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    The History of Mather & Platt Limited              

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       (click on this image)                            
        Marcel André BOSCHI & David DREW-SMYTHE              

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The Salford Iron Works Salford Iron Works                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Mather & Platt - an overview of history - Partnership > Company M+P Ltd.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Park Works - Newton Heath - early print Park Works                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Mather & Platt Company Departments Departments                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Mather & Platt - Park Works at War M&P at War                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Dowson, Taylor & Co. Dowson Taylor & Co. Ltd.         
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I live in France. I have assembled this material in order to illustrate and to record the celebrated history of Mather and Platt  the original British-based engineering company with which - especially my father Ernest Boschi - has had a long association.   
I was born in the French city of Roubaix which, like Bradford in England, for example, used to be one of the world centres of the wool and cotton industries. Roubaix had, once upon  a time, many flourishing factories and mills.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
At the beginning of my professional life, I was at French company Mather & Platt. My early career with the company ended in 1955 when I joined "L'UNION" - then the first insurances company in France. This society became, in 1968, "L'U.A.P" and is now AXA  - a world-leading insurances company. At my retirement in February 1994, I was Inspector General.         
The company, Mather and Platt was well known and highly regarded in Roubaix and its surrounding districts. Both Lille, Roubaix,Tourcoing were also textile centres in France. The demise of the textile industry was - for Roubaix as for so many European centres - a severe shock to the local economy and today there are practically no textile installations in the region. In the main, the old factories and workers' houses have been demolished although some of the former have been turned to other uses. Over the years, associations have rallied together to try to preserve a part of the cultural heritage of industries   Roubaix, much factories are destroyed like the French factories of Mather & Platt at Roubaix and the tower of M+P at Manchester                                          
As a result of the pioneering work on fire protection being carried out in England by companies such as Dowson, Taylor & Company Limited. and Mather & Platt - both of Manchester, and by Frederick Grinnell's company in America, from 1883 on wards, thousands of Grinnell type fire sprinklers were installed in these factories to reduce the risk of fire damage to both plant and product and in order to safeguard the workforce. Eventually a fully-fledged the French company. Mather & Platt, was established in France in 1921, under the Chairmanship of Sir John Wormald

During the early part of the twentieth century, it was Sir John Wormald's younger brother, Joseph Dawson Wormald, who with another brother, Henry Harry Percy Wormald founded the Australian company Wormald Brothers. This company was incorporated as a limited company in 1911 and became a public listed company in 1949. In a cyclical way and almost a hundred years after Sir William Mather began his pioneering development of Mather & Platt's Fire Engineering Division, 

1978 - Wormald International acquire Mather & Platt Ltd. in a massive global take-over.

1990 - Tyco-International is a highly diversified global company that provides thousands of products and services vitally important to residential and commercial customers. Those products range from electronic security and alarm monitoring to fire-fighting equipment and breathing apparatus, and from water purification and flow control solutions to galvanize steel tubes and armoured wire and cable. Tyco International is composed of five business segments: ADT Worldwide, Fire Protection Services, Safety Products, Flow Control Electrical & Metal Products. As one of the world's leading employers, Tyco employs more than 110,000 people in over 60 countries. Tyco has more than $18 billion in annual revenue with leading brands in high-growth industries. Every day, we help make the world safer and more secure.

2017 - Johnson and Tyco merge http://www.johnsoncontrols.com/merger

Acknowledgements -

In telling this story it has proved impossible to mention, all the names of employees of Mather & Platt Limited who have contributed to the success of the business. This is partly because it is often invidious to select certain names from among the rest since it is difficult to collect information about some worthy people who left their mark on the fortunes of the firm over fifty years ago or in the more remote periods of its history. Yet it was the efforts of these individuals who made this story possible, for economic progress was not achieved anonymously or automatically. The company has grown as a result of the loyalty and service of its directors, staff and work people, each of whom had their own story to tell.

I have to thank so many people for helping with the compilation of the material for this history, for telling their own stories and for placing invaluable information at our disposal. These people are so numerous that it would be invidious to mention them all by name. The Chairmen, the directors, the managers, the staff, the foremen and the workers, have all helped us to learn much of Mather & Platt Limited, not only as it was, but as it is in the middle of the twentieth century. 

I acknowledge a variety of internet sources. In addition to my own special collection, I am especially grateful for access to Mather & Platt Ltd. and         Dowson, Taylor & Co. memorabilia, archives and associated material. I appreciate the generous support of staff at S.A. Mather & Platt in France,          Wormald Ansul (U.K.) and Weir Pumps Ltd. in Manchester, England, of members of the Mather & Platt Long Service Association and of former             employees of Mather & Platt Ltd, I am especially grateful to my old friend, John F.Taylor, former director and executive officer of the company                Mather & Platt Ltd, my friend Peter Mather, Mather families in  England and to the Grinnell family in America, my friends Helen Grinnell-KIng,                great-daughter of Frederick Grinnell, and Larry Grinnell, Secretary and Webmaster of the web site of the Grinnell Family Association of America and  also of the participation of my friend David Drew-Smythe, the great-grandson of Sir John Wormald, to the production of this website, died on May 3rd 2012 in Sydney.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


 Marcel André Boschi, historian of M+P                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

would be delighted to hear from anyone with stories to tell or historical documents and items relating to these old and great companies and their managers, engineers and employees       I can be contacted by my e-mail address marcel.boschi@orange.fr                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 1794 - From Partnership to Company - The Salford Iron Works - The birthplace of William & Colin Mather's establishment                                                                                 

During the early nineteenth century there was so much that was new which we take for granted - the machines themselves, the factories where they ran and the industrial towns where men worked and lived. For the thinking man of that era, these new social and economic phenomena raised strange problems which admitted of no easy answers; but for the first generation of business men they merely provided the essential conditions of advance in an age of change.

They were not often men who lacked humanity or social sense, they were men whose views of economics were often expressed in religious language, even though at times they seemed to have no time to worry about the general environment they were creating. Material progress meant individual forging ahead. “Manchester streets may be irregular,” wrote an outside witness surveying the scene in mid-century. “Its trading inscriptions pretentious; its smoke may be dense, and its mud ultra muddy, but none of these things can prevent the image of a great city rising before us, a very symbol of civilisation foremost in the march of improvement and a grand incarnation of progress”. (1) That was what Disraeli discerned in Manchester more than ten years before the above words were written, but it was a clearer vision than that caught by the first industrial pioneers, who did not care to express their personal strivings in such sophisticated language. They saw their opportunities and they took them.

It was said that the Mathers came to Manchester from Montrose, Scotland, at an unknown date and for unknown reasons; so far as we know, they certainly left no written records of their journeys or their objectives.  Also since they left no records of the daily business of their first enterprise, we know far more of the opportunities open to them in Manchester than of the way they tackled them. The early nineteenth century is a dark age for that reason too, we know more of the world of necessities and opportunities than we do of the people who lived in it and shaped it.

Manchester, primarily a cotton manufacturing centre, was a city to attract the enterprising pioneer. In 1800 there were 38 steam mills in Manchester and Salford and by 1820, no less than 66 cotton mills in the two towns. (2) Steam power was also employed in the bleaching, dying and printing branches of the cotton trade, and there were many finishing factories of this type in the Manchester neighbourhood. Lancashire was supplanting London as the chief centre of the calico printing trade and forging ahead of Scotland in bleaching and dying. (3) As a result, there was a flow of Scotsmen across the border, men like the Cheeryble Brothers, so well described by Charles Dickens in “Nicholas Nickleby”.

                                                                                       (1)        Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal, new series, Vol. IX (1858), p.251.

 (2)         A. Redford, Manchester Merchants and Foreign Trade, 1794-1858 (1934, p.238.

   (3)        G. Turnbull, A History of the Calico Printing Industry of Great Britain (1951), p109.

Merchants had to link up to the fortunes of Lancashire with the development of cotton producing areas overseas, and machine manufacturers had to provide and repair the large wheels, the cylinders, boilers and pipes and the rollers for printing, without which the cotton factories would have come to a standstill. The demand for textile machinery often of a very simple character, brought into existence a large number of one man or family concerns making machines by hand; roller makers, iron turners and millwrights. Some of these men and firms survived; others disappeared, hit hard, no doubt, by commercial misfortunes and trade fluctuations, which suspended demand for their products, or by the competition of more powerful rivals.

It is among the small men who survived that we first trace Colin Mather, cabinetmaker, of Gun Street, Salford, in 1817. (1) He is probably the same man who appears as Colin Mather, a machine maker, and just over ten years later at Waterloo Place. (2) The transition from cabinet making to machine making would be quite a natural one for an immigrant from a non-industrial area. By 1834, he had moved to Brown Street, Salford, (3) that has often been regarded as the birthplace of the present firm. The site was convenient, not far from the River Irwell, and by 1836, Colin had become associated with his brother William in an enterprise as that of “Engineers, machine makers and millwrights”, 23 Brown Street. (4) Compared with some rival ventures, Colin and William Mather’s establishment appears to have been small and unimportant.

In the decade after the Napoleonic Wars, two of the most renowned engineering partnerships in Manchester, were Peel, Williams and Peel, of the Soho Foundry, Ancoats and Galloway, Bowman and Galloway of Great Bridgewater Street, (5) but by modern standards, these two firms were also small in size. Indeed, for some years Galloway and Bowman merely called themselves millwrights, although they employed pattern makers, iron and brass founders, smith's, firemen, hammermen and turners. Another firm, T.C. Herves, extensively employed in erecting mills and filling them with machinery, found work for 140 to 150 men. (6)

(1)         Pigot and Dean’s Directory (1817). There is an earlier reference in the same directory to Peter Mather, roller manufacturer of Gun Street, Salford; the first entry is 1804. In Dean’s Manchester and Salford Directory (1809) he appears at 12 Rushalm Lane: In Pigot’s Manchester and Salford Directory (1813) There are two Peter Mathers, one a roller maker at 3 Rushalm Lane, the other a whitesmith at 33 Gun Street. The name Mather was quite a common one in Lancashire and it was a branch of the Lancashire Mathers, which emigrated to America in the seventeenth century. The first reference, in a Manchester Directory, to a Colin Mather appeared in the 1817 edition.

(2)           Wardle and Kings Directory, (1828), his home was in Waterloo Place, his workshop in Foundry Street, according to the directory of the following years.

(3)           Pigot’s Directory (1834)

(4)         ibid., (1836)

(5)         J.T. Slugg, Reminiscences of Manchester Fifty Years Ago, (1881) p.102. The Peels were relatives of Sir Robert, the great calico printer.

(6)         Select Committee on Artisans and Machinery (1824), p.340, 27.

There was one other active concern in Salford, which was to provide the eventual site for the Mather and Platt partnership at the Salford Iron Works. Indeed, the building was known as the Salford Iron Works when William Green drew his map of Salford in 1794. It was then owned by Bateman and Sherratt, (1) Bateman lost interest in the firm, and the Sherratts, a Westmorland Family became the dominant influence. (2) In 1795, Aikin wrote that, “a considerable iron foundry is established in Salford, in which are cast most of the articles wanted in Manchester and its neighbourhood. Mr Sharrard is a very ingenious and able engineer, who has improved upon and brought the steam engine to great perfection. Most of those that are used and set up in and about Manchester are of their make and fitting up. They are in general of a small size, very compact, stand in a small space, work smooth and easy and are scarcely heard in the building when erected. They are now in use in cotton mills and for every purpose of the water wheel, where a stream is not available and for winding up coals from a great depth in the coal pits, which is performed with a quickness and ease not conceived”. (3)This was an interesting forecast of the sort of claim that was to be made eventually for engineering operations carried out by Mather & Platt and as a reference, it also showed how established was the Sherratt firm before the Mathers had begun their operations at all.

In 1834, when William and Colin Mather had begun their operations, a wage book dated 1829, established that William and Colin Mather were in business as millwrights and engineers at the date that J & T Sherratt were described as brass founders, engine makers and iron founders. (4) The description indicates that they were concerned primarily with general engineering rather than with the production of machinery for the textile trade, a task which was still left to small men, although from a later entry, it is clear that the Sherratts continued to do some textile machinery work. In the eighteenth century, many cotton mills grew up in the same neighbourhood as iron works, and the textile industry and the engineering trades flourished side by side. (5) As late as 1836, Sherratts still called themselves “iron founders, steam engine manufacturers, millwrights and hydraulic press manufacturers”. (5)

In 1837, Thomas Sherrat died, and two years later, his trustees leased the Salford Iron Works to John Platt. (6) Little is known about John Platt, for he is not described in the Directories until 1836, when he was described as a “machine maker”, living in Roman Road Terrace, Higher Broughton. (7) His workshop before he moved to the Iron Works was in Greengate.

(1)            Evidently, Manchester men, like men elsewhere, had no idea of uniform spelling. Sherratt is sometimes rendered Sharratt and even in Aikin, as Sharrard.

(2)            F.S. Stancliffe, John Shaw’s, 1738-1938 (1938) p.87

(3)           J. Aikin, A Description of the Country to Forty Miles Round Manchester, (1795) p.176.

(4)           Pigot’s Directory (1834).

(5)           L.C.A. Knowles, The industrial and Commercial Revolutions in Great Britain during the Nineteenth Century (1922), p.29.

(6)           Pigot’s Directory (1836)

(7)           Ibid (1838)

Platt had entered into partnership with George Yates, the two of them continuing Sherratt’s line of business. From their small workshop in Brown Street, the Mather’s could contemplate the roomy premises occupied by Platt and Yates at the Salford Iron Works across Chapel Street. For reasons which remain obscure, the Mathers and the Platts became connected when in 1845, John Platt leased the Salford Iron Works, or at any rate part of them, to William and Colin Mather. (1) The premises were to grow substantially in size in later years, but here was the beginning of a larger ‘Mather’ enterprise than had been envisaged before.

Stepping into the shoes of the Sherratts, they advertised themselves in the Directory as “Engineers, Machine-makers, Millwrights and Iron-founders”, Garden Lane, Salford. (2) At the time of the Great Exhibition of 1851, they referred to their premises not as “Garden Lane” but as “Salford Iron Works” and went to London to display “A calico printing machine for printing eight colours at one operation with drying apparatus, a sewing machine and patent pistons”. (3) The sewing machine for the batching of the pieces was a new invention of 1847. (4) The patent pistons were made at Brown Street. (5)        

One year after the Exhibition, Colin Mather entered into partnership with William Platt, the son of John Platt, who had died in 1847. It was this partnership which laid the foundations of the later business. The younger Platt, who had carried on iron founding work in the Salford iron Works, (6)provided land, buildings and money for the new partnership, while Colin, apparently, contributed technical skills and ideas. This sort of division of labour in industrial partnerships was by no means new, indeed it had already been established as a well-tried recipe for business success.

Colin Mather, “Cast Iron Colin”, as he came to be called, was an engineer of ingenuity and brilliance. As the active head of the business, with Grundy as his manager, he not only built up an efficient organisation to produce textile finishing machinery, he also concerned himself with a wide range of ingenious ideas, including the design of piston rings, particularly for use in ships engines. There was also well boring, the production of magnesium in quantity in cast iron pots instead of in expensive platinum and porcelain vessels which had been used previously; and the method of preventing coastal erosion with a system of cast iron plates. He had something of Wilkinson’s zest for turning iron into a universal material and it was easy to see from the list of his pre-occupations how he came to earn his nickname.

(1)         Lease of 1845; J. Platt to W. Mather and C. Mather.

(2)         Slater’s Directory, 1845.

(3)         Official Catalogue of the Great Exhibition, p.38.

(4)         G. Turnbull, Calico Printing, p.37.

(5)         Manchester Mercantile Annual Directory (1854-55). Mather and Platt appear as iron founders, Salford Iron Works, Garden Lane and Deal Street, and Drying and Sizing Machine Makers, Deal Street and Brown Street. There was also a reference to them under Brown Street – Mather and Platt, Patent Piston Works.

(6)         Pigot and Slater’s Directory (1843).

Such clever ideas have sometimes led engineers to their ruin, for as Campbell had written in the middle of the eighteenth century, “an engineer ought to have a solid not a flighty head, otherwise his business will tempt him to make useless and expensive projects”. (1) These did not prevent Colin from building up the solid side of the partnership’s activities for in 1852 the firm was employing about 125 men, (2) ten years later the number had increased to 300 and in 1875, about the same number were employed. (3)

The entry of William Wilkinson Platt into the partnership coincided with the withdrawal of Colin’s brother William, who had been associated with him since the 1830’s. William had been more interested in public life and politics than in engineering and at the time of his death in 1858, he had few business interests. However, as a result of domestic circumstances, it was William's son, also called William, later Sir William Mather, rather than Colin’s sons who was destined to play the biggest part in the subsequent development of the business in the nineteenth century.

Colin Mather had three sons, the eldest, William Penn, whom after spending a few years in the family business decided to emigrate to America. The second, John Harry was sent to Alsace to study tinctorial chemistry, in which the firm, as makers of dyeing machinery, had an active interest. The youngest, another Colin, spent over 40 years in the family business and in due course became a director of the Limited Company. Colin played a prominent part in the technical developments of the time and left his mark in many branches of engineering, especially that associated with the textile finishing trade.

When Colin Senior met with an accident at work and was compelled to take a less active part in the affairs of the firm, it was to William, the second son of old William that he turned. (4) and not to his own children, who were still too young to accept important positions in the business. Young William was capable, far seeing and energetic and in 1850, at the age of twelve, he had begun three strenuous years of apprenticeship in the family business. He had broadened his industrial education by spending some time in Germany and had returned at the age of eighteen to work in the family business. It is on record that his hours of work extended from 6.00 am to 6.00 p.m. and most of his evenings were spent at night school in the Mechanics Institute, which both the Mathers and the Platts had sponsored three years before.

This was learning the hard way, but it paid good dividends, for, as a result, William Mather always understood the value and dignity of manual work and the importance of establishing happy relations with his employees. As he said on the occasion of his seventieth birthday, in the course of a celebration at Belle Vue, he had “always loved working men from his youth”. Because he knew so much of them in his early life, he had “a profound respect for the honest, diligent, earnest, working man”. (5)

(1)         R. Campbell, The London Tradesman (1747), p.248.

(2)         The Manchester Guardian, 14 January 1852. In that year the firm was involved in the lockout between the newly set up Amalgamated Society of Engineers and the Engineering Employers. The dispute continued through February and March.

(3)         L.E. Mather, Sir William Mather, p.14.

(4)         The first son, also called Colin, died in 1857.

(5)         Quoted by Sir John Wormald in "The Sprinkler Bulletin" July 1908.

In 1858, the year when his father died, William was made assistant manager at the Salford Iron Works. Five years later he was taken into partnership with Colin Mather and William Wilkinson Platt and the occasion was marked by a celebration at Belle Vue Zoological Gardens. All employees were given half a day’s holiday and invited to attend a social gathering, the first of many similar functions given by the firm. The programme included a characteristically Victorian meal and a feast of speech making and dancing. (1)

Young William Mather represented a new generation, wider in its interests and more cultivated in its tastes, than the generation of pioneers who first saw the possibilities of advancement in the world of machines and factories. It was fitting that for a time he should be the sole figure on the stage of the story of the firm. Colin Mather retired soon after 1863 and William Wilkinson Platt in 1872. William Mather was thus left in sole control between 1872 and 1878 when he took into partnership young John Platt, the son of W.W. Platt. The men of the new partnership were different from those in 1852, representative of a changed age, about which we know more and of which we can find out more if we try. Indeed, we have numerous photographs, diaries, records and outside observers’ comments to help us. Of John Platt, who had served his apprenticeship at Hulses’ machine tool makers in Salford and who died in 1927 at the age of 79, we have fewer records. So far as can be traced from available documents, he spent much of his time travelling in search of business and frequently visited Italy, Austria, Germany and Russia. A study of old order books indicates that as a result of his efforts in these countries, he left a definite imprint in the commercial history of the concern.

