Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 150,662 pages of information and 235,200 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Mersey Forge

From Graces Guide
From Jackson & Sulman's 1865 panoramic view of Liverpool

of Liverpool

Also see Mersey Iron Co, Mersey Steel and Iron Co, Mersey Steel and Ironworks - the names of the companies which operated at the Mersey Forge. The various entries would benefit from rationalisation.

General

1810 Ralph Clay established the Mersey Forge (according to The Engineer, 8 September 1865). 1824 Mersey Iron Co established. Check these dates.

The forge continued to be used by the Mersey Steel and Iron Co until that company went into liquidation in 1881. The site and assets were sold by auction, and bought by a consortiom of businessmen, and restarted as the Mersey Forge Ltd, with a more limited range of products.

Location

The famous Mersey Forge was located in what became the southern Liverpool Docks area, close to Toxteth Dock and Harrington Dock.

Originally the Mersey Forge was located on land between the River Mersey and a sandstone cliff. The Cheshire Lines Railway acquired the land on the western (river) side of the site, so the forge acquired land to the east, on top of the sandstone plateau. See 1890/1893 25" O.S. map here.

The lower part was divided into two parts - North Yard and South Yard - by Horsfall Street, which ran west from Grafton Street. The North Yard was further bounded by Caryl Street Gas Works on the north and Caryl Street (formerly Harrington Street) on the west. The South Yard was bounded by the CLC railway lines and by a pair of gasometers, immediately beyond which were the Brunswick locomotive sheds. Further to the south east, the land between the cliff face and Sefton Street was filled with railway tracks, including lines which branched off through the Dingle Tunnel. Girders carried Grafton Street across the entrance to the tunnel portal. The Mersey Forge East Yard stood on the high ground above the North and South Yards.

The 1906/1908 map here still identifies most of the site as 'Mersey Forge', but with fewer buildings. The north eastern part is occupied by a hydraulic power station at the northern end, with a ship repairing and engineering yard immediately south of that.

The 1924/1927 map shows the north eastern part of the site as an 'Engineering Yard', while all the other parts of the site are identified as 'Cooperage'. This was established by Stuart and Douglas in 1919.

An aerial photograph here shows the area, practically centered on the former Forge. It was taken decades after the demise of the business, but it helps to clarify the topography, and, surprisingly, some of the Forge buildings still remained. These included three tall chimneys, and the long building in the North Yard which faced onto Caryl Street (this was probably the main machine shop).

Housing now occupies the three former yards of the works, the most recent development being Kaber Court, on the site of the South Yard. There may be some remnants, such as an old brick wall on the north side of Harlow Street, which may well have been the boundary of the East Yard, dating from the 1860s. More relics and infrastructure may survive underground.

1840 Newspaper Report

'THE MERSEY IRON WORKS. These works are close to the Potteries at their northern termination. New and extensive premises have also recently been built on the east side of the road, with a tall steam-engine chimney. Here malleable iron of the largest dimensions is forged, for steam-engines and various other purposes, The paddle-shafts of the huge new steam-ships the President, the United States, and other large vessels, were turned out from these works; and some conception of the magnitude of these several pieces of iron may be formed from the fact that the round shaft of the President is 22 inches in diameter, and weighs about ten tons. The forges are well worthy of inspection. The immense hissing white-hot masses of iron are placed upon huge anvils, and beaten by tremendous hammers, raised by steam power, and instantaneously dropped,— the blow, from their weight, causing a perceptible vibration of the ground, even at a considerable distance. The welding of comparatively minute rods and pieces of iron, so as to form the compact whole of one of these shafts, is an operation of much ingenuity ; and the fidelity of the workmanship, on which lives and property to a large amount depend, is beyond all question.' [1]

1855 Newspaper Report[2]

‘THE MERSEY IRON WORKS, SEFTON-STREET.
’The great Mersey forge is a credit to Liverpool. These celebrated works are situated immediately by the river whence they derive their name, in a portion of the ground that originally formed the royal demesne of Toxteth-park, and have a part of the Harrington dock and some of the long timber quays in their front. The situation is one of the greatest advantage in the way of business, as to the rear there is a high-level road-way by which all materials can be conveyed hither without having occasion to be sent round or through the body of the concern ; whilst, directly before it, is the low level of the public quay or Sefton-street. The lower or old works contain fourteen immense furnaces, which, no doubt, would be considered wonders in any other part of the world, with nine large hammers and steam engines in great, variety. The most, if not all of them, were at work before us, still there was not the slightest approach to bustle, or hurry, or disorder —everything seemed to be done with the greatest ease and regularity. The most remarkable feature about. the entire premises is the total absence of the crowded character of a workshop, or the confined or close atmosphere of a vulcanic region, as one would naturally be led to expect, where such extraordinary and weighty works are every moment being turned out of hand. The fires from the numerous furnaces are blazing around, and the steam is rising on all sides—but every portion of the concern is so well ventilated, and every mechanic's business is performed so steadily and quickly, that the place does not bear the usual appearance and customary accompaniments of the ordinary forge. There are bars of rod iron, long, and red-hot, drawn out like so many burning serpents, and sent hack again to go through some further cleansing operation, in order to free them, or induce them, by a little gentle coercion, to fling off the earthy scales or particles which may have adhered to them, and thus become somewhat regenerate and clean. Boys are seen here and there like juvenile Vulcans, but apprentices of course, assisting in the glowing services required of them; while the men are rapidly passing from one to another, or from one piece of mechanism to another, the burning lumps and bars which are trailing along the ground, or fixing them in their positions for still greater refinement. The engine power is said to consist of nine non-condensing engines —two 16's, one 80, one 25, one 12, two 40's, and two 20's or nine cylinders, nominally, at least, equal to five hundred and forty horse-power. The annual yield is supposed to exceed twelve thousand tons, but so numerous, as we understand, have been the late improvements, and of such great magnitude, that probably, without any unreasonable expectation, the yield must be considerably more. A sensible augmentation, at all events, is supposed to have taken place. The forge hammer—a colossal instrument—is made up of the helve, the anvil, the standards, the cam and shaft, and the bray, while a gagger is called into requisition, when necessary, to stop the motion. The blow of this very ponderous weapon is a tremendous affair indeed, and yet it occurs every moment again with the most apparent unconcern. But the workmen are all minding what they are about, and it is perhaps well for them that they are, since they might otherwise be sometimes visited with a startling flapper from an ugly customer in the way of business. These men appear to be sharp, active, and intelligent fellows, seemingly wide-awake to every occurrence and motion that takes place, and skilful to avoid every incident. The helve is a gigantic casting set upon two standards, and worked up by a cam, which transmits the motion to the helve through a strong bar of wrought iron. But the greatest curiosity of the premises seems to be no doubt the splendid fly-wheel, which cannot fail to be the pride of the establishment, as it is perhaps the largest wheel of the kind in the world. The diameter of this grand wheel is thirty-five feet, and weighs about sixty tons. It is well fixed on the crank shaft of the engine of eighty horse power. The rim alone has, in cross section, one hundred and forty-four square inches. The bearings are eighteen inches diameter, and are mounted on friction rollers, according to the plan of Mr. William Clay, the manager, who appears to be, and no doubt essentially is, the animating life and soul of the entire concern. And so smoothly and silently, so quickly and gracefully, does this wheel appear to make its ordinary revolutions, that the unconscious visitor has not perhaps the slightest notion in life that sixty tons of metal ore are actually travelling before him at the rate of 4,000 feet per minute. Better than one-third of the huge and enormous weight is contained, however, in the rim alone, which is made to revolve with a velocity of four thousand five hundred feet per minute, at about thirty eight revolutions. A short paper on this beautiful and ponderous piece of mechanism, was read by the able manager of the works, Mr. Clay, before the British Association last September, when they held their sittings in Liverpool. He found that in rolling boiler plates, there was a certain limit to the speed at which the roller should travel, and it was therefore imperative in a direct acting engine to obtain a wheel of sufficient size and weight to overcome - the ordinary shocks of rolling large plates of iron. This could only be accomplished by having recourse to the creation of this great machine. It was accordingly made arid got up, and then it was the wonder of the workshop. This fly-wheel is one of the most beautiful pieces of mechanism, beyond all question, that can be found in this great age of mechanical science and improvement, and is richly deserving of the examination and attention of the curious and scientific, who may be desirous to witness a pregnant instance of the rapid improvement of mechanical art.

