Ironfounding Equipment

The early foundries were poorly equipped by modern standards.  In 1860 Ure & Co spent £900 fitting out its new foundry.  The most expensive items were the engine and fanning gear for the cupola at nearly £200, and the boxes, flasks, and moulding boards at £250.  Tools were basic and consisted of 17 sieves, 18 riddles, 27 rammers, 16 hammers, 18 bellows, 16 hard brushes, 17 soft brushes, 20 shovels, 16 ladles, 11 vices, weighing-machine, grindstone, files valued at £22.17.6 and so on.  The office furniture was modest – a desk and stool £4.15.-, timepiece, bell, wash basins, tape & c. £2.0.3, stationery, books £3.3.6.

The full range of equipment of foundries in the 1880s can be gauged from closing down sales:

Forthbank, 1884

Judicial sale of founder’s and moulder’s plant, tools, etc.  To be sold by public roup, by warrant of the Sheriff of the Lothians and Peebles, at Forthbank Foundry, Bo’ness, on Thursday, 22nd May, 1884, at 12 o’clock, the whole plant, as above, consisting of:

  • Horizontal steam engine and connections,
  • Eggend steam boiler,
  • Moulder’s crane and gearing,
  • MI boiler boxes,
  • Moulding boxes,
  • MI core boxes,
  • CI boilers and tanks,
  • Cisterns, plain and galvanised,
  • Air bricks,
  • CI gutters,
  • Grate fronts,
  • Furnace doors and frames,
  • Rain water pipes and connections,
  • Traps various,
  • Grindstone,
  • Moulder’s tools,

Together with the whole working plant and a large quantity of old material.” 

[Falkirk Herald 17 May 1884.]

Illus: A locally made product for the foundries.

Bonnymuir 1886

“Sale of ironfounders’ plant and stock at Bonnymuir Foundry, on Monday, 12th April.  Thomas Binnie begs to intimate that he is instructed by John  Wright, Esq, CA, Glasgow, Trustee on the estate of Messrs Campbell-Ferguson & Co, to sell by public auction at Bonnymuir Malleable and Cast Iron Foundry, near Bonnybridge and Greenhill Stations, on Monday, 12th April, 1886, the following working plant and stock-in-trade, & c, viz:

2 moulding pressing machines, a large quantity of moulding boxes, snap flasks, boards and binders, casters’ moulds and screws, moulders’ tools, viz, shovels, riddles, sieves, bellows, hammers, pinches, & c; an extensive assortment of wood, iron and brass patterns, for engineers, implement and sewing machine makers, mill furnishers and wire fencers; lot of castings, principally malleable, for greenhouses; American ploughs, wringing machines, ranges, boat building purposes, & c, malleable cast spanners and cart fittings, 1-12cwt weighing machine and weights, iron wheelbarrow, 13 hand ladles, 2 double shank ladles, lot of malleable and cast scrap iron, round rod iron, 4 vices, iron and wood pulley blocks and tackle, large bell and stand, paraffin and naphtha lamps, 3 sets steps, ladder, grindstone, 2 small desks, letter copying press, timepiece, stove and pipe, & c.” 

[Falkirk Herald 3 April 1886]

Seaview 1912

“At Seaview Iron Works, Bo’ness.  On Friday, 26th January, 1912.  At 11.30 forenoon.  SALE OF Foundry Plant and Machinery.

By Instructions from AW Robertson Durham, Esq., CA, Edinburgh, Trustee on the Estate of James Morrison & Co, Bo’ness, and Messrs Glen & Henderson, WS, Linlithgow, Agents for the Proprietors.

Thomas Binnie, Limited, Auctioneers, Falkirk, will sell by Public Auction as above, comprising: –

  • Tangye Gas Engine, 35 HP, with 3 cooling cisterns, gas bag, exhaust pipe, etc.
  • Set Roots Blowers, by Thwaites Brothers (No. 4).
  • Cupola, fitted with airband, capable of melting 8 tons per hour.
  • Cupola hoist, by Sharp, Camelon.
  • Set Blacksmith’s fans, by Aldays & Onions, Birmingham.
  • Two 3 ton hand derrick cranes (in moulding shop).
  • One 3 ton jib crane, 60 feet jib, wire rope.
  • One 3 ton jib crane, 40 feet jib, chain.
  • Shafting, pulleys, and belting.
  • 2 vertical drilling machines, by Blackadder, Falkirk.
  • — ead trolley and endless chain pulley block.

75 4-in rhone boxes, 50 5-in rhone boxes, 20 6-in rhone boxes, all hooked; 18, 6 by 4 ½ gutter boxes, moulded; 75 4 ½ in rhone boxes; 2-in, 2 ½-in, 3-in , 3 ½-in pipe core boxes and patterns; 3 ½-in soil core box and pattern, lot of valley and boundary wall gutter patterns, lot of 3 ½ offsets, various sizes; 2-ft, 3-ft, and 6-ft gutters; 4 by 3 angles and nozzles, furnace tools, 4 wooden benches, 10 patternmakers’ trestles, drawing board, small turning lathe, 3 dozen drawback locks, small quantity screw and driving nails, hammer shafts and old wood, screw nipples, 5 wire baskets, 5 iron barrows, 1 wooden barrow, iron bogie, 4 10-cwt bogie ladles, by Sharp, Camelon; 4 double-shanked hand ladles, 1-ton ladle, 1 Jackman moulding machine; cart weighing machine, by Pooley & Son, Glasgow, weighs up to 50 cwt; grindstone and pulley, small steelyard and weights, lot small iron core boxes, lot hammers, clipper belt fastener and stone dresser, 3 wooden benches, 333, 2, 3, and 4-ft pipes, 2, 2 ½, and 3-inch; quantity of scrap iron, 3 bales tarred twine, 9 old barrels, 6 packing cases, columns, standards, and lintel pattern, etc.  Also the office furniture, comprising – double desk, with brass rails; desk with two large drawers, safe by Taunton, Birmingham; 2 stationery presses, writing table, small stationary cabinet, letter copying press and stand, and 2 office stools.” 

[National Library of Scotland – HP4.92.430]

To read the next section, dealing with the working conditions, click here.

G.B. Bailey, 2021