Between the beginning of the 1870’s and the end of the nineteenth century, the firm was expanding rapidly, both in the size of its plant and the scope of its operations. In 1873, adjacent property in Deal Street, known as Drinkwater’s Mill and the whole of Foundry Street were taken over. This increased accommodation provided new offices, a lodgeman’s house, stores, pattern and joiners shops and a light fitting shop and the number of employees increase to about 600. From 1888 onwards, land was being acquired from the Salford Corporation. In 1894 agreement was reached concerning the closing of a portion of Union Street in order that the area covered by the street and two rows of cottages, could be absorbed into the Salford Iron Works, thus providing space for a fine erecting shop and new offices. The new erecting shop soon became know as “Klondyke” as it was being erected about the time when gold was discovered at Klondyke in Alaska. The men working in the building through the winter felt that the term was a bright and apt one. “Klondyke” was more up to date than the rest of the buildings, but it marked the effective limit to the expansion of the Salford Iron Works site. In order to expand further the firm had to look outside, just as William and Colin Mather had looked across the way from Brown Street nearly fifty years earlier.

As the firm expanded in size the partners had another problem to face, should it remain a partnership or be turned into a limited company? The Limited Liability Act of 1862 had codified previous legislation, but the limited liability Company had not yet become dominant or even a representative type of business organisation. However, between 1889 and 1891, there was an unprecedented increase in the number of changeovers from family businesses to limited liability companies, particularly in the north of England, and the question arose as to whether the partnership of Mather & Platt should follow the fashion. William Mather’s son-in-law, John Petro, who had been making a close study of the Companies Acts, discussed the idea with his father-in-law, who was at that time much opposed to the changeover.

(1)         L.E. Mather, Sir William Mather, p.14.

This opposition was based on interesting, but at that time fairly commonly held grounds among family industrialists, he said that he could not part with what was “his creation” and that “the works would always remain the private property of the partners”. He thought that enterprise would not be fostered nor advancement made under the control of a board of directors; and that the personal element would depart from the Works. (1)

This opposition was gradually overcome; indeed the roots of it had in fact been cut away before William Mather expressed himself so strongly. In 1888, Dowson and Taylor, a firm which had been installing automatic sprinklers, the selling rights of which Mather had acquired from Frederick Grinnell in 1883, was turned into a private limited company with William Mather as Chairman and his partner John Platt as one of the directors. The Dowson and Taylor firm, which had moved from Bolton to Blackfriars, Salford, had for some years been interested in fire-fighting devices and by this time was acting as sub-licensee of the Grinnell patent. The success of this venture was calculated to make William Mather less sceptical in considering a general changeover in the status of the Mather & Platt partnership.

In 1892, he agreed to form Mather & Platt into a private limited company with a capital of £ 40,000. The first directors were, William Mather, John Platt, Dr. Edward Hopkinson, who had managed the Electrical Department since its foundation, and Hardman Earle, who was also connected with the Electrical Department. The funds of the company were increased by the private issue of mortgage debentures to members of the family. So certain were the directors that there would be no change in the constitution of the private company, that these debentures were issued as “irredeemable” and a “first charge on the works”.

At this stage we must turn our attention to another partnership which affects our history, it is the Dowson-Taylor partnership which brief reference has already been made and which later amalgamated with Mather & Platt. The central figure in this part of the story is John Taylor, who was destined to become, for nearly 35 years, Managing Director and Vice Chairman of Mather & Platt Limited and the organising genius and driving force at Park Works. He comes on the scene as an ambitious young man of twenty; ready to work hard to ensure the success of the great enterprise to which he devoted his working life. On leaving school, he had joined the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Company at Bolton and in the evenings, had studied shorthand and other commercial subjects in order to fit himself for office work.

John soon discovered that life in the office of the Railway Company had little to offer to one of an adventurous outlook, so he obtained a position in the works of the Bolton Chemical Fire Extinguisher Company. Here he had his first real encounter with that stirring element “fire” and here he found adventure in plenty for he soon discovered that he was working in a sinking ship. Sales were not enough to keep the place going, the firm was losing money and it could not pay its way. No doubt the lessons he learned from its failure helped to develop that acute commercial sense which was such an asset to him in later life. Many young men would have lost heart when they saw the firm they worked for sinking and would have sought a safe job elsewhere. Not so John Taylor and a young colleague named Ralph Dowson who enjoyed his confidence and with whom he was prepared to embark on a business career. These two enterprising and energetic young men, confident in their own ability and possessing a great capacity for hard work, decide to strike out on their own at an age when most of today’s engineers are still serving their apprenticeship.

(1)         A statement of John Petro, quoted by L.E. Mather, Sir William Mather, p.21.

In 1883 when the Bolton Chemical Fire Extinguisher Company finally closed down, Dowson and Taylor started their own firm, in Bolton, under the title “Dowson and Taylor, Fire Engineers”. Thus began a partnership which was to play a great in the future of Mather & Platt Limited. The title “Fire Engineers” which Dowson and Taylor adopted was indicative of a new attitude towards that enemy of civilisation “Fire”. It told of the resolve of engineering science to place its resources at the service of a crusade which has since saved the world untold damage and many millions of pounds.

John Taylor brought to this early venture the great qualities of the self-made Lancashire man, hard headed business sense, a determination to get the best out of himself and those about him and great energy. The first aim of the new firm was the perfecting and marketing of a Chemical Fire Extinguisher called the “Simplex”, it held five or six gallons of liquid, weighed about eighty pounds and was carried on the back as a soldier carried his pack. In 1884 it was awarded a medal at an International Exhibition in London and was soon installed in royal palaces, railway stations and public buildings. Following this early success, the next stop was to produce a more portable machine and it was not long before the well-known “2 gallon Simplex” extinguisher made its appearance. Today the modern “Simplex” Chemical Extinguisher is still recognised as an efficient hand appliance with which to fight small fires.

If one were asked to name some of the secrets of John Taylor’s success, the reply might well be “his swiftness to learn from others; his ability to pounce upon a new idea and his eager eye for anything which might further his life’s work”.

Thus, in 1881 when Bolton received a visit from an American fire-fighting enthusiast named Parmelee, John Taylor had been quick to see the possibilities of the automatic sprinkler. Parmelee was out to market an automatic fire extinguisher. Automatic! Here was a word to fire John Taylor’s mind. Some fire engineers ridiculed the idea, but Bolton was ready to learn. The Corporation allowed Parmelee to build a shed in the Wholesale Market ground for the purpose of giving practical demonstrations. According to eyewitness accounts, as published at the time, the demonstrations made a great impression on all present, but some months later Mr. Parmelee decided upon a more thorough test, under conditions approximating to a Cotton Spinning Mill. He adopted the bold policy of hiring the Spa Mill in Bolton, an old cotton-spinning factory of non-fireproof construction, five storeys in height, with wooden boarded floors, which were saturated with the oil of fifty years work. The building was fired on 22 March 1882 and the Bolton Evening News, of the same date, published the following report of the event.

“It will be remembered that, in June last, a trial was made of a specially erected wooden building on the Wholesale Market, and it was then considered that the contracted space condensed the heat, therefore the Sprinklers came into operation sooner than would have been the case under less circumscribed conditions. The present experiment was therefore arranged, and on the fourth floor two pairs of spinning mules were erected, thirty-two sprinklers were fixed in this room and a similar number in the top storey. A quantity of shavings and combustible material was scattered around one pair of mules and a light applied. Within a very short time, the flames obtained complete mastery and dense volumes of smoke filled the room; in fact, it was all but possible to breathe within two minutes after the light was applied. At the expiration of a minute and a half, the first sprinkler came into operation and two others shortly followed. Within three and a half minutes, the fire was extinguished and the spectators, who had made a hasty and somewhat undignified exit, were able to return. It will, therefore, be seen that the experiment was entirely satisfactory and furnishes the best recommendation for the general adoption of the system”.

The demonstration made a profound impression on the large and influential company present, but another result and one of more importance to our story- is that John Taylor, who was one of the eager spectators at the initial demonstration, had already been charged with enthusiasm and had decided that he would one day perfect a sprinkler of his own. Thus it came about that before long, Lancashire cotton mills were installing the “Simplex” Automatic Sprinkler, designed and manufactured by the firm of Dowson and Taylor.

It was about two years after Parmelee had given his first sprinkler demonstration, in Bolton, that William Mather made the visit to America, to which reference is made elsewhere and brought back from the United States, the world selling rights, apart from North America, for an automatic Sprinkler called “Grinnell”. No sooner had John Taylor studied the mechanism of the “Grinnell” head and seen it tested under fire conditions, that he knew this to be the best sprinkler head yet invented. (1) With typical forthright resolution, he cut out sentiment, jettisoned his own sprinkler head and henceforth installed “Grinnell” heads, which he bought from Mather & Platt.

Events moved quickly during the next few years and in order to meet the needs of a rapidly expanding business, Dowson and Taylor was made into a limited company, Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd., with Ralph Dowson and John Taylor as Managing Directors and William Mather as Chairman. At this stage another important figure appears on the scene, John Wormald, one of the leading British Insurance authorities on Automatic Sprinklers and a surveyor of the Mutual Insurance Company, who elected to forsake the realms of insurance in order to join the ranks of industry as one of the Directors of a growing enterprise.

John Taylor had been quick to realise the potential value of the Automatic Sprinkler System in the cotton mills of Lancashire, but although he obtained approval for his own automatic device, the reluctance of mill owners to spend money on equipment to extinguish fires was a big obstacle to progress. Only some financial encouragement from Insurance Companies could bring about the necessary change in their attitude. What John Taylor had in mind, a bonus or rebate on fire insurance premiums, did not appear to be in the interests of local insurance officials. Their income depended on turnover and turnover meant increasing rather then bringing about a decrease in the premium paid for fire insurance. Greater fire losses in a given industry meant higher premiums to be paid by the insured within that industry. If higher losses in an industry meant an increase in premiums and greater commission for the ‘agent’ what did it matter?

The new outlook necessary to counter this attitude and to ensure the general acceptance of the principle of rebate on insurance premiums as an inducement to install automatic sprinklers found one keen advocate in the person of John Wormald. John, as a young insurance official interested in cutting fire losses, had witnessed Parmelee’s sprinkler demonstration in Bolton and had since taken a prominent part in exploring the possibilities of sprinkler protection.

(1)         John Taylor left the service of a British Railway Company as a youth, and became one of the world’s greatest authorities on Automatic Sprinklers: Frederick Grinnell, formerly the Chief Mechanical Engineer and General Manager of the Jersey City Locomotive Works, retired from the Railway Company’s service in 1869 and purchased the Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company and later produced the first commercially successful sprinkler which still carries his name to every quarter of the globe.

John Wormald realised that financial success for the Insurance companies depended not on total premiums received, but on the difference between premiums and claims met. It was sound business to make a big cut in the total amount paid out, to cover fire losses, in return for conceding a reduction in premiums received. He saw plainly that if he could make a big cut in the amount paid out in respect of fire losses by the simple expedient of offering attractive rebate on the premium normally paid, the net result would be a considerable gain for the Insurance Company. He communicated his enthusiasm to others in the insurance world until, in a few years, this principle was firmly established.

Thus we see that while still a young man, John Taylor had proved his capacity for big business by joining forces with men like Dowson and Wormald who would work hard with him to build up the business in which they were engaged. Typical of the man was the advertisement, which first brought into service of the firm a boy who was later to become Secretary to the Company. It was brief and very much to the point, “Wanted, Office Boy, not afraid of hard work and with his head screwed on the right way”. There was no demand for matriculation standard; and not even a promise of a bright future in an age of golden opportunities, for John Taylor always held that hard work brought its own reward. How hard the three Managing Directors worked in the early days of Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd, can best be judged by the achievements of the first ten years.

Once the big Insurance Companies had accepted the principle of allowing rebates on insurance premiums in respect of buildings protected by automatic sprinklers, and the efficiency of Grinnell Installations had been established by their satisfactory performance in extinguishing numerous mill fires, the future was assured. It was merely a matter of time before the cotton mills and warehouses of Lancashire were fitted with sprinklers as a matter of course.

Some men might have been content to reap the local harvest, not so John Taylor and his colleagues on the board of Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd. They lost no time in planning to cultivate a wider field and the minute books, covering their first twelve months as a limited company, contain references to the activities for negotiating business in the Metropolitan district; to the appointment of Resident Managers for Scotland and Ireland; to the establishment of branch offices in London and many provincial centres; to negotiations for agencies to cover special industries in the British Isles; to the completion of agency agreements to take the “Grinnell” system to France, Belgium, Australia, New Zealand and India as well as arrangements to stage demonstration fires in London for Press, Insurance Officials and leaders in Industry. Quite ambitious programmes for one year for a company still in its infancy!

In view of William Mather’s business connections with Russia, it is not surprising to find that he was instrumental in bringing the “Grinnell” system to the notice of his many friends in that country. Thus he secured concessions from the Russian Insurance Companies, with the result that automatic sprinklers were soon installed there on a big scale. During his early years as Chairman of Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd., William Mather himself watched over the interests of the new company on the occasion of his annual visits to Russia, but as “Grinnell” business expanded in that country, it became a full time job. Accordingly, John Wormald himself took charge of the business and in due course arranged for a branch to be opened in Moscow under the supervision of Martin Cox, who later became a Director of Mather & Platt Limited. As a means of cementing the connection and studying the technical problems of the country, John Taylor also spent some months each winter in Russian mills for many years.

One of the most important events of this period was the completion of an agreement in 1890 under which “Grinnell” Sprinkler heads which, under the terms of the original arrangement with Frederick Grinnell, had been imported from America, were in future to be made in England by Dowson Taylor & Co.Ltd.

For some years the story of Dowson Taylor & Co, was one of uninterrupted success but in May 1896, the Company suffered its first great loss. This was the death of Ralph Dowson, who died with tragic suddenness in Bombay, whither he had gone while on a ‘tour to further his company’s business interests in India.

The untimely death of the man who had lent his name to the original Dowson-Taylor partnership, while still a young man and apparently at the heyday of his career, was a heavy blow to his colleagues in the firm and it robs our later history of the lustre of a man whose achievements would have added colour to our study of many great personalities. This is not idle speculation; conjecture it may be, but it is conjecture based on the considered opinion of John Taylor who, near the end of his business career, when he himself enjoyed an outstanding reputation among his business associates and had travelled in all parts of the civilised world in search of business and had met Kings, Princes, Government Officials and all men of Big Business in every country, described his original partner as “One of the finest business men I have ever met: a man of wonderful vision, a typical English gentleman and a man with whom it was a delight to work”. To the end of his life, whenever John Taylor spoke of Ralph Dowson he did so with deep emotion.

From this point until the Company went into voluntary liquidation in order to join Mather & Platt Ltd., the destinies of Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd., were in the hands of John Taylor and John Wormald as joint Managing Directors. This was a great combination and each man made an outstanding success of work in his own sphere: John Taylor, the engineer, carried the responsibility for the works production policy and all technical and commercial administration. John Wormald, from his headquarters in London devoted his tremendous energy to formulating and. carrying out an aggressive sales policy at home and overseas.

Much of the success of Dowson, Taylor and Co. Ltd., was due to the ability of each in his own sphere and to the fact that each concentrated on his own work. There was no overlapping and in all phases of their business dealings each manifested supreme confidence in the other.

Later they carried this same principle into good effect in administering the business of Mather & Platt Ltd, of which company they were destined to become managing directors,

Some examples of the work carried out by John Taylor when as a boy in the office of the Railway Company he attended night school in order to fit himself for a position as a shorthand writer are still in existence. Work in his shorthand notebook was written with meticulous care and approached perfection in execution. The result is more like a page from a printing press than the handiwork of a student at an evening school. He displayed the same meticulous attention to detail throughout his life. He had a passion for learning and from every situation and from every new encounter he sought to draw a lesson. He had a great belief in concentration of effort avoiding, where possible, all diversions.

As evidence of his devotion to the interests of his business we have the record of his wedding. He was married on Christmas Day but next morning was back at work at the normal time. “I could not spare time for a honeymoon,” said John, “so long as there was work waiting to be done.”

John Taylor, the engineer, would accept nothing but the best, he was a ruthless critic and his yardstick was engineering perfection. Men came to know that every job which survived his criticism was right and that, furthermore, it would have his complete support and the driving power of his constructive mind.

Contemporary engineers recognised in John Taylor a man who brought a profound knowledge of engineering subjects to bear on the many problems connected with fire extinction and the wider activities of Mather & Platt Ltd after he joined that Company. His discerning eye was of the utmost value in the pioneer days of electrical machinery and centrifugal pump's. He took special pride in the development of the electrical side of the business and the value of his services to the electrical industry may be gauged from the fact that he served, for many years on the Council of the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers’ Association, and was one of its Vice-Presidents up to his death. This was one of the very few “outside” activities of John Taylor, who had neither time nor inclination to take part in public life. He felt that his work for Mather & Platt Ltd was a full-tine job and. demanded his undivided attention. He made an exception during the world war of 1914-18, which provided an opportunity for those in authority to set the seal on John Taylor’s position as an acknowledged master in his sphere.

He was appointed Chairman of the Lancashire Anti-submarine Committee, a body appointed by the British Government of the day to investigate the possibilities of all measures which the ingenuity of engineers and scientists could devise to counter the menace of the German submarine. Although the work of the Committee was hidden behind the veil of war-time secrecy we may be sure that with John Taylor as Chairman, Mr. A. P. N. (later Sir Arthur) Fleming as Vice-Chairman and the late Lord Rutherford as Chief Technical Adviser, the local engineers and scientists who served in this body from 1917 to 1919 would not lack encouragement. John Taylor was also a member of the Board of Management of the Manchester and District Armaments Output Committee, an organisation to which the Ministry of Munitions delegated the work of co-ordinating the efforts of local engineering firms engaged on the production of munitions. When the Ministry of Reconstruction set up a number of Committees to investigate problems connected with industry, John Taylor was appointed a member of the Engineering Trades (Now Industries) Committee and Chairman of the Electrical Branch Committee of that body. In recognition of his work on those bodies Mr. Taylor was made a Companion of the Order of the British Empire but his work for Mather & Platt Ltd remains to be seen by all who visit the great engineering establishment he built up at Newton Heath.

As we have now introduced the principal characters who were concerned with the decision of 1898 to amalgamate Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd. with Mather & Platt to form the public limited Company of Mather & Platt Limited, it is fitting that we should at this point include an extract from the Chairman’s address at the first meeting of the directors of the new Company. A minute of the Board meeting held on 25th January 1899, reads: -

"Each firm had been successful in the past and there was every reason to expect that in the future they, as a united firm, would continue to prosper, but the Chairman reminded the Board that the union of the two firms must be looked upon very much like a marriage; They took each other “for better or worse”, “for richer or poorer” and, as in marriage, the future very much depended upon the mutual consideration, forbearance and regard of all members of the Company towards one another. Each one must look to the future with the intention of doing his best to maintain the traditions of the past….”

The capital was fixed at £ 775,000 - 37,500 preference shares of £10 each and 40,000 ordinary shares of £10 each. The preference shares were entitled to a cumulative dividend. of 5%, and upon a distribution of assets to have the capital paid up on them, plus a premium of 10 shillings a share, repaid in priority to the ordinary shares. 37,500 of the ordinary shares and 10,800 of the preference shares were issued as fully paid in part consideration for the sale of the business. The remaining 2,500 ordinary shares were reserved, to meet applications from certain employees of the Company. Of the preference shares 5,000 were reserved for issue as and when required for further extensions of the business, and the balance of 21,700 5% cumulative preference shares was offered for subscription.

