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Samuel Newbould and Co

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Edge Tool Manufacturers, Fender Makers and Saw Makers, of Sheffield

Introduction

1735 The original family business, from which the firm of Samuel Newbould and Co originated, was established about 1735 by Thomas Newbould, a shear-smith (1714-1782)

Earlier the Newboulds had been farmers but there is a record that a John was practising as a cutler in Sheffield in 1624. Thomas Newbould’s family lived in Ecclesall; their farm, sometimes known as Ecclesall Old Hall (now pulled down) was at the top of Millhouses Lane. A drift mine nearby was also worked by them. Thomas, who became an orphan at the age of ten, succeeded to the farm, which was let to tenants.

1727 Thomas was apprenticed first to John Wild, woolshearsmith, and later to Thomas Wilson, shear-smith.

1735 Thomas Newbould became a Freeman of the Cutlers’ Company in 1735 and began trading on his own account. A record of his offices with the Cutlers’ Company is as follows Assistant 1741-1744, Searcher 1746-1748, Junior Warden 1749, Senior Warden 1750, Master Cutler 1751 (at the age of 37), Searcher 1752, Assistant 1753.

1747 It is not known where he practised his trade from 1735-1747 but in the latter year he acquired premises in Coalpit Lane, Sheffield. A reference in the Chapeltown Furnace Accounts (Spencer-Stanhope papers) shows that he was now supplying edge tools and saws to the iron-making syndicate led by John Fell of Attercliffe Forge.

1763 Additional premises were acquired in Coalpit Lane. As there was no water power in this area, the cutlers and tool makers sent their products for grinding to wheels located on the small rivers running into Sheffield. Quite early in his career Thomas Newbould took a lease of the Broomhall Wheel on the River Porter. This Wheel was about where the canteen of the Sheffield Twist Drill and Steel Co stands today, in Solferino Street [1] near its junction with Cemetery Road.

1772 Sometime in his career Thomas Newbould took out a lease of the Norton Hammer Wheel on the River Sheaf (beside the Broomhall Wheel). In 1772 he was paying a land tax on this wheel of 15/-. Eventually the wheel went to his son Samuel Newbould, who kept it until about 1806, when it passed through various hands. Towards the end of its working life it was used by William Tyzack Sons and Turner for grinding scythes[2].

Thomas Newbould and his wife Hannah had three sons and five daughters. Of the eldest, Thomas, (1744-1810) little is known. Leader, the Sheffield historian, describes him as a merchant who died unmarried.

The second son William (1749-1802) married Sarah, daughter of Thomas Holy, button manufacturer, and was in partnership with his father-in-law.

The third son Samuel (1752-1842) inherited the business. Samuel became a freeman of the Cutlers’ Company in 1780, and began to take over the direction of the business from his father, who was in failing health.

Samuel Newbould's Business

1781 From a directory entry, change of name of the business to "Samuel Newbould, Shearsmith, Coalpit Lane".

1784, two years after Thomas Newbould’s death, Samuel transferred the business from Coalpit Lane to Bridgefield. The premises had belonged to Samuel’s father-in-law John Taylor, who was a long-distance carrier who had transported the Newbould’s goods. The Bridgefield Works were at the bottom of Little Sheffield Moor, as it was then called. The site was rather out of the town in those days. but it was nearer to the water wheels on the Sheaf and the Porter than were the old Coalpit Lane premises.

1787 Expansion soon began, and by 1787, Samuel Newbould had erected new buildings. In the directory of 1787 we find Samuel Newbould, Sheffield Moor, listed under both Edge Tool Makers and Shear Makers, with, in both instances, the mark NEWBOLD. Colley, Newbould and Co, Sheffield Moor, was also listed in the same directory as Saw and Fender Makers. It is believed that this was a partnership between Samuel Newbould and his brother-in-law James Eckley Colley. On Colley leaving the district (sometime prior to 1794) the partnership was re-formed as Newbould, Ridge and Wilde. This firm used the Boggey Wheels on the Loxley for grinding. Here there was a 12 ft. 6 in. fall of water and eight troughs at which ten hands were employed.

Ultimately Ridge and Wilde dropped out of the partnership, and the firm went under the name of Samuel Newbould and Co - or as it was sometimes styled - S. Newbould and Sons. They were Edge Tool Manufacturers, Fender Makers and Saw Makers.

At sometime during the early nineteenth century, if not before, the Newboulds also began steelmaking. There is ample evidence of this, for the inventory and plan of Bridgefield Works, dated 1844, shows “cast steel furnaces, etc . . . converting furnaces"; the Commercial Directory for 1814-15 lists Samuel Newbould and Son, Sheffield Moor “under the heading of Steel Converters and Refiners.”

The Newboulds were tilting at Loxley. Miller remarked: “Old Wheel Dam . . . would seem to have run both a tilt and a grinding wheel in the early part of the nineteenth century, when for seventy or eighty years, the property was owned by the Newboulds. Messrs. Samuel Newbould and Co. were tilters here for a considerable period but the Dentons leased the forge from somewhere about 1845 to 1885.”

The dam has been for some years on the premises of T. Wragg and Sons the refractory manufacturers. On a recent visit to the works considerable remains of water wheels and tilting machinery were seen. There were three wheels in all and one had been in use up to a few years ago for driving a small machine.

