Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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History notes 1.
History notes 2.
June 1872.
1889. 10,000 hp rolling mill engines.
lathe made by Galloways and used in their Knott Mill works, from publicity booklet, 1894
1895. Rolling mill engine for Johnson Co., Lorain, USA
September 1902.
1903. Vertical Blowing Engine.
1910 Galloways boiler at Coldharbour Mill
1910. Exhibit at Coldharbour Mill
1920. Uniflow engines.
1920. Uniflow engines.
Galloways engine at Thinktank
Galloways engine at Thinktank
Galloways rolling mill engine, from brochure c.1920
Galloways rolling mill engine, from brochure c.1920
Galloways furnace blowing engine, from brochure c.1920
Galloways engine from Elm Street Mill in operation at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry
Elm Street Mill engine
Elm Street Mill engine
Wages token? Found at Knott Mill in Manchester.

of Knott Mill Iron Works, Manchester. They also established a large boiler works at Ardwick, Manchester.

Formerly: W. and J. Galloway and Sons - engineers, boilermakers and iron founders.


1790 Company established as Galloway, Bowman and Glasgow

1835 William Galloway and John Galloway left Galloway, Bowman and Glasgow to start the business W. and J. Galloway.

1856 It became known as W. and J. Galloway and Sons.

1884 Supplied two boilers and two horizontal non-condensing engines of 110 hp, with 12 ft diameter flywheels, for the new Law Courts in London, to drive eight Burgin dynamos made by Crompton's Arc Works, Chelmsford [1]

1889 Became a limited company, Galloways Ltd. Charles John Galloway was appointed chairman.

1889 Lancashire Boiler. No 7574. Exhibit at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry.

1894 February. John Galloway died. Obituary in 'The Engineer'. [2]

1894 Patent to Charles John Galloway of Knotts Mill Iron Works for improvements in Galloway boilers.

1894 Compound Electric Light Engines for the Manchester Corporation. Article and illustrations in 'The Engineer'. [3]

1894 The Johnson Co of Lorain, Ohio, ordered two rolling mill engines from Galloways. One engine was ordered in July, and the second in October, and both were shipped in February 1895. This was a repeat order, Galloways having supplied two similar engines seven years previously. One engine had cylinders of 55” bore, 60” stroke (for a blooming mill), while the other was 48”/50”, for a train of roll stands for rolling street car rails. Both operated at 150 psi.[4]

1897 Provided equipment for the Haskin Wood Vulcanizing Co at Millwall. This included two pairs of engines for compressing and circulating air, plant for drying and heating the air, pressure vessels 120 ft long, and three Lancashire boilers.[5]

1899 Registered as a Public Company. The company was registered on 13 June, to take over the business of engineers and boiler makers of a company of the same name, registered four years earlier. [6]

1900 Paris Exhibition. Showed an electricity generating plant with Mather and Platt. Illustration and article. [7]

Geneva, August 13.
M. Pictet, a Genevese inventor, has discovered a process which will revolutionise the metallurgical trade. His invention consists of a method for manufacturing oxygen gas at a cost of less than a farthing per cubic yard. Messrs. Galloway, a Manchester firm, have bought the patent at a fabulous price, outbidding American and French firms.'[8]

1902 Supplied an engine to Baglan Bay Tinplate Co.

1904 The chairman, Charles John Galloway, died.

1907 Installed four blowing engines at Staveley Coal and Iron Co.

1909 Installed blowing engine at Kettering Ironworks.

1909 Installed an engine at Bryngwyn Steel Sheet Works.

1911 1,350 bhp gas engine intended to drive an 800 kW Mather and Platt generator. [9]

1912 Installed an engine at Park Gate Iron and Steel Co for the finishing mill.

c1912 Installed an engine at John Lysaght.

1914 1600 HP engine for Newport Docks. Triple expansion horizontal engine with reciprocating hydraulic pumps in tandem with the steam cylinders, delivering water for the hydraulic mains at 830 psi.