‘The assemblage of the heaps of bits and scraps of every kind of old iron—the rag fair of the Mersey concern is a curiosity in itself. Here tons upon tons of old iron are seen gathered together, waiting to be broken up and thrown into the furnace to abide the issue of another trial, and to be regenerated and sent into the mould again as fresh as ever. What a wonderful thing after all is the art of man! But in close proximity to this huge mass of old and rusty materials, are two powerful pair of shears, worked by an engine, which consists of two cylinders of several inches diameter and two feet stroke. It is of twenty horse-power ; but there appears to be another of much greater weight — one of one hundred horsepower, and which, of course, does infinitively more execution. The smaller pair of shears can manage to cut bars of iron of two inches diameter and upwards with as much ease as a young sempstress would cut so much waste-paper; while the larger pair can readily dispose of pieces of iron even of four or five inches diameter, and sever them in two in an instant. The flame and smoke from the different furnaces are led into two flues of two feet diameter, which run through a vertical boiler six feet in diameter and thirty-five feet high, which is made to ascend through the roof of the building. There are various boilers, and each boiler has a feeding, or donkey engine, attached to it. The puddling furnaces for pig-iron, which is used here to an incredible extent, are accommodated with cinder bottoms, while the scrap iron is provided with bottoms of sand. Several kinds of iron are melted together, and run into sheets ten feet in length by 18 inches in breadth, and which early communion and acquaintance, it has been ascertained serves to generate a more uniform quality in the metallic body. We understand that about ten years ago (1845) a great gun of immense calibre was forged here for the United States' steam-frigate Princeton, and the length from breech to muzzle appears to have been thirteen feet, the length of bore, twelve feet, and the diameter twelve inches. The weight of the shot, 219 lbs. These works are known to furnish and supply articles to establishments in all parts of the world—to foundries, mills, steam vessels, and railways—in a word, wherever great weight, mechanical skill, and scientific ingenuity are called for, the Mersey iron forge seems to be the very workshop above all others.

‘Above the new works, in a detached building, somewhat apart from the working premises, are lofty and well-ventilated stables, where there seems to be ample accommodation for two dozen horses. The staff is said to consist of over a score of those strong and comely dray horses which are the admiration of the town, and kept in constant employment. They are handsomely stalled here at all events; and the mere appearance of the place speaks highly in favour of the judgment and care of the superintendent, who was placed in his present position by Mr. W. J. Horsfall, one of the principal proprietors; He was a staff-sergeant of the Royal Artillery in the regular service, and employed at Manchester when he obtained the proprietors' notice. There is something still better attached to the Mersey iron works—a very handsome and commodious reading and news-room, furnished, not only in a comfortable, but somewhat elegant manner. The workmen of the establishment are here kept constantly supplied with sundry periodicals of the town, the metropolis, and several from particular towns of the provinces. The proprietors appear to have omitted nothing that can conduce not only to the comfort, but to the entertainment and amusement, of their working people, after the hours of labour are past. This will require no further evidence than the single fact, that a benefit society has been for many years attached to the concern, from which the different mechanics and workmen of the establishment derived, at the close of last year, a draw back of seventy-five per cent. of their deposits, besides the enjoyment of the annual festival and dinner, with the princely proprietor, W. J. Horsfall, himself acting as president.’

1865 Newspaper Report [3]

EXTENSION AND IMPROVEMENTS AT THE MERSEY STEEL AND IRON WORKS.

'No manufacturing establishment in Liverpool presents more numerous claims to be regarded as a national institution than the Mersey Steel and Iron Works; and, probably, few in the kingdom can be considered more important in their relations and products. From an early period of the present century these works have occupied a conspicuous place in the manufacturing industry of the town, and ever since they were commenced those who had the direction of their management appear to have been actuated by a laudable desire to improve the character of the manufactures which they produced ; and, to effect this object, to have availed themselves of the different methods which the progress of science presented to them for improving the quality of their products; and they have been equally prompt in adopting the mechanical and other contrivances which the development of our manipulative skill has made subservient to the purposes of iron-manufacture, in the widest sense of that interesting and most important term. Without attempting to trace the history of this establishment from any remote period, it cannot be out of place to remark that, when the exigencies of the Crimean war brought forcibly into public notice the defects of cast-iron ordnance, and induced a call for the application of wrought-iron in the construction of heavy artillery, the managers of this establishment, at their own cost, and in direct opposition to the declared conviction of a highly scientific engineer, and in defiance of the report of a Government commission, produced a wrought-iron gun of such dimensions, power, and durability, added to extent and accuracy of range, as had not till that period been dreamed of. Having given this practical demonstration of constructive skill and manipulative resources, they were not slow in showing, also, that their intelligence and productive means were equal to the rapidly increasing demands for improved and extended processes in the manufacture and adaptation of iron to the numerous purposes of ship-building. The rolling of plates and the manufacture of angle-iron had long been familiar to the workmen in the establishment, and the machinery for producing such modifications of ironwork possessed by the Mersey Steel and Iron Works Company, was justly considered of the highest class. A new era arose, however, in the application of-iron to the defence of ships of war, against the missiles thrown by a class of ordnance which their immense gun had been mainly instrumental in introducing; and, with their accustomed sagacity and energy, the directing skill of this company induced it to acquire, at great cost, and after numerous experiments, machinery or the best and most powerful kind, for the rolling of armour-plates of the most ponderous magnitude, and, as severe tests showed, of the best quality. They also provided enormous implements, in the shape of steam-hammers, turning-lathes, and planing-machines, for the manufacture and dressing of engine-shafts, keel-stems, and rudder-posts of steam-rams, and all the other gigantic forging's, which the requirements of naval architecture and improvements in artillery demanded ; and, in every instance, they proved themselves, and demonstrated this establishment fully equal to the emergency.

