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British Industrial History

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Lainchbury and Sons

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Name plate for Superlyte.
September 1947.

of Kingham, Oxfordshire

See Caleb Lainchbury and his son Ernest John Lainchbury

There is a detailed history at Lainchburys of Kingham web site

Extract from Lainchburys of Kingham web site

In 1862, John Lainchbury bought a small portable steam engine and a 48 inch threshing machine. The engine had wheels but no motive power so had to be moved using horses. This was to be the start of Lainchbury's involvement as Steam threshing contractors.

In 1868, John bought his first traction engine that could move under its own power together with another threshing machine this time a 51 inch version. As with his first machinery these were made by Lampitts of Banbury.

Sometime in the 1870's, John Lainchbury moved to Kingham where he established a workshop complete with a forge and brass foundry.

John Lainchbury passed away in 1881 and his son Caleb took over the running of the business.

Caleb Lainchbury was born in Cornwell in 1845, with his wife Elizabeth they had seven children, the one important to Lainchburys history being Ernest John (senior) we shall hear more of Ernest John a bit later on.

After Caleb's father John passed away, Caleb purchased some land in the village of Kingham, Oxfordshire on which the engineering works of Lainchburys was established.

Caleb bought more threshing equipment and further expanded the threshing side of the business. He also started to manufacture other farm equipment including carts, waggons and milk floats.

Sometime in the 1870's, Caleb Lainchbury saw a picture of a French built cycle and decided to make one himself, the back wheel was pivoted for steering unlike today's machines which made it very unpredictable and although it was good at going around corners it had a nasty habit of collapsing and throwing the rider off, after several such accidents he took the cycle into the workshop and smashed it up with a sledge hammer muttering the words "I'll break your neck before you break mine"

After Caleb Lainchbury passed away in 1918 Ernest John Senior took over the running of the company. In 1928 Ernest John bought all the patterns, jigs and designs for the Roberts range of Straw and hay elevators after the firm Roberts of Deanshanger had gone into liquidation. The Roberts models were made and sold under the Roberts Premier brand whilst the Lainchbury's design elevators were sold under the brand name Superlyte.

Under Ernest John senior the company continued to expand and as well as the manufacture of elevators he also manufactured small steam boilers, sterilizers for farming use and tractor winches, they also made balers. The Elevators were being sold all over the world and up unto and during the second world war the demand was so great that there was often a waiting list for one of up to two or three years.

During the second world war the manufacture of elevators increased and these were sent by the railways to all parts of the country. The production of other farm type implements such as winches was also increased.

During the war years and into the early 1950's threshing with steam declined and much of Lainchbury's threshing equipment was laid idle; some in the works yard and others in various yards and storage areas around Kingham, most of it never to be used again.

After the demise or the successful elevator range Lainchburys did very well with their range of grain cleaners designed by Ernest J. Lainchbury (junior). These became very popular throughout Great Britain.

Sadly the end came for Lainchburys in 1987, Charles Lainchbury's son David did his best to keep the business going but changes in agricultural practices made the company no longer viable. For over 100 years the Factory had provided employment for many people in and around Kingham, at times over 100 people worked for the company.

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