Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Turner Tanning Machinery Co

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1918. Sammying Machine.
1923. Turner-Leidgen Unhairing Machine/ No 125 Drum Setting Machine.
c1920. Planing Bay, Bramley Works.
c1920. Machine Shop, Bramley Works.
c1920. Machine Shop, Bramley Works.
c1920. Fitting Shop, Bramley Works.
c1920. Fitting Shop, Bramley Works.
c1920. Erecting Shop, Bramley Works.
c1920. Thomas Haley and Turner, Bramley.
1923. Clamp Staking Machine.
1923. Boarding and Softening Machine.
1935. Buffing Machine/ Precision Measuring Machine/ Overshot Buffing Machine.
1950. Fleshing Machine Type 602.
1962. Hydraulic Press Type 623.
1967. Airblast Dust Removal Machine Type 631B.
1969. Shaving Machine Type 642.
1972. Factory Site - Queen's Award for Exports.

Turner Tanning Machinery Co of South Boston, Mass, USA; of Peabody, Mass, USA[1] and later of Bramley, Leeds.[2]

1902 Founded in South Boston by William B. Turner originally an engine driver, who patented a Serial Table Putting-out machine equipped with moving bolsters for working out the backbones of skins.[3]

A branch in Germany was later opened to deal with European affairs.

In the face of this competition, the Vaughn Machine Co produced a Serial Table Machine of their own and this led to litigation between them and Turner. The decision went against the Vaughn Machine Company, who consequently were forced into liquidation and their assets were taken over by the Turner Tanning Machinery Company circa 1904.[4]

Frankfurt-am-Main, previously European headquarters of Vaughn Machine Co became the European headquarters of Turners and on 1st August 1905 the name was changed to The Turner Co GMbH

1904 A small repair shop was established in Leicester employing 3 men, but in 1906 moved to larger premises. Eventually 10 men were employed, small machines were produced including the Bowers Glazing Machine, Drums and Paddles and the Turner type 130 Buffing Machine which was designed in collaboration with a progressive Walsall Currier many hundreds of these machines were eventually produced.[5]

1913 A small modern factory was built at Leicester, but after war was declared in 1914 this factory was sequestrated by the Government, as it was considered to be under German management and ownership. The business itself was taken over by the Turner Tanning Machinery Co. now established in Peabody, Mass and they controlled its affairs for the duration of the war.[6]

In 1919 the American Company entered into an arrangement with Thomas Haley & Co. Limited (now under the control of the Paul family) for the manufacture of their machines in England.[7]

Following the rationalisation of the leather trades' engineers, continuing developments in British tanning machinery for leather surface measuring, whole hide pneumatic fleshing, improved double width shaving, heavy setting and sammying were all to come from the Turner Tanning Machinery Co. Ltd, operating from the base founded by Thomas Haley & Co., the first leather trade engineers in Leeds, whom Turner took control of in 1920.[8]

The Board of Directors were: Mr F. C. Hoefling (Managing Director) (resigned 1922); Mr H. G. Reinhardt (Managing Director (1922)); Mr G. A. Schlettler (Chief Designer).

The Bramley based section of the international Turner Group of Companies, operated on this site until 1981, when an amalgamation of the German Moenus-Turner Companies resulted in the closure of the British manufacturing plant.[9]

The 1920's were hard years for the firm. They introduced 'Hire Purchase' and the installation of machines on approval at customers' works to help keep trade alive. An astonishing design introduced during these years was the 'Pin Wheel Measuring Machine' capable of accurately measuring the area of hides and irregular shapes of sheet material. Eventually, this machine was adopted by several authorities as a standard check measuring machine.[10]

The 1920's was a time suffered by heavy competition from German made machinery of which was imported into Britain duty free. The introduction of the chrome tanning process in the late twenties led to many tanneries installing new equipment.[11]

Read more about their exhibits in the 1923 Shoe and Leather Fair here.

1932 The government imposed tariffs on foreign imports and the company began to prosper again.[12]

1934 Trade increased to such an extent that the firm built an extension to the machine shop and additional offices were also provided.

1935 An adjacent plot of land was acquired to the east.

1938 A new erecting shop was built with a new three storey office block adjoining.

1947 Extended the new erecting shop further and in 1953 an extension was added to the new three storey office block.

1953 Mr H. G. Reinhardt, who had been Managing Director for 31 years, became Chairman of the Board. Mr P. C. Tudball became Managing Director in his place.

"Mr. Reinhardt finally retired from active participation in the Company's affairs in 1957. He had successfully guided the Company through a difficult period including the aftermath of two world wars. Supported by the design ability of Mr. G. A. Schettler until 1947 he had expanded the Company's affairs in the face of great difficulties and few people have been so well known and respected within the Leather trade as these two gentlemen. A number of tanners to-day have cause to remember Mr. Reinhardt with gratitude for the help given when they were starting up in the chrome tanning process."[13]

1957 The company name changed to its present day title Turner Machinery Ltd. This was decided when a number of machines produced were finding applications outside the leather industry, and work was becoming more diverse. A careful survey was made of the rapidly expanding Plastics industry and it was decided to enter the specialized, field of injection moulding.[14]

From its earliest days the Bramley factory has despatched machinery to many parts of the world, the earliest recorded export order being a Scouring Machine sent to Greece in 1876.[15]

In July, 1962, Mr, F.C. Tudball died and Mr. J.H. Winterbottom was appointed to the position of Managing Director.[16]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  2. The Engineer 1923/10/26
  3. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  4. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  5. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  6. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  7. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  8. Early Leather Trades' Engineers of Leeds, Part IV, Farrar, Whitley and Co and Farrar and Young by T. Lyons (Journal of the Society of Leather Technologists & Chemists (SLTC), Vol 73 (1989), pp160-163).
  9. Early Leather Trades' Engineers of Leeds, Part IV, Farrar, Whitley and Co and Farrar and Young by T. Lyons (Journal of the Society of Leather Technologists & Chemists (SLTC), Vol 73 (1989), pp160-163).
  10. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  11. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  12. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  13. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  14. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  15. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010
  16. Turner Machinery Ltd (1861-1961) by Jack Eley (Personnel Manager – Turner Machinery) Retyped TL-Aug 2010