‘Not content with having overcome the difficulties which naturally and necessarily attended the achievement of such ' creditable and encouraging success as has been glanced at, the animating spirit of this company still manifests its desire to be foremost in the competitive strife which excellence in productive industry inevitably entails, and in furtherance of this object; within a comparatively abort period, the works have been greatly extended in area, and the most recent improvements in mechanical and chemical inventions for husbanding the resources and increasing the productive powers of the establishment have been adopted. Conspicuous among these adaptations may be mentioned the introduction, on a systematic and extensive scale, of railway communication throughout the works, and also with the general railway system of the kingdom. To this must likewise be added a series of apparatus and machinery of the most improved character for the manufacture of cast steel, by means of what is known as the Bessemer process, a process which, greatly simplifying the manufacture, necessarily cheapens the material, and immensely extends the range of its usefulness.

‘The extensions and improvements referred to are so important, yet so distinct in their nature, as to require separate consideration. The extension of the works, which has very recently been effected, is so simple and easy of comprehension, yet so important as to induce allusion to it first. It consists then, it may be said, of a large area of ground, situated on the east side of Grafton-street, immediately south of the previously recent extension of the premises to the eastward. This newly acquired area reaches southward, almost to the extensive stabling of the company, and is about 8,000 square yards in extent. In this portion of the works, the whole of the apparatus for carrying on the Bessemer steel manufacture is situated ; but of this we shall have more to say a little further on.

‘The railway communication, which, although far advanced, is not yet quite completed, is highly interesting in an engineering view, and is not less important when considered as a powerful and economical means of connecting the various portions of the works with each other, and the whole with what may be justly called the "outer world." It consists primarily of a siding or "lay off," as it is called, from the dock branch of the Manchester, Sheffield, and Lincolnshire Railway, which is brought by a gentle curve directly under the southwest corner of the works, but on a considerably lower level. At the terminus of this curve, there is placed a kind of turn-table plate, twenty feet in diameter, on to which the railway waggons run. This table is, in point of fact, a moveable "hoist" or "lift," which, with its load, is projected vertically upwards, or lowered vertically downwards by hydraulic power, and is capable of raising or of sustaining and lowering twenty tons. The "lift" works in an iron cylindrical chamber, which is thirty feet in length from its lower to its higher edge; and in this height of thirty feet, by means of spiral rifle-grooves, the table in its assent or descent makes is twist of one-sixth of a circle, the exact difference of the angle between the upper and the under rails. From the upper edge of this spiral cylinder railways traverse the whole of the lower range of works, in which are placed the armour-plate rolls and furnaces; the bar and rod rolls, as well as the ordinary plate rolls, with their powerful machinery for clipping and trimming the plates, rods, and bars; and the powerful steam hammers and furnaces, together with the stupendous cranes and other implements, employed in making the gigantic forgings for which this establishment has long enjoyed and deserved a high reputation. The system of internal railways referred to also connects the different portions of the works with the vast "fitting shop," and its wonderful as well as powerful travelling crane, and series of lathes, boring apparatus, planing machines, and a huge implement employed in trimming armour plates. As there is a considerable difference in level between the upper and lower works, another vertical " lift" of equal size and power, worked also by hydraulic agency, is placed almost immediately over the one first alluded to. This latter is twenty feet in height of lift, but without any twist. It communicates directly by means of a high level railway, supported upon wrought-iron girders, with the upper works. Besides the railways referred to the whole of the works are fully connected with each other by means of tunnels, which pass under the streets that intersect the works.

[Note: The rotating lift was made by John Jones and Sons of Liverpool].

‘Mention of the upper or east portion of the works recalls recollection to the fact above alluded to, that in the southern portion of this section of the Mersey Steel and Iron Establishment are situated the extensive and wonderful, as well as somewhat complicated, apparatus for the manufacture of cast steel, on the principle introduced and carried successfully out by Bessemer. Instead, however, of attempting to give any description of this process, or the means by which it is more immediately carried out, it becomes necessary to revert to the lower works, and to direct attention to the introduction of another and scarcely less important invention. This is the means of heating furnaces by gas instead of by coal, whereby a heat at least equally intense can be produced at considerably less cost, while the inconvenience and waste caused by the imperfect combustion of coal, and the consequent volumes of smoke are altogether obviated. This kind of furnace is the invention of Mr. C. William Siemens, of London, who in his general description of it says It is applicable with the greatest advantage in cases where great heat has to be maintained; as in melting and fining glass, steel, and metalic ores, in puddling and welding iron, and in heating gas and zinc retorts, &c. The fuel employed, which may be of very inferior description, is separately converted into a crude gas, which, in being conducted to the furnace, has its naturally low heating power greatly increased by being heated to nearly the high temperature of the furnace Itself, ranging to above 3,000 degrees Far., undergoing at the same time certain chemical changes whereby the heat, developed in its subsequent combustion, is increased. The heating effect produced is still further augmented by the air necessary for combustion, being also heated separately to the same high degree of temperature, before mixing with the heated gas in the combustion chamber or furnace, and the latter is thus filled with a pure and gentle flame of equal intensity throughout the whole chamber." This kind of furnace, it may be as well to state, is called "A Regenerative Gas Furnace ;" and, for the purpose of feeding, it is necessarily connected with a range of what are denominated "gas producers." In the instance now under consideration, in close proximity to the lower railway " lift," which has been already spoken of, a tunnel fifty feet long and thirty feet wide has been excavated in the red sandstone rock, on which the whole of the works rest. This tunnel contains six "gas producers," strongly drawing furnaces , which are fed from above, and which will burn anything capable of being burned, and the aeriform product of which is chiefly carbonic oxide. These furnaces, however, in the present instance, are principally supplied by coal, and the unconsumed fuel which falls from other furnaces. The gas thus generated, which undergoes no process of purification, that being unnecessary, is conveyed by a gas flue of about two hundred yards in length, carried under the tunnel which connects the upper with the lower works. From this flue it is introduced into the "regenerative furnaces," first from one side and then from the other, by means of valves which alternately throw the stream by one or the other channel, as the regulating valve is moved. To meet this gas and insure its combustion in the furnace, a stream of atmospheric air is passed into the chamber, where, meeting and mixing with the gas, perfect combustion is ensured; but to increase the temperature caused by this combustion, the burned gas is made to pass through a reticulated chamber formed of open brickwork. These bricks, along the exposed surfaces of which the discharged and heated air and gas pass, rapidly absorb the heat which passes from the furnace. The bricks in closest contiguity with the furnace become as hot as it is, the others being less and less heated as they recede till the whole, or nearly the whole, of the heat which had been in the outgoing draft has been accumulated in the reticulation, or honeycomb brickwork. When this has been effected, " the regulating valve is reversed, the ingoing current passing through among the heated bricks, and carrying with it the caloric which it absorbs from them, enters the furnace at a very high temperature; and by this process of alternating the drafts, a very perfect combustion of the gases is effected, while the temperature is enormously raised by the additional heat which had been intercepted, and is now thrown back by the open brickwork. The preceding has no pretension to being a precisely accurate description, either of the furnace or of the exact principles which regulate it, but may be received as a popular indication of the mode in which it operates, and also as conveying some idea of the principle on which its action depends.

