Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Ferndale Colliery

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Lanhmeyer flywheel alternators and Sulzer steam engines at Ferndale Collieries. Photo from 'The South Wales Coal Annual' for 1908, via
This photograph, found between the pages of a book, is unidentified, but clearly shows one of the Lahmeyer alternators at Ferndale Colliery . Ironically, the book was about steam turbines, which would spell the end of large reciprocating steam engines and their flywheel alternators

of 109/111 New Oxford Street, London

The valley of the Little Rhondda strikes northwards from the Rhondda River at a point where these watercourses cross some good Welsh steam coal beds. The head of this once picturesque ravine, which until c.1870 deserved its name of "the valley of ferns," was the place where Messrs. Davis sunk pits which became known as the Ferndale, but were originally called the Bllaenclechan Collieries.[1]

1830s The Ferndale Colliery was sunk by David Davis (1797-1866) who worked a small anthracite level under the Marquess of Bute. See David Davis and Sons.

1867 November 9th. 178 men died in colliery accident

Lahmeyer Electrical Co supplied electrical equipment to David Davis and Sons for their Ferndale Collieries. This included three Lahmeyer flywheel generators working at 2200 volts, 25 Hz, 3-phase driven by Sulzer Bros cross-compound 2500 HP engines. See photographs. Lahmeyer also supplied, for the No. 9 Pit, the first electric winding machinery to be operated in the South Wales Coalfield. It worked on the Ilgner System, with a 16-feet parallel drum coupled to two direct current motors mounted on either side, each giving a maximum output of 1,250 HP. The DC current for driving the winder motors came from a large Ilgner Motor Generator, consisting of a three-phase 2,200 volt motor (750 HP) driven direct from the power station supply. A DC generator supplied the winding motors, and there was a large cast steel flywheel, weighing approximately 30 tons, coupled on the same shaft, to supply the necessary power to the DC Generator in excess of that supplied by the three-phase motor in order to generate sufficient power for the winder-motors during the early part of the wind, when the load was very heavy. The flywheel had a maximum speed of 500 rpm, and had the effect of equalizing the load taken from the power station. The flywheel was 13 feet diameter, and 3 feet wide on the rim.[2]

1922 The proprietors of Ferndale colliery were recorded as Davis and Sons.

c.1927 D. Davis and Sons were acquired by Guest Keen and Nettlefolds.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Engineer 1896/01/31
  2. [1] The South Wales Coal Annual for 1908, via