Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

Registered UK Charity (No. 115342)

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,368 pages of information and 245,906 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Richard Hornsby and Sons

From Graces Guide


1860. Iron piers. Exhibit at the Museum of Lincolnshire Life.
Horizontal boring machine made for Hornsby by Hind and Son, 1872.
1881. Six-Horse Traction Engine.
1881. Folding Straw Elevator, Exhibited at The 1881 Royal Agricultural Show.
1884. Prize binder.
1889. Portable winding and pumping engine.
May 1892. The Hornsby-Akroyd Engine.
1892. Oil Engine.
June 1898.
August 1899.
February 1901.
January 1902.
Plough. Exhibit at Yankalilla Bay Museum.
January 1906.
1908. 12 hp. No 30431.
1910. Chain track trials at Aldershot.
Straw Trusser. Exhibit at Temple Newsham Museum.
Exhibit at the Bakelite Museum.
Exhibit at the Bakelite Museum.

of Spittlegate Ironworks, Grantham, iron and brass founder.

formerly Seaman and Hornsby

Also see:

1828 The firm became Richard Hornsby when Seaman retired. The company made ploughs and seed drills. The firm made ploughs and seed drills.

1840 The company made steam engines, which were used for traction engines in the 1850s. These were used for harvesting crops.

1849 Produced their first portable engine.

1850 Described as 'agricultural implement makers, iron and brass founder and paper maker'.

1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class IX.

1851 With his son Richard, the firm becomes Richard Hornsby and Son

1861 378 men employed [1]

1863 The first traction engine built under the Bonnall and Astbury patents.

1864 Richard, the founder, died.

1867 Won a prize for horse-powered turnip pulper at the Royal Agricultural Society's meeting[2]

1873 Gold Medal at the Moscow Exhibition [3]

1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham. [4]

1877 Exhibitor at 1877 Royal Agricultural Show.[5].

1879 Incorporated as a limited company, Richard Hornsby and Sons. By this time Richard's other sons, James and William, were partners. The company was registered on 20 November, to take over the business of the firm of the same name, as engineers and machine manufacturers. [6]

1880 The firm gained limited liability status.

1880 The firm offered 5, 6, 8, 10 and 12 nhp engines.

1882 The Engineer 1882/07/14, page 25, reported the death of John Bonnell, leading engineer and designer of successful engines and thrashing machines for Hornsby and Sons, Grantham.[7]

1885 Gold medal for invention of string binding "Appleby" reaping machine, and a finishing threshing machine

1889 Portable Winding and Pumping Engine. [8]

1889 Showed engines at the RASE at Windsor. [9]

1891 Started production of an i/c engine following an agreement with Herbert Akroyd Stuart - the Hornsby-Akroyd engine became an immediate success. Eventually a total of 32,417 engines of this type were built.

1892 May. The first three Hornsby-Akroyd engines were installed at the Great Brickhill Waterworks at Fenny Stratford. The engines worked regularly until 1923.

1894 June. Took part in the Royal Agricultural Society’s Competitive Trial of Oil Engines. 8.0 bhp fixed engine and a portable engine. Article in ‘The Engineer’. [10]

1894 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited two oil engines. [11]

1896 the Hornsby-Akroyd type of engine was used to power the first oil tractor and the first oil locomotive.

1897 Ordinary General Meeting with H. Simpson Gee presiding. [12]

1899 Ordinary General Meeting. H. Simpson Gee presided and other directors present were James Hornsby (Chairman of the Board), J. W. Hornsby, William Hornsby, H. H. Johnston and Edward Wood. Among the shareholders was R. W. Hornsby. [13]

1900 Paris Exhibition. Description of three oil engine shown. [14]

1906 Absorbed J. E. H. Andrew and Co of Stockport

1906 The manufacture of steam engines was discontinued.

1908 Detailed description of their works.[15][16]

1908 April. Details of their 35-hp chain-track tractor.[17]

1911 Electrical Exhibition. Suction gas engines and others. [18]

1911 Smithfield Club Show. Exhibited stationary oil engines, a binder, a straw trusser, mowers, ploughs and a drill. [19]

1912 L type engine introduced

1914 Listed as engineers. Specialities: oil, petrol and gas engines, suction gas plants, general agricultural implements. Employees 3,500. [20]

1918 September. Amalgamated with Ruston, Proctor and Co to become Ruston and Hornsby [21]

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

Steam Engines

Hornsby built 106 traction engines with 7 known to survive

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. The Times, Jul 18, 1867
  3. The Times, Wednesday, Jan 08, 1873
  4. The Engineer of 21st July 1876 p40
  5. The Engineer 1877/07/13
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. The Engineer 1882/07/14
  8. The Engineer of 1st March 1889 p189
  9. The Engineer of 28th June 1889 p546
  10. The Engineer of 22nd June 1894 p540
  11. The Engineer of 6th July 1894 p9
  12. The Times, Tuesday, Dec 07, 1897
  13. The Sheffield & Rotherham Independent), Tuesday, December 05, 1899
  14. The Engineer of 16th November 1900 p487
  15. The Engineer 1908/03/06
  16. The Engineer 1908/03/13
  17. Automotor Journal 1908/04/25
  18. The Engineer of 13th October 1911 p390
  19. The Engineer of 8th December 1911 p594
  20. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  21. The Times, Tuesday, Oct 14, 1919
  • Traction Engine Album by Malcolm Ranieri. Pub 2005
  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • [1] Wikipedia
  • The Engineer of 14th December 1894 p524
  • Steam Engine Builders of Lincolnshire by Ronald H. Clark. Published 1955 by Goose and Son