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British Industrial History

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Britannia Works

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Britannia Iron Works, of Middlesbrough

1871 Bernhard Samuelson built the Britannia Iron Works, Middlesbrough, to manufacture iron rails but would consider making steel rails in the future[1]. The Britannia works housed the largest plant then in operation with a vast output of iron, tar, and by-products. Samuelson was anxious to make steel from Cleveland ore; on learning of the Siemens-Martin process, he experimented with it but the attempt proved unsuccessful.

c.1874 Britannia Ironworks was sold to a private company - presumably Skerne Iron Works Co.

1875 Skerne Iron Works Co. Ltd foundered because of the over-ambitious take-over of the Britannia Works, between Middlesbrough and Newport, which offered an increase in capacity and direct shipping facilities.

1879 The works were leased by Dorman, Long and Co from Sir Bernhard Samuelson

1876 The Britannia Works at Middlesbrough had twenty engines in operation made by George A. Clough and Co[2]

1882 Dorman Long purchased the works[3]

1883 Rolled its first girders. Up to that time girders had been almost exclusively made in Belgium and Germany.

1886 Dorman Long introduced new steel making techniques - half the 120 puddling furnaces at Britannia were pulled down, and seven Siemens-Martin open-hearth steel furnaces were erected in their place.

Subsequently all of the puddling furnaces were pulled down and replaced by steel furnaces

1894 William Henry Panton, general manager, tried producing high-class steel from Cleveland iron using one of the furnaces at the Britannia Works.

1897 Further experiments were made at the Roseberry Foundry and eventually it was proved that steel could be made profitably from Cleveland iron.

1954 Britannia Steel Works, Middlesbrough became Dorman Long (Steel)

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Evening Gazette, March 15, 1871
  2. The Engineer of 21st July 1876 p40
  3. The Times Apr 26, 1882
  • The Engineer 1901/05/31