regulating screw, 16 feet long.
Power planing machine, bed 3 feet 6 inches long, 2 feet wide, and two ditto, each bed 6 feet long, 2 feet 6 inches wide — all self-acting in the angular, vertical, and horizontal cuts, and fitted with Roberts's patent action for cutting both ways.
Catalogues will published on Tuesday the 21st, and may be had on the premises, where the property may be then viewed ; or from the Auctioneer, 17, Princess-street, Manchester, who will forward them by post, on application being made by parties living at a distance.'
Note: Roberts's patent action for cutting both ways was patented by John Roberts in 1838. It had two opposing tools in a rocking box.