1914 Specialities: The Patent Galloway Boiler, Patent Water Tube Boiler, Patent Cone Tubes, Patent Wrought Steel Steam Superheater, Rolling Mill Engines for Iron and Steel Works, Blowing Engines for Blast Furnaces and High-Speed Engines for Electric Light, Hauling and Power. [10]

1915 'A HUGE CASTING. Messrs Galloways (Limited), of Manchester, have just cast the first of four large bedplates for the large gas-blowing engines which they have on order for Messrs Palmers Shipbuilding and Iron Company (Limited), Jarrow. The casting, which necessitated the pouring of over 50 tons of molten cast iron, is the largest single casting which Messrs Galloways have yet made.[11]

1920 April. Full details of their Uniflow Steam Engine in The Engineer. [12]

1920 Issued catalogue of their large gas engines. [13]

1922 Installed an engine at John Lysaght.

1924 Factory engine to power a generator at Hovis. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum)

1926 Cross Compound Engine for Elm Street Mill in Burnley. Exhibit at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry.

1926 Two tandem compound horizontal engines for the Heapey Bleach and Dye Works. Zoomable photo here.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history.

1930 (sic) Supplied an engine to Baglan Bay Tinplate Co.

1932 Galloways went into receivership in 1932 [14]

Examples of Engines Supplied to South Wales Steelworks

The following list of eight steam engines in the South Wales steel industry is from information compiled by George Watkins.[15]:-

1890s 240 HP superposed engine driving cold rolling mill for the Dafen Co, Dafen, Llanelli. Photographed by George Watkins in 1957.

1902 420 HP superposed engine driving rolls for cold finishing tinplate at Clayton Tin Plate Co., Pontardulais. Photographed by George Watkins in 1951.

1909 1000 HP Cross compound two cylinder engine driving mill for hot rolling bar for tinplate at Bryngwyn Steel Sheet Works, Gorseinon. Photographed by George Watkins in 1958.

c.1914 6000 HP (peak) three cylinder horizontal engine driving mill for rolling steel ingots to bar for tinplate at Grovesend Steelworks, Gorseinon. Photographed by George Watkins in 1958.

1916 4 - 5000 HP horizontal two cylinder driving a reversing bar mill at Richard Thomas and Baldwin’s Elba Steelworks, Gowerton. Photographed by George Watkins in 1967.

c.1916 Two 1000 HP tandem compound engines driving sheet rolling mills at John Lysaght Orb Works, Newport. Photographed by George Watkins in 1951

1920 1200 HP uniflow engine with 120-ton flywheel, driving sheet mill rolls at John Lysaght Orb Works, Newport. Photographed by George Watkins in 1951

1923 1800 HP single cylinder uniflow engine at Llanelli Sheet Mill Co, driving hot sheet rolling mill using 40 ropes. Photographed by George Watkins in 1958.

Some Employees

  • Henry Pilling
  • H. F. Morton
  • John William Hepworth (1859-1936): Leading draughtsman in boiler department from 1882 to 1896. Also, deputy testing surveyor for 8 years. Apprenticeship: A. Edmeston and Sons. Subsequently worked for Stevensons and then Joseph Foster and Sons, of Preston. [16]
  • John Henry Beckwith was born in Leeds (in 1839), and was apprenticed to Carrett, Marshall and Co of Leeds. He joined W & J Galloway as a draughtsman in 1864, left in 1866, returned as Chief Draughtsman in 1867, became Chief Design Engineer in 1877, and Managing Director in 1888. He resigned in 1897.
  • Sergeant Harry Coverdale, of the Manchester Regiment, was awarded the Victoria Cross in 1917. He had previously been awarded the Military Medal. 'Sergeant Coverdale, who is 29 years of age, received his education the Bangor-street schools, Manchester, and prior to his enlistment he was in the employ of Messrs Galloways, of Knott Mill'.[17]

Knott Mill Ironworks

  • Few photographs have been published which show the inside of the Knott Mill workshops. However, works photographs are held in the archives at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry. At some point after Galloways ceased trading, the premises were taken over by a commercial vehicle dealer and known as 'Olympia Garage'. The layout of the buildings as they stood in 1942 is clearly shown in Goad's Insurance Plans. Subsequently the buildings were demolished and the land was used as a car park until recently. A tower block is now being built on the site, burying another link with Manchester's industrial heritage.