In drawing up these plans it was overlooked until almost the last moment that the debenture issue of 1892 was “irredeemable”. Fortunately, the two debenture holders did not hold out for their ‘pound of flesh’, but loyally accepted an allotment of preference shares in exchange for their debentures.

It was a propitious time to launch the new company. Prices were rising, business activity was high, prospects were good and the curve of limited company registration was rising fast. The issue was eleven times over-applied for, and the company soon got away to a good start.

The year 1899, the first of the new limited company, was a record one for cotton, which made bigger profits than in the previous twenty years, and for engineering, which could not secure raw material supplies as fast as they were wanted. The unemployment figures of the Amalgamated Society of Engineers in that year were down to 1.8%

The launching of the Company and the first move to Park Works in 1901 marked as big an epoch in the history of the firm as did the drawing up of the articles of a partnership in 1852. It is worthwhile taking a more careful stock of’ the position of the enterprise at the beginning of a new phase of its history and at the beginning of a new century. Technically it had moved far from the roller making enterprise of the first Mathers: physically it had increased greatly in size from the Salford Iron Works plant of 1845. From a financial point of view it was a safe enterprise, far safer than most of the companies floated during the cheap-money atmosphere of 1894-6.

The physical assets of the new company, before the acquisition of the Newton Heath property, consisted of three and a half acres of freehold land within half a mile of the Manchester Royal Exchange, and other leasehold properties, fixtures, machinery and stock, together worth considerably more than the preference capital. Other assets included ample working capital; the goodwill associated with one old established successful family business and the younger company of Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd, as well as a set of patents sufficient to make any competitor feel envious. The annual average combined profits of the two firms in the middle nineties were sufficient to pay the dividend on the new issue of preference capital more than three times over (1). The hard work of “Cast Iron Colin” and his associates and successors was now paying good dividends, and the accumulation of capital through laborious personal savings in the middle years of the century had provided a successful basis for the appeal to the capital market.

William Mather was Chairman of the new Company and there were four managing directors John Platt, Edward Hopkinson, John Taylor and John Wormald. The other directors were Colin Mather, son of “Cast Iron Colin", John Milligan, Hardman A. Earle, J. J. Holden, W. Ernest Mather and. Alfred Willett.

The inclusion of Sir William’s son, Ernest Mather, who had just left Cambridge, showed that although the company had become a public one, the family tradition was to continue. It was to remain in the twentieth century as a distinctive element in the further growth of the firm. Of the present Board of Directors, six have direct family connections with their predecessors and. the other three are very long serving’ members of the Company.

(1) Chartered Accountants’ Statements, 30 November and 21 December 1898. See Manchester Guardian. 21 January 1899.   

                                                                                                                                                                                            Overview of the Salford Iron Works  Late 19th Century    

In 1883 rights to manufacture Edison's electric dynamo were acquired by the firm and, as a result of improvements introduced by Dr. John Hopkinson
the Edison-Hopkinson dynamo reached a degree of perfection not previously known in such machines. This was the first stage in the setting up of the Electrical Department.

In 1873 Professor Osborne Reynolds designed a turbine pump which    was a definite advance in centrifugal pumping. Mather & Platt developed   and improved upon       
the new invention and in doing so, laid the foundation for what eventually became a flourishing Pump Department.                                                                                           

Click here                                                    
Also in 1883 - Mr. (later Sir) William Mather, while on a visit to the United States, secured the sole rights from Frederick Grinnell to market the Grinnell automatic sprinkler in all parts of the world except North America. Initially, by the firm of  
Mather & Platt and after through Dowson,Taylor & Company Limited itself, 
they used this event to mark the beginning of yet another side of the firm's activities, 
the foundation of the Fire Department.

(click on image)

           Sir William Mather (1838 -1920) 
The men and women - the machines - the work of about one hundred and fifty years, from the early days at Salford Iron Works to the Platts and the entrepreneurial Mathers, the Dowson-Taylor story and the successes of Newton Heath thence 
to the final chapter of take-over, demise and demolition it is a Manchester story that needs to be there.The Mather & Platt story, however, is far more than just a tale of technical progress or the acquisition of new markets - for in the course of its long history, the company acquired a tradition and an international reputation which could be counted amongst the biggest of its assets. As Professor Richard Pares once wrote, “Until we can quote histories of representative banks, steamship companies, jerry-builders, tea planters, wine merchants, servants, registries, coal miners and the like, we shall 
still be talking about the history of economic policy, not about economic history - a particularly bad mistake to make about 
a country like Great Britain, where the efforts of society have usually counted for so much and those of the rulers of society comparatively speaking, for so little.” 

                                                                                                                 Richard Pares West Indian Fortune (1950),p. VII.

1914-1918   The Commemoration in 2014 - 2018                                                                                                                                                                                                         

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      (click on this image)

                                                                                                                        Mather & Platt at War                                                                                     

               The First World War 1914 - 1918, Park Works - 

The record of industrial production and general activities at Park Works is outlined elsewhere: looking at the story of the works in relation to the development of the company, it is clear that without a new site Mather & Platt Ltd. would have ceased both to expand and to adapt itself to the economic conditions of the twentieth century.

It is of interest to note that the most significant developments had taken place before 1914. By that time Park Works had taken on the shape that was to be its future and had employed new methods of production, which were not generally accepted until the First World War period.

At Newton Heath there was plenty of space for new development and the firm was even able to hand over four of its bays, 14, 15, 16 and 17, completed just before the War, to the manufacturers of Avro Aeroplanes, Messrs.A.V. Roe and Company, one of Britain’s early firms in the Aeronautical industry who were producing aircraft at a factory on an adjacent site.
Trenches 1916. Image adapted. Original c. John Dacre.

The 1914-18 War left its mark on the development of the company and the demand for engineering products for the armed forces superseded peace time production.

In August 1915 Park Works was declared a controlled establishment under the Munitions of War Act, and there was a steady switch over to war production.                

Large quantities of shell casing and fuses were turned out and a howitzer re-lining department was established. Main propelling motors for submarines, gear boxes and hull plates for      tanks, generators for searchlight duties and a multitude of other munitions of war were all produced at Park Works, the total output of munitions of one kind and another making an            impressive war effort.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            

Executive members of Mather & Platt - if not serving in the armed forces - served in high ranking positions with responsibility to the various government departments of wartime Britain.   Men like John Wormald and John Taylor did much to enable Britain's war-effort not only in the different theatres of war but also in Britain, 'keeping the home fires burning'. Both were       honoured after the War for their contributions.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

Where is this now?
This War Memorial was unveiled by the Dean of Manchester in the presence of the majority of the Directors of the company, many city dignitaries and almost the entire workforce of Mather & Platt.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

1921 - Extracted from the company Journal                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

It was a solemn and moving ceremony for all who attended. In fact, as the Dean declared, he himself had lost a brother on the borders of India during the conflict and so was moved to say how deeply he empathised with those in the crowd who were related to the honoured names on the memorial.                                                                                                              

Although he had been called upon to unveil many memorials since his arrival in Manchester, it was the first occasion that he had unveiled a memorial placed on business premises. He  was glad to see one placed at Park Works since the recording of the names of those at Mather & Platt who had given their lives "would be preaching a sermon every day ... a sermon     which would go to the hearts of all" as they picked up the pieces of working life and enjoyed the dignity of a hard-won freedom.                                                                                           

In his speech, he drew attention to a minority feeling that had become prevalent in the country that the money used in erecting such memorials would be better spent in providing better   conditions and opportunities for the living. He himself believed, however, that the memorials were justified because they served as fitting tributes to those who had made the ultimate       sacrifice in order that the living might have those opportunities to bring about such better conditions.                                                                                                                                       

 After a dedicatory prayer, three buglers sounded the Last Post which was followed by the singing of the hymn, "O God our help in ages past". The Dean then pronounced the                      Benediction after which came a period of silence until the buglers sounded Reveille and the huge crowd which had witnessed the ceremony dispersed.                                                                         

During the Great War, Mather & Platt Ltd.was represented by men in all branches of the armed services and many women served as nurses and auxiliaries. The War Memorial bore the   names of 175 men and that number made up some 14% of the 1230 men who joined up. Besides these, 251 men - near 20% - of those who joined up were wounded. The company took great care to get back as many as possible of the old employees who fought during the war. Those who were re-employed after demobilisation numbered 979, and over 800 were still in   the works. Also taken on were 126 Mather & Platt men who had been disabled and also 120 disabled men who had not worked for the firm prior to the war. Thus, disabled men formed     8% of the total number of male employees after the war.                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Image adapted from the private collection of John Dacre

1939 - 1945 The Second World War , Park Works -                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

The Second World War, like that of 1914-18, led to the firm being listed as a Government controlled enterprise. Its activities were varied. A portion of Park Works was laid out as a gun     factory and the many new and unfamiliar products manufactured included special capstans for boom defence vessels, gun mountings for the Admiralty, Bofors predictors and rocket         projectors, cordite rolling mills and machines for proofing the fabric of barrage balloons. There were few engineering firms in the country which could have rivalled this record of                 diversified production.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

At the same time, there was a steady demand for standard peacetime products, often adapted to new uses. Many of the products of apparently routine work, familiar in days of peace,     were earmarked for secret destinations and purposes. Thus we find that Mather & Platt high-pressure turbine pumps and motors were used for the "Pluto" scheme to pump oil through     pipes under the English Channel to the Continent. Similar installations, totalling about 25,000 h.p. were parts of a system of underground pipelines from the principal British oil ports         connecting to “Pluto” and to numerous airfields and bases scattered over the Britain. Made up into mobile units, Mather & Platt Ltd. pumps were used by the Services in all theatres of       war                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Image adapted from original WW2 postcard ((Japanese). c. 2002 David Drew-Smythe
  At sea, low-voltage generators produced by the firm were used for the excitation of the coils for degaussing the ships to meet the menace of the magnetic mine, and motor-alternators     were produced as part of radar and wireless equipment. Even a new and pre-eminently peace time development like the food machinery department was employed to meet service        needs, producing canning equipment for cooking and packing service rations, "dehydration" plant, grain drying equipment and milk sterilisers. Some of the equipment and machinery       was sent under contracts with the Ministry of Supply to the Soviet Union, thereby maintaining a link, which went back long before the days of war and revolution.                                      

The impact of war on the employees of the Company had different consequences in 1914-18 and in 1939-45. In 1914 several of the firm's employees who were resident in enemy              territory were interned in enemy countries while after a factory recruitment meeting there was an immediate rush of Park Works workers to join the armed forces. By contrast, the              gradual and compulsory call up scheme and the system of reserved occupations which operated from the outbreak of hostilities in 1939 prevented a chaotic rush from industry, with the    result that the firm retained most of its employees throughout the first year of the fighting. Women were drawn into the firm in larger numbers than ever before. Loris Mather, the               Chairman, commented in 1942, “While many of these have had little training for the work on which they are now engaged, we are well satisfied with the way they tackle their jobs, and     the energy and cheerfulness which they display."                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

 Finally, whereas in 1914 recent additions to the Park Works buildings were handed over to Avro for the manufacture of aeroplanes, in 1939 all available plant including some recent         extensions were urgently required for the firm's own needs. Indeed, by the end of the War in 1945, the workshops were seriously congested and the packed order book led to a search   for new premises for the third time in the firm’s history. After negotiations with the Ministry of Supply, a ten year lease of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Radcliffe about ten miles North of Park Works, was arranged, thus providing the firm with an additional manufacturing space of about 30% of the area of Park Works, and accommodation for 800 to 1,000 additional            workers. Although the post war years were to involve many problems of re-conversion in an awkward and unsettled period of economic history, the firm was expanding and again looking to the future.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Former employee, Tommy Walsh (see "The People Write" via Features Menu) writing before the site was demolished in the 1990s remembers Park Works in 1940 when"I used to pass it .                                 "Britain At Work" painted by L. S. Lowry
"In the bus, as a young man I was intrigued by the camouflage painted on the walls. Even to this day you can make out the doors and windows that were painted on the buildings to confuse the enemy. It was years later when it struck me that if the enemy was aware that our factories were camouflaged as houses, then houses would become legitimate targets. If our government saw it this way, I don't suppose we will ever know. The other thing that made me think later was that it must have been very good paint to last nearly sixty years in all sorts of weather.       .                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

There is a painting of the main entrance of Mather & Platt in the War Museum in London; painted in about 1940, I think, by L. S. Lowry. It depicts the match-like figures going through the main gate of the factory and the painting also shows barrage balloons in the background."                                                                                                                                                      

  Note - Factory workers going to work at the Mather & Platt, Manchester, in the snow  "Going to Work"                                                                                                                                     

Laurence Stephen Lowry was born in Manchester in 1887.The theme of the industrial landscape first emerged in his work around 1915; at this time he had his first exhibition at Salford
art gallery. He lived in Pendlebury in Salford for 39 years, and worked as a Rent Collector and Clerk for the Pall Mall Company Ltd. in Manchester. The landscapes Lowry chose to record were very familiar to him as his position as Rent Collector and Clerk ensured that he had first-hand experience of many of the areas around Manchester.                                                     

1958 - The Jubilee book 1958       

The first draft of this history was written in 1953 the request of the then Chairman, Loris Emerson Mather, by a team from the company itself. This draft is dated 1958. It reflects the birth, growth and life of an extraordinary entity and is both comprehensive and clear in its scope. Very few companies in the world can boast of the existence of such a profound body of researched work dating back - as this does - to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in Britain. Almost fifty years have passed since this book was written. People and places are now gone. Mather & Platt no longer exists in Manchester; but the history of this remarkable company remains - rich, detailed and alive. It is reproduced here as a tribute to the company, incorporating some amendments based on new evidence of fact, to acknowledge the greater contributions of some other personalities in the company, and as a celebration of the work undertaken by the original writers. The book they wrote was never actually published, has been designed as an internet companion volume to The History of Mather & Platt Limited,  "Integrity and Industry".  Marcel Boschi's History of Mather & Platt Ltd. Which is a detailed text and photographic record of the compagnies, men and machines in this history. 

2005 - February
                                                                                                                                "A TALE OF TAYLORS"  * 
                                                                                                           Rossendale - Bolton - Southport - Grasmere - Hale
                                                                                                               1690 - 2005                                                    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                     (click on)
                                                                                          This book is Dedicated to my Wife and Life time Consort Joan Margaret Taylor (Nee Gilman)
                                                                        Whose Support and Encouragement helped to make me What I am and this book possible together 
                                                                        we commit it to our three Sons Alastair, James and Edward for them to pass to our Grandchildren.
                                                                                                                                                                           John Frederick Taylor.
                                                                                                                                                                           February 2005

* This book is not for publication and is therefore private but Mr. John F. Taylor would reply personally to anyone seeking to have a copy,
 if they wrote to him personally about the book.

 For readers of the saga of Mather & Platt Ltd...

Mr John F.Taylor former director and executive officer of the company Mather & Platt Ltd evokes personal memories by bringing us his testimony for history. He was the third generation of his family to serve the company, being the grand-son of John Th.Taylor of Dowson, Taylor & Company Limited which joined with Messrs Mather and Platt a private firm to form in 1898 the public company of Mather & Platt Ltd

"I think it was 2002 when Marcel Boschi was over here and to meet me. I did download its book on Mather and Platt and the sprinkler history, which is about as actual as people are going to agree !! There will always be different nuances that some people would want to see inserted. I am not one for wanting to push our families position as it was very much a team success story.


However it was three generations of Taylors as you point out that built the Mather and Platt world wide reputation. My Grandfather gave the original foundation and with the work of John Wormald after the death of Ralph Dowson they built up a series of branch foreign offices and agents around the world. My father consolidated these into companies of substantial stature, the general engineering business followed particularly in France . South Africa, India, and Australia after the fire protection companies were successful.


My major contribution was at the time of the new FOC rules when fire risks were overwhelming the old sprinkler systems that were installed to the original rules that John Wormald and my Grandfather had originally written on a park bench one Sunday afternoon in Bolton.They were of course later refined to become the FOC rules used up until the 29th edition which was launched on the 12th October 1964. (My eldest son's Alastair, birthday) I remember seeing him for the first time at 6-00 am in the morning , catching the London train to attend and represent Mather and Platt at the official launch presentation by the FOC, and then back to see him again in the evening.I was 32 years of age then.


My responsibility at the time was for the special risks side of the business, that is anything that was not covered by the FOC rules. I was in charge and responsible for the fullscale tests in a whiskey warehouse of Ballentines in Dumbarton when we showed the Factory Mutual organization in the US that their requirements for whiskey warehouses were unnecessary. This resulted in a complete revision of the Factory Mutuals and Underwriters requirements in the US as well as setting a standard above the FOC rules in the UK. The date scheduled for the test was a date when I was to be on holiday in Sardinia, I had to fly back for a week leaving my young wife at the mercy of a week on her own with lots of handsome Italians around. She had a few interesting experiences !! These tests followed the large whiskey warehouse fire in Glasgow in about 1961 where several fireman lost their lives.


I and my team sorted out the high rise warehousing fire risk problems in foam rubber and polyurethane foams and carried-out extensive tests with the Michelin Tyre Company to solve their fire risk in the high stacking of rubber tyres up to 18 feet in height. On one of their tests we nearly burnt down an aircraft hanger we had hired for the test. It was insured by the Tarriff companies as their contribution to the tests. At the end Michelin equipped a new warehouse with our design of system at their plant in Clermont-Ferrand filled it with tyres and set light to it. The fire was extinguished after four hours without anyone having to go in and no damage was done to the fabric of the building except for the black soot deposits.These tests were witnessed by the Factory Mutuals and the US Underwriters resulted in their rewriting their standards for this type of risk.



In addition to this I was instrumental in Chairing the committee which wrote the rules for the Mather and Platt "Protectospray System" this system was of particular importance in the protection of oil refineries, oil platforms in the North Sea and chemical plant risks, as well as rocket launching pads.


I also worked closely with ICL and IBM in the development of computer graphics for sprinkler systems, until I had to give this up due to becoming the Managing director of the

Fire Engineering Division and therefore profit responsible for the whole of it's activities world wide.


At the time that Wormald Australia bought M&P, it was a great interrogation. But looking back, what had to be done to the Company was the need to break it up into it's different disciplines. I knew this at the time of the approach and as I was due to be next Chairman I didn't relish the idea of breaking down what my Grandfather had put together as I had so many trusted friends within the company who I felt relied on my loyalty and support.


I retired from M&P in July 1978 having served 26 years with the company and shortly before Sir William Mather who left in August the same year. After Wormald purchased M&P, it could no longer be my or Bill Mather's company and I didn't want to live in Australia where I would have had to live if I had stayed on".


John F. Taylor.2005.

2012 - Tribute to David Drew-Smythe (1950 - 2012)

"In July of 2001, David Drew-Smythe was in the process of researching the Wormald branch of his family - his maternal grandmother, born in 1901, was the youngest daughter of Sir John and Lady Mab Wormald - when, quite by chance, he came  across a message on the internet from a man in Paris called Marcel André Boschi. He was requesting information about the old  British firm, Mather & Platt Ltd., of Manchester and was interested in researching and setting out the history of the company and  its principal Directors. Knowing Sir John Wormald's connection with M+P, David responded to the message.

 After initial uncertainties and a deal of linguistic juxtapositioning, a quantity of basic information was exchanged - corporate from   Marcel and family from David - and the first few experimental pages of the site came into existence.

 The site as it appears now is the result of much research and a shared journey of discovery, working in French and in English -  both spoken and written - via files, e-mails and telephone calls between Fontainebleau, where Marcel lives (when he is not  touring and playing a serious round of golf!) and Sydney, where David - a teacher and writer - is based.

