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British Industrial History

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Cocker and Higgins

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Cocker and Higgins of Salford, Textile machinery makers

1818 Cocker & Higgins listed as machine makers, 1 King Street, Salford in Pigot’s Commercial Directory for 1818-19-20

1821 Cocker and Higgins as 'machine makers, bobbin and fly frames upon an improved principle': 1 King Street. Jonathan Cocker's home address 12 Waterloo Place; Wm Higgins at 43 York Street.[1]

1825 Cocker & Higgins, listed as machine makers, 27 Gravel Lane, Salford. Jonathan Cocker's home address: 9 Mount Pleasant, Salford. Wm Higgins' house: Mt Pleasant [2]

1836 Observations from Andrew Ure: Messrs Cocker & Higgins informed me, that they contrived and executed the first bobbin-and-fly frames about the year 1815, and introduced into it the differential motions of the cone, and the unequal rack escapement with shifting chucks - an invention which did the greatest honour to their mechanical ingenuity and judgement, and established their reputation as factory machinists all over the world. The teeth of their rack required to be cut by a particular machine, conformably to the segments of a parabolic curve. [3]

1837 Partnership dissolved [4]

The business subsequently became William Higgins and Sons

1839 Further observations from Andrew Ure: Messrs Cocker & Higgins, of Salford, had the singular merit, as I have said, of superseding that beautiful but defective mechanism, which had held a prominent place in all cotton mills from almost the infancy of the factory system, by the following apparatus. There follows a detailed description of the relevant spinning machinery, in which rovings (slivers of carded cotton) are drawn out, twisted by a specified number of turns per foot, and wound evenly onto bobbins. One of the great difficulties is the alteration of the spindle speed as the diameter of the bobbin of wound yarn progressively increases, noting that the roving is being fed in at constant speed by the fluted rollers. Ure continues: The bobbin and fly frame is now the great roving machine of the cotton manufacture'. Further: 'The invention of the beautiful machine above described is due to Messrs Cocker & Higgins of Manchester, and as lately improved by Henry Houldsworth, junr. Esq., it may be considered the most ingeniously combined apparatus in the whole range of productive industry. [5]

According to the Salford Reporter of 19th July 1884, John Bailey (of J. Bailey and Co) was apprenticed to Messrs Cocker and Higgins, and subsequently entered the services of Messrs Sharp and Roberts of Manchester. [6]

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Pigot & Dean's New Directory of Manchester and Salford, 1821-22
  2. 'Salford History, Directory, and Gazetteer, of the County Palatine of Lancaster, Vol 2, 1825
  3. [1] 'The Cotton Manufacture of Great Britain Vol 2' by Andrew Ure, published by Charles Knight in 1836
  4. 'The Circular to Bankers' 19th May 1837
  5. [2] 'A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures and Mines' by Andrew Ure, 1839
  6. [3] Weaste Cemetery Heritage Trail