‘On an elevated platform, not far from the centre of the new portion of the upper works, there are three of the furnaces, constructed in the manner above referred to, and so heated. Two of these are each sufficiently large to melt five tons of pig-iron; one of considerably smaller dimensions, is used for melting what in Bessemer’s process is called spieigel iron"- a preparation containing a recognised proportion of manganese ; and which, when melted, is mixed with the melted pig - iron , to form Bessemer's steel. Having got thus far, let us suppose the small and one of the larger furnaces charged with their respective quantities of metal, and each supplied with the requisite streams of gas and atmospheric air, and for a period Ieave them to do their work in reducing the solid metal to the condition of a glowing incandescent liquid, while we leisurely survey some other portions of the apparatus intended to be employed in this comparatively new process of steel-making.

‘At the southwest angle of the enclosed area is a substantial and well-built engine-house, in which are erected two steam-engines, each of 160 horse-power. They are horizontal engines, and are used for the purpose of blowing a strong blast of atmospheric air into two gigantic iron vessels, made in the form of truncated retorts, named "convertors." These convertors are enormous and striking-looking implements. They are made of massive wrought-iron plates, each about twenty feet in length, taken along the longest axis, and about seven feet in diameter at the widest part. Interiorly it is lined with a very thick and strong coating of material of a particularly strong fire-resisting power, known technically by the name of "gannistor." Each of these enormous retort-looking vessels weighs about twenty tons ; and each is capable of holding five tons of melted metal. They are each supported upon a pivot, situated a little above its centre, on each side. To one of these pivots or axles a toothed pinion is fixed, which works in a sliding ratched rail, for the purpose of turning the monstrous vessel on its axis in such a manner as to enable the work to pour in and out the metal from the furnace. The moveable slide referred to is worked by hydraulic power, and the opposite pivot or axle is a tube through which the air from the blowing engines is forced through whatever is in the interior of the vessel. At the side of each of the convertors is a powerful crane, worked by hydraulic power. Immediately below the convertors there is a deeply-sunk well-built circular pit, about thirty feet in diameter, in the centre of which, and nicety adjusted, is a platform, about twenty feet long and four feet broad, poised upon a centre, and at one end of which is balanced a huge pot or ladle. This is called the "ladle crane," and, like all the other parts of this ponderous machinery, it is lowered or raised by hydraulic power, the whole being under the most easy and certain control.

‘Having said so much as to the apparatus employed, let us direct a cursory glance at the mode in which the different parts of the ponderous machinery are used in effecting the conversion of iron into steel by the Bessemer process, a process which greatly abridges the time and labour requisite to produce steel by the ordinary method, and which produces it at much less cost. After the remarks made upon the construction of the furnaces in which the pig-iron and the speigel iron ore melted, it cannot be necessary to say more concerning the part which they play in the operation, than simply to mention that they are continued under the action of the fire—in both the present instances produced by the combustion of gas—till they are completely molten and brought to a perfectly fused state. While this is going on, another and interesting portion of the process is being forwarded in the convertor. In this massive retort a strong heat is got up by the combustion of coke, the efficiency of which combustion, and the strength of which heat, are both powerfully promoted by the strong blast of atmospheric air forced through the incandescent mass by the blowing engines. The power of this aerial current is fully attested by the continuous roar which it makes in rushing through the burning mass and out of the mouth of the vessel. The process of heating the convertor is continued till the whole of its interior lining is raised to a perfectly white heat. In the meantime a somewhat similar operation has been applied to the immense cup, or ladle, which is affixed to and swings round with the ladle crane. The melted metals, the convertor and the ladle having been all brought to the requisite state of heat, the convertor is swung round on its axis with its month downwards, and coke is poured and raked out; its mouth is then raised sufficiently to bring it to a convenient level for receiving the streams .of melted metal from the furnaces containing the iron, the running in being effected by a channel previously prepared, and it is in itself a highly interesting operation. As soon as the metal has been introduced, the convertor is turned upwards on its axle. It is then, with its mouth thrown slightly backward, subjected to the atmospheric blast which is forced through the seething mass of liquid metal, with a roaring noise resembling that of a mighty cataract. Now commences a startling and most imposing pyrotechnic display. The continuous action of the blast ignites and drives off every particle of carbonaceous matter contained in the metal. This gives rise to a corruscation of fiery particles, which, accompanied by the reverberating roar of the blast, produces a startling effect on both the eyes and ears of the bystanders. This process of blowing through the mass of melted metal is continued till the fiery discharge from the mouth of the convertor all but ceased. The ponderous implement is then swung round, with its mouth downwards, to receive the "speigel iron," and the whole of the glowing liquid is poured into the ladle below, which has been previously prepared to receive it. In the bottom of this vessel, which, although large, looks small compared with the immense convertor, and other portions of the machinery with which it is connected, is a perforation into which a plug of fire-clay is fitted, but which can be inserted or withdrawn by means of a lever, worked on the outside. By lifting this plug the metal streams through, and is received into upright cast-iron moulds, which are ranged along the margin of the circular pit previously referred to; the ladle being passed over these moulds by the motion of the crane, and the aperture opened and shut as each successive mould is reached and filled with the metal thus prepared, and which constitutes, an ingot of cast steel.

‘The apparatus, of which a faint, descriptive outline has been given, is all of the very best and most efficient character; the chief novelty in connexion with the working of it being the application of the regenerative gas furnace for fusing and heating the metal. Several trials of the conversion had previously been made on a large scale, for the purpose of testing the apparatus and familiarizing the workmen with the different processes and the modes of carrying them out; and, on Friday, a formal inauguration of this important branch of scientific manufacture in Liverpool was made in presence of a number of gentlemen interested in the manipulation of iron, and scientific gentlemen belonging to Liverpool and its neighbourhood. In all the instances in which the trials had been made previously, and also in that last, referred to, the fusion and running of the metal were most satisfactory—indeed, nothing could have been more perfect than the reduction of the iron to a completely fluid state. The operation of the other portions of the apparatus, as well as that of the furnaces, was also all that could be wished, and the steel produced was of excellent quality.