A 1905 Account of the Firm


MESSRS. GALLOWAYS LIMITED. Directors: William Johnson Galloway, M. P., Chairman. Edward N. Galloway. Arthur W. Galloway. Sir Richard Mottram. Charles Rought. W. E. Norbury. William Bayliss. Alfred Etchells. Secretary: Fred. Walthew. Registered Offices: Knott Mill Ironworks, Manchester.

The firm of Galloways Limited is one of the oldest engineering concerns in Lancashire. Its origin dates back to the last decade of the Eighteenth Century. Founded in 1790 by Mr. William Galloway, the industry had a very small beginning in Great Bridgewater-street, Manchester, near to where now stands the Knott Mill branch of the present works. was shortly afterwards joined by Mr. James Bowman, and some years later by Mr. William Glasgow. In the early days, when the concern first began the manufacture of machinery, engineering was practically in its infancy throughout the country, and the specialist had not yet entered the realm of mechanical construction. Miscellaneous machine building, especially the construction of water wheels and the gearing connected with them, occupied the attention of the early firm, and as was generally the case at that time, no two consecutive orders were of the same stamp of structure. About 1800, of course, came the adoption of gas, and at Galloways' works were designed and constructed a number of complete gas making plants for the various mills and works in the district. The cotton trade also was being rapidly developed, and steam engines and mill gearing generally formed a very large proportion of their trade. About 1830 came the railway development, and in this and subsequent years a great amount of castings and structional iron work in connection with the construction of railways were made and supplied by Galloways, and, in fact, there are a number of bridges still existing which were built by this firm. With the progress of years, and the consequent developments that were gradually resolving the mechanical industry into dozen separate trades, all distinct and separate from one another, the firm of Galloways found the sphere of its labours widened, while the complexity of its output was being greatly reduced to simpler terms. In 1835 the concern became merged into Messrs. W. and J. Galloway, the sons of the Mr. William Galloway above mentioned, and at this period the name had begun to specially associated with boilers, though general engineering work, as would seen, was still being actively dealt with, and it is interesting to remark that the first locomotive ever built in Manchester was constructed by Galloways in 1831 to the order of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. About this time the growth of the firm had necessitated extensions, and the site of the present Knott Mill Iron Works was secured.

THE MANAGEMENT. In 1856 the management of the concern underwent a slight change, partnerships being allotted to the two sons of the existing partners, and the name the firm becoming Messrs. W. and J. Galloway and Sons. And indeed, so admirably has the family succession been preserved since then, that it was not until 1889 that, by the admission of outside capital, the concern became a private company. Ten years after this date a further change took place, the firm resolving itself into a Limited Company, which, of course, it still remains. In 1872, eight acres of land at Ardwick were acquired, and the Hyde-road Boiler Works established there. At the same time fresh plant was installed at the new works, and the whole of the boiler-making industry transferred from the Knott Mill shops, which were henceforth devoted exclusively to engine construction.

THE "GALLOWAY" BOILER & OTHER PRODUCTS. Though identified with many engineering patents, the name of Galloways is usually associated with boilers, and mention of the first boiler bearing the firm's name is not, therefore, out of place. In 1845 Galloways patented the "Breeches" boiler. Not entirely satisfied with the model, however, they continued experimenting with it. and in 1849 completed model in which the flues were wider than those hitherto in use. This year saw the first of the famous Galloway boilers completed to the order of Messrs. Leeming and Company, of Salford. This particular boiler was twenty-two feet long and seven feet in diameter, and possessed seven cone tubes. Despite the facts that the "Galloway" boiler has passed through many periods of alteration and improvement, and that the firm manufactures many different types of boilers, including the Lancashire" boiler, the "Cornish" boiler, and the "Multitubular" boiler, this boiler — substantially the same as the first one turned out under the name—continues to hold pride of place all over the world as the finest of its pattern in existence. About this same time—in 1850 to be precise—the firm built the Ulverston Viaduct, quite a unique undertaking in those days, required to connect Ulverston with the North-Western Railway across the Ulverston Sands. Many difficulties were experienced in the fixing the piles, owing to the shifting nature of the sand, adverse currents and tides, and after numerous experiments, success was only attained when the water jet was adopted, being so far as any records go the first occasion of its use for such purpose. Up to this period the seaside resorts had merely been equipped with the ordinary wooden jetties, but as result of experience with the Ulverston Viaduct, the first iron promenade pier ever built was made send erected by Galloways at Southport, being afterwards quickly followed by others at various places.

