The Engineer – July 1856: a fascinating time in Manchester
A visit to Manchester allowed our reporter to see red and avoid imaginary trouble spots. Reporting by Jason Ford.
Chapter VI of The Engineer’s “Tour of the Provinces” – our first forays into site visits – took our Victorian reporter to Manchester and a day with MM. W&J Galloway at Knott Mill in the city centre.
The company was best known for the manufacture of boilers, the manufacture of screw jacks and rivets by patented machines. Steam engines and mill gears were also undertaken by them “to a considerable extent”.
“The general appearance and management of the place is that of a stable, substantial and unpretentious factory,” observed our reporter. “The first workshop I entered was full of the rod and other details of a series of six powder mills, which Messrs. Galloway are engaged to build for the Turkish Government.”
The mills were to be driven by a 60 horsepower condenser motor and each of the mills had two edge rollers weighing 13 tons.
“To prevent the explosion of one mill communicating with another, they are each placed 70 feet apart, and, as they are all driven by the same motor, there is a continuous line of heavy wrought iron shafts extending underground at the distance of 420 feet,” the engineer said. “As an additional safety against explosions, a water system is placed on each mill and arranged in such a way that in the event of an explosion, all are upset simultaneously.”
Our reporter noted “a rather surprising peculiarity in the workshops”, namely that all the tools, pillars, wall plates and brackets were painted bright red.
“I didn’t inquire into the reason for this strange whimsy, but I was certainly quite alarmed by it as everything at first glance appeared to be bright red and made me pick up my coat tails every time I put them on. passed by for fear of making them scorch!” said our surprised scribe.
Less surprising but no less impressive was the floor of the main workshops, which was “supported by a transverse beam of malleable iron, in the middle of which is a socket for the upper axle of a cast iron crane; as the planking of the floor is connected to this beam, the tension resulting from the lifting of heavy weights by the crane is distributed equally over the four walls, instead of being pushed against particular points by rods and struts, as it is usually the case.’
It was also noted that the towers of the turner’s workshop, instead of being placed along the walls next to the windows, ran the full width of the room from wall to wall, measuring which saved space but gave rise to some awkwardness in the layout. of the motor gear.’
“To obviate the difficulty of placing and removing the work in a floor thus obstructed, the windows have sliding panels in the lower half, so as to allow exit and entry from the combing yard without crossing the store length,” the engineer said.
In a semi-buried floor adjoining the machine room, our reporter went to observe half a dozen riveters hard at work.
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“The workshop occupied by the riveting machines presents a diverse and curious sight,” said the engineer. “The constant lapping of water and the eerie glow of burning iron rods, which passed from ovens to machinery, seen through clouds of steam, make the place look like a stage The machines are run entirely by boys, of whom I think there are about twenty with one man who is supposed to keep the machines running and oversee the boys’ operations.
“The little fellows seemed to be in good spirits, hissing in chorus the Ratcatcher’s daughter’s incomparable tooodle-oodle. Meanwhile, rivets were being removed at the rate of two tons a day per machine.
Before describing factory tours (the original article is two pages long), our Victorian predecessor began Part VI by stating: petals. Its roots are laid in the underground galleries of the mine, along the coal and iron seams. The arches and leaves that drew up the sap of this beauty bud are dull, cellular chimney stems and plants.
Our reporter was referring to the building that would house the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition, which was built by Messrs. CD Young & Co and opened in October 1857.
Our journalist was quick to point out that MM. CD Young & Co had previously built a “corrugated anomaly at Kensington Gore” and that both buildings “have no doubt been influenced in determining their style by the presumed requirements of each case”.
“The results in this case reflect much credit on the good taste and discrimination of those who represented the City of Manchester and show that although Messrs. Young erected a barn for the Royal Commissioners at Kensington Gore, they can build palaces for those who want it,” said the engineer. “Judging from the designs I have had the opportunity to examine…the Manchester Art Treasures exhibition building promises to be a truly elegant and well-proportioned edifice. I hope to soon be able to give an illustrated description of it in the pages of The Engineer.
Click here to read the original article.