 The resulting collaboration is perhaps one of the more extraordinary trans-global achievements of the 'cyber age' and is one that  validates completely the power of the internet to overcome 'the tyranny of distance' and to be used both as an information resource and as a business tool. More than that, however, it is evidence of a partnership that has succeeded in producing a social and historical document of striking importance. Put at its most basic level, without the contribution of the great men (and the women behind them) and the companies treated on this site, the world might still be drawing water in buckets, throwing glass balls at fires and generally peering out from the dark ages (no pun intended Messrs. Edison and Hopkinson) into an uncertain future.

Marcel Boschi's History of Mather & Platt Ltd.contains text and images from a number of sources and draws on the extensive Marcel's private collections and many people. All material on this site is copyright and may not be used in any other forum or context without permission being obtained in writing. Application should be made to Marcel Boschi for such permission. Much of the text has been edited and augmented by David Drew-Smythe and many of the images have been specially treated for the specific purpose of inclusion on this site.

David was born in 1950 in Bristol and educated at Clifton College. A graduate of Exeter University (St. Luke's College), he is both a writer and a senior teacher. He currently works for the New South Wales Department of Education and Training in Sydney. He is a Drama and Technology specialist and was, for several years, Head of English at Belmont, The Mill Hill Junior School, in North London.

As a writer - his maternal grandfather's sister was Joyce Anstruther (Jan Struther) who wrote the classic "Mrs. Miniver" - he holds the distinction of having (in 1999) had a play - a Ballad Opera - produced at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London ("The Ballad of Salomon Pavey", co-written with Jeremy James Taylor) which was staged as the opening production for that theatre's 'Globe 400' Education Season. David is also a published and recorded poet.

In addition to his work within the N.S.W. Department of Education, he is currently involved with a number of freelance writing, development and research projects. For 2002 and 2003, he was the recipient of a Merit Award from the International Society of Poets in America; his work has been produced in book anthologies and on CD by that organisation. Recently (November 2004) a short story titled The Farmer's Daughter, was published in the United States as part of an anthology by The Fiction Works (Bell Ringer Series - "Tell Me of Love" volume) - a project designed for the Literacy and Language markets. The anthology is available for world-wide distribution in simultaneous printed book, e-book and audio formats - the latter as a dramatised version. Due for publication by The Fiction Works in 2005, will be David's most recent project. "The Private E-mails of William Shakespeare".

Unlike a published book, however, the nature of a web site is that it is constantly changing and can be changed within a matter of seconds, to update, correct or re-design material as often as necessary or as expedient. This site will continue to change and develop and, even if a book does eventuate - as is currently projected - this work will continue to be in the public domain as a testament to a corporate story that, in effect, began more than two hundred years ago".
David Drew-Smythe died peacefully on May 3rd 2012 in Sydney, Australia, aged 61.  

                                                                                                                            Galloping Fox Home Page

2012 - David Drew-Smythe -            Biography


                                                 -  BELGIQUE  -                                      


   "Le Grinnell"
    24, rue des Fripiers

                       A propos du sauvetage d'une pompe à vapeur Mather & Platt Ltd de la filature Motte & Cie à Mouscron

-  Une découverte par Claude Depauw  -

Claude Depauw, né à Mouscron en 1956, licencié en histoire de l’Université catholique de Louvain en 1979, archiviste à la Ville de Mouscron depuis 1979, fondateur de l’Association des Archivistes francophones de Belgique, président de la Société d’Histoire de Mouscron et de la Région depuis 1981, fondateur et administrateur de l’asbl "Patrimoine Industriel Wallonie-Bruxelles", membre de plusieurs sociétés d’histoire locale belges et françaises (Comines-Warneton, Courtrai, Tournai, Tourcoing).


Du haut de ses 23 mètresla tour de la filature Motte Cieprès de la gare de Mouscron, était un signe monumental qumarquait le paysage entre Luingne eMouscron. C'était aussi l'un des rares témoins immédia­tement visibles des toutes premières constructions élevées il y a quatre­ ving-cinq ans pour abriter un peignage et une filature de laine.

Cette «usine à usage de filature de laines peignées» située rue dBornoville fut construite par la société en commandite simple par actions Motte-De wavrin Ciefondée à Mouscron en 1906 et dont les gérants étaient Alphonse Motte-Jacquart (1857-1929) et Joseph Motte-Bernard (1865-1944). En 1907elle comprenait deux chaudières, une machine à vapeur de 385 chevaux et une dynamo pour l'éclairage des locaux. En 1909, suite à une modification de son actionnariatfut créée une nouvelle société, de ême statut juridique mais appelée Motte & Cie equi sertransformée en société anonyme après la Première Guerre mondiale1 .

Quelque temps après la création de Euromotte, qui a repris en 1982 Motte Cie en faillite, la Ville de Mouscron a racheté les bâtiments du «site Motte» et depuis en a détruit une partierevendu une autre et loué le resteAnnoncée par la rumeurla destruction de la tour m'a poussé à demander l'autorisation de pouvoir circuler dans les locaux destinés à disparaître ainsi que dans le reste de l'usine encoroccupé par lsociété EuromotteLors d'une première visite, je vis derrière une porte vitrée une machine dotée de deux pistons, marquée du nom de MathePlatt Ltd. Manchester dont l'utilité n'était pas évidente mais dont l'ancienneté ne faisait pas de doute.

Heureusementau sein des archives Motte conservées)parmi les Archives de la Ville de Mouscronla série des factures et autres papiers relatifs à la construction des bâtiments et à l'achat de tous les matériels nécessaires à la filature permet d'en savoir beaucoup plus3.

-  Chronique des échanges de correspondance entre Motte et Mather Platt -

La première pièce du dossier des relations entre les «Messieurs» de Motte et une société dont l'entête de lettre porte:  "Le Grinnell" - Extincteurs automatiques - Mather & Platt Ltd ingénieurs-constructeurs, est un devis, daté du 27 janvier 1914 pour l'installation de 1.400 extincteurs, document qui suppose qu'au moins une visite sur place de l'éventuel futur installateur a précédé cette proposition.

C'est ensuite avec les représentants de Mather & Platt à Paris et dans le Nord ainsi qu'à Bruxelles4 que la société Motte et Cie de Mouscron est en rapport fréquent pour l'installation d'un système Grinnell de lutte con­tre l'incendie couvrant la totalité de l'usine à partir de ce 27 janvier 1914 jusqu'au 4 juin 1920. Ensuite les échanges épistolaires continuèrent en rapport avec la vérification ou la réparation du système installé et en vue de son extension: dès le 30 septembre 1920, Motte demande un devis d'extension du système Grinnell à de nouveaux bâtiments en construction.


                                                 Vue aérienne de la  Filature Motte & Cie à Mouscron  (1920)

                                   Filature Motte & Cie à Mouscron  (1906)

Pour revenir à l'année 1914, dès le 10 février, Macbeth s'adresse à «Monsieur Motte-Dewavrin» à Tourcoing concernant l'«affaire Motte & Cie de Mouscron».il déclare vouloir ajouter    102 extincteurs aux chiffres prévus et en prévoir la pose dans les faux greniers de certains bâtimentsTourcoing répond le 28 févrierqu'une décision immédiate ne eut être prise et que communication est demandée du contrat de «MMotte à Gand »Le même jourMacbeth (un représentant de Mather Platt) signale qu'il a vu Alphonse Motte s le mercredi précédent             

Le 17 mars, pour répondre à son «insistance à terminer rapidement cette affaire», Motte fait une proposition à Macbeth sur base du devis du 27 janvier et de la lettre du 10 février, tout en précisant le partage des frais d'installation. Dès le 26 mars, Potter envoie à Mouscron un nouveau «devis et spécification formant contrat» fixant le coût total à 43.000 Fà payer un tiers à la commande, un tiers à la fin des travaux, un tiers six mois plus tard. Un des deux exemplaires est signé et renvoyé le 30 mars à Macbeth avec quelques remarques. Celles-ci sont acceptées le 1er, avridans l'accusé de réception du contrat signé. Le payement du premietiers est couvert le 2 avril par un chèque de 14.000 F tiré sur Tournai, avec accusé de réception et reçu datés de Paris le 3 avril.

Alors que des questions techniques précises sont évoquées dans des courriers échangés les 27 avril (passage du tuyau d'aspiration de la pompe) et 5 mai (bac de pression 23 mètres cubes), Potter avise Mouscron le juin que «les accessoires, raccords, vannes, extincteurs et tuyaux pouvos installations nos 1 et 2 et pour les raccordements de la pompe et du bac» ont été expédiés le 3 juin par l'intermédiaire de John P. Best & Co à Gand8• Accusé de réception avec demande d'envoyer des monteurs est expédié de Mouscron le 17 juin. Le lendemain, Paris signale que cela sera fait le plus rapidement possible.

Les 18, 19 et 23 juin, correspondance est échangée au sujet des tubulures devant raccorder le système Grinnell au bac de 23.000 litres d'eau construit sur la tour déjà existante 9. Potter signale le 10 juillet que ces tubulures sont à la fabrication. Du 15 juillet est daté l'avis d'expédition par bateau de 22 tuyaux de fonte de Manchester via Goole et Rotterdam à destination de Gand.

Le 3 septembre 1914le monteur Bryce Dowthwaite signe le fore­man's final report qui fait état d'une missous pression du système et du nombre de sprinklers posés. Par lettre du 18 septembre Parker10signale qu'ireste à disposition et qu'un monteur viendra ce jour-même pour visiter l'installation.

Mais déjà et plus encore dans la suite, les relations entre Mouscron, Paris et Roubaix se limitent à des incidents mineurs11 et surtout à des avances demandées par Parker pour les monteurs, demandes toutes satisfaites par Motte et débitées par Potter du compte Motte jusqu'au 10 septembre 191412 Enfin, du 10 février au 17 novembre 1915, au rythmd'un versement de 1.000 F par mois, 9.000 F ont été payés à Parker, à débiter du même compte, mais sans reçus ni avis de débit de Paris, ce quposera problème en 1919.

S'installe ensuite un silence d'environ quatre ans entre Motte et Mather Platt. La guerre en est en fait la raison principale, d'abord parce qu'elle rend difficiles les relations entre la Belgique et le Nord de la France, tous deux occupés mais coupés l'un de l'autreensuite et à plus forte raison parce que toutes les relations entre ces régions et l'autre côté du front et a fortiori l'Angleterre sont interrompues13 .

                          Pompe à vapeur Mather Platt Ltd. (Manchester) source d'eau principale de l'installation d'extincteurs-avertisseurs automatiques d'incendie de la filature Motte Cie à Mouscron (1920)


A Mouscron, la partie déjà installée du système Grinnell a subi des dommages, notamment du fait des réquisitions allemandes de tous ordres (cuivre, bronze, câbles, cordes, partie du stock, etc.) dont acte est dressé le13 novembre 1917 devant notaire14 Les objets réquisitionnés sont stockés dans une partie de l'usine où les soldats viennent les enlever. Si l'on s'en tient au devis de réparation quva suivre, la pompe à vapeur, un métrage important de tuyaux de toute sortes et un certain nombre d'extincteurs ont disparu ou ont été endommagés tandis que le compresseur d'air doit être remonté.

Les 24 mars et 23 avril 1919, Louis Carrette15 demande à Alfred Smith, l'ingénieur de Mathe& Platt réinstallé à Lille, de dresser un devis de réparations, -- l'installation de "Grinnell" que votre maison avait en construction chez nous au début de la guerre ayant été endommagée du fait de l'occupation militaire allemande de notre établissement -. Alfred Smith répond le 25 avril que, ne pouvant pas venir en Belgique parce qu'étant sujet anglais, il ne parvient pas à obtenir le passeport néces­ saire, il renvoie à V.L. Grasser L. Lyon à Bruxelles, auxquels Motte s'empresse d'écrire le 5 mai suivant et demande le passage d'un agent pour visiter l'installation.

Le 10 mai, Grasser annonce sa prochaine venue à Mouscron. Le 23 mai, il adresse en trois exemplaires un «devis et spécification pour lremise en état de votre installation d'extincteurs automatiques avertisseurs "Grinnell" contre l'incendie» daté du 21 mai pour un montant de 22.479 F. Apparaît alors une double correspondance, l'une traitant de la remise en état, l'autre tendant à liquider les arriérés du coût des travaux de 1914Dans la première affaire sont impliqués à différents moments tant Grasser à Bruxelles que Potter à Paris. Car dès le 10 mars 1919, ce dernier a envoyé un relevé de compte. En crédit y sont inscrits

24.462,80 provenant de l'addition de l'acompte du 6 avril 1914, des avances faites du 27 juin au 19 septembre 1914 et des frais de remise à domicile à la charge de Mather & Platt, le tout balancé en débit par une somme de 44.434,75 F pour Sprinkler installation et Tank outlet blacks, le solde débiteur s'établissant à 19.971,95 F. Le 23 mai 1919, Motte est d'accord avec lcoût total mais pas avec son crédit : l'origine d'un poste de 100 F luest inconnue et il y a lieu d'ajouter une lettre de débit de 15 F à Cyrille Keups le 23 novembre 1914, plus les 9.000 F remis à Parker en 1915 ainsque 218,30 F de dépenses diverses effectuées pour le compte de Mather & Platt en 1914 et 191516 .

Le 12 juin 1919Potter accuse réception, signale qu'il se met en rela­tion avec le service central de comptabilité et demande copie de la facture établie par Prosper Jackson17 Le 19 juin, Paris écrit que les 100 sont une erreur mais que les avances faites à Parker et à Keups lui sont inconnues «par suite de la guerre» et qu 'il lieu de lui communiquer ces pièces. Le 23 juinMouscron envoie copie ou duplicata des documents demandés ce dont Potter accuse réception le 26 juin. Cela ne semble pas avoir suffit puisque le 19 juillet 1919, faisant suite à une demande verbale, Mouscron expédie en recommandé à Bruxelleles originaux des neufs reçus remis par Parker en 1915, ce dont Bruxelles accuse réception le 23 juillet. Le 27 août, Potter renvoie ces pièces en les accompagnant d'un nouveau relevé de compte dont le solde créditeur s'élève à 10.838 ,65 F. Le 2 septembre 1919, Motte paye ce solde par un chèque tiré sur Tourcoing. L'accusé de réception et le reçu de Paris sui­vent le 9 septembre.

Revenons à la remise en état de l'installation dont l'avancement a évolué depuis le 23 mai 1919. Le 12 juin, Lyon écrit :

"Je viens de visiter notre usine de Manchester et après avoir pris connaissance des centaines de commandes que nous avons sur nos livres et des difficultés sous lesquelles nos usines sont obligées de travailler, soit par suite du manque universel de matières premières, soit par suite de grèves continuelles dans toutes les industries sans parler de la possibilité qui existe que les heures de travail jour­ nalier seront encore réduites tandis que les salaires seront augmentés ( ...)"

Il conseille à Motte de se décider rapidement quant aux travaux de restauration du Grinnell, ajoutant :

"Je crains fortement que par suite de ces difficultés les prix que je vous ai faitssurtout la pompe à vapeur, seront augmentés dans des proportions sensibles et que par suite des commandes que nous recevons de partout et spécialement du nord de la France pour pompestuyaux, raccords etcpour la restauration des installations dans cette région, la priorité que j'ai réussi de vous obtenir de nos usines en cas de commande immédiate ne me sera plus accordée d'ici quelque temps."

Le 16 juin, Motte est d'accord pour la réfection et la vérification dGrinnell selon ldevis, «sous réserve toutefois que ce dernier serait à réduire ou à majorer proportionnellement aux fournitures qui nous seronfaites en moins ou en plus de celles que vous faites figurer», ce qu'accepte Grasser le 20 juin18 .Commande ferme est passée le 23, avec insistance sur la livraison rapidde la pompece qui n'est pas garanti par l'accusé de réception du 24. Le 26 juin, Motte paye à Patter le premier tiers du devis par un chèque de 7.500 F tiré sur Bruxelles, avec accusé de réception et reçu de Paris datés du 1e, juillet 1919


Le 14 juillet 1919, Paris envoie une brochure, malheureusement perdue, montrant les productions de matériel de guerre de Mather Platt durant les cinq dernières années, accompagnée d'une lettre, conservéequi fait état de la production d'obus de 75, de canons de 150, de moteurs électriques pour sous-marins, d'avions, d'organes de propul­sion de tanks, tandis que le département  "Grinnell" a beaucoup tra­vaillé pour les établissements de la défense nationale et a eu pendant la guerre de jolis succès contre des incendies causés par des Zeppelins eles bombardements». Le 1°' septembre, Motte rappelle la priorité qu'a évoquée Grasser :

"Vous admettrez certes qu'après cinq années d'inactivité complète, durant les­ quelles nos ennemis communs ont tenu à nous gratifier copieusement de déboi­ res et pertes en tout genres, nous avons droit à ce tour de faveur spécial de votre part"

Le 11 septembre, Mouscron demande à ce que les travaux de réfection commencent «de suite(...) notre établissement étant remis en route depuis quelque temps déjà». Grasser répond le 13 qu'iva faire dili­gence. Le 18 septembre, il peut annoncer que la pompe à vapeur a quitté l'usine de Manchester à destination de Gand via Hull par l'intermédiaire de John PBest & Co. Des avis d'expédition sont envoyés par Paris et Bruxelles les 3 et 30 octobre. Le 12 novembre, les colis sont à Mouscron qui demande l'envoi «de suite de bons monteurs»Bruxelles signale le 15 qu'un monteur a été demandé à l'usine. Le 17, Motte écrit qu'un seune suffira pas. Le 19, Grasser répond qu'il en a demandé deux et qu'il viendra lui-même leur donner les instructions sur place. Le 25 novembreMouscron signale le passage de deux monteurs venant de Roubaix qu'on n'a pas laissé commencer puisque personne n'était là pour les instruire. Le 28, Grasser écrit qu'ils avaient bien été envoyés par Roubaix, qu'ils y sont retournés pour mettre leur passeport en règle afin de pouvoir regagner Roubaix chaque soir et qu'ils reviendront sous peu. Grasser demande aussi d'avancer au chef monteur jusqu'à 300 F par semaine. Le 16 décembre, Motte s'étonne que les monteurs ne soient pas encore revenus. Le 19 décembre, Bruxelles regrette ce retard et va télégraphier à Roubaix pour y remédier.

Entre-temps, suite à l'envoi d'un relevé de compte au 31 octobre par Paris le 26 novembre 1919, une somme de 7.486 F représentant ldeuxième tiers payable à la livraison du matériel est fournie le 28 novembre à Bruxelles avec avis à Paris par un chèque tiré sur Bruxelles, avec accusé de réception de Bruxelles le 1er décembre. Cependant, le 13 janvier 1920 (avec rappele 27 janvier)Grasser s'étend sur une information verbale formulée lors de sa visite à Mouscron le 6 décembre 1919Iété informé que «par suite de circonstances tout-à-fait imprévues hausse de prix des matières premières, hausse des salaires des ouvriersréduction des heures de travail, grèves des transportsetc.»Mather Platt ont constaté que la remise en état de l'installation chez Motte entraî­nerait pour eux une perte d'environ 8.400 F. Il demande si Motte ne serait pas disposé à intervenir pour couvrir en partie cette pertecomme d'autres l'ont déjà fait. Le 17 févrierMotte demande une pièce certifianle rétablissement complet de l'installation exigée par son assureur19Répondant positivement, Grasser rappelle le 18 sa demande d'intervention dans la perte. Les 1922 et 24 février Motte et Grasser s'accordensur un rendez-vous à ce sujet.