BESSEMER PROCESS AND BARRING GEAR. At this time. Sir (then Mr.) Henry Bessemer —who was later to become universally identified with the steel that bears his name - was busy experimenting with the processes which were to secure a perfection hitherto unknown the conversion of iron into steel. In all this experimental work Galloways were closely associated with the great inventor. In the year 1856 the first Bessemer steel experiments were made privately in the Knott Mill Iron.Works. Shortly afterwards the inventor was able to demonstrate the world the wonderful revolution his discovery would make in the steel manufacturing industry. And, in passing, it may prove interesting to note that the Bessemer process has so. facilitated the production steel that thirty times as much can be manufactured now as was formerly possible with similar material, and at one-fifth the original cost. To Galloways is also due the credit for being the first engineers to apply an automatic safety barring gear to machines for the purpose first getting them into motion after they are erected. Up to the time when Galloways introduced their patent to the World, great difficulty used to be experienced in starting the driving wheels of large engines from their original perpendicular, hand labour often proving ineffectual if the machine happened to be very large one. This patent of Galloways, taking the form a detachable piece of mechanism worked by a small, cylindrical engine its own, was so arranged automatically as give the necessary motion to the larger wheel and then release its own hold once the speed of the former commenced to exceed its own movements. is needless to add that, in some form or other, this appliance is in universal use throughout machine shops all over the world.

IRON AND STEEL WORKS PLANT. The great strides that were being made in railway construction, and the increase in steam pressures being used, in turn created tremendous expansion in the iron and steel manufacturing trades, and Galloways were quick to seize hold of the opportunity, and laid themselves out for the building of engines suitable for the duties involved in the rolling and forming of large masses of metal, and up to the present time it is one of their special lines for which their works and tools are designed. They have built probably as many engines as any other maker for steel and iron works, and indeed have paid continuous attention to the large and heavy types which are required for dealing with the trying conditions of rolling mill work. Engines for blast furnace working are also one of their specialities, and they have recently made important improvements therein for dealing with the higher blast pressures demanded by the latest methods of working.

THE CONE TUBE AND SUPER-HEATER. The introduction of the cone tube into boiler construction ranks probably one of the most striking inventions ever associated with boilermaking. In this connection also the firm of Galloways has done much creditable pioneer work. In 1875 they designed a tube known as the Galloway Cone Tube, and the invention is still the best on the market. In 1894 they devised a further patent flue for high pressure boilers, to meet the growing requirements in that direction. Their 1875 pattern, however, still remains the model for most of the boilers in general use. recent years super-heaters have become extremely popular among engineers. Quite lately, however, owing to the fact that these heaters were constructed of cast steel, there was an ever-present danger of the attachment cracking under the extreme heat created. To remedy this. Galloways designed, three years ago, a patent down-take superheater, to be constructed entirely of the best wrought steel. This obviated all danger of cracking, and increased immensely both the popularity of the invention and the reputation of the firm which had rendered such service to those who had adopted the attachment. Wherever cylindrical boilers are used nowadays super-heaters are in demand, and those constructed by the Knott Mill Iron Works are unexcelled the world over. Messrs. Galloways also make specialities of high-speed enclosed engines for electric generation, various forms of textile engines and machines.

