Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 133,135 pages of information and 210,776 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.
Hadfield's Steel Foundry Co, steel makers, steel founders, forge-masters and engineers, of East Hecla and Hecla Works, Sheffield
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.
Later he bought the site which became the Hecla Works 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. 
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.  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. 
1891 Advert. Steel castings. 
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.
1901 Makers of steel castings. 
1911 Royal Agricultural Show. Stone breaking machine. Hadfield's Steel Foundry Company. 
1912 The Hadfield Steel Foundry Company, of Sheffield, has been awarded the contract for 14-inch shells for the American Navy
1913 Name changed to Hadfields Ltd.
1914 Directory: Steel castings. 
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.
1920 At Darlington Royal Agricultural Show they exhibited machinery, castings and forgings including a disc crusher. 
1924 Advert for armour piercing shells ans steel forgings, castings and for valves. 
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.
1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.
1937 Steel manufacturers. "Era" Steels. "Galahad" Rustless Steels. "Hecla" Steels. 
1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers
1940 Advert for steel. 
1945. Advert for Chromium-Molybdenum Creep Resisting Steel. 
1955 Public offer for sale of shares in the company by the Holding and Realisation Agency.
1960 Advert for box points and adaptors for power shovels. 
1961 Engaged as steelmakers, forgemasters, steel founders and engineers. 7,000 employees. 
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.
Like other parts of the Sheffield steel industry, the company was reorganized into separate companies: foundry, steels, engineering, etc.
1967 One of the larger steel makers not subject to nationalisation