Suite à la visite de Grasser à Mouscron le jour précédentMottaccorde le 27 février une intervention pour un tiers de la pertesoit 2.800 F, dont la facture ainsi que celle des travaux non repris au devis sont à fournir rapidement20 . Grasser répond le même jour en signalanque le coût des travaux supplémentaires est de 3. 725,45 et en envoyant sous pli séparé des instructions imprimées pour l'entretien et le fonctionnement de l'installation. Dès le 28 février Paris envoie des fac tu­ res de 7.493 F pour le solde de la remise en état, de 3.725,45 pour les travaux supplémentaires et de 2.800 pour l'intervention dans la perteMotte réagit le même jour trouvant discordance entre ce qua été dit paGrasser lors de sa visite où il estimait les suppléments à 2.200 F. Celui-ci répond le 2 mars en donnant une explication apparemment satisfaisante puisqueBruxelles rappelant le 26 mars le règlement des trois factures, uchèque de 14.018,45 est tiré sur Bruxelles le 27 mars, avec accusé de réception le 30 mars. Cependantun décompte au 31 mars est encore envoyé par Paris le 12 mai. Mouscron répond le 15 qu'ijà payé et le 19, Paris s'excuse de son erreur.

Ainsi se terminent les relations par correspondance entre Motte et Mather Platt pour l'installation du Grinnell commencée en 1914, répa­ rée et terminée en 1919.

-  Les systèmes de lutte et de protection contre l'incendie.

Dès 1907, une installation de lutte contre l'incendie avait été placée par Pante & Masquelier de Gand. Elle comprenait une pompà vapeur Worthington de 18 mètres cubes de débit placée dans la salle de lmachine Elle faisait office de pompe d'alimentation auxiliaire21 dechaudières et pouvait être affectée au service d'incendie. Elle était toujours en place lors de l'inventaire général du 4 juillet 1917.

Pour des raisons qui nous sont inconnues, les dirigeants de Motte ont demandé à Mather Platt le placement du système Grinnell avec des sprinklers alimentés par une pompe affectée à ce seuusage.

L'installation complète et définitive est achevée le 3 septembre 1914. Quanà sa remise en étatelle peut être considérée comme terminée courant janvier 1920. Si l'on en croit le devis et lforeman's final report de 1914 ainsi que le devis de 1919, elle comprenait au tota1.561 extincteurs répartis dans 23 locaux. Les vannes de contrôle se présentaient selon un double système, l'un et l'autre équipés entre autres d'une «soupape d'alarme automatique brevetée avec moteur et cloche pour donner l'alarme et sonner continuellement dès la déclaration de l'incendie.Le système combiné fonctionnait sous air à l'aide d'un compres­seur qui maintenait l'installation sous pression d'air. Le système classique fonctionnait sous eau. Deux sources d'eau réglementaires étaient prévues: un réservoir élevé 23.000 litres installé à 17,50 mètres du sol, dans la partie supérieure de la tour; et une pompe à vapeur décrite plus loinqupuisait l'eau d'un puits artificiel 22 .

L 'installation du système Grinnell est cité comme un tout et pour une valeur de 43.000 F dans l'inventaire du matériedu 4 juillet 1917 Les Allemands n'ont sans doute pas manqué de récupérer les pistons en bronze de la pompe à vapeur comme ils ont réquisitionné le cuivre des sprinklers.

 - La pompe à vapeur -

Dans le premier devis du 27 janvier 1914, puis dans le contrat d26 mars 191423,  et encore dans le devis de remise en état du 21 mai 1919, elle est décrite de la manière suivante :  

                                                                                                                 Pompe à vapeur installée en 1920 

                                                                                                                                                     (clichés C. Depauw)

Une pompe à vapeurmodèle «Assureur», à quadruple action, n° Ill, formant la seconde source d'eau de l'installationCette pompe sera du type horizontal, aura des cylindres de vapeur de 406 mm, des plongeurs de 203 mm, course de 304 mm et sera capable de débiter 2.972 litres par minute. Les pistons en bronze munis de notre système de presse-étoupes brevetés. N.B. Les fonda tions de la pompe ne sont pas comprises dans ce devis.

Avec ses vannes et accessoires (vannes d'arrêtd'arrêt de vapeur et de mise en marche, clapet de retenue et soupape de sûretémanomètres avec robinet, purgeurs à           vapeur) ainsi que ses raccordements au puits par le tuyau d'aspiration, aux postes de contrôle des extincteurs par la conduite de refoulement, à la prise de                                 vapeur, à l'échappement de vapeur et à la vidangele tout coûte 15.400 F selon le devis de 1919.

La pompe à vapeur n'est peut-être plus tout à fait à sa place originelleEn effet, la machine à vapeur a été enlevée, les transmissions par câbles ont disparu   depuis longtemps. La structure des locaux où se trouvaient ces engins et la pompe en question ont été changées. C'est évident quand on compare les plans du début du   siècle   avec l'étaactuel. Des recherches doivent encore être effectuées pour pouvoir suivre ces modi­fications.

  - Conclusion -

La richesse de la partie «construction et matériel» des archives Motte permet de suivre de très près l'installation du système Grinnell et la pompe à vapeur qui l'alimente. La chronique de la correspondance entre deux firmes au début de ce siècle aura peut-être lassé rapidement le lecteur. C'est un procédé qune doit pas être répété pour retracer l'histoire d'une entreprise.

Pourtant, ces échanges épistolaires sont exemplaires des relations que peuvent avoir un fournisseur de matériel et son client. Chacune des piè­ces du dossier révèle tant soit peu l'évolution des discussions, l'avance­ment de la pose des fournituresla succession des payements et même l'organisation des sociétés en question, leur souci du détailleurs problèmes du momentIl y manque cependant les discussions verbales entre direction et représentants qui, on le soupçonne dans le cas présentaplanissent bien des difficultés. C'est notamment le cas lors des pourparlers concernant la participation de Motte dans la perte de Mather Platt en 1919, une pratique commerciale symptomatique des conditions économiques de l'immédiat après-guerre.

Si plus de septante ans après sa pose, la pompe à vapeur est toujours présente, son devenir dans un site industriel en cours de réhabilitation s'apparentait à la ferraille. Heureusement, un peu de vigilance et surtout la chance, comme trop souvenen pareil cas, ont pu empêchecette triste finLes 16 et 17 novembrel'équipe du Bois-du-Luc, dépêchée par M. Jacques Liébin24a démonté la pompe sans dommage, excepté des axes des pistons qui ont dû être sciés, le temps imparti au démontage étant trop court pour opérer une dépose complète. Les pièces ont été transportées le décembre 1992 vers !'Ecomusée du Centre où, une fois remontéela pompe à vapeusera visible dans les locaux des ate­liers du Bois-du -Luc.

- Visite à l'Ecomusée régional du Centre - 

Pour venir visiter la pompe, dont le premier modèle fut conçu et fabriqué en 1857, par MM. Mather & Platt à l'usine de Salford-Iron-works, dans la banlieue de Manchester, puis poursuivi à partir de 1899 par Mather & Platt Limited à Park Works, l'usine de Newton-Heath, Manchester, il s'agit d'un exemplaire qui fut fabriqué en 1920, il a été sauvé de la destruction et déposé au Musée du Bois le Duc à La Louvière en 1992, par la volonté de sauvetage opiniâtre organisée par Monsieur Claude Depauw, ardent artisan de la protection du patrimoine industriel, de la conservation de sa mémoire à l'échelle européenne et de sa transmission aux générations suivantes, qu'il veuille bien ici accepter l'expression de notre amicale et profonde gratitude.

 - La pompe de La Louvière est visible à l’Eco-musée régional du Centre, elle fait partie d'une collection de machines exposées sur le site de l'ancienne Société des Charbonnages          du Bois-du-Luc, 2b, rue Saint-Patrice, 7110 La Louvière, Belgique, adresse mail www.ecomuseeboisduluc.be 

Il est conseillé de bien vouloir prendre contact avec Mme Isabelle Sirjacobs archiviste@ecomuseeboisduluc.be   – tél. +32 (0)64 28 20 00)   

                                                                                                                                   Claude DEPAUW  Fondateur et administrateur de l’ASBL- Patrimoine Industriel Wallonie-Bruxelles                                                                             



         Références :   

    1 C. DEPAUW, Les archives de lfilature Motte Cià Mouscrondans Archives et bibliothè­ques de Belgique, t. LIXn° 3-4, Miscellanea Cécile Oouxchamps-Lefèvre, 1988pp. 69-77; IDEM, Enquêtes dcommodo et incommodo epermis de bâtir à Mouscron 1904 -1914 ), dans Mémoires de la Société d'Histoire de Mouscron et de la Région, t. XIV1992 à paraître: Etablis­ sement MottCie. Filature de Laine. Mouscron (Belgique )1907-1957, (Mouscron), 1957.

Détrurte en juin-juillet 1992, ella été élevée en 1907-1908 sur et en même temps que la bâtisse abritant à l'originune cave «aux campêches»leopérations d'étirage-calibrage du fil par tiers gill-box et de séchage dfil par séchoirsun réservoià eau pour les séchoirs recou­ vrant lbâtiment principal. Je remerciM. Lecomte, directeur technique d' Euromotte, de m'avoir accordé cette autorisation.

Archives de la Ville de Mouscron, Archives Motte, 8.2, bt96: Grinnell, fardede 1914 à 1944. Touteles indicationcitées ici sont tirées de la première farde couvrant lpériode d27 janvier 1914 a14 décembre 1921. Les dates ,citées sont celles des courriers et non celles de leur réception ou de leur envoi. Aucun dessin technique descriptif de cette machine n'a été retrouvé pour l'instant. Les autres renseignements sont extraits de ldocumentation des premières annéede l'usine (Ibidem, 8.2bte 1: timents,190 7-1914; bte matériel 1907 -19 13). Les prisont en francs belges de lpoque.

4 S.D. POTTER, 22 rue de Douaà PariIX• (aussbureau de comptabilité pour l'Europe continentale en 1919);

Allan MACBETH, 2 rue Arnould-de-Vuez à Lille;

Wallon PARKERrue Parmentier à Roubaixà partir du août 1914:

Alfred SMITH, rue Arnould-de-Vuez à Li,lle à partir du 25 avri1919;

V.L. GRASSER L. LYON 24 rue des Fripiers àBruxelles, à partidu 10 mai 1919 (dates des courriers).

Est transmise à Mouscron copie sur papieà lettre à entête rouge et bleue de l«Filature­ Teinturerie-Retorderie Motte-DewavirnLaines filées pour bonneterie. Retors et bobines pour fabrication. Pelotes et paquets avec vue de l'usine tourquennoise». Elle est un indice des lienétroits que Motte à Tourcoing conservait avec Motte à Mouscron.

     6 Motte reçu communication de lmaisoL. F. Motte Frères, renvoyé à Macbeth le 2 avril.

Alphonse MOTTE-D'HALLUIN (1883-1966), fils d'Alphonse Motte-Jacquart, l'un des rants fondateurs, avec Antoine Motte-Motte (18 95 -?), est l'un des dirigeants de la gératiosui­vante. Ils ont vu leurs noms donnés à la place qus'étend devantl'usine par décision du Conseil communa de Mouscron le 1er juillet 1964.

Des questions de fraide remise à domicile de ces expéditions pour utotal de 112,80 F sont évoquées les 11, 23 et 25 juillet. Goole et Hull sont deux ports de l'estuaire dla Humbersur la côte Est de l'Angleterre.

L'amorce de la tour construite en 1907-1908 été surélevée en 1914 pour installer un réser­void' eau de 25 tres cubes nécessaire à l'installation du système Grinnell. On y apprend que l'épaisseur de ce réservoiest de 125 mm de béton.

  1. Déjà apparu dans un courrier du 10 juilletParker devient, à partir du août 1914, l'agent local de Mather Platt. C'est lui qui fait les demandes d'avances au profit des monteurs.

  2. Fuites aux raccords du réservoir edes tuyaule 20 novembre; 15 dus à Cyrille Keups pour menues réparations le 23 novembrebris d'extincteur le 25 novembre 1914disfonctionnement d'une sonnerie d'alarme lmai 1915. Un service après-vente est donc fourni en pleine guerre par l'agent local Parker.

  3. Avances de 450 à HarrPlant (25 Juinjuillet)de 4.000 à Samuel Horrocks (17, 23, 3juillet, 4 août), de 4.400 à William Golden (712, 19 août)de 1.400 à Bryce Dowthwaite (26 août, 2, 18 septembre).

  4. Dès févrie1915, lpassage de la frontière franco-belge est interdit par les Allemands efermé par des fils de fer barbelés (L.MAES, Histoire de Mouscron, Mouscron, 1933, p. 188).

  5. Déjà, le février 1917 est dressé constat par huissier d'une réquisition de cuivre et de l'installation d'une boulangerie. Deux bombes tombent sur l'usine les 23 et 27 juillet. Le 10 août est dressé à titre préventif un inventaire descriptif et estimatif avec état des lieux 

    Louis CARRETTE-DUMONT(1878-1936) fut le premier directeur de Motte.
  6. Il s'agde neuf conversations téléphoniques du monteur Horrocks avec Roubaix en juilleet août 1914, de la fourniture de matériaux de construction et de travail ainsi que d'une facture de Prosper Jackson du 4 août 1915.

  7. Prosper JACKSON, né à Bruges en 1875installe e1909 un atelier de chaudronnerie et de tuyauterie en cuivre dans la «rue de la Statiodétournée»à proximité de l'usine Motte. L'entrprise a été reprise par son fils Prosperpuis en 1954 par Philippe son petit-fils, sous le nom de Chaudronneries et fonderies Philippe Jackson. Elle est encore en activité dans la zone industrielle (C. DEPAUW, Enquêtes...)

  8. Entre temps , l19 juin, Bruxelles annonce qu'une caisse d'outillage laissée dans l'usine paun monteur en 1914 sera récupérée; le 21 juinMouscron répond que la caisse est toujours là, mais qu'elle a été ouverte pendant l'occupation allemande.

  9. Le 12 avril, Grasser envoie des certificats d'installionavec accusé de réception le 13Le 15 mai, Motte demande encore un «certificat descriptide l'installation du Grinnell», fournle 4 jui1920. L1mars, Mouscron avertit Bruxelles, qui accuse réception le 11, qu'à la demande des monteurs, deucaisses onété envoyées par chemin de fer à P. & U. Leurent à Avelgem.

        2° Ces factures doivent entrer en ligne de compte dans lréclamation que Motte va introduire auprès du tribunal des dommages de guerre.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     Claude DEPAUW

Fondateur et administrateur de l’ASBL- Patrimoine Industriel Wallonie-Bruxelles

           -  Les pompes à vapeur Mather & Platt en Europe - 

              Les centaines de pompes à vapeur fabriquées et installées par Mather & Platt de 1857 à 1930, répondaient à l'origine à l'approvisionnement en eau de certaines  industries                          et à partir  de 1883 à l'alimentation des sources d'eau des installations de sprinklers "Grinnell',  telles les filatures de Newsky à Saint-Petersbourg, de Hua Cheng                                         Sheong.à Shanghai en Chine, en Inde et sur d'autres continents de la planète ,

                 De nos recherches et en l'état  de nos connaissances actuelles huit pompes à vapeur sorties des usines Mather & Platt à Manchester au XIXe et XXe siècles sont                                     exposées dans différents pays européens :


            1 - Le musée de la Filature d'Ellenroad, à Rochdale près de Manchester 

            S'honore de posséder actuellement l'unique pompe connue pour être encore en activité, sa visite en fonctionnement est ouverte au public, le dimanche de 11.00 h à 16.00 h                        la pompe est visible en fonctionnement à l'écran  :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mdo2WvgZH8:                        

            Conjointement, il ne faut pas rater la visite aux machines à vapeur jumelles, Alexandra et Victoria, en fonctionnement, elles fournissaient l'énergie mécanique nécessaire à                            la filature Une incursion * * * qui vaut le détour, pour les mettre en marche à l'écran cliquer ici https://youtu.be/pB4hqRupUoY

        2 - A L'Eco-Musée régional du Centre du Bois le Duc,  2b, rue Saint-Patrice, 7110 La Louvière, Belgique. 

            Il est possible d'accéder à l'exposition de la pompe à vapeur Mather &  Platt, sauvée de la destruction par Monsieur Claude Depauw.  



3 - Filature des Aulnes à Fraize (Vosges) région Grand-Est de France -

   Le 07 mai 2015, un arrêté préfectoral du Préfet de la région Lorraine, a porté inscription au titre des monuments historiques un ensemble composé de la plus haute                                  cheminée industrielle du département des Vosges située à la Filature des Aulnes à Fraize, de l'ancienne salle des machines à vapeur abritant les sources d'eau des                                installations de sprinklers, dont une pompe à vapeur Mather & Platt Ltd. Manchester datant de 1890, un groupe électro-pompe fabriqué vers 1936 par la société Le Matériel-                    électrique SW  à Champagne-sur-Seine (Seine & Marne) et les deux postes de contrôle des installations de sprinklers "Grinnell" de la Filature

  L'édification d'un Musée européen de la protection automatique contre l'incendie est en projet sur ce site.

4 - Filature de Lodz, Pologne. 

     Histoire de la famille Grohmann. La carrière à Łódź de la famille commence avec l'arrivée de Traugott Grohmann en 1842. Rapidement, les Grohmann atteignent une                               position  de premier plan dans la ville, due au mariage de Karol Scheibler Junior avec Anna  Grohmann, petite-fille de Traugott. Après la Première Guerre mondiale, les deux                   familles décident  de rejoindre leurs affaires industrielles textiles pour contrer la stagnation de l'après-guerre. 

     Leurs filatures avaient été toutes protégées par des installations de sprinklers "Grinnell", contre l'incendie, par Mather & Platt, l'actuel unique vestige représentatif de ce passage             historique est la pompe à vapeur des sources d'eau.

    Histoire de Mather & Platt en Russie. Les éminentes relations d'affaires entretenues par William Mather dans ce pays qui  intégrait à cette époque la Pologne, n'ont surpris en    Russie qui obtint des compagnies d'assurance russes des rabais substantiels de cotisations d'assurances au profit des usines protégées par de installations de    sprinkler, ce qui entraîna une rapide croissance du Grinnell. Au cours de ses premières années de présidence à Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd., William Mather lui-même veillait aux   intérêts de la nouvelle société à l'occasion de ses visites annuelles en Russie et au développement du sprinkler Grinnell dans ce pays où cette branche d'activité était exercée  temps plein. Ceci amena John Wormald lui-même à prendre la direction de l'affaire et à étudier les problèmes techniques que posaient le pays.

     William Mather dont les relations avec la Russie dataient de 1860, avouera plus tard y avoir passé plus de vingt ans de sa vie sans y inclure les intervalles jusqu'en                                  1900. Durant ses longs séjours William Mather était accompagné de sa femme et de ses enfants, la famille séjournait à Moscou où à Saint-Petersbourg,

     John Taylor lui-même passa  aussi plusieurs mois chaque hiver dans les usines russes pendant de nombreuses années


     Photograhie prise le 7 avril  2010, d'une Pompe à vapeur Mather & Platt Ltd devant le bâtiment 30 a rue Tymienieckiego à Łódź.                                                                                       https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Łódź_Tymienieckiego_remiza_pompa_02_05_2010_P5029810.JPG

5 - Musée de la Technologie de Cambridge, Angleterre

         Histoire de la pompe à vapeur de Foster Flour Mills, Station Road, à Cambridge. Elle a été installée par Mather et Platt Ltd. lors du montage de l'installation de sprinklers au                     moment de la construction du Moulin en 1902. Sa fonction était d'alimenter les sources d'eau de l'installation de sprinklers "Grinnell", un réservoir de 10 000 gallons (45.000                     litres) au point le plus élevé du bâtiment à 120 pieds (36,5 mètres) et de fournir à l'installation de sprinklers la quantité d'eau nécessaire à l'extinction d'une surface 

         impliquée en cas d'incendie.

