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British Industrial History

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Charles James Appleby

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Charles James Appleby (1828-1908) of Appleby Brothers

1828 Born at Ecclesfield, Yorkshire, the son of James Appleby, an Ironfounder, and Emma his wife

1858 Set up in business for himself in London

1858 Married Lucinda Tallis at Islington

1861 Living at 5 Park Road, Islington (age 33 born Ecclesfield), an Iron and Metal Merchant. With his wife Lucinda (age Birmingham) and their son Charles Tallis Appleby (age 10 months born Islington). Also his parents James Appleby (age 60 born Sheffield), an Ironfounder and Emma (age 58 born Sheffield). Two servants. [1]

1865 Patent application in respect of the invention of "improvements in steam cranes."[2]

1870 Patent application by Robert Campbell, of Buscot Park, in the county of Gloucester, Gentleman, and Charles James Appleby, of Emerson-street, in the borough of Southwark, Engineer, for the invention of "improvements in treating beet and other roots and vegetable bodies, in order to extract saccharine and other matters therefrom,and in machinery or apparatus for effecting the same." Partly a communication to them from abroad by Jules Leplay, of Paris, France, and partly the result of invention made by themselves[3]

1871 Patent application by Charles James Appleby, Mechanical Engineer, of Emerson-street, Southwark, for the invention of "improvements in machinery for piercing holes in rock for sinking deep bore holes, tunnelling, mining,and such like purposes."[4]

Gained several other patents.

1876 Continued the Appleby Brothers business after his brother left the partnership

1880 Joseph Jessop left the partnership with the 2 Appleby brothers in Leicester to carry on his own business.

1898 Appleby Brothers was amalgamated with the Joseph Jessop's business as Jessop and Appleby Brothers

1908 Died

1908 Obituary [5]

CHARLES JAMES APPLEBY, younger son of the late Mr. James Appleby, of Eckington, Derbyshire, was born on the 23rd February, 1828, and was educated privately.

He obtained his engineering training at the Renishaw Iron Works of Appleby and Co founded by his grandfather, Thomas Appleby, and subsequently acquired further experience in the engineering works of Messrs. Sharp, Roberts and Company, Messrs. Whitworth, and Messrs. James Nasmyth and Company and others.

Having been sent to Russia in 1850 to superintend the erection of the first steam-hammer set up in that country, he obtained employment there on the erection of trestle work on the St. Petersburg and Moscow Railway. It was whilst engaged in this work that he experienced the want of efficient machinery for lifting and handling building-materials, which led him to devote his attention to the design of appliances for this purpose.

Commencing business in London in 1858, he was joined about a year later by his brother, the late Mr. T. H. Appleby, and practising under the style of Appleby Brothers, the firm rapidly acquired a prominent position as builders of cranes and contractors' machinery, and as advisers as to the plant to be employed in the construction and equipment of docks, harbours, railways and other works.

The satisfactory use of the cranes and other appliances manufactured by the firm in many large engineering undertakings carried out during the early period of the firm's operations, created an extensive demand for this class of machinery, and the business rapidly developed.

In conjunction with the late Colonel F. E. B. Beaumont, R.E., Mr. Appleby perfected the now well-known diamond prospecting machine for testing ground, putting down bore-holes, and ascertaining the precise nature of the strata passed through. The machine is still practically as Mr. Appleby left it in 1868, when he disposed of his interest in it.

In 1874 he entered into a contract with the Egyptian Government for the supply of the materials, rolling stock, etc., for the construction and equipment of the first Sudan Railway. The railway having reached Wady Halfa was there abandoned; but some of the materials delivered under the early contract were subsequently used in the completion of the line in 1898 and 1899.

In the course of its development, the firm amalgamated with several other similar enterprises, the combination being now known as Applebys, Limited.

For some years before his death Mr. Appleby gradually relinquished the active direction of the business, and devoted his leisure principally to literary work. It was always, however, a pleasure to him to be of service to his former pupils and assistants, quite irrespective of business interests. Mr. Appleby was ingenious in design and careful in apportioning means to ends.

He was a pioneer in the application of steam-power to cranes and other machinery employed in works of construction, and there are comparatively few such appliances now in everyday use which do not owe something to his original work.

Mr. Appleby was a companion of the Imperial Order of Francis Joseph of Austria, and a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. He died at his residence, The Hermitage, Redhill, of heart-failure, on the 26th April, 1908, in his 81st year.

He was elected an Associate of The Institution on the 2nd February, 1864, and was transferred to the class of Members on the 29th May, 1877.

Obituary 1908 [6]

. . . founder and senior partner in the firm of Appleby Brothers, which was amalgamated some ten years ago with that of Joseph Jessop and Sons, trading as Jessop and Appleby Brothers, and the combined firm has recently amalgamated with the Glasgow Electric Crane and Hoist Co and with the Temperley Transporter Co, and is now trading as Applebys . . . [more]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. 1861 Census
  2. London Gazette 19 Sept 1865
  3. London Gazette 13 Jan 1871
  4. London Gazette 5 May 1871
  5. 1908 Institution of Civil Engineers: Obituaries
  6. The Engineer 1908/05/01