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British Industrial History

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Roberts, Hill and Co

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Hill, Roberts and Co

Richard Roberts and James Hill

1822 September. Advertises 'Roberts, Hill and Co. Machinists and engineers, Falkner Street, Manchester, (late Richard Roberts, New Market Buildings), . . . make all kinds of Lathes, Screw-stocks, and Copying Presses, Power Looms, for plain and figured goods, Exhausting Pumps, Cop Presses, etc. Bevil, Spur and Worm Wheels of Steel Brass, cast or wrought iron of any pitch and size, not exceeding 38 inches in diameter . . .' [1]

1824 The company is visited by the Pacha of Egypt [2]

In 1824 Roberts invented his most famous machine, the self-acting spinning mule, and patented it in March 1825. These were made in hundreds, and Roberts made extensive use of templates and gauges to standardise production.

1825 Roberts invented a slotting machine to cut keyways in gears and pulleys to fasten them to their shafts. Previously this was done by hand chipping and filing. The tool was reciprocated vertically, and by adopting Henry Maudslay's slide rest principle, he made the work table with a universal movement, both straight line and rotary so that the sides of complex pieces could be machined.

1826 June 7th. 'Notice is hereby given, that the Partnership heretofore carried on by us the undersigned, as Patent-Reed-Manufacturers and Machine-Makers, in Manchester, in the County of Lancaster, under the firms of Sharp, Hill and Company, and Roberts, Hill and Company, was dissolved by mutual consent on the 31st day of May last, so far as regards the undersigned James Hill, who retires from the said concerns. — Witness our hands this 7th day of Jane 1826. Thomas Sharp, Thos. Jones Wilkinson, Robert C. Sharp, James Hill, Richard Roberts.' [3]

The partners formed Sharp, Roberts and Co

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1822 September 22nd Manchester Guardian
  2. Westmorland Gazette - Saturday 18 December 1824
  3. [1] Gazette Issue 18256 published on the 10 June 1826
  • Obituary of Richard Roberts (Institution of Civil Engineers Minutes of the Proceedings).
  • Biography of Richard Roberts, by Gillian Cookson, ODNB [2]