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 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.


From Graces Guide
Revision as of 10:27, 20 October 2020 by PaulF (talk | contribs)
Stone breaker - exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall. Solid steel, 24 x 13, 18T.
Exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall.
Exhibit at the China Clay Country Park in Cornwall.
September 1902.
1904. Heclon gyratory rock and ore breaker.


1922. Electrically Driven 28inch Rolling Mill at East Hecla Works.
May 1929.
December 1929.
May 1930.
May 1930.
May 1930.
1931. Plant for the Production of Concrete Aggregate for the Cauvery Metur Dam.
1931. Crushing and Screening Plant.
August 1933.
1933. Crushing and Screening Plant.
1933. The Works of Hadfields Ltd.
1934. Large Oar Crusher for Corby.
September 1946.
May 1947.
February 1948.
June 1948.
January 1952.
November 1952.
April 1962.

Hadfield's Steel Foundry Co, steel makers, steel founders, forge-masters and engineers, of East Hecla and Hecla Works, Newhall Road, Attercliffe.

c.1845 Robert Hadfield was apprenticed to a local edge tool manufacturer, Robert Sorby and Sons.

c.1856 he started wire making on his own account, later forming a partnership with Jabez Shipman as Hadfield, Shipman and Co

1868 He set up his own small scale steel casting business with 60 employees.

c.1872 Later he bought the site which became the Hecla Works[1] and recruited a steel moulder, John Mallaband, from the firm of Vickers. Pouring crucible steel into special moulds was technically demanding work and many people felt this was a rash decision. Yet the firm succeeded and produced weapons, which had previously only been manufactured in France. [2]

1882 Robert Hadfield (junior) discovered Manganese steel which was hardened by quenching it in water from a temperature of a 1000C. The hard steel was to be used in the manufacture of tram wheels. He patented his work in 1883-4 but continued to carry out further experiments before publicising his findings in 1888, which were supported by a lecture tour.

1888 Robert Hadfield (senior) died; Robert Hadfield (junior) immediately made the firm a limited company, Hadfield's Steel Foundry Co. Ltd. [3] He removed half of his father's workforce, replaced them with his own men and took over the position of chairman.

1888 Public company. The company was registered on 24 April to acquire the business carried on by a firm under the same title. [4]

1891 Advert. Steel castings. [5]

1891 Although a hard task master Robert Hadfield was one of the first employers to introduce the eight hour day in 1891 and co-wrote a book on the subject 'The Shorter Working Day'.

1897 Site of the East Hecla Works acquired[6] which were laid down at Tinsley; the original works at Attercliffe were largely converted into chemical and physical laboratories.

1901 Makers of steel castings. [7]

1905 See 1905 Industries of Sheffield and District

1911 Royal Agricultural Show. Stone breaking machine. Hadfield's Steel Foundry Company. [8]

1912 The Hadfield Steel Foundry Company, of Sheffield, has been awarded the contract for 14-inch shells for the American Navy[9]

1913 Name changed to Hadfields Ltd[10].

1914 Directory: Steel castings. [11]

1914 Employed 5,890 persons.

1916 Diversion of the River Don at Hadfields Works, full report and Images, p 437 of The Engineer 1916/05/26

1918 Employed 15,000 persons.

1919 Harper Bean Ltd was formed as a public company to bring together a number of interests in car manufacturing, including 166,666 shares in Hadfields[12].

1920 At Darlington Royal Agricultural Show they exhibited machinery, castings and forgings including a disc crusher. [13]

1924 Advert for armour piercing shells ans steel forgings, castings and for valves. [14]

1926 The firm bought A. Harper, Sons and Bean, a Dudley based car firm, which failed to bring the expected profits and was later sold in 1936.

1926 They were appointed official contractor for stone-crushing plant to the Irish Free State, to county surveyors in which it had during the last seventeen months, supplied nineteen complete portable crushing plants.[15]

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

1933 Established new company, Beans Industries to acquire the fixed assets and stocks of Beans Cars Ltd; the company's interests in Beans Cars was written off[16]

1936 Hadfields disposed of all of its interests in Beans Industries[17]

1937 Steel manufacturers. "Era" Steels. "Galahad" Rustless Steels. "Hecla" Steels. [18]

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

1940 Advert for steel. [19]

1945. Advert for Chromium-Molybdenum Creep Resisting Steel. [20]

1951 Hadfields and Hadfields Steels were nationalised under the Iron and Steel Act; became part of the Iron and Steel Corporation of Great Britain[21]

1955 Public offer for sale of shares in the company by the Holding and Realisation Agency[22].

1960 Advert for box points and adaptors for power shovels. [23]

1961 Engaged as steelmakers, forgemasters, steel founders and engineers. 7,000 employees. [24]

1961 A group of companies including Wellman, Smith, Owen Engineering Corporation and Newton, Chambers and Co offered to subscribe to new shares in Hadfields as a way of injecting cash into the company[25].

Like other parts of the Sheffield steel industry, the company was reorganized into separate companies: foundry, steels, engineering, etc.

1967 Acquired by Dunford and Elliott at the instigation of the Industrial Reorganisation Corporation to increase the size of the units of the industry so as to be able to justify reinvestment[26].

1967 Merged the steel foundry operations with Samuel Osborn and Co[27] [28] to form Osborn-Hadfield Steel Founders, 59 percent owned by Osborn and 41 percent by Dunford and Elliott[29]

1967 One of the larger steel makers not subject to nationalisation[30]

1969 The Osborn-Hadfields steel casting joint company was subsequently acquired by Weir Group for merging with their foundries.[31]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 21 July, 1955
  2. [1] Tilt Hammer Web Site
  3. The Engineer of 4th May 1888 p373
  4. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  5. 1891 Post Office London Trades Directory
  6. The Times, 21 July, 1955
  7. White's Directory of Sheffield and Rotherham, 1901
  8. The Engineer of 7th July 1911 p27
  9. Derby Daily Telegraph, 18 October 1912
  10. The Times, 21 July, 1955
  11. Kelly's Directory of Durham, 1914
  12. The Times, 1 December 1919
  13. The Engineer of 16th July 1920
  14. 1924 Naval Annual Advert page v
  15. The Engineer 1926/01/01
  16. The Times, Mar 20, 1934
  17. The Times, Apr 17, 1936
  18. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  19. Mechanical World Year Book 1940. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p160
  20. Mechanical World Year Book 1945. Published by Emmott and Co of Manchester. Advert p194
  21. Hansard 19 February 1951
  22. The Times, 21 July, 1955
  23. Mining Year Book 1960. Published by Walter E. Skinner. Advert p
  24. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  25. The Times 20 April 1961
  26. The Times, 7 February 1969
  27. The Times, Apr 22, 1967
  28. The Times, Mar 20, 1969
  29. The Times, Jul 25, 1969
  30. The Times, Apr 26, 1967
  31. The Times, Oct 27, 1977