John Spencer and Sons
of Newburn Steel Works, Newcastle-on-Tyne. (1908)
1810 The business was founded by John Spencer, who made files using water power in a mill previously used for corn. Spencer & Sons, otherwise known as Spencer's steelworks, operated for 119 years and supplied all the original requirements of Robert Stephenson and Hawthorns for the construction of the early rail locomotives and later supplied many of the shipyards. The steel used was made from cemented Swedish bars.
1847 The original manufacturer of volute springs for railway use under Baillie's patent.
1851 Award at the 1851 Great Exhibition. See details at 1851 Great Exhibition: Reports of the Juries: Class V.
1888 The company was registered on 30 April, to acquire the business of iron and steel manufacturers and engineers of the firm of the same name. 
c.1904 Made steel plates for the RMS Mauretania
1909 The local electricity company installed a 750kW Parsons turbine to extract power from the steam exhausted by the rolling mill's engines
1912 (Advert)London Office Victoria Mansions, 32 Victoria Street, London S.W.
1913 Public shares issue
1914 Steel manufacturers. Specialities: steel castings up to 40 tons, steel ship and boiler plates, the latter up to 13 ft wide, steel forgings by 1,000 and 2,000 ton hydraulic presses; springs, tool steel and files. Employees 1,800. 
In the decline of the 1900s, Spencer's steelworks faced a battle for survival and were eventually forced into voluntary liquidation in 1924 with the loss of 2,000 jobs. The rolling mills were dismantled and sold to a Sheffield firm but the manufacture of forgings, castings, railway wagon springs, etc continued at Newburn.
1928 Firm (may have been) reconstituted as John Spencer and Sons (1928) Ltd
1929 Started again to make railway axle springs and other materials
1937 Manufacturers of laminated and coil springs, straight axles and light forgings. 
1937 Grant from the Nuffield Trust Fund to reconstruct and modernise the axle forging plant
1960s Works closed
Sources of Information
- The Engineer 1905/05/05
- Visit of Iron and Steel Institute
- The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
- The Times, Mar 10, 1909
- The Times, Mar 11, 1913
- 1914 Whitakers Red Book
- 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
- The Times, Mar 02, 1937