‘Among those present to witness this highly interesting and important, process, on Friday, were Mr. T. B. Horsfall, M.P., chairman of the Board of Directors of the Mersey Steel and Iron Works Company ; Mr. Charles Turner, M.P., Colonel Bourne, M.P., Mr. J. C. Ewart, Mr. W. Laird, Mr. It. Bevis, Mr. J. Senior, Mr. E. Senior, Mr. Ross, Mr. Lockhart, Mr. J. Campbell, J.P., Mr. G. Galloway, Mr. E. Galloway, Mr. John Vernon, Mr. Hallows, Mr. Gibbons, Mr. James, Mr. Bevan, Mr. Thorburn, of Glasgow, Mr. Boyd, Mr. Sweeney, Mr. J. Jack, Mr. J. Mason, Mr. Blane, Mr. Higgins, Mr. Daunt, Mr. H. Dawson, Mr. Jevons, Mr. Wood, Mr. T. James, Mr. Gibbons, Mr. Sparrow, Mr. Ledward, &c.

‘Prior to the running of the Bessemer steel, the company assembled were conducted to the armour-plate rolling mill, where they witnessed the rolling of an armour-plate four and-a-half inches thick. Having seen display of manipulative power, the company were next conducted to the Bessemer yard, where the process of making cast-steel was exhibited. In the instance referred to about four tons of cast steel were produced in the most perfect style, the ingots being of excellent quality. After the process had been completed, the company were entertained to a sumptuous collation in the drawing-office of the establishment, Mr. Clay, the Managing Director of the Mersey Steel and Iron Company, presiding. In course of the proceedings at the festive board, Mr. Clay proposed the health of Mr. Bessemer, which was drank with enthusiasm. Mr. Lockhart, after a few highly complimentary remarks, proposed as a toast "Success to the Mersey Steel and Iron Company," connecting with it the health of Mr. Clay. This toast was drank with three times three cheers, and in reply Mr. Clay, after expressing his thanks for the honour done him, proposed as a toast "The Iron Trade of Scotland," for which Mr. Bentley and Mr. Thorburn returned thanks. The party then separated.’

1865 Report in 'The Engineer'[4]

Extracts:-

'The area of this engineering shop proper is 200ft. by 64ft., the work being taken to and fro by means of a 30-ton travelling crane. It is worked by a band made of hide, and moving at a velocity of about 1,500ft. per minute. This system of self-action for travelling cranes, which is getting to be universal in all large works, was first fully and extensively carried out by Mr. Ramsbottom, of Crewe. Cranes like this are now in use at the Elswick works, Newcastle, and at the Gorton foundry, near Manchester. In the centre of the floor is a planing machine, about 12ft. between the uprights, and with a table 40ft. long, by Collier and Co. On this are planed the massive stern pieces, such as that of the Agincourt , with its complicated curves and grooves for the reception of the armour plates and framework of the ship, and weighing, with its sole and shaft boss, some 40 tons. Near this tool is another planing machine for armour plates 20ft. in length by 4ft. wide, and of any practicable thickness.

'Passing into the forge, which extends over a roofed-in area of 42,140ft., we observe in course of manufacture a part of the massive wrought iron stern of the Penelope, one of the new Government rams. Very noteworthy are three great 50-ton cranes for the hammers, with tubular jibs, made of puddled steel. We observe a very convenient form of hammer, now getting generally into use, and which is said to have been first worked out here. The Nasmyth cylinder is simply placed in a pair of horizontal girders, supported on uprights. The work beneath can thus be easily manipulated. The largest hammer here is 25ft. between these columns; the weight of the piston and hammer, in one piece, is 15 tons, being 15ft. 2in. in length. The fall is 9ft. The anvil block is 10½ ft. square on the base, 6½ft. in height, and weighs 62 tons. The total weight of all the castings is 130 tons. A rather smaller hammer, of the same kind, is 15ft. 6in . between the columns; the weight of the piston and block being 8 tons, with a fall of 7ft. The anvil block, also bedded in the solid rock, is 9ft. square on the base, and it weighs 32 tons 15 cwt. Most of the other hammers are on the plan of Rigby, of Glasgow; two are of 6 tons each ; one of 5 tons, one 3 tons 10 cwt., besides three or four smaller ones. We see that hematite iron ore is used for lining the sides of the puddling furnaces, without any admixture of cinder, in order to save the iron sides. The iron of the ore as it gets melted down and extracted is used up in the furnace.

'The plate rolling mills are driven by an engine of 250-horse power, and are placed immediately to the north of the puddling furnaces. Somewhat to our surprise, and testifying to the advantageous location of the works, they find it profitable to roll merchant bar iron . We obser ved a circular saw need for cutting the iron, driven by Schiele's steam turbine. The arrangement is found very convenient when a saw is required at a distance from power, but theapparatus is said to use up a great deal of steam. The south-western portion of the works , 200ft. in length from north to south, and 295ft. in width, is taken up by the rolling and armour plate mills. The armour plate mill can turn out plates from 20 ft. to 40ft. long, 7ft. 6in. wide, and from 1 in. to 12in. thick. It can roll four per day. Theapparatus is simply an unusually massive rolling mill witha reversing motion; its framework is bedded in the solid rock, and bolted to a framing of oak beams, 24in. by 22in.of Quebec oak, about 40ft. long, in two lengths. The flywheel is 25ft. in diameter , 15in. on the face, weighing nearly 60 tons; the driving wheel is 3ft. 6in. in diameter. It works into two cog wheels, each 8ft. diameter, and 18in. broad. The rolls themselves are 8 ft. in the barrel, and 2ft. 6in. in diameter, each pair weighing 22 tons. The housings are 11ft. high, 7 ft . 6in . broad, and weigh 11 tons each. The entire machine weighs 300 tons. The heating furnace for the armour plates has two flues, between 50ft. and 60ft. long; the front is 20ft. broad, its interior area measuring 14ft. by 9ft. on the floor. A railway is laid down from the furnace door, to a slight incline, for guiding the carriage intended to take the slabs down to the rolls.A similar carriage is on the other side of the rolls, in order to send the incandescent mass back when the motion of the rolls has been reversed. The firm has always been noted for rolling the tapered bars of iron so much in demand in building wooden ships. This operation has long been done by a plan of rolls first invented by Mr. William Clay - an invention, indeed , which may have mainly helped to first bring that gentleman before the engineering public. The principle upon which the rolling mill is constructed is to give the top roll a vertical traversing motion during the passage of the bar. To do this gradually and with such equality that, by the time the bar has passed through the series of grooves, it gets the taper shape required, the top roller is kept down by means of the rod of a piston in a cylinder containing water. The more or less rapid rise of the top roller is effected by regulating the escape of the water (which is, of course, above the piston) by means of an adjustable valve. The apparatus has all the simplicity required for such rough work, and has been found to act well for several years. We remember that the rolled taper bars of the Mersey Works excited some surprise in the unsophisticated bosoms of certain foreign visitors to the International Exhibition.'

