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British Industrial History

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Walter Hancock and Co

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of Stratford, London

1845 Walter Hancock established a manufactory for gutta percha in Stratford with his brother Charles Hancock [1]

1848 Patent with his brother Charles for coating electric cables with gutta percha [2]

1848 February. 'Mr. Charles Hancock, of Brompton, has obtained several patents for manufacturing it (gutta percha) into various articles, and that gentleman, in connexion with his brother, Mr. Walter Hancock, established a manufactory in Stratford, 1845, and in the subsequent year other and more extensive premises were taken, situate in Wharf-road, City-road, London. Ultimately a company was formed, consisting of several gentlemen of wealth and enterprise, including Ernest Bunsen, Esq. of Upton Grove, in this county, (son Chevalier Hansen) and of the extent and operations of the company some conjecture may be formed from the subjoined statement. At the Stratford, as well as the City-road works, several powerful steam engines are in operation, and two have recently been added. About 80 persons are employed in the former place, in the manufacture of lathe bands and a solution for adhering percha soles boots and shoes. These works are ostensibly under the management of Mr. Walter Hancock and Mr. E. Moore. The City-road establishment is the principal depot, where between two and three hundred hands are employed. The manager is J. Stathan, Esq. of the firm of Statham and Bates, of Manchester. The experimental managers are Mr. C. Hancock, Mr. W. Hancock, and Mr. Bewley. The superintendent of the sole department Mr. Joseph Watson. The whole of the gentlemen selected for the above departments are well known in the scientific commercial world. The average sum paid each week for wages at the two establishments is about one thousand pounds, and the present returns, from the sale of articles, at least £500,000 per annum. The works are daily inspected by persons of rank and distinction, and among the recent visitors we may mention the Rajah of Sarawak, Mr. Brooke. The gutta percha is a good substitute for leather, and has been long used for lathe bands. Most tin mill owners the manufacturing districts have substituted them in lieu of the old leather lathe bands; large numbers are weekly sent to Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, &c, well as Ireland and Scotland. Some of the other articles for which inapplicable, are outer soles for boots and shoes, picture frames, walking-sticks, inkstands, door-handles, chess men, some surgical instruments, watch-guards, whips, flutes, floor-cloths, harness for horses, sword and knive handles, it is also suitable for obtaining fine impressions from coins, and is manufactured into a fine thicking used by milliners for lining ladies' dresses and bonnets, in lieu of oiled silk, also extensively used in hospitals for bandages, &c. Large quantities of gutta percha articles arc exported to Germany, Prussia, America, Holland, Belgium, and France; and the increasing demand for them has led the company to take other extensive premises in the Wharf-road, City-road, the occupation of the Patent Wood Fuel Company, and should only tithe portion of the articles now manufactured be brought into general use, gutta percha will form, no distant period, one of the most important items British commerce' [3]

1849 March 'An old workhouse at West Ham has been taken by Messrs. Walter, Hancock and Co as a gutta percha manufactory' [4]

1850 The company, of West Ham Abbey, received an order to supply 130 miles of gutta percha tubing for laying under the streets of London for telegraph.[5] (Presumably refers to West Ham Gutta Percha Co)

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 04 February 1848
  2. Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 06 September 1850
  3. Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 04 February 1848
  4. Essex Standard - Friday 23 March 1849
  5. Chelmsford Chronicle - Friday 11 January 1850