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British Industrial History

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Edward Packard and Co

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of Duke Street, Ipswich

1808 James Fison of Thetford founded a (presumably) fertiliser business.

1842 Sir John Bennet Laws gained a patent for the manufacture of chemical fertilisers by dissolving bones or natural coprolitic nodules in sulphuric acid to make calciul superphosphate.

1843 Edward Packard was one of the first to manufacture calcium superphosphate in this way; he set up his business in 1843.

1850s Packard built one of the first complete acid and superphosphate factories in the UK at Bramford near Ipswich[1].

1863 Packard was joined in business by his son, also named Edward, who was instrumental in developing the business and rationalising the United Kingdom's fertiliser industry. The business was incorporated in 1895 under the name of Edward Packard and Co.

Travellers on the Ipswich and Norwich line of railway cannot fail to have remarked on the continued growth of the extensive artificial manure manufactory of Messrs. E. Packard and Co., Bramford. Not only have the works themselves received additions year by year but long rows of cottages for the employed the manufacture have been built, and within a comparatively recent period the navigation between Ipswich and Bramford has been utilised by steam barges, craft—conveying heavy loads the raw material to the works, and of the manufactured articles to the Ipswich Dock — of a description the projectors of the Stowmarket navigation never dreamt that they would see plying on the gentle stream of the Gipping. The latest addition consists of several new mills for grinding coprolites, and a very powerful pair of engines — among the most complete and most powerful in this part of the country — which were set to work for the first time on Monday afternoon. The engines, and the boilers which supply them with steam, are fixed in a new and commodious building, adjoining that devoted to the coprolite mills and between it and the road, very substantially built in brick. On the ground floor are the boiler bouse and engine-room ; above them a store, and on the top a large water tank. In the boiler-house are two fine double-flue Cornish boilers, 26 feet by 6 feet 6 inches, for supplying the new engines with steam. The furnace doors are fitted with Wright and Co’s, smoke consuming apparatus, by means of which a slight draught of air is admitted above the coal when freshly put on, and this, assisted by blast of steam which is admitted by turning the cock of a steam pipe, is said to cause the consumption of all the smoke in the furnace. If the plan is attended with the results alleged, we would commend it to the notice of the owners of some of those works in Ipswich from the shafts of which such thick volumes of black smoke issue every now and then, much to the discomfort of their neighbours. The engines in the spacious room adjoining were made by the Reading Iron Works (limited), Reading, and in quality of material, workmanship, and solidity seem to leave nothing to desired. Their nominal horse-power is 80 (40 horse-power each), but they are intended to develope together 240 actual horse-power. They are high pressure, expansive, condensing engines; their cylinders are 21 1/4 inches diameter, with 36 inch stroke, and the number of revolutions per minute is 70. All known appliances for economical working are adopted, including steam-jacketting and variable expansive gear which can be altered whilst the engines are running, that just the quantity the steam requisite for the work to be done is supplied. They have double-action air pumps in horizontal condensers driven from prolongation of the piston rod, and with these condensers a constant vacuum of 28 inches is obtained. The fly wheel, an idea of the proportions of which will formed when we state that its weight is nearly five tons and its diameter about fourteen feet, is placed between the two engines, and the power is taken off a large spur wheel driving into another spur wheel on the new driving shaft, which is seven inches in diameter, and which now drives all the stones of tho coprolite mills. The engines are guaranteed to work at a consumption of 2 1/2 lbs. of coal per indicated horse power per hour.
The engines were delivered at the works five weeks ago, and the fixing having been completed, steam was admitted into the cylinders on Monday afternoon, the tap of the steam pipe of one engine being turned by Mrs. Edward Packard, jun., whilst the other was turned by Mr. Buttrum, the wife of Mr. F. Buttrum, the manager of the works, and the engines getting to work the enormous fly wheel began to revolve. Mr. Barrett, from Reading Iron Works, was present to superintend the starting.
The coprolite mills driven the new engine were all made by Messrs. E. R. and F. Turner, St. Peter’s Foundry, Ipswich, and include several new ones. Messrs. Turner also supplied the seven-inch driving shaft. Altogether there are now thirteen pairs of stones 4 ft 6 inches diameter, the running stones weighing 26 cwt. to 30cwt. each, all driven by the new engines. Hitherto three pairs of stones have been driven by a 14-horse power engine, now got rid of; four other pairs being driven by a 30-horse power high and low pressure combined engine, which in future will drive two bone mills, two mixing machines, a steam fan, steam screens, &c., for which smaller engines were formerly used. This, however, only represents a portion of the steam power used at Messrs. Packard’s Bramford Works, for we find that besides the new 80-horse power and the 30-horse power, a 12-horse power, three 6-horse power, 4-horse power, and a 3-horse power are in constant use, making altogether 147 nominal horse power. But then at the Ipswich Works there are 15 pairs of stones always running, with two additional pairs driven by two engines, one 40-horse power, and the other, 30-horse power; and consequently the total nominal horse power at the two works is 217, whilst the actual power must reach the very large figure of upwards of 600-horse power. Besides these, there are four steam cranes belonging to the firm and used for loading and unloading barges and vessels.' [2]

1895 The company was registered on 23 July, to acquire the business of a firm of the same name, agricultural chemists and artificial manure manufacturers. [3]

1919 Packard bought the business founded by James Fison of Thetford and the name of the company was changed to Packard and James Fison (Thetford) Ltd.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. Competition Commission report [1]
  2. The Suffolk Chronicle; or Weekly General Advertiser & County Express. - Saturday 2 March 1872
  3. The Stock Exchange Year Book 1908