1868 Boiler Explosion

'THE FEARFUL BOILER EXPLOSION AT THE MERSEY FORGE
INQUEST ON THE BODIES.
Yesterday, Mr. W. W. Duffield, deputy borough coroner, resumed the inquest on the bodies of the following persons who were killed through the fearful boiler explosion which occurred at the Mersey Steel and Iron Works last Thursday evening:- George Lupton, 44 years of age, furnaceman, who resided at 309 Mill-street; James Lynch 15 years of age, 50, Boyle-street; Joseph Ellis, assistant to the driver of an engine, who resided in 5 Court, Park-road; Peter Logan, 14 years of age, furnace-boy, who resided at No. 8, Brancker-street; William Moss, 33 years of age, furnace man, who resided at 20, Holland-street; and David Jones, 31 years of age, furnaceman, who resided at 41 Bowring-street. Mr. Simpson, of the firm of Messrs. Simpson and North, watched the proceedings on behalf of the Mersey Steel and Iron Company (Limited); and amongst the large number of persons present were Lieut.-Col. Clay, Mr. Moon, the manager of the works, ....'[5]

1886 Report in 'The Engineer'

1886 A visit to the works was described in 'The Engineer' in 1886[6]. At the time the Manager was Charles O'Connor‎ M.I.M.E. The plant by then was reduced to a forge and machine shop, the Bessemer steel-making process having been given up 3 years previously. Equipment included seven large steam hammers by B. and S. Massey, Rigby and Davis and Primrose. The largest (15-ton) hammer was served by two 50-ton capacity steam cranes. Recent products included a solid three throw crankshaft weighing 41½ tons for the liner Normandie, and a 19-ton built-up crank for the City of Berlin, a welded stern frame for the liner Champagne, and another weighing 35 tons for City of Rome, and a 12 ton rudder for City of Chicago. Crankshaft crankpins were machined with the crankshaft stationary, using a Craven Brothers ‘hollow lathe’. This had a ring 9 ft diameter rotating in a relatively narrow bearing housing. The rotating ring carried two diametrically opposed tool holders which moved round the crankpin. With two tools cutting at once, each with 1½" depth of cut, the diameter could be reduced by as much as 6" per rev. There were two large Craven Brothers lathes with centre height of 6' 6", one 60 ft long, the other 70 ft. The works had a 10' x 10' x 25' capacity planer, made by W. Collier and Co, that had a divided table, and the two halves could be worked separately or together.

Various Events

1874 Robert Daglish and Co supplied a two cylinder rolling mill engine for the Mersey Steel and Iron Co. Cylinders 36" dia, 4 ft stroke. Max speed 250 rpm [7].

1876 'About fifteen hundred workmen will be thrown out of employment at Liverpool by the closing of the Mersey Forge next Saturday.'[8]

1882 The company was registered on 24 June, to take over the property of the Mersey Steel and Iron Co. [9]

1889, 1890 Operating as The Mersey Forge Limited.

1891 For description of works see 1891 The Practical Engineer.

1896 Closure Announcements and Sale Notices

THE MERSEY FORGE COMPANY. OPERATIONS TO CEASE. 'The feelings of regret that will be avowed throughout the length and breadth of this country, when it is universally known that this, one of Liverpool’s most noted manufactories, is to be brought piecemeal under the auctioneer's hammer will be of a genuine character, at least amongst all who have been and are connected with the iron and steel trades. The catastrophe to such a time-honoured and noted works, which for over 72 years been working in our midst and played no unimportant part in the notoriety and progress of this great city, will excite perhaps wonderment and sympathy. However, the changes are rung in every walk of life and trade, and when conditions such as those primarily responsible for the closing of the South-end Iron Works, brought to a certain extent by natural and economic laws, the inevitable must be accepted, and our capitalists seek other means of profitable investment. It has been considered desirable to publish as full and accurate an account of the works as our space will admit and the memory of man and records supply. We are indebted to the capable and courteous manager - Mr. J. Armstrong — for the information we are able to supply, and for his treatment to our representative, who visited and inspected the works.

'It is needless to say that this is the oldest and largest forge on the banks of the Mersey. It was commenced in the year 1824; it has, therefore, had a run of over 70 years at times of great prosperity, and during he later years of adversity. From 1824 until 1862, when it was turned into a limited liability company, it was in the possession of that time-honoured Liverpool family, the Horsfalls. Commencing in a small way on the site now occupied by the Toxteth and Harrington Docks and the Cheshire Lines Railway, it gradually increased in size until it became the most noted forge in England, if not in the world, for the manufacture of crank shafts, line shafts, and other heavy pieces of ironwork required by marine and land engineers. Before the introduction of the marine engine, it devoted itself to the manufacture of forgings required by mill, colliery, and other engineers, and even file-cutting was entertained. Its opportunity, however, came with the marine engine, and, although there were no steam hammers in those days, the proprietors took care to put down the best and heaviest description of helve hammers to meet new demands, and considering the appliances, wonderful work was turned out, and the Mersey Forge became celebrated far and wide as the forge where forgings of the largest size and best quality were produced. Liverpool was than a great centre of marine engineering, and large works abounded in the town, and all favoured the Mersey for their requirements, and in addition the great firms of John Penn and Sons, Greenwich ; Mawdsley, Sons and Field, London; James Watt and Co, Birmingham; Randolph and Elder and R. Napier and Sons, in Glasgow; Robert Stephenson of Newcastle, all came to the Mersey for their large forgings. On the introduction of the steam hammer, the Mersey Company were not slow to realise its great advantage over the helve hammers, quickly replaced the whole of the latter by powerful hammers of the former type, which resulted in increased prosperity and greater development. With the steam hammer forgings of larger size and greater soundness could be made, and as the power of the marine engine was gradually being increased, such forgings, which could hardly have been made under the old hammers, were soon in demand. This occurred some 40 years ago, and within ten years of the time the shafting was required for such leviathans of the deep as the Great Eastern, launched in 1858, and requiring shafts of 25 inches in diameter, most of which were forged and finished without a hitch at the Mersey Forge. The wooden walls of Old England had also given was to line-of-battleships driven by powerful steam machinery, and necessitating forged iron stern and rudder frames and huge iron rands[?], of which the Mersey manufactured a not inconsiderable number. The nations of the Continent were not slow to follow in the steps of England, laid down large battleships for their several navies, and not having their own, were also constrained to apply to the "Mersey" for supplies. Thus the works were in great repute over the whole of Europe. Some thirty years ago stern frames were turned out for the Navy weighing 45 tons, and rands[?] and shafts proportionately heavy.