SOME MARVELS OF CONSTRUCTION. Among their achievements not coming under the regular business of the firm, mention must be made of the installation of the illuminated fountains at the Manchester Exhibition in 1887. This feature was entirely undertaken by Messrs. Galloways Ltd., and so successful did it prove that the firm was commissioned to undertake similar work at the subsequent exhibitions of Liverpool, Glasgow, and Paris (1889). After the close of the Paris Exhibition, the plant was left in the French capital as a permanency. Lastly, to this same firm belonged for some time the "record" for telescope construction. In 1879 they built, to the order and design of Sir Henry Bessemer for erection at his residence in Denmark Hill, the then largest telescope the world. It was estimated to cost £40,000, and the movable parts of the mechanism weighed between eleven and twelve tons. The trade done by Galloways Limited is by no means confined to any particular part of the world. Strange to say, however, they .do comparatively little with Lancashire industries. The South Wales tin trade provides them with a fair proportion of orders. The Continent, India (last year they erected a 1,600 h.p. engine in Calcutta), South Africa, Egypt, and South America all buy largely of their boilers while the United States, though no longer actual customers of the firm, testify to the reputation Galloways earned in their midst some years ago by continuing to regard several productions of the English firm as models for their own engine construction.

THE LARGEST BOILER WORKS IN THE WORLD. It has already been mentioned that the Knott Mill Iron Works are devoted exclusively to the construction of engines and other mechanical devices. Five hundred men find employment in this branch of the industry. As the boiler shops at Hyde-road form the major portion of the works, and as Galloways justly claim for this Ardwick branch the proud title of the largest boiler works the world, some slight description of the work carried on there will not be out of place. For boiler-making at once impresses the novice with two striking features —its startling immensity and its almost absurd simplicity. It is not by this suggested that the industry requires less actual labour than any other. It does not. But there is in a boiler shop a refreshing absence of complicated machinery and puzzling intricacies which, in other mechanical industries, cause the onlooker to despair of ever taking an intelligent interest in the processes employed from start to finish. One could easily conceive of the prehistoric man, with only the most elementary implements, engaged in boiler-making if there were any likelihood of boilers being of any use to him once they were made. The long sheets of wrought steel are there already laid in piles. Though almost an inch thick their corners hang down or flap about like sheet tin if they chance to over-lap the pile on which they are resting.

SOME OF THE PROCESSES. The rollers through which these sheets are passed, too, look as primitive in form as any ever used in the earliest of mills. But there is a power behind them that, even a century ago, was unknown ; and as the huge lengths of metal are drawn in through this inexorable grasp to issue forth again shaped for their destined use one begins to realise what sort of power it must be that thus makes the stoutest steel seem pliant as some tin wafer. Elsewhere, standing erect in the midst of an open furnace and looking for the moment ridiculously like some giant shovel-hat smouldering in the ashes of a half-burned bonfire, one sees a section length a cylindrical boiler being prepared for the flanging machine. When the rim that is embedded the coke is hot enough, half dozen men with an enormous pair of pliers worked from overhead pulley seize hold of the section and swing it round to the flanging machine. Here it is fixed, and then slowly revolves, the heated rim being gradually bent outwards .until a perfect flange is obtained. This flange, course, is subsequently bored and made ready to be rivetted to a similar one the next section of the embryonic boiler. And so on, until the entire erection is completed. Equally simple is the rivetting process. A hydraulic rivetting machine, shaped something like the jaws of a horse, with a hollow cup in place of a row of teeth, slowly opens to admit of the two flanged edges which are to be fastened together. The man in charge slips the rivet through the two corresponding holes, the body of the cylinder is swung into position, and with remorseless precision the jaws meet together, crunching the red-hot bolt till it fits the cups above and below it. Then the jaws relax again, leaving the rivet secure and steam-tight as long as the boiler itself shall last. Of course, despite the adoption of hydraulic rivetting in certain sections of boilermaking, it must not be supposed that hand rivetting has altogether gone out of fashion. In awkward parts of a boiler, inaccessible to the hydraulic machine, all this work is done by hand. Nor is such work in any way inferior to that done by power. The English boilermaker is renowned the world over for the excellence of his rivetting, and American and Canadian shops especially is the reliability of the Old Country workman recognised and admitted.