         La pompe a été maintenue en service jusqu'en 1981. Suite à la mise aux normes de l'installation de sprinklers et à l'absence de fourniture de vapeur par le moulin, elle a                         été  remplacée par un groupe électro-pompe. Les pompes de l'installation ont été remises par donation au Musée de la technologie de Cambridge par Dalgety Spillers en                         1981 Après une remise en état de présentation par les bénévoles du musée quelques années plus tard ,en 1998, les pompes sont l'objet d'une exposition permanente..



6 - Filature de Bancroft (1890)  Angleterre -

     Pompe à vapeur à démarrage automatique de l'installation de sprinklers dénommée «Underwriter» (Assureur) fabriquée par Mather et Platt Ltd. à Manchester en1890.                             a fonctionné jusqu'en 1975, à l'usage de la protection incendie de la filature à Gargrave, a ensuite été donnée par Johnson & Johnson au Yorkshire Dales Railway 

     à  Embsay. Aujourd'hui, elle exposée à Bancroft Mill dans la cour de l'usine



7 - Bradford Industrial Museum à Brandford , West Yorkshire, Angleterre -

     Exposée au "Bradford Industrial Museum" Dans la salle de la puissante machine à vapeur. Une pompe à vapeur à incendie fabriquée par Mather & Platt Ltd pour :

     Hoffmann Sprinkler & C° Ltd. 


8 - Preston-Services à Canterbury, actuellement en dépôt  Angleterre

     Pompe à vapeur Mather & Platt Ltd à vendre à Preston-Srervices Canterbury England




   Food Machinery of Mather & Platt
                               Antwerp - Anvers       


Before the War, a useful trade had been carried on in Europe. This was done partially by export, and partially by local manufacture. In France, Brittany was the main centre of vegetable and fish canning and in this area S.A. Mather & Platt had made arrangements with a local firm at Quimper, Etablissements Jean Louarn, to manufacture any Food Machinery which, for various reasons could not be imported. Similarly, in Belgium, an arrangement was made with the firm of Edouard Lecluyse in Antwerp, and Food Machinery of Mather & Platt design was manufactured in both Factories for sale in Europe.

During the War, when all trade with Europe ceased, the French Company had to fall back on its own resources and in order to continue the Food Machinery business, made arrangements to finance Jean Louarn so as to expand his Works and manufacture machines which had previously been imported from England, and others which were developed in France during the course of the War. This initiative on the part of the French Staff not only kept the business alive, but resulted in a healthy expansion after the war was over.

The range of Food Machinery manufactured by Mather & Platt Ltd, included not only machines for Canning, but also machines for general food purposes such as Root Vegetable and other Washers, Food Pumps, Grain Dryers and Glass Jar Dryers, Peelers for all types of fruit and vegetables, Graders by size, weight or specific gravity, many forms of Cutters, Choppers, Dicers and Slicers, Filling and Inspection Tables and Conveyers which handle a great variety of items.

The M & P designed Pea Viner, embodying several new features, and having a higher throughput than competitive models, found ready markets, several hundreds being sold at home and overseas.

A Mather & Platt Canning Line is fully automatic, and processing times and temperatures can be controlled by the operation of instruments alone. A good example is the Pea Line. The Pea Vine is reaped in the field and loaded automatically onto a Trailer. It is then tipped alongside the Viner into which it is fed. with pitch forks. The shelled peas are delivered from one side of the Viner at the rate of about 30 cwts per hour and the waste vine is carried away on a Conveyor to be made into silage. The peas are then elevated into the Winnower, which cleans them, gravitate through a Washer and are pumped to the Grader and again to the next process of Blanching. Here the intercellular gases are driven out, surface infections are removed and the peas are thoroughly cleaned. They are then cooled and washed again, passing over a Picking Table where they are visually inspected for the removal of sub-standard peas. They are then washed again, pass through a machine to remove splits and skins, elevated to a Hopper, from which they gravitate to the Filler and then into the can together with a measured quantity of brine. The filled cans then pass through an Exhauster system which, by heating the can and its contents, drives off the air and ensures a good vacuum in the can after the next process of seaming on the lids. The closed cans then travel through an automatic Pressure Cooker and Cooler from where they roll away to be labelled and cased, or stored. Similar lines are made for handling other Vegetables, Fruits and Fish while specialised machines can be incorporated in the Lines to adapt them for Soup, Milk or Meat.

Throughout the whole of this process, no part of the pea or pea vine need be touched by hand, and the peas are usually in labelled cans, graded according to size, and cooked within four hours of the pea vine being reaped. An automatic line of this description can handle two hundred cans a minute with very little labour, and under complete and automatic process control. This chain of processes would amaze a housewife, and surprise an early pioneer like Appert. It is an excellent example of a revolution in the consumer industry, which has revealed yet again the close connection between technical invention and business enterprise.

M&P France - Food Machinery production

India - Cup Dispension & Cleaning Machine

Before the war, a useful trade had been carried on in Europe. This was done partially by export, and partially by local manufacture. In France, Brittany was the main centre of vegetable and fish canning and in this area S.A. MATHER & PLATT (France) had made arrangements with a local firm at QUIMPER (Finistère), Etablissements Jean LOUARN, to manufacture any Food Machinery which, for various reasons, could not be imported. Similarly, in Belgium, an arrangement was made with the firm of Edouard LECLUYSE in ANTWERP, and Food Machinery of Mather & Platt design was manufactured in both Factories for sale. .

                                     Food Machinery division of Mather & Platt.

                   Food Machinery of Mather & Platt

                                                                                                                                   -   FRANCE  -                                  


Paris, Tour Eiffel, Lieux D'Intérêt



               Mather & Platt  S.A.

                    Head Office

               9, avenue  Bugeaud

                   75116 PARIS    

S.A. Mather & Platt Front Page

                                                                                                                                 S. A. Mather & Platt France

                                                                                                                                            Paris Headquarters


S.A Mather & Platt FRANCE
Fire Engineering, Park Works, 59100 ROUBAIX
Food Machinery, Atelier de l'Eau Blanche, Route de Rosporden, 29000 QUIMPER        


1884 - Année de l'arrivée du sprinkler "GRINNELL" en France.                   

C'est au début de l'année 1884 que Messieurs Mather & Platt réalisèrent en France à Roubaix, la première installation de sprinkler « Grinnell », dans la célèbre filature de coton de Messieurs Motte-Bossut Fils, devenue aujourd'hui "Le centre des Archives nationales du monde du travail". Au mois de septembre de la même année fut éteint le premier incendie en France, par deux têtes de sprinkler "Grinnell" dans la salle des batteurs.de cette importante usine textile. Voici un extrait de la lettre reçue du propriétaire :

" Par suite de la présence d'une pierre dans notre ouvreuse verticale, le feu prit au coton contenu dans ce batteur et se communiqua immédiatement au dépôt essentiellement inflammable de coton ouvert déjà et se trouvant à l'avant de cette machine. Avant que les ouvriers n'aient eu le temps de se servir de leurs tuyaux d'incendie, deux appareils sur huit installés dans cette petite salle, entrèrent en fonction et réduisirent les dégâts sans autre secours, à une valeur de quelques francs".     


                                                                                                                                                                                                (click on)            
                                          Entrée de la Filature Motte-Bossut Fils à Roubaix, elle abrite aujourd'hui  Le "Centre des Archives nationales du monde du travail"

En septembre 1884 a
u second étage de l'immeuble dans la petite salle des batteurs, la présence d'une pierre dans l'ouvreuse verticale mit le feu  au contenu de ce batteur deux sprinklers sur huit installés en début d'année s'ouvrirent, ce fut  en France 
la  première extinction d'incendie par deux sprinklers 

                       (click on) 
  Salle des batteurs d'une Filature de coton  française

 1888 - Entrée en scène de Dowson Taylor & C° Limited -

En 1888, la firme de MM. Dowson et Taylor, installateurs de sprinklers acquiert les droits d’exploitation du sprinkler "Grinnell" à MM. Mather et Platt, acquis de Frederick Grinnell en 1883. 
Les nouveaux acquéreurs transforment le statut de leur entreprise en une société privée, qui prend en charge l’apport des actifs industriels du département sprinkler de MM. Mather et Platt et celui des actifs de MM. Dowson et Taylor. La nouvelle entreprise devient « Dowson, Taylor & Co Limited » avec Ralph Dowson, John T.Taylor et John Wormald, en tant que Directeurs-généraux, William Mather comme Président non-exécutif et John Platt en tant qu’administrateur non-exécutif. 
D’abord installée à Bolton la firme “Dowson & Taylor” s’intéresse à la fabrication d’un modèle d’extincteur portatif chimique « Le Simplex » qui acquiert rapidement une notoriété certaine.  Un déménagement est effectué quelques années à Blackfriars Bridge, une localité voisine de Manchester, il va lui donner les moyens de réaliser ses ambitions, à savoir la création de son propre sprinkler « Le Simplex », le 29 avril 1886, qui comporte une avancée technologique inédite sur le marché, ses installations sont dotées d’une alarme en cas d’ouverture d’un sprinkler ou d’une rupture de canalisation, un brevet est déposé le 12 juin  1888. 
Les accords de partenariat conclus en 1888 entre MM. Mather et Platt, propriétaires du sprinkler « Grinnell » universellement reconnu pour sa fiabilité et MM Dowson & Taylor, propriétaires de leur système d’alarme, aboutissent à l’abandon immédiat du sprinkler « Simplex » inventé par MM. Dowson et Taylor, la société nouvelle Dowson, Taylor & C° Limited, devient seuls propriétaires du Sprinkler Grinnell et du Clapet d’alarme inventé par J T. Taylor.
Ce rapprochement constitue une avancée considérable qui précède la création le 1er janvier 1899 de Mather & Platt Limited, suite à la dissolution volontaire des firmes de MM. Mather & Platt et de la société Dowson, Taylor & C° Limited. 
En 1902 le département Incendie de Mather & Platt Limited s’installe dans son usine (Park-Work) à Newton-Heath  Manchester. 
Il faut rappeler qu'en 1883, Mr. (plus tard Sir) William Mather avait acquit de Frederick Grinnell les brevets et droits du sprinkler «Grinnell»  pour le monde entier excepté l'Amérique du Nord qui furent d'abord exploités de 1883 à 1888 au bénéfice de la société privée «Messieurs Mather & Platt», puis de 1888 à 1898 par la société "Dowson, Taylor & Company Limited" puis finalement par la société publique Mather & Platt" Limited, lors de sa création en tant que société publique. 

1921 -  British Chairmen of the French Company -

Mather & Platt Ltd. had been trading in France via agencies (Sydney Potter is recorded as the company's General Agent in 1908, 65, rue Saint-Lazare, 75009 PARIS. In 1910, 22, rue de Douai, 75009 PARIS and by its own endeavours but, it was not until 1921, that a fully-fledged company was incorporated in Head Office was set up in Paris - 179, rue de la Pompe 75116 PARISlater 9, Avenue Bugeaud 75116 PARIS.and finally with Mr. Eustace Balfour, as last British president, 29; avenue Georges Politzer, 78183 TRAPPES. 

The Fire Engineering Division at Roubaix - Park Works- 59100 ROUBAIX in the north of France and the Food Machinery works at Quimper - Atelier de l'Eau Blanche, Route de Rosporden, 29000 QUIMPER, situated about 300 miles west of Paris, overlooking the wild Atlantic Ocean. There was also a small workshop and stores in Marseille

The first S.A. Mather & Platt Chairman - appointed when the company was incorporated - was Sir John Wormald. He served from December 1921 until September 1924. The early twenties were difficult years for industry - in France as much as in Britain. The post-war period brought with it a new set of challenges and a labour force, in both countries, ready for change. By this stage in his life John Wormald was 62 and approaching well-deserved retirement. He stepped down as Chairman in France when he turned 65 and was followed in September 1924 by Loris Emerson Mather, the son of the original Mather (Sir William) - co-founder of the 1899 public company in Britain. John Wormald died in 1933.

1910 Firedoor advertised through S.D. Potter's Paris Agency

 Once launched, the company continued to trade successfully up to (and after) the Second World War. Its wartime experiences will be treated in a separate section at a later date. After the war business restructuring took place and life, trade and fortune took a turn for the better. The company's history was next punctuated by the global take-over by the Australian born, Wormald International, at which point its name was changed to M+P Wormald. After Tyco acquired Wormald in 1990, the prestigious Mather & Platt branding was retained and is now very much prized under the Tyco banner - and the company is still as vibrant and robust as ever it was.
Click here Back to access a picture (with names) of S.A. Mather & Platt Executive personnel who attended a luncheon at the Café de la Paix in 1922. Here also is to be found a summary of the speeches made.

Loris Mather became Chairman of Mather & Platt Ltd. in Britain shortly before the end of World War 1. He became the longest serving British Chairman of the French company and, although he resigned in France in 1950, he remained as Chairman of the parent company and always kept an avuncular eye on France

                                                                                                                                   Legendary  Herbert G. North 
                                                                                                                                     Président-Directeur Général  

Also a Chairman of
S.A. Mather & Platt

      Herbert North                                                        

From the archives ...

From January 1950 - May 1955, Herbert North was the Chairman. He was followed by Eustace Balfour who was the son of the British politician. He was the last British-born President, Director-General of S.A. Mather & Platt in France. He was also a man who served the company for a long time - 22 years in all from 1956 until 1978 when Wormald-International acquired global control of Mather & Platt. At this time he was given early retirement in 1978 - still a comparatively young man to face such a prospect, as were several others at that point. 

Eustace Balfour - son of the British politician. 
   President  Eustace Balfour     
The French company was very soon changed in 1978 to Mather+Platt Wormald. The Wormald element stemmed, ironically, from two of Sir John Wormald's own Brothers who had set up - with his guidance - a similar company in Australia during the first decade of the century. The venture was originally called Wormald Brothers.. 

Baron François Roissard de Bellet                             

François was Secretary to S.A. Mather & Platt and retired in March 1954, when this group photograph was taken and had, by then, been associated with the company for over forty-four years. His health, at this time, was not the best. His friends in Paris were anxious, therefore, that his leave-taking should not be entirely 'official'; but it was not until May of that year that he was well enough to attend a small ceremony held in his honour. On May 19th, he received a long-service medal issued by the French Ministry of Labour and was presented with a chiming clock from the firm in recognition of his long and faithful service. Mr. J. D. Paybody and Mr. George Roberts were in Paris at the time and represented Park Works, Manchester at the ceremony.                                                                                                                                                          

                                                                         Lucien Woindrich - 50 Years Service to M&P France                                                                                    

Lucien Woindrich was born in 7th may 1901,at Héricourt (Haute-Saône) in the Franche-Comté region of France. Héricourt was a significant centre for the cotton industry. He began working at Mather & Platt in 1916, at the age of 15, and began his career as an apprentice as did his long time friend and also cousin (see Geneanet) Ernest Boschi, just a few years later.                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

He worked his way up through the company and very quickly became Manager of the Sprinkler Division of Fire Engineering. Marcel Boschi, Ernest's son, remembers him as almost a member of the family. Marcel's four uncles worked under Lucien Woindrich and it was Woindrich himself who encouraged Ernest to accept Loris Mather's invitation to make a study trip to Manchester and to the British factories of M&P in 1951. Loris Mather was Chairman of Mather & Platt in Britain at that time.

Lucien Woindrich was a well-informed and highly-qualified man who took the time to listen to his workers. Respected for for his courtesy and for his diplomatic skills, he was an expert in industrial relations. In 1954 he was appointed to a seat on the Board - a seat he held until his retirement in 1966 after a career spanning some fifty years.                                                  

S. A. Mather & Platt - Paris
Office Staff, 1954

Directors - first row seated - right to left
Lucien Woindrich
Administrateur de la S.A. Mather & Platt
Directeur de la division Sprinkler. Fire Engineering
René Legrand
Administrateur de la S.A. Mather & Platt
Directeur de la division Food Machinery
Baron François de Bellet
Administrateur de la S.A. Mather & Platt
Secrétaire Général
Herbert North
Administrateur de la S.A. Mather & Platt
Jean Pirie
Administrateur de la S.A. Mather & Platt
Jean Mignot
Administrateur de la S.A. Mather & Platt
Directeur de la division special hazards de la Fire Engineering
(risques spéciaux - Mulsifyre, Protecto-spray, etc)
2nd Row right to left (standing #11)
Daniel MignotFire Engineering Drawings
3rd. Row right to left (standing #8)
Melle. LasalleHerbert North's secretary
Seated left of Lucien Woindrich
Melle. DejoieChef Comptable
Back Row right to left (standing #9)
Henri Chevalley, Fire Engineering Drawings

                 Société Anonyme Mather & Platt   
  .       Division machines pour l'agroalimentaire

                            - Usine de Quimper -

Atelier de l'Eau Blanche, Route de Rosporden 29000 QUIMPER


Before the War, a useful trade had been carried on in Europe. This was done partially by export, and partially by local manufacture. In France, Brittany was the main centre of vegetable and fish canning and in this area S.A. Mather & Platt had made arrangements with a local firm at Quimper, Establissements Jean Louarn, to manufacture any Food Machinery which, for various reasons could not be imported. Similarly, in Belgium, an arrangement was made with the firm of Edouard Lecluyse in Antwerp, and Food Machinery of Mather & Platt design was manufactured in both Factories for sale in Europe.

During the War, when all trade with Europe ceased, the French Company had to fall back on its own resources and in order to continue the Food Machinery business, made arrangements to finance Jean Louarn so as to expand his Works and manufacture machines which had previously been imported from England, and others which were developed in France during the course of the War. This initiative on the part of the French Staff not only kept the business alive, but resulted in a healthy expansion after the war was over.

The range of Food Machinery manufactured by Mather & Platt Ltd, included not only machines for Canning, but also machines for general food purposes such as Root Vegetable and other Washers, Food Pumps, Grain Dryers and Glass Jar Dryers, Peelers for all types of fruit and vegetables, Graders by size, weight or specific gravity, many forms of Cutters, Choppers, Dicers and Slicers, Filling and Inspection Tables and Conveyers which handle a great variety of items.

The M & P designed Pea Viner, embodying several new features, and having a higher throughput than competitive models, found ready markets, several hundreds being sold at home and overseas.

A Mather & Platt Canning Line is fully automatic, and processing times and temperatures can be controlled by the operation of instruments alone. A good example is the Pea Line. The Pea Vine is reaped in the field and loaded automatically onto a Trailer. It is then tipped alongside the Viner into which it is fed. with pitch forks. The shelled peas are delivered from one side of the Viner at the rate of about 30 cwts per hour and the waste vine is carried away on a Conveyor to be made into silage. The peas are then elevated into the Winnower, which cleans them, gravitate through a Washer and are pumped to the Grader and again to the next process of Blanching. Here the intercellular gases are driven out, surface infections are removed and the peas are thoroughly cleaned. They are then cooled and washed again, passing over a Picking Table where they are visually inspected for the removal of sub-standard peas. They are then washed again, pass through a machine to remove splits and skins, elevated to a Hopper, from which they gravitate to the Filler and then into the can together with a measured quantity of brine. The filled cans then pass through an Exhauster system which, by heating the can and its contents, drives off the air and ensures a good vacuum in the can after the next process of seaming on the lids. The closed cans then travel through an automatic Pressure Cooker and Cooler from where they roll away to be labelled and cased, or stored. Similar lines are made for handling other Vegetables, Fruits and Fish while specialised machines can be incorporated in the Lines to adapt them for Soup, Milk or Meat.

