Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Dalton Mills

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in Keighley

1869 Built by Joseph Craven. Now converted for office and industrial use [1]

1874 'Dalton Mills, Keighley.— Since these works were first erected by Messrs. I. & I. Craven, considerable additions have been made, and they have now reached great proportions. The lack of motive power has for some time been a bar to the working of more machinery than is now run, though there is still room for a good deal more. The firm is now having erected a pair of beam engines, on M'Naught's principle, of 300 nominal horse-power according to Watt's calculation, but capable of being worked up to an indicated horse-power of 3000. The engines are being made by Messrs. Bracewell, of Burnley, and some of the heavy portions have reached Keighley. The second of the two beams was removed from the railway station to the works on Saturday afternoon, sixteen horses being required to draw the waggon. Each beam weighs twenty-seven tons, and, notwithstanding this weight, the last one was cast in 34½ seconds. It measures 37ft. over all, and is 6ft. 6in. deep. The beam centres, which are of wrought iron, are also ponderous pieces of work, each weighing 2½ tons. When finished we believe that these will be the most powerful pair of engines in use in any factory in this country. [2]

1904 'A FLY WHEEL BURSTS. 1,500 PEOPLE THROWN IDLE. The fly-wheel of the engine at Dalton Mills Keighley, burst into a score or more pieces yesterday morning, several fragments being hurled through windows into the yard. No one was hurt. The engine has the reputation of being the biggest in Yorkshire, and the collapsed wheel weighed 160 tons. Four or five firms derived power from the engine, and 1,500 hands will be thrown out of work for some weeks. The burst was accompanied by a loud report, and so complete was the wreck of the main and jack wheels, that it seemed marvellous that no one was killed. One piece of the main wheel was hurled nearly 30 yards.' [3]. A photograph showing the damaged jack wheel has been posted on the 'One Guy from Barlick' website [4]

ENGINES: Large twin beam engine built by Bracewell of Burnley and installed in 1876. Two HP cylinders of 45" dia, 4 ft 6" stroke, two LP cylinders of 60" dia, 9 ft stroke. Separate jack wheel failed at the spokes following failure of an underground shaft which caused the pinion to roll under the jack wheel. Engine scrapped and replaced in 1904 by two 1000 HP tandem compound engines by Pollit and Wigzell. [5]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. [1] Dalton Mills website
  2. Bradford Observer - Monday 28 September 1874
  3. Shields Daily Gazette - Thursday 30 June 1904
  4. [2] Webpage showing photograph of engine posted by Stanley Graham
  5. 'Steam Engine Research Resources' compiled and published by Stanley Challenger Graham on LULU.com. 2009