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James Fletcher (1806-1881)
Head of the firm William Collier and Co, Manchester.
Born in Birtles, Lancashire 1806
1843 Took out a patent for improvements for the 'going in' and 'winding on' motions of self acting mules.
1853 Became a partner to the firm William Collier and Co
1863 After the death of William Collier, Fletcher became the sole proprietor.
1868 Fletcher was elected a Councillor of the borough of Salford, then retired from the position in 1877.
1874 Death of Fletcher's son James Junior
1875 retired from business due to poor health.
1881 Died after a period of poor health. 
1882 Obituary 
JAMES FLETCHER was born at Birtles near Manchester in 1806, and was apprenticed at an early age to Mr. Thomas Smith, millwright, Burnley.
Subsequently he took the management of the works of Messrs. William Collier and Co. in Greengate, Salford, and became in 1853 a partner in the firm; and on the death of Mr. Collier in 1863 he became sole proprietor.
In 1843 he introduced improvements in the "going-in" and "winding-on" motions of self-acting mules, and a novel mode of so connecting the copping and winding-on motions that the one should control the other.
In 1845 he improved what is known as the "presser flyer," and employed malleable cast-iron as a material for flyers.
Jointly with Mr. Thomas Fuller, one of the partners in the firm of Collier and Co., he introduced in 1849 a number of improved machine-tools; including a double-acting sliding and surfacing lathe, an apparatus for boring locomotive cylinders in their places, and a tool for planing locomotive valve-faces in their places. He also made various improvements in slotting and shaping machines, including the use of elliptical gearing to give a quick return.
With Mr. J. W. Fuller, another of the partners, he made in 1861 an improved planing machine, and in 1862 further improvements in rolling, bending, and planing metals.
As a practical engineer his advice was frequently sought; and he was a director of several large iron and engineering companies in the neighbourhood of Manchester, as well as in Glasgow and Middlesbrough.
In consequence of failing health he retired from business in 1875; and his death took place on 23rd March 1881, in the seventy-fifth year of his age, after a long and painful illness.
He became a Member of the Institution in 1857, and at the Glasgow meeting in 1864 contributed an elaborate paper on Heavy Tools for general engineering and iron shipbuilding work.