The Old Wheel Dam was near to the Boggey wheels at which Newbould, Ridge and Wilde did their grinding about 1794. The tilt was built between 1779 and 1789.

1802 The Newboulds were not listed as steel converters in the Dunn Survey of 1802, but there is a reference in this document to Walker and Wilde who together imported 500 tons of iron annually for conversion. John Walker and Co were then steel manufacturers in the Wicker. It seems possible that Wilde was in a separate partnership with Samuel Newbould for the purposes of steelmaking.

Further interesting information emerges from this Survey, which had been prepared for the Cutlers Company who had taken up the idea of improving the River Don Navigation by extending the canal from Tinsley to Sheffield. On receiving the engineer Mr. Dunn’s proposals, a deputation of six gentlemen went with him to Tinsley to reconnoitre the ground for the proposed canal. The gentlemen were the Master Cutler (Mr. Joseph Withers) Mr. Makin, Mr. Brownhill, Mr. Vickers, Mr. Cadman and Mr. Newbould. The preponderance of steel manufacturers should be noted as they, perhaps more than anyone, were interested in facilitating the transport of heavy materials - notably Swedish iron for conversion - from Hull to Sheffield. Conversely, they would be interested in sending heavy manufactured goods the opposite way.

Newboulds built up an extensive export trade both to Europe and America. Samuel Newbould Junior (1787-1851) went to America early in the 19th century and furnished a house in New York, where he acted as resident agent for the firm.

1868 Newboulds was formed into a Limited Company.

1871 Preparations for the transfer of the Samuel Newbould activities from Bridgefield Works to Newhall Road began in 1871 when a plot of land was leased from Sandersons on the site of the current Saw Department.

Buildings erected included a paring shop, smithing shop and hardening shops. Grinding by machinery was introduced, starting with the first long-saw grinding machine to be installed in Sheffield. This machine was first used mainly for grinding Russian cross-cut saws. Later, a second machine of this type was put in together with glazing machinery and a circular saw grinding machine, and during the ensuing years the plant was expanded many times.

1884 The Bridgefield Works and the Loxley Wheel were put up for sale. The premises were described in a sale advertisement; the Bridgefield Works still contained converting furnaces and crucible furnaces even at that date.

1900 The company merged with Sanderson Brothers and Co to become Sanderson Brothers and Newbould

Biography of Samuel Newbould (senior)

  • Thomas's third son, Samuel (1752-1842), inherited the business from his father.
  • 1780 Samuel became a freeman of The Cutlers Company in 1780, and began to take over the direction of the business from his father, who was in failing health.
  • Samuel Newbould occupied various offices in The Cutlers Company, becoming Master Cutler in 1800. He appears to have been on the committee for promoting the Parliamentary candidature of Henry Lascelles, son of the Earl of Harewood, who stood against Viscount Milton in the election of 1807. However, Milton seems not to have held this against him for, in 1834, when Milton, now Earl Fitzwilliam, celebrated his son’s coming-of-age, T. Asline Ward recorded in his diary “S. Newbould (active as ever) was at the grand ball at Wentworth House.” Samuel was then eighty-two years of age. He died in 1842 at the age of ninety.

A 19th Century Catalogue

  • A nineteenth century Samuel Newbould and Co catalogue shows a remarkable profusion of merchandise, some manufactured by the Company itself and some obviously factored. On the cover, however, they list their main lines: steel, saws, files, tools, chaff knives, reaper sections, forgers and rollers. Inside, the steel list covers all the usual varieties made in the days before alloy steels came into vogue: blister steel, shear steel, cast steel (welding, spindle, common and tool), file cast steel, razor cast steel, penknife cast steel, all of which could have been made and tilted within the organisation. For rolled steel and sheet which they also offered, they would have recourse to other companies, most likely Sanderson Brothers, with whom they became closely associated in the 1870’s.
  • Some of the products described and illustrated in the Newbould catalogue would appear very odd in one of our publications today. Almost every form of engineering plant and equipment appeared, a page devoted to self-acting steam hammers made by Davy Brothers suggesting an agency for that firm. There were shearing machines, slotting machines, lathes, planing machines and even portable steam engines. A portable crane (with sufficient chain to reach the ground!) could be had for as little as £40. In addition to carpenters’ tools, agricultural implements, plumbers’ tools and the like, skates were quite an important item.
  • In the edge tool section, the names of various patterns give a clue to the firm’s export markets. There are Russian field hoes, Canada hoes, American planters’ hoes, Carolina hoes, West Indian hoes, Barbados hoes, Spanish hoes, Brazil hoes.
  • The list of planes is astonishing in its variety.
  • The scythe trade was world-wide judging from these lists. There are scythes for Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Russia, Poland, Schleswig, U.S.A., Canada, South America.
  • Even mail coach axles were offered. The saw section is particularly interesting. Short and long saws are illustrated much as are made today. There are circular and bandsaws; even a veneer cutting saw in segments.



See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. It is believed that this street no longer exists and a health club stands on the site
  2. "The Water Mills of Sheffield" by xx Miller
  • [1] Sanderson Steel Web Site