'On the construction of the Cheshire Lines Railway that portion of the works bordering on the river was acquired by them, which necessitated removal to the east of Grafton-street, where a piece of land of some 55,000 square yards was bought from the Earl of Sefton. In 1856 Bessemer invented his celebrated of steel making, the utility of which was successfully demonstrated some three or four years afterwards. The proprietors of the Mersey Forge, realising the great future of Bessemer's invention, applied for and secured powers to manufacture steel by this process., and on the land to the east of Grafton-street they put down a plant only second in size to that of the Hematite Steel Company, and capable of turning out when in full swing of some 2,100 tons of finished steel per week. As previously mentioned, armour having been introduced to protect the ships of the Navy, the Mersey Forge were amongst the first to lay down a plant to meet the demand, and carried on the manufacture for many years from now until the more stringent requirements of the Admiralty made it no longer possible to compete profitably against the large Sheffield firms, Messrs. Sir John Brown and Co. and Messrs. Charles Cammell and Co, who had from the first made the manufacture of armour plates a speciality. In addition to the armour plate mills there were also mills for the manufacture of boiler and ship plates, as well as a peculiar mill for the manufacture of taper bars, in which the works had a worldwide reputation.

'On the formation of the Limited Company in 1862, under the title of the Mersey Steel and Iron Company, Mr. T. B. Horsfall, M.P., was elected chairman, and was assisted by a very distinguished board of directors. The business was then conducted with great vigour in all departments, and some 2,000 men obtained regular employment under Colonel Clay as managing director. Prosperity continued to follow their efforts for a period of nearly twenty years, at the end of which time clouds of adversity began to gather around them and thicken, and after a continued existence of nearly sixty years the company was compelled to go into liquidation. The causes which led to the disaster were not far to seek, and were of such a nature as to be unavoidable. Briefly they were due to the altered conditions under which Bessemer steel could be successfully manufactured and to an unfortunate lawsuit. The latter may be said to have been the beginning of the end. In the course of manipulating the steel, after being cast into blooms, these had to be pounded under a large steam hammer, and as this worked continuously night and day the reverberation was constant, and the people living in the immediate neighbourhood could get no rest either night or day. A Chancery action was entered against the company to stop the " nuisance," which, proving successful, the hammer, and with it the whole steel plant, was laid idle for months, and that at a time of great inflation, causing the company great loss by not only being unable to complete their contracts, but having also to pay heavy damages by default. To meet the new state of affairs additional plant had to be put down in the shape of cogging mills to do the work of the hammer, and by the time they were ready prices had gone down to a previously unheard of figure, and so remained. At such prime it was impossible to make rails, excepting at a great loss, in a place like Liverpool, many miles distant from the source of supply of the exceedingly large quantity of raw material required in the manufacture; such, briefly, was the cause of the collapse.

'The liquidators offered the freehold land, buildings, and machinery for sale by public auction, when were bought for some eighth of their original cost by Mr. Helenus Robertson on behalf of a syndicate, which at once floated a new company, with the chairmanship of the Mersey Forge Limited, under the title of Mr. John Bibby, supported by a directorate of wealthy and enthusiastic Liverpool shipowners and merchants. This was in June, 1882. The directors of the new company at once decided that it was impossible to continue either the manufacture of Bessemer steel rails or plate and bar-iron at a profit and sold off all the plant and machinery belonging to several deportments, continuing only that in the hammer yard and machine shops. For a time after the start of the new company trade was in a flourishing condition, and considerable profits were made, the forge and finishing shops being kept busy night and day, some 500 men being employed; in fact the plant was found inadequate to meet all demands, and two larger hammers and new machine tools were added. Unfortunately for the Mersey Forge, about ten years ago steel commenced to be substituted for forged iron for the shafting of steamships, and at the same time a new factor was introduced in the steel forging press, a factor which ultimately proved the death-blow to the works in question. The hydraulic press owes its birth to a circumstance very similar to that which caused the stoppage of the Mersey steel plant, Whitworth's hammers being stopped in Manchester on the same grounds as was the steel works hammer at the Mersey. Some means had to be found to do the work, and the hydraulic press was hit upon. For some years Whitworth's was the only firm which used them, and their fluid-compressed forgings acquired such a reputation for quality as to place them in the first rank of makers. Other firms, chiefly the large Sheffield manufacturers, realising the advantage of press-forged over hammer-forged work, also put down presses, and to-day every large house in Sheffield has one or more hydraulic presses of 5,000 , to 10,000 tons capacity. It is found that they not only turn out the work sounder and better, but also two or three times the quantity in a given time, effecting an even greater advance in economy and workmanship than the hammer did over the helve hammer of former days. The only drawback to the press is the very large outlay in capital necessary to erect it and its accompanying appliances, an outlay the directors of Mersey Forge did not think it desirable to make, for though at the outset profits would no doubt be made, in time the cost of bringing the raw material to Liverpool in increasing quantities, coupled with the extra coat of labour ruling in the port, would ultimately, as in the case of the steel rail trade, drive the trade to that centre where the materials in the production are found on the spot. For those reasons chiefly it has been decided to finally close the works and offer the plant and machinery for sale by public auction.

'The plant is still very extensive, the machine shop being one if the finest and best arranged in the kingdom, and in the forge there are no fewer than eleven steam hammers, viz, one ten-ton, three six-ton, two four-ton, one fifty cwt, one twenty-five ,one seven cwt, one five cwt, and one special five cwt radial, on wrought-iron jib, for welding up stern and rudder frames. Of steam and hand forge jib cranes there are two fifty-ton, three forty-five ton, three thirty-ton, two twenty-ton, two fifteen-ton, and several smaller ones; fifteen reheating furnaces, gas and coal, sixteen Siemens gas producers, nine large horizontal and two vertical boilers, plate shears, crocodile shears, punching and shearing machines, steam engines, &c. The engineering department has 17 lathes of various sizes, and five planing machines, turning machines, and three 30-ton over-head rope-driven travelling cranes, vertical wall engines, &c.