Throughout the whole of this process, no part of the pea or pea vine need be touched by hand, and the peas are usually in labelled cans, graded according to size, and cooked within four hours of the pea vine being reaped. An automatic line of this description can handle two hundred cans a minute with very little labour, and under complete and automatic process control. This chain of processes would amaze a housewife, and surprise an early pioneer like Appert. It is an excellent example of a revolution in the consumer industry, which has revealed yet again the close connection between technical invention and business enterprise.

M&P France - Food Machinery production

India - Cup Dispension & Cleaning Machine

Before the war, a useful trade had been carried on in Europe. This was done partially by export, and partially by local manufacture. In France, Brittany was the main centre of vegetable and fish canning and in this area S.A. MATHER & PLATT (France) had made arrangements with a local firm at QUIMPER (Finistère), Etablissements Jean LOUARN, to manufacture any Food Machinery which, for various reasons, could not be imported. Similarly, in Belgium, an arrangement was made with the firm of Edouard LECLUYSE in ANTWERP, and Food Machinery of Mather & Platt design was manufactured in both Factories for sale. .

                     Engineering Hub - links to other divisions Engineering Hub in Europe.

    Quimper's Factory 

             Société Anonyme Mather & Platt 
         Division protection générale incendie
                (Fire Engineering, Park Works) 
                      - Usines  de Roubaix - 

25 bis, rue Rollin 59100 ROUBAIX 

Ernest Boschi  - adapted from photograph c.1935The Arms of Fraize

Ernest Boschi
Manager of the French factories Mather & Platt S.A., Fire engineering.

He was born at Fraize (Vosges) France, in 5th June 1903, he joined the company on the 12th November, 1920 bringing with him all the ambition and energy of youth - determined to work hard to enhance his career and to promote the success of Mather & Platt in France - to which end he eventually devoted his whole working life.

When Ernest Boschi was recruited in 1920, Loris Emerson Mather was Chairman of Mather & Platt Ltd. in Manchester, whilst Sydney Potter was M&P's General Agent in France. In 1921, however, the new French company S.A. Mather & Platt was formed with Sir John Wormald becoming its first Chairman and Sydney Potter the Managing Director.

He served with field construction units and in many other capacities both in the Fire Protection and Sprinkler sections of Mather & Platt. After that he was sent to North Africa to take up a post of responsibility wherin he had to develop and install fire protection sprinkler systems, principally for the flour milling industry.     

 He returned to Metropolitan France to take up new responsibilities within the company, becoming involved in a variety of industrial departments - still working on sprinkler systems and concentrating on development and installation. He worked his way up through the company until, in 1931, he was appointed Manager (by Sydney D. Potter, the company General Manager) taking over from Robert Hilton who had been the Manager since 1925 at the company's factories at Roubaix Ernest Boschi (1903-1964) has had a long association, he was been during 33 years in Roubaix, manager of the factories Mather & Platt S.A., Fire engineering. His career began with the company in 1920 and lasted until his death, in 1964.

Fidex Sprinkler Head 1946

As Manager, his first goal was to modernise the factory and to equip it with new technologies capable of producing the necessary up-to-date plant for the installation of sprinkler systems - pipes, valves, pressure tanks, sprinkler-heads, coupling joints, hangers, hydrants - as well as maintenance supplies for this fire protection equipment. He also concerned himself with the improvement of working conditions and conditions of service within the factory itself..

Fire Door  - made at Roubaix.After the end of the Second World War, in 1946, he launched the company into the manufacture of sprinkler heads - developing in close co-operation with Alfred Hudson (an English engineer from Mather & Platt - Manchester) the Fidex sprinkler model which had been made in England under the name of Titan, by J H Lynde and George Mills of Radcliffe.

Writing in 1923, Sir John Wormald, Chairman of S.A. Mather & Platt, France stated, "The "Simplex" Sprinkler had been superceded by the Grinnell when Dowson & Taylor joined forces with Mather & Platt early in 1888, but the "Witter" and the "Titan" Sprinklers, in considerably modified forms remained on the market with other devices of later date." Once production of the Fidex had started in France, "Grinnell" sprinkler heads were no longer imported from Manchester. The sprinkler Fidex model was made exclusively in Roubaix and in Japan.

In 1947 Ernest Boschi set in motion an upgrade of factory buildings whilst also developing new production lines for the prefabrication of pipes and couplings for sprinkler installations. In 1948 he also equipped the factory for the production of armoured fire-doors.

Ernest Boschi continued to serve as Manager and brought to the company the positive qualities of a self made-man. He had a hard-headed business sense, a determination to get the best out of himself and those about him and he was possessed of a great energy. He communicated his enthusiasm to his team, his family and to many others so that in his time he became a central figure.

Mather & Platt S.A. Fire Engineering
In 1883 - Mr. (later Sir) William Mather, while on a visit to the United States, secured the sole rights to market the Grinnell automatic sprinklers in all parts of the world except U.S.A. and Canada. With his friendship and association with John Wormald who had joined Dowson, Taylor & Co Limited. from the insurance industry, Mather & Platt Ltd. used this event to mark the beginning of yet another side of the firm's activities - one which was to leave a lasting legacy to the history of Fire Protection ...
Sprinkler Division M+P
Mulsifyre M+P
Protectospray M+P
Hydrants M+P
Armoured Fire Doors M+P
Armoured Fire Doors
  Promotional material - also showing the layout of M&P Roubaix

                                                                                                  Extincteur chimique portatif contre l'incendie "Le Simplex" 

 1897 - Dowson, Taylor & C° Limited s’installe en France -

L’entreprise a vocation à protéger contre l’incendie le monde entier excepté l’Amérique du Nord.
Lille capitale régionale de l’industrie textile du Nord de la France, a vu le 31 mars 1897 l'ouverture des bureaux et ateliers de Dowson, Taylor & Cie Ltd  comprenant un centre d’essais et de démonstrations créés à échelle réelle..

1899 - LA FILATURE DE FRAIZE (Vosges) - France - "Historique extrait des Archives départementales des Vosges" *

"Historique Nicolas Géliot, industriel originaire de Bourgogne, s’installe en 1835 à Plainfaing pour y fonder un petit empire industriel textile dans la Haute-Vallée de la Meurthe. Il fait l’acquisition du vieux moulin d’Habeaurupt pour installer sa toute première filature à force hydraulique. L’usine est officiellement mise en route en 1837. En 1849, Nicolas Géliot rachète la papéterie de Plainfaing qu’il transforme en filature, entreprend la construction du tissage de la Croix des Zelles, puis achète en 1855 les tissages de Noirgoutte, situés tous deux à Plainfaing. L’extension des établissements N. Géliot et fils se poursuit en direction de Fraize. L’industriel fait construire à Fraize en 1857 une nouvelle usine, qu’il équipe avec d’importantes machines fournies entre autres par la maison André Kœchlin de Mulhouse. Il introduit en 1860 la machine à vapeur en complément de la force hydraulique existante. L’ensemble de ces machines comprend une ouvreuse, plusieurs batteurs, des cardes, des bancs d’étirage, des bancs à broches et des renvideurs mécaniques. Nicolas Géliot décède le 5 août 1873 à Plainfaing. La succession des établissements est assurée par son épouse, Marie-Rose Deparis, ses enfants Henri, Adrien, Louis et Marie-Berthe Géliot et par son gendre Émile Gillotin, qui devient le directeur général de la firme. La société N. Géliot et fils est donc créée en 1874. En 1873, le tissage de Noirgoutte est entièrement dévasté par un incendie. Il est en totalité reconstruit. En 1874, le tissage de la Truche de Plainfaing vient se rajouter à la firme Géliot. Ce tissage fut créé en 1847 par P. Dollfus. Le développement continue avec l’acquisition, en 1883 du tissage des Graviers de Plainfaing ; le tissage de la Croix des Zelles est agrandi et celui d’Habeaurupt modernisé en 1888. En 1889, après la suppression du libre-échange, la firme Géliot monte véritablement en puissance. La manufacture des Aulnes de Fraize est ainsi créée et officiellement mise en action en 1891. Elle comprend 458 métiers de 58 000 broches et deux machines à vapeur. Le rachat des tissages de Saulcy-sur-Meurthe en 1894 propulse la firme Géliot aux premiers rangs des firmes textiles des Vosges". 

La Filature de Fraize, outil de travail modèle et exemplaire, datant du XXème siècle, n'existe plus aujourd'hui, elle a été détruite en juin 1989 par choix pour en faire une prairie, la transmission de sa mémoire culturelle atteinte en plein coeur s'est interrompue dans la vallée de la Haute-Meurthe. 
La découverte il y a quelques années d'un rapport établi vers 1930 par Monsieur Raymond Meyer, nous fait revivre les grands moments de la filature à travers un bel exemple de la transmission de la mémoire du patrimoine culturel. 

 Sources : 


  1. Fonds de la filature Géliot (XXe s.).pdf

 Archives départementales des Vosges Histoire de Fraize - La Costelle - L'industrie Cotonnière (pages 258 à 268)

          (click on)                                                                      LA FILATURE DE FRAIZE (Vosges) - France -

                                                                                                                           1899 - 1989


Rapport de Monsieur  Raymond MEYER
Ecole Supérieure des Sciences. Economiques et Commerciales de Paris, vers 1930

"L’installation d’une usine importante sur les terrains de l’ancienne usine brulée, dont la superficie se limitait à cette époque à 86 ares 80, serrés entre le cours de la Meurthe et les constructions de l’agglomération centrale de Fraize, imposait en 1900 la solution d’une filature à étages.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Photos Fil Fraize                                                                                                                  

    (click on this image)

Cette solution était d’ailleurs toute indiquée pour le travail spécial des cotons Jumel auquel cette usine était destinée, le bâtiment à étages dans sa conception moderne des grandes filatures anglaises ayant été poussée à une grande perfection.

L’ensemble réalisé sur le lieu de l’ancienne filature de 1900 à 1914 était d’une conception parfaite, moderne, poussée jusqu’à l’extrême pour utiliser toute la place disponible et la réserver à la fabrication. L’agrandissement de cette filature au moment de la reconstruction après la guerre posait donc avant tout le problème de l’élargissement des terrains ; il reçu une solution heureuse par la déviation du cours de la Meurthe, ce qui porta l’étendue de la propriété à plus de 2 ha 1/2 d’un seul tenant.

Les terrains nécessaires avaient été acquis progressivement depuis plusieurs années avec une grande prévoyance dans ce but.

Grâce à cette réalisation, la filature de Fraize put être porté à son importance actuelle par la construction d’une aile nouvelle et toutes ses dépendances purent être élargies et modernisées.

La surface totale d’utilisation donnée par les bâtiments, comptée bien entendu en additionnant la surface des étages et du sous-sol, atteint actuellement 25 220 m2 environs. Ces dernières sont exécutées entièrement en maçonnerie massive de moellons et angles de granit avec colonnes en fonte supportant des poutrages très solides en fer.

Les plates-formes des étages sont en béton de ciment, recouverts seulement dans certaines salles de planchers de bois et parquets de chêne, suivant la destination et l’utilité du travail.

De larges baies vitrées répandent la lumière à profusion dans ces grandes salles carrées, dont les plus importantes ont dans l’ancien bâtiment près de 50m sur 40m soit une surface de 2000 m2 environ.Enfin la couverture des bâtiments principaux a été conçue et réalisée de la façon la plus parfaite par 2 plates-formes de béton de ciment,entre fers, séparées par une couche élastique pour éviter toute trépidation du béton supérieur, qui forme une cuvette recouverte d’asphalte,contenant de l’eau ; ce joli bassin est alimenté en tout temps soit par la pluie, soit par les trop pleins des pompes du fonctionnement de l’usine.

Cette couverture réalise l’idéal d’un toit de filature subissant le moins de variations de températures, tenant le plus chaud en hiver et le plus frais en été, assurant aux salles qu’il recouvre la possibilité de régler plus facilement leur état hygrométrique ; elle n’a que l’inconvénient de coûter très cher.

Pour les nouveaux bâtiments construits en 1920 après la guerre (1914-1918), on a adopté le même genre de construction dans la mesure du possible : mêmes murs en maçonnerie avec moellons et angles de granit, mêmes baies vitrées.

Mais les colonnes en fonte et les gros poutrages en fer ayant été introuvables à cette période de la reconstruction, on a dû avoir recours pour ces bâtiments au ciment armé.

Le toit a dû être exécuté en ciment volcanique avec une couche de sable remplaçant la nappe d’eau.

La valeur de cette couverture est inférieure à celle de la première, mais elle est suffisante, surtout pour la salle de retordages qui a été disposée à l’étage de ce bâtiment, cette opération étant beaucoup mois délicate au point de vue de la régularité des conditions de température et d’hygrométrie que la filature de Jumel elle-même.

A la filature de Fraize, l’installation de force motrice, vapeur de 1900 a été maintenue, car elle est encore des plus modernes, comportant



                        Chaufferie :

1 batterie de 4 chaudières semi-tubulaires de 180 m2 de surface de chauffe timbre (12 kg). (S.A.C.M.)

4 surchauffeurs Schwoerrer portant la vapeur à 300° C

1 Réchauffeur Green de 320 tubes pour l’eau d’alimentation.

Les chaudières sont en sous sol et le charbon descend au déchargement par de grandes trémies jusque devant les foyers.

Un grand parc à houille longeant toute la cour contient la réserve de combustibles ; il est en communication avec les chaudières par une galerie souterraine à plan incliné.

Machine à vapeur : "triplex" de 1200 C.V. (S.A.C.M.) avec distribution par obturateur.

Reste en parfait état d’entretien, elle donne un excellent rendement.

La machine à vapeur attaque directement tous les étages de l’ancien bâtiment par son volant de 5 m 50 de diamètre, au moyen de 32 câbles en coton et en chanvre se répartissant sur les commandes des différentes salles.

A côté de ce à moteur à vapeur est accouplées avec lui, au moyen d’une transmission à câbles, 2 turbines hydrauliques (J.J. Rieter & Wintherthur) installées en 1914 peuvent fournir un appoint de force de 300 C.V. au maximum, cette force étant généralement moindre, puisque proportionnée au débit de la riviére.

Ces turbines ont été maintenues dans leurs dispositions premières, attaquant directement la transmission, mais une ancienne roue d’eau, dont nous avons parlé dans le chapitre "reconstitution" a été remplacée par un nouveau groupe de turbines Singren (Constructions Electriques de France) constituant avec leur alternateur accouplé directement sur arbre, la station hydro-électrique de Fraize.

Le local de cette dernière a été réuni avec celui des turbines Rieter pour la simplification des services.

Les installations de chauffage, de ventilation et d’humidification des salles ont été tout particulièrement étudiées dans cette filature de fin où les conditions hygrométriques jouent un grand rôle.

Les chauffages à vapeur avec retour d’eau aux chaudières, ont été installées par la Société des forges d’Audincourt et dans les nouveaux bâtiments par le S.A.C.M. de Mulhouse.

Dans les salles de peignage et des continus à filer, où il faut beaucoup d’humidité, la Société Lyonnaise de Ventilation Industrielle, à Lyon et à Neuilly / Seine a installé une série de "climatogènes" de même type que celle de la filature des Aulnes. Les autres salles disposant d’une ventilation centrale importante combinée avec humidificateur ( Système Farcot).


            Protection incendie par sprinkler, système "Grinnell", installée par la S.A.Mather & Platt Ltd :
Le système de protection automatique contre l'incendie par le sprinkler "Grinnell" installé sur ce site industriel, comporte 2.179 têtes d'extinction dépendant de trois postes de contrôle comportant chacun un système d'alarme-incendie.  Les réseaux de canalisation des installations de sprinklers habituellement sous eau, et non protégés du gel en saison hivernale, sont mis sous une faible pression d'air alternativement au rythme des saisons. L'alimentation des installations est assurée par deux sources d'eau indépendantes et automatiques, une source "A" fournie par un réservoir élevé d'une capacité de 35 m3, situé à la partie supérieure dominante d'une tour à 30 m de hauteur, en mesure de fournir la première réserve d'eau nécessaire à l'extinction d'un départ de feu, à cinq têtes capables de fonctionner durant trente minutes, plus tard il sera remplacé par un bac de de pression fournissant 15 m3 d'eau à la pression de 8 bars, la source "B" est inépuisable, elle puise ses réserves d'eau dans la rivière la Meurthe à l'aide d'une puissante pompe à vapeur, à double cylindre dont le type est fabriqué de 1857 par Mather & Platt Ltd. dans sa première usine à Salford près de Manchester. Il s'agit d'une pompe horizontale double piston à quadruple effet activé par la vapeur en provenance des chaudières de l'usine, elle fût remplacée le 26 Avril 1951 par un groupe électro-pompe à démarrage automatique, capable de fournir aux surfaces impliquées, en cas d'incendie, un débit de 180 m3/h à 8 bars.

                                                   Pompe à vapeur "Assureur" modèle 1857 construite par MM. Mather & Platt à Manchester
.                                                Pour faire fonctionner  en plein l'écran la pompe cliquer sur le lien ci-contre  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mdo2WvgZH8

          Fonctionnement de la Filature de Fraize :

Pour assurer le service entre les étages, 2 ascenseurs d’une force de 2 000 et 1 000 kg sont disposés dans la tour de l’ancien bâtiment.                        
La filature de Fraize ne travaille pas que les cotons longues soies, en particulier les cotons d’Egypte ; et comme nous l’avons dit à propos de la matière première, chaque fois que l’opportunité s’en présente, on utilise les cotons coloniaux en particulier d’Algérie. La moitié des assortiments sont en peigné , l’autre moitié en cardé.

Cette filature a de plus un important retordage et des ateliers complets de finissage.

Le dévidage, le gazage et le mercerisage sont installés dans des salles spéciales du sous-sol, qui constituent d’ailleurs un véritable étage supplémentaire où se font toutes les manipulations de la réception des filés dans une cave humide disposée à cet effet.

Tout est conçu pour réaliser un enchaînement régulier, méthodique et commode des opérations sans transport inutiles. On peut suivre ces manipulations successives sur les plans.

Aux magasins de balles de coton qui sont à quais, les balles sont manipulées au moyen de ponts roulants électriques. Une voie aérienne Trolley, système Tourtellier comme aux Aulnes, va des magasins à la salle de mélange, au premier étage, grâce à un raccordement avec un ascenseur spécial, pour les balles de coton. La même voie Tourtelier existe dans la salle de mélanges autour du brise balles et les balles sont dirigées par l’ouvrier du mélange vers la place précise où il les désire.

Le brise-balles alimente 8 gros casiers de mélanges.

Les chargeuses automatiques et les ouvreuses préliminaires se trouvent entre ces casiers et le coton travaillé par ces machines descend automatiquement sur les ouvreuses, au rez-de chaussée. La salle des batteurs alimente directement celles des cardes , les rouleaux étant transportés par un monorail flexible pouvant passer entre les rangées de machines.

Les opérations successives s’enchaînent pour le cardé comme pour le peigné et vers les bancs enfin inclus au rez-de chaussée d’où leurs bobines montent directement par l’ascenseur central à destination.

Tous les bancs à broche surfins alimentant les continus sont au premier étage avec ceux-ci. Le retordage avec ses bobinoirs est au premier étage du nouveau bâtiment, les renvideurs enfin occupent les deux étages supérieurs de l’ancienne usine.

Tous les filés sont descendus par le monte-charge central qui débouche devant la cave humide, où ils passent tous pour entrer ensuite à la réception et à l’encaissage, qui est installé tout le long des fenêtres du sous-sol, dans une partie très bien éclairée ; l’encaissage communique avec le magasin de caisses et la salle de départ ou d’expédition d’une part, avec les ateliers de dévidage, gazage et mercerisage d’autre part.