THE EQUIPMENT OF THE WORKS. Planing, shearing, and drilling machines course play prominent part in the equipment of these works. Air pressure, too, is in common use — hand drills, chisels, and hammers being driven by its aid. The noise created by any single one of these appliances is out of all proportion its size. Deafening vibration, like the roll a kettle-drum intensified in speed and in sound a hundred fold, is all that one understands in watching any of these processes. The instrument itself seems still; only the quiver of the workman's hands and his knotted muscles standing out taut like whipcord betray the presence of a tremendous vibration going on continually throughout his whole frame. Very impressive it is to gaze down the whole length of the principal shop in these Hyde-road Works. Five hundred feet long and one hundred and eighty feet wide, may well claim to be the largest boiler shop in the world. As far as the eye can see (and one's vision cannot extend the whole length of the centre bay), long, sombre-looking boilers, some finished, some half-completed, some in lengthy repose, some half-suspended from the overhead cranes, crowd in on the sight. Here a group of men, like ants swarming over some prostrate carcass, are working on the sides of a thirty foot long monster ; while there, by some gleaming forge, with the scorching rays flashing out them, one man cautiously raises the huge iron door a few inches for his companion snatch from the bed of the furnace a white-hot strip of steel. Over in yonder corner flickers a cheerful glow of suffused light, casting long shadows over the bright walls beside it; while here by our side a dozen men are watching as the crane slowly raises its burden of sheet steel into the air. The day is close and sultry, and the men are hot and silent. For in this place there is neither chance for speech—for every half-dozen steps bring the visitor on fresh sources of deafening sounds—nor is there opportunity for respite from the most strenuous toil. The work is heavy; the material is bulky and the atmosphere is of necessity hot and burdensome. And so the workmen go about soberly, silently. Each has his allotted task, and to the discharge of that devotes all his available time and energy. In an adjoining shop to this main one the completed boilers are tested under pressures varying from one to five hundred pounds the inch, before being despatched to their respective destinations.

ONE BOILER A DAY. When working with their full complement of hands Galloways are able turn out what would average one boiler a day. Eight hundred men are employed in the Hyde-road Works, making a total of thirteen hundred employees in the service of the concern. It is perhaps superfluous to add that, along with other industries engaged in the steel and iron trade in England, Galloways have not been suffering from any excessive plethora of prosperity, but at the present time their engine building branch is more than fully occupied, and indeed in a better position than has been the case for many years, orders for engines being on hand for varied industries, and of various types, for steel rolling mills, blast furnaces, tinplate works, water works, flour mills, chemical works, textile mills, electric stations, &c., and the prospects generally are decidedly brighter than they have been for some considerable time, and Galloways, with other engineers throughout the country, are looking to share in the fulness of the years to come.'[18]

See Also


Sources of Information

  • British Steam Locomotive Builders by James W. Lowe. Published in 1975. ISBN 0-905100-816
  • [3] Manchester Archives 1840-1863 (4 volumes; typed transcripts): Correspondence: out-letters to customers, suppliers and others.
  • The Steam Engine in Industry by George Watkins in two volumes. Moorland Publishing. 1978. ISBN 0-903485-65-6
  1. London Daily News, 4 October 1884
  2. The Engineer 1894/02/16 p129
  3. The Engineer of 4th May 1894 p383 & p398
  4. [1] The Engineer, 24 May 1895
  5. ‘The Engineer’ 28th January 1898
  6. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  7. The Engineer of 20th July 1900 p88 and p92
  8. Cheltenham Chronicle, 17 August 1901
  9. The Engineer of 21st July 1911 p83
  10. 1914 Whitakers Red Book
  11. Newcastle Journal, 1st April 1915
  12. The Engineer of 30th April 1920 p454 and p480
  13. The Engineer of 16th July 1920
  14. [2]National Archives - Henry Pilling Papers
  15. 'Stationary Steam Engines of Great Britain, Volume 4: Wales, Cheshire & Shropshire', by George Watkins, Landmark Publishing Ltd
  16. 'Memoirs' (obituaries) in IMechE Proceedings Vol 135 January - May 1937
  17. Manchester Evening News, 18th December 1917
  18. Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - 22nd August 1905