'The most notable forging turned out of these works in the old days of the helve hammer was the "Mersey" monstre gun, made shortly after the Crimean War, to demonstrate that guns of large calibre and perfectly safe under fire could be forged in wrought iron, and which the experts attached to the War Office had reported could not be done. The forging for this gun weighed 25 tons, it took seven weeks to forge, and was by far the biggest piece ever made up to that time. It was built up in seven distinct layers or slabs, the foundation being a core of round iron, nearly the whole length of the gun, this itself being made by taking a number of rolled bars, about six feet in length, welding them together, and drawing them out the length required. A series of V shaped bars were then packed round the core, and the whole mass heated on a reverberatory furnace, and forged under the big ten-ton helve hammer. Another series was then packed on and heated until the seven layers were got on, and the forging was some 15 feet long and 32 inches in diameter, which was increased in the same way to 42 inches at the breach, and such care was taken that the forging was not only sound but stood very severe tests. This gun was made as an experiment, and ultimately presented on its completion to the Government, but did not lead to such guns being adopted, which was probably very lucky for the shareholders in the Mersey Steel and Iron Company, as it is extremely doubtful whether another gun would have been made in the same way and with the same appliances successfully. A steel forging of like dimensions could to-day he made under the press in two or three days, and with no fear of failure. On the introduction of the steam hammer many larger forgings than the above were made, and in one-third of the time, notably the stern frame of the City of Rome, which weighed 35 tons in its finished state ; the stern frames for the largest steamers of Cie Generale Transatlantique, almost equalling the above in weight ; the crank shaft of the Cunard steamer Servia which were 26½ inches in diameter ; and probably the largest solid marine crankshaft ever made in iron. To-day the workshops are the habitation of birds, having been closed for some months, and where the sounds of the busiest life were wont to be heard, the din of which would deafen an unaccustomed ear, the chirp of the sparrow and the singing of other birds are heard, which cannot but cause a moralising half-hour to any thoughtful visitor. It is to be hoped that the land now to be stripped will provide accommodation for some other branch of industry to take the place of that "bowled out."[10]

1896 'THE MERSEY FORGE COMPANY. 'There is a tone of deep regret in the Liverpool newspapers at the fact that the Mersey Forge Company has determined to cease its operations. It was one of Liverpool's most noted manufactories, and has been at work for 72 years, and is the oldest and largest forge on the banks of the Mersey. Business was commenced the year 1824; it has, therefore, had run of over 70 years, at times of great prosperity, and during its later years also of adversity. In 1862 it was turned into a limited liability company, but previous to that had belonged to the Horsfall family, and was at one time the most noted forge in England, if not in the world, for the manufacture of crank shafts, line shafts, and other pieces of heavy wrought ironwork required by marine and land engineers. Before the introduction of the marine engine it devoted itself to the manufacture of forgings required by mill, colliery, and other engineers, and even file-cutting was entertained. Its opportunity, however, came with the marine engine, and although there were no steam hammers in those days, the proprietors took care to put down the best and heaviest description of helve hammers to meet the new demand, and, considering the appliances, wonderful work was carried out, and the Mersey forge became celebrated far and wide where forgings of the largest size and best quality were produced. Most of the shafting for the Great Eastern was done at these works. Bessemer’s new patent for steel was utilised at these works, and when, in 1862, they were sold to limited liability company over 2.000 hands were employed. For twenty years the firm prospered exceedingly, and then clouds of adversity began to grow and thicken, and after sixty years' working the Company was obliged to go into liquidation. It is very sad, but such are the ups and downs of life, and Liverpool will be all the poorer for the closing of such huge works.'[11]

1896 Sale Notices[12] :

MERSEY FORGE, TOXTETH, LIVERPOOL. IMPORTANT SALE OF FREEHOLD LAND, WITH THE BUILDINGS THEREON.
WHEATLEY KIRK, PRICE, and GOULTY are instructed to SELL by AUCTION,on TUESDAY, the 14th day of July, 1896, at Eleven o'clock prompt, on tbe premises, the FREEHOLD LAND AND BUILDINGS, forming the Forge and Engineering Section of the above-named Works. The Land comprises an area of 12,365 square yards, or thereabouts, and the buildings consist of Fitting and Machine Shop, 336 feet long, 54 feet wide, 38 feet high; Grindery and Store Room, with cast iron tank, forming roof ; Entrance Lodge and Office; Chimney, and Boundary Walls.
For further particulars, conditions of sale, apply to Messrs, Bartlett and Atkinson, 30, North John Street, Liverpool; or to the Auctioneers, Albert Square, Manchester, and 49, Victoria Street, London, >C.

'RE MERSEY FORGE, TOXTETH, LIVERPOOL. TO FORGE MASTERS, ENGINEERS. BROKERS, AND OTHERS.
IMPORTANT AND EXTENSIVE SALE FORGE PLANT AND ENGINEERS' MACHINE TOOLS.
WHEATLEY, KIRK, PRICE, and GOULTY are instructed to SELL by AUCTION, on the 14th, 15th, 16th, and 17th JULY, 1896, each day at Eleven o'clock, prompt, the ENTIRE CONTENTS of the works.
The FORGE Section includes 11 Steam Hammers, from 5cwt. to 10 tons, 13 Steam and Hand Forge Jib Cranes up to 50 tons. Punching and Shearing and Plate-shearing Machines, 15 Heating and other Furnaces, 9 Lancashire Boilers 27ft. by 7ft, 5 "Camero" Pumps, 2 "Roots" Blowers, Iron Roofs, Plates, Hammer Tools, Etc., Steam Engines, Shafting, arid Gearing.
The ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT has 17 Lathes up to 63in. centres, and beds from 6ft. to 84ft. long, 6 slotters, 6in. to 66in. stroke; 5 Planers from 6ft. by 3ft. 6in. by 3ft. 6in. to 32ft. by 10ft. by 10ft; Two Horizntal and one Vertical Boring Machines, Radial, Vertical Drilling, and Screwing Machines; Two 40-ton rope-driven Overhead Travelling Cranes, and One 20-ton ditto ; Contents of Stores, Screwing Tackle, Standard Ganges, and the usual loose Tools and Appliances; Two waggon Weighing Machines, Carts, Lurries, of Offices, etc. The Hammers chiefly are made by Massey, and Glen and Ross, and the Machine Tools by Craven Bros.
Admission by Catalogue only, price 6d. each.
Further particulars and Catalogues to be obtained by application to the Auctioneers, Albert Square,and 49, Queen Victoria Street. London, E.C.'

1921: THE MERSEY FORGE. Twenty-five years ago the following paragriph appeared in the "Weekly News":— "The announcement of the resuscitation of the once famous engineering enterprise, the Mersey Forge, will be of interest to many peop:e. The Forge existed and flourished years ago, but trade declined, and it was partially closed about 1882 and entirely ceased some months ago. It has now been acquired by Mr. Muirhead, of Cart Forge, Glasgow, for the manufacture of rolled steel railway chairs, which have largely been adopted by railway companies."<ref>Runcorn Weekly News - Friday 29 July 1921 </ref.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. Liverpool Standard and General Commercial Advertiser - Friday 17 April 1840
  2. Northern Daily Times - Monday 3 September 1855
  3. Liverpool Albion – Monday 4 December 1865
  4. [1] The Engineer 8 Sept 1865
  5. Liverpool Mercury - Friday 28 August 1868
  6. The Engineer 10th December 1886
  7. 'Engineering' 20th February 1874
  8. The Scotsman, 1 June 1876
  9. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908
  10. Liverpool Journal of Commerce - Friday 19 June 1896
  11. Southern Echo - Saturday 20 June 1896
  12. Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Saturday 27 June 1896