Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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G. E. Belliss and Co

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April 1870.
Locomotive at the Swanage Railway, Corfe Castle
January 1888.
January 1888.
1892. G. E. Bellis and Co, Engineers
1893. Engine and Dynamo for Search Light.
1893. Engine No. 727 restored 1965-6 by Bartrop Brothers, West Hartlepool. Possibly built as one of a pair for a yacht on the Tees.
1899. Compound quick-revolution engine with dynamo.
1899. Compound quick-revolution engine.

George Edward Belliss (1838-1909) had been apprenticed to R. Bach and Co, mechanical engineer and boiler maker[1].

1862 Shortly after completing his articles, Belliss acquired the business of R. Bach and Co at 13-14 Broad Street, Islington, Birmingham, and went into partnership with Joseph J. Seekings, as Belliss and Seekings.

From about 1864, J. S. White of East Cowes developed a design for a high speed launch for the Navy; George Belliss collaborated with White, developing a lightweight engine for the new launch[2].

1866 End of partnership with J. J. Seekings; Belliss continued the business as G. E. Belliss and Co advertised as successors[3].

1870 Advert: Engineers and Boiler makers, Broad Street, Islington, Birmingham

c.1874: 0-6-0WT Secundus made by Belliss and Seekings (perhaps it has been reported as B&S because Primus was built by that company) and supplied to Pike Brothers. Now preserved at the Corfe Castle museum of the Swanage Railway on loan from Birmingham City Museum.

1875 Moved to Ledsam Street Works[4]. Sold the Broad Street works to Messrs Piercy and Co

1880 Steam launch engine (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum). States they were a world-leader in the production of marine engines from 1860s to 1890s. Listed as Bellis and Co.

1884 Marine engineer, Alfred Morcom, was invited by Belliss to join G. E. Belliss and Co as a partner. Morcom had previously been chief engineer at the naval dockyard at Sheerness; before that he had been an instructor in the Navy's steam department at Portsmouth and was "one of the few engineers to gain a first class certificate at College"[5].

1885 Morcom worked on compressed air machinery for discharging torpedos. Messrs George Bellis and Co received further orders for machinery for torpedo boats[6]. Mr Morcom represented George Bellis and Co at the trial of a torpedo catcher[7].

1887 Order placed with Messrs Belliss and Morcom for triple-expansion engine for H.M.S. Sharpshooter[8].

1888 Orders for gunboat and torpedo boat machinery. Listed as G. E. Bellis. [9]

1889 Advert: Marine engines and boilers. Ledsam Street Works, Birmingham.

1889 Developed automatic lubrication system for engines.

1892 Independent Condenser with Air and Circulating Pumps (listed as G. E. Belliss and Co) [10]

1893 G. E. Belliss and Co incorporated as a Limited Company with Belliss as chairman and Morcom as managing director.

1899 New factory opened in Icknield Square. Heavy demand for self-lubricating engines. Need for extra capital met by formation of the company Belliss and Morcom, which was registered on 3 May, to take over the business of engineers of G. E. Bellis[11]. Issue of shares[12].

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, 24 February 1909
  2. The Times, 24 February 1909
  3. Birmingham Daily Post, 19 April 1866
  4. Birmingham Daily Post, 24 June 1875
  5. Hampshire Telegraph and Sussex Chronicle, 15 March 1884
  6. Birmingham Daily Post, 3 April 1885
  7. The Belfast News-Letter 2 December 1885
  8. Glasgow Herald, 10 December 1887
  9. The Engineer of 3rd February 1888 p101
  10. 1892 The Practical Engineer
  11. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  12. The Times, 24 February 1909