Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Glass, Elliot and Co

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George Elliot, born in Gateshead, was the son of a coal miner. He became a mining engineer.

1840s Elliot owned several collieries, which brought him into contact with the wire rope manufacturer Kuper and Co of Camberwell[1].

1849 Kuper's became bankrupt; Elliot was appointed agent.[2]. New investment was provided and the company became W. Küper and Company. Elliot opened new works at Morden Wharf, East Greenwich. In the course of his duties as an accountant, Richard Glass met George Elliott and went into business with him.

1851 Part of the cross-Channel cable was armoured by Kuper and Co, wire rope manufacturers of Morden Wharf, East Greenwich.

1852 Glass saw the advantage of adapting the wire rope as a protection for gutta-percha insulated submarine cables[3].

1854 By this time Elliot was proprietor of the company, had paid off the creditors and the original members of the firm. In that same year Elliot took Richard Glass into partnership. Kuper and Co was incorporated in a new company Glass, Elliot and Co[4].

1857 The company made part (1,250 miles) of the first transatlantic telegraph cable at their works at Morden Wharf, Greenwich, and many other cables over the next decade, including the second transatlantic cable laid by the SS Great Eastern in 1865.

1857 The company shared a factory at Enderby Wharf, Greenwich, with W. T. Henley, who also manufactured cables. Disputes soon arose between the two competitors so, after a few months, Henley moved again, this time to the opposite side of the Thames at North Woolwich.

1864 The company merged with the Gutta Percha Co to form the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Co (Telcon), the contractor for the 1865 and 1866 Atlantic cables.

1864 George Elliot and Co was set up to take over the manufacture of wire rope, as distinct from submarine cable, at new works in Newcastle and Cardiff, convenient for the many collieries that Elliot owned, and continued for nearly a century.

See Also


Sources of Information

  2. Biography of Sir George Elliot, ODNB [1]
  3. Biography of Sir Richard Attwood Glass, ODNB [2]
  • [3] History of the Atlantic Cable and Submarine Telegraphy
  • [4] Greenwich Industrial History Society