Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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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.

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.

Daniel Doncaster and Sons

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November 1958.
May 1961.
May 1962.

Daniel Doncaster and Sons Ltd, steelworks of Penistone Road, Sheffield

1778 Company founded to apply the crucible steel-making process to the manufacture of hand tools. Daniel Doncaster, at age of 21, had obtained his trade mark, making it one of the world’s oldest.[1] Initially traded as file makers.

The company imported iron and Bessemer steel from Sweden.

c.1870 Crucible furnaces installed

1898 An old established forge was purchased to manipulate tool steel ingots.

1902 Incorporated as a limited company.

Expanded into the forging and drop forging trades in addition to manipulating special tool steels.

1912 Installed their first heat treating furnace

1914 Importers of Swedish iron and steel, converters, melters, forgers, tilters; sellers of alloys, special steels and rare metals. [2]

1919 Opened their first machine shop for die making

1920 All of the ordinary shares were acquired by United Steel Companies as they were competitors in the alloy steel trade and provided valuable connections[3]

1936 Control of the company passed back to the Doncaster family[4]

1940s Leading supplier of forged steel tools and valves to the automotive industry

1951 Acquired a factory in Leeds to make gas turbine blade forgings (Monk Bridge Works); much of the machinery was leased from the government[5]

1953 Public company. Shares were made available to the public. The company had invested further in the factory in Leeds.

1950s Blaenavon site established

1961 Forgings, drop forgings, extruded and press forgings in stainless and heat resisting steels, high creep resistance alloys, aluminium bronze. Alloy and carbon steels for general engineering, motor vehicle, aero-engine and other industries. Valve forgings for internal combustion engines, bars and billets in special tool steels. Finished hardened and ground forged steel rolls for cold rolling steel and non-ferrous metals. Heat resisting castings; merchants of ferro-alloys. Precision forging of gas turbine blades in nickel chrome based alloys and other special heat resisting alloys for industrial and aero-engines. Precision forging of compressor blades in titanium, stainless steel and aluminium bronze. Precision forgings in titanium and other expensive metals. Precision machining of all types to accurate limits. Specialists in finish machining turbine, compressor and heat resisting fan blades. 3,000 employees. [6]

1972 Subsidiary companies were[7]:

  • Doncasters Sheffield
  • Doncasters Monk Bridge
  • Doncasters Moorside
  • Doncasters Blaenavon

1970s Expansion into industrial turbine markets; acquisitions in USA and Belgium

1975 International Nickel Company of Canada (Inco) took over Daniel Doncaster and Sons Limited; Inco's main UK manufacturing subsidiary, Henry Wiggin and Co, were suppliers of high nickel blanks to Daniel Doncaster and Sons for making into turbine blades[8].

By 1985 Inco (Alloy Products) Ltd included:[9]

  • Doncasters Blaenavon Ltd Special Alloy Products Division
  • Doncasters Monk Bridge Ltd
  • Doncasters Sheffield Ltd
  • Doncasters Moorside Ltd

as well as

  • Beaufort Engineering Ltd
  • Whittingham and Porter Ltd
  • I.A.P.L. Technology Centre
  • Inco Selective Surfaces Ltd

1988 Acquired Bramah (was this J. R. Bramah and Co?). Began aerospace fabrications

1997 Doncasters, components manufacturer, acquired Triplex Lloyd, and was considering whether the acquired automotive division was non-core[10]

1999 Acquired a large-parts precision casting facility based in Groton, Connecticut, from Wyman-Gordon Co. which became Doncasters Precision Castings-New England. By this time Doncasters was one of the world's largest producers of gas turbine airfoils with casting operations in Europe and finish machining operations in New England, Georgia and the U.K. The acquired facility had unused capacity that would be used to increase Doncasters' production of cast airfoils that would then be supplied to Doncasters' nearby operations in Connecticut for finish machining. [11]

2001 Merger with Ross Catherall. Doncasters was acquired by the private equity arm of Royal Bank of Scotland and delisted.

2006 Acquired by Dubai International Capital

2007 Acquired FastenTech Inc.

2019 Doncasters website.

Terrible Accident in Sheffield in 1886[12]

"Appalling Disaster in Sheffield - Eight children killed"

"On Wednesday evening a terrible accident occurred at the works of Messrs. Daniel Doncaster and Sons, steel converters, in Sheffield.

Their premises are situated in a densely populated part of the town and are skirted on the right by Matthew Street. On this was the warehouse where there was stored steel and iron bars roughly estimated at from 600 to 1,000 tons; the greater portion of this pile was stored against the wall which, in addition, supported the roofs.

About 5 O'clock the wall suddenly gave way and fell into the street, carrying with it the immense mass of steel with the timbers of the roofs and slates. There was a report as of thunder but for several minutes nothing could be seen for the dense cloud of dust which rose high into the air.

The people living at the opposite side of the street came to their doors in alarm and had their attention immediately attracted by the screams of two children who who had been seated close to their doorsteps and who were nearly covered by debris. The children were liberated and found to be little injured.

In the road lay the steel piled up to a height of about 10 feet, and as several children had been seen a few minutes before playing under the warehouse wall the worst fears were entertained as to their fate. The workmen of Messrs. Doncaster, of Messrs. Southern and Richardson and neighbouring firms, at once commenced to remove the steel but when it is stated that some of the bars were as much as three or four man could lift the nature of the task before them may be imagined.

The chief constable with a strong force of police arrived, and their services found to be very valuable in keeping back the crowd, for news of the disaster had quickly spread, and not only Matthew Street but all adjacent streets were blocked by the excited people. After some tons of metal had been removed it was decide to open passages into the mass, the more readily to ascertain whether any bodies were buried or not for the parents of five children had already reported the missing, and they were frantic with grief with the possibility of their having been crushed.

The men worked with energy, and by seven o'clock one opening in the metal had been made and underneath were found the remains of three children, mangled almost beyond recognition. A stretcher was brought and the bodies were removed to a room in the works. A little later another body was found and was identified from the clothing as that of a boy called Cullingworth whose parents keep a tavern close by.

The work of removing the metal now proceeded more rapidly and by nine o'clock three more bodies had been found making seven in all. By this time the authorities had satisfied themselves that if there were more bodies under the metal, of which there was still an immense mass to remove, life must be extinct, and it was decided to suspend work until next morning.


  • The only remaining cementation furnace originally belonged to Daniel Doncaster and Sons. It is located in Doncaster Street in Sheffield,

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jul 31, 1952
  2. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  3. The Times, October 27, 1925
  4. The Times Jul 17, 1953
  5. The Times, Jul 17, 1953
  6. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  7. The Times Jul 04, 1972
  8. The Times, 24 June 1975
  9. e Times, Jan 18, 1985
  10. The Times, December 19, 1997
  11. [1] Modern Casting
  12. The News of The World, page 4, 29th August 1886
  • [2] Doncaster company website