Les expéditions préparées d’avance dans la salle de départ soit en caisses, soit en ballots, sont enlevées à de plein pied à par les camions qui descendent devant le quai d’embarquement, semblable à celui des Aulnes.

Tous les déchets de la préparation sont récupérés sur place et descendent par des trémies ou trappes au sous-sol, d’où ils sont dirigés vers les magasins , au moyen d’un chariot spécial aux anciens magasins."

          Textes extraits du rapport de Raymond. MEYER
          Ecole Supérieure des Sciences. Economiques et Commerciales de Paris, vers 1930
                                                                                           - UNITED KINGDOM -
                                                                                                            Résultat de recherche d'images pour "l'angleterre"

                    Mather & Platt Limited                               Park WorksGrimshaw Lane, Manchester Lancashire M40 2WL                             United Kingdom
1888 - The Story of Dowson, Taylor & C° Limited   

Ralph Dowson, John Taylor and William Mather formed the original partnership, and later the enterprise which provided the future public company, Mather & Platt Ltd., with the basis of one of its most innovative and successful departments - the Fire Engineering Department.                                                                                                                                                   

The early entreprise and dogged determination of these two men brought about the eventual restructuring of the Mather & Platt partnership and, as a result, the core business of  the new  company was modified to exploit the rapidly  growing demand for fire fighting and protection equipment on a global basis.                                                                                                       

It was in 1883 after Parmelee had given his first demonstration, in Bolton, That William Mather made the visit to America, to which reference is made elsewhere and brought back from the United States, the world selling rights, apart from North America, for an automatic sprinkler called “Grinnell”. No sooner had John Taylor studied the mechanism of the “Grinnell” head and seen it tested under fire conditions, that he knew it to be the best sprinkler yet invented. Mather and Platt started to sell the “Grinnell” sprinkler and there was fierce competition between the two firms. John Taylor had invented and patented a sprinkler alarm valve which was by far and away better than anything else made at the time.So here we had two firms in competition both having the best designed working parts of a sprinkler system. Some-how the two inventions had to be brought together.

At this point another important person comes on the scene. John Wormald who at the time was the surveyor for the Bolton Mutual Insurance Corporation and who had written and had published the first set of rules for the installation of sprinklers  He had done this for the Bolton Mutual Insurance Corporation who were to offer discounts on fire insurance premiums for buildings protected by automatic sprinklers installed to their rules. Bolton Mutual’s decision to grant discounts for properly installed sprinkler systems was so successful that the larger fire insurance companies soon followed and so a means to incentivise factory owners to install automatic fire sprinkler systems was established. John Wormald was of course well known to John Taylor who had assisted him in drafting the rules one Sunday afternoon on a park bench in Bolton, he was also known to William Mather. John Wormald saw the fierce competition between Mather and Platt and Dowson and Taylor and appreciated that each owned the best products for a sprinkler system but that neither had the use of each other’s products.

John Wormald knew that John Taylor would like to have available to his firm the “Grinnell” sprinkler he also knew that William Mather would like to have available the Taylor patented alarm valve. However Ralph Dowson was a formidable salesman and Mather’s sprinkler department were finding it difficult to over come the Dowson and Taylor competition. The first step to solve this, was an agreement in 1887 where Mather & Platt agreed to sell “Grinnell” sprinklers to Dowson and Taylor. This arrangement was so successful that John Wormald suggested to both John Taylor and William Mather that the two firms should come together and combine their activities and that in the event that this could be agreed that he would leave the Bolton Mutual Insurance Corporation and join the new combined enterprise to promote automatic sprinkler systems on a national scale.

On the 10th May 1888 John Wormald’s efforts  were rewarded and Mather and Platt and Dowson and Taylor signed an agreement for a new company called Dowson, Taylor and Co. Limited to be formed with Ralph Dowson, John Taylor, and John Wormald as Managing Directors and William Mather as non-executive Chairman and John Platt a non-executive Director. The purpose was for the new company to purchase the Mather and Platt Sprinkler business including it’s agency for the Grinnell sprinkler in exchange for 2500 Ordinary shares in Dowson, Taylor and Co. Limited plus £7,000 and to purchase the Dowson and Taylor business with it’s patents for 2,500 Ordinary shares plus stock equipment, tools and work in progress at a reasonable valuation.

The new company wasted no time and soon a London office was opened under John Wormald in Victoria Street with him having responsibility for all sales south of River Trent. North of this the sales were the responsibility of the Manchester office.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      


                                                                Ralph DOWSON                                                         Dowson, Taylor & C° Limited                                                             John T. TAYLOR


                                                                                                            (click on)         


1888 - The Dowson-Taylor variable pressure ALARM valve

The variable Pressure Alarm Valve was invented by Ralph Dowson and  John T. Taylor. This valve is operated by the flow of the water, and is constructed so as to prevent false alarms being given by any variations of pressure in the main supply pipes : http://repository.iit.edu/bitstream/handle/10560/118/grinnellvariable00eyer.pdf?sequence=1

In 1890 John Taylor on a visit to the U.S.A. negotiated the right for Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd to manufacture the “Grinnell” sprinkler, so ending the need to import “Grinnell” sprinkler heads from America and at the same time licenced the Grinnell Company to manufacture his patented alarm valve for use in North America.

                               (click on these images)
                                This Alarm valve Dowson & Taylor for automatic fire extinguishers
was patented under n° 384,514 June 12, 1888. 


                                                                                                                                                         Mather & Platt Ltd's Alarm valve 

                                                                                                             To see how a Sprinkler head works click here

                                               (click on)

1899 Mather & Platt Limited public company was registered on 21 January.

The company was registered to take over the business of mechanical, electrical and hydraulic engineers Mather and Platt, and of fire engineers Dowson, Taylor and Co.

With the setting up of the new Company referred the managing directors realised that the enterprise had outgrown the limits of the Salford Iron Works site. They saw clearly that the future of the business lay in its concentration and development on a scale beyond anything hitherto attempted.

1900 - Newton Heath the birthplace of Park Works Manchester.

Such concentration and development entailed changes in organisation as well as changes in location, but the two sets of considerations went together. The three reasons for the move from Salford Iron Works to Newton Heath were first, to acquire satisfactory railway siding facilities; second, to find open spaces in which to be able to expand; and third, to provide scope for centralised and efficient management, control and production. The first of these reasons could in itself be regarded as a self-sufficient cause for removing the works. There were no railway siding facilities at the Salford Iron Works and consequently everything had to be carted through the streets, a state of affairs that placed a limit on business expansion. John Taylor and John Wormald caught a glimpse of an attractive site at Newton Heath through a railway carriage window, and the vision was gradually turned into reality.

It was in 1900 that the fifty-acre plot of nearly level ground at Newton Heath was secured by the Company. It had direct access to the Lancashire and Yorkshire and The London and North-Western Railways, was on the bank of the Rochdale Canal, and was well served by main roads. Although the Boer War was in progress, building operations started at once. An administrative building two storeys in height was constructed, with the general office and drawing office open from end to end, the supervisory staff alone being provided with separate rooms. The building itself was of unusual construction being based on the design of an American firm which specialised in what they termed ‘slow burning’ buildings - solid wood built into an outer 'skin’ of brick. It is said that this remarkable structure is as good today as it was when first erected. At the same time the adjoining machine shop was erected.


                 1900 Paris Exhibition. Showed an electricity generating plant with Galloways Limited  and Mather & Platt Limited.  Illustration and article in The Engineer[11]

John Taylor’s energy and imagination made it possible. The workshop, 380 feet long and 130 feet wide, was built to a great extent of material, which was originally erected to provide the machinery hall of the Paris Exhibition of 1900. The Hall was bought by the Company, dismantled in Paris by its own engineers, brought direct to Manchester along the Manchester Ship Canal, and re-erected together with a smaller amount of steelwork fabricated in Manchester, at Newton Heath, where, as Bays Number 1 to 4, it formed a nucleus around which the present works have been built. The first department to transfer to the new home Fire Equipment moved over a single weekend. Such was the driving power and organising genius of John Taylor that after the employees ceased productive work at Blackfriars at twelve o’clock on Saturday, the machinery was dismantled and, transported to Park Works; the millwrights worked through the weekend and production started at Newton Heath at the normal time on Monday morning. This would have been a feat of considerable magnitude in the second half of the twentieth century when powerful cranes, mobile handling and lifting tackle, supported by a fleet of mechanical transport vehicles would have been employed on the transfer but it was a triumph of organisation fifty years earlier when much of the plant would be moved twice by manual labour and horse drawn lorries were employed to provide all the necessary transport.

                                              The machinery hall of Paris Exhibition 1900 was dismantled in Paris and rebuilt at Park Works,  Newton Heath, Manchester         


           In accordance with an ordered scheme of development additions to the first building were made in 1903, 1905, 1909 and 1910. It was in 1909 that it was finally decided to make provision for the gradual removal of all remaining departments from the old works in Salford, and the construction of two new machine shops, each 379 feet long and 40 foot wide, enabled the Electrical Department to find a more congenial home. A year later, still following Taylor’s original plan, seven more shops, each 379 feet long, were constructed. In 1913 a building which later housed the Brass Foundry, the Forge and the Tank Shop was completed and the work of providing a new wing of four bays totalling 161 foot wide was put in hand and brought the number of bays to seventeen just prior to the 1914 War. There were further extensions in 1920, when fourteen of the bays were lengthened. In 1926 a building to accommodate the General Engineering Drawing Offices was erected and in 1939 and 1940 other shops were erected to provide new accommodation for the Tool Room and the Steel Rolling Shutter department.

Among special buildings added at Park Works were the Staff Canteen (1917), the Research Laboratory (1919), the Girls’ Canteen (1938) and the Iron Foundry (1938); while the Sports Ground at the front of the Works was not completed until 1950.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        (click on these images)

To see major changes in to life of a firm in terms of such anecdotes is both to over-dramatise and to over-simplify the logic of cause and effect. In point of fact there was urgent need for expansion and for the re--siting of parts of the company’s enterprise, particularly the fire engineering business previously conducted by Dowson, Taylor & Co. Ltd. at Blackfriars: hence the merit of Newton Heath which was an undeveloped site, capable of gradual development. Before seeing the open space on which Park Works now stands Taylor inspected and half approved a site in Great Clowes Street, Broughton, but he felt that "the policy of the firm should be one of greater vision than this”. By contrast the scheme to acquire the extensive site at Newton Heath seemed too ambitious to some critics but they were proved wrong almost from the start.
The third reason for a change the quest for a home offering scope for more efficient control of production - also made imperative the search for premises, where materials could be more easily handled and where workers could be effectively supervised. The growing use of jigs and automatic tools demanded systematic arrangement of machines to produce large quantities at low cost. Salford Iron Works with its buildings at varying angles to one another, differences in floor levels, rough floors and heavy galleries was an unsuitable place for development in production technique or departmental sub-division. Newton Heath was a big enough site to allow for the arrangement of workshops in such a way that unnecessary waste of time and effort could be eliminated.

It was in 1900 that the fifty-acre plot of nearly level ground at Newton Heath was secured by the Company. It had direct access to the Lancashire and Yorkshire and The London and North-Western Railways, was on the bank of the Rochdale Canal, and was well served by main roads. Although the Boer War was in progress, building operations started at once. An administrative building two storeys in height was constructed, with the general office and drawing office open from end to end, the supervisory staff alone being provided with separate rooms. The building itself was of unusual construction being based on the design of an American firm which specialised in what they termed ‘slow burning’ buildings - solid wood built into an outer 'skin’ of brick. It is said that this remarkable structure is as good today as it was when first erected. At the same time the adjoining machine shop was erected.

John Taylor’s energy and imagination made it all possible. Whilst visiting the Paris Exhibition of 1900, he negotiated and bought for the company the workshop, 380 feet long and 130 feet wide, and was the machinery hall for the exhibition. It incorporated all the latest ideas of a modern engineering factory building. He arranged for the building to be dismantled under the supervision of Edwin Buckley, using their own Dowson and Taylor engineers, and brought direct to Manchester along the Manchester Ship Canal. It was re-erected together with a smaller amount of steelwork fabricated in Manchester, at Newton Heath, where, as Bays Number 1 to 4, it formed a nucleus around which the present works have been built. The first department to transfer to the new home Fire Equipment moved over a single weekend. Such was the driving power and organising genius of John Taylor that after the employees ceased productive work at Blackfriars at twelve o’clock on Saturday, the machinery was dismantled and, transported to Park Works; the millwrights worked through the weekend and production started at Newton Heath at the normal time on Monday morning. 

 - Mather & Platt Engineering Collection 

The men and women - the machines - the work of about one hundred and fifty years, from the early days at Salford Iron Works to the Platts and the entrepreneurial Mathers, the Dowson-Taylor story and the successes of Newton Heath thence to the final chapter of take-over, demise and demolition ... it is a Manchester story that needs to be there. The Mather & Platt story, however, is far more than just a tale of technical progress or the acquisition of new markets - for in the course of its long history, the company acquired a tradition and an international reputation which could be counted amongst the biggest of its assets. As Professor Richard Pares once wrote, “Until we can quote histories of representative banks, steamship companies, jerry-builders, tea planters, wine merchants, servants, registries, coal miners and the like, we shall still be talking about the history of economic policy, not about economic history - a particularly bad mistake to make about a country like Great Britain, where the efforts of society have usually counted for so much and those of the rulers of society comparatively speaking, for so little.”  Richard ParesA West Indian Fortune (1950),p. VII.

Double Cylinder Diagonal Steam Engine M+P

Engineering Hub - links to other divisions  (click on)  Engineering Hub 

Mather & Platt Steam Engine

A note about Steam Engine-Trials

In a paper read to the Institution of Civil Engineers in December 1889, Professor Osborne Reynolds (qv Pumps Department) described with some pride a large triple-expansion steam engine which had been installed under his close supervision in the Whitworth Engineering Laboratory at Owens College.

Characteristically, Reynolds ensured that this new test facility was extremely flexible. The engine could be operated as a triple-expansion condensing engine or run in a variety of other ways. In his address he defined the purpose of the engines as two-fold; (i) to afford students practice in making the many measurements involved in steam engine-trials, to give them an insight into the action of the steam and the mechanical components and to familiarize them with good design; (ii) to supply a means of research by which the knowledge of the steam- engine could be extended.

The detailed design and the construction of the engines and the boiler were undertaken by Messrs. Mather and Platt, whose `zeal and liberality' Reynolds gratefully acknowledged.

It was decided to have the three engines on separate brakes and that these should be hydraulic devices rather than ones dependent on mechanical friction. William Froude had earlier developed a radically new design for a compact hydraulic brake for determining the power of large engines. Accordingly, Reynolds tested a 4-inch diameter model of the new design. He found that when the speed exceeded a certain limit, the brake partially emptied itself of water and the resistance correspondingly decreased. To overcome this defect, Reynolds had radial holes drilled through the metal of the fixed vanes in such a way as to maintain the water in the brake at atmospheric pressure or above it under all conditions of operation. Having tested this idea out using his model, Reynolds adopted it successfully on the 18-inch wheels which became the hydraulic brakes for his three-cylinder steam engine.

Click here to view a fine example of a renovated Mather & Platt steam pump which can be found at the Cambridge Museum of Technology, in England.


                                                                                                                                              (click on these images)

Calender Ten Cylinders Textile Printing

Pair of Generators
(Each 120HP)

Textile Printing Machine
(14 colours)

Gas Motor 1000

                           Gas Motor 1500

High-Lift Turbine Pump

Driven by a special M+P
direct-acting steam engine.

Zoelly Turbine 1800

M&P Dynamo
It generated light for the PARIS EXHIBITION of 1900

(2.708 M3/H. 13 bars)

Electrical Department
Machine Edison-Hopkinson
 Mather's Patent High-Speed Spring Beetling Machine   c.1878 


Drilling & Boring Equipment

A steam driven boring machine which used a flat hemp rope in place of 'boring rods'. The cutters of the 'boring head' and the rope were lifted by a vertical steam cylinder and allowed to fall freely. The fall varied from 2ft 6ins upwards. The weight of the cutting tools, guide bar, and rotating mechanism weigh upwards of a ton, depending on the size of the hole being bored. Holes up to 3ft in diameter could be bored down to a great depth and a solid core retrieved. Mather & Platt also manufactured Coal Cutting Machines.

Raising Machine

Early Light Three-Bowl Friction Calender

1910 -  The Steam fire sprinkler pump Mather & Platt limited of Ellenroad spinning mill.-

This pump was designed in 1857 by Mather & Platt, and  was installed in 1910. 

Visit Ellenroad Engine House Steam Museum - http://www.ellenroad.org.uk/On-Site/the-pump-room

The Pump Room contains the largest working Mather and Platt sprinkler Grinnell pump in preservation. This pump provided the water for the fire-fighting sprinklers in the mill. It is classed as an Underwriters Steam Pump, this relates to the firms of insurance underwriters who provided fire insurance cover for the whole mill. With a capacity of approx. 600 gallons a minute, it is thought to have been built and installed circa 1910 and today is still worked by steam from our lancashire boiler.

To start the steam pump, click on the link with full screen :  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Mdo2WvgZH8

  1930 - Food Machinery -

  Radcliffe Factory, Lancashire

             United Kingdom           


In 1930, the world wide trade depression had seriously affected British Industry and M & P had suffered with the rest. The Directors were, therefore, on the lookout for new lines to manufacture, which would help to keep the works, occupied, and bring more business to the Company.

At that time the Canning Industry in Great Britain was comparatively small and most of the equipment was being imported, largely from America. The Board of Trade were anxious to find British sources of manufacture for imported machinery, including Canning Machinery, and the few British Canners also wished to become less dependent upon imported Plant.

M & P Ltd. were approached by the Board of Trade, with the support of British Canners and, eventually, decided to go into this entirely new line of business, despite the fact that they would have to meet competition from established manufacturers from overseas. It seemed to be a sound long-term policy as the need to produce more food at home was generally recognised, and there appeared to be the beginnings of an agricultural revival. Furthermore, practically no other British firms were, at that time, making Canning Machinery and it was considered that a good start could be made with the Home Market.

The Canning Industry itself was not new. The earliest commercial experiments had taken place during the French Revolutionary Wars, about the time that the first Mather of this History settled in Salford. In 1804, Nicholas Appert invented a method of preserving food by sealing it hermetically in containers in a sterile condition and thereby won a prize of 12,000 Francs offered by Napoleon for improved methods of preserving food for the Army and Navy. However, it was an Englishman, Peter Durand, who first used tinplate steel containers for preserving food, obtaining a Patent in 1810 for a process of “preserving animal vegetable and other perishable foods by heat followed by hermetically sealing in vessels made of glass, pottery, tin or any metal or fit materials”. Some of the first metal vessels developed were known as tin cases, or canisters, and from this name the Americans have adopted the word. “Can”, and the British the word “Tin”. Tins of Australian mutton were on show at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and canned meat was used successfully for the first time by British troops in The Crimean War. The expression "Iron Rations” resulted.

However, the early development of the Canning Industry met continual checks due to an incomplete understanding of the scientific problems involved, and the lack of hygienic methods and equipment. Canned food was often regarded as being dangerous or unpleasant and the growth of the Industry was largely fostered by the demands made upon it in time of War.

Despite its early start in Europe the centre of the Canning Industry quickly moved to America, where the great variety of Fruits and Vegetables which were available, and the varied climate, lent themselves to an all-year round canning cycle.

The First World War did much to stimulate the growing Canning Industry and in the inter-war years, the civilian demand increased sharply. The wide variety and improved quality of Canned Food making it an accepted part of everyday diet, on both sides of the Atlantic, so that the worker of the 1920’s was able to have a much greater choice of food than the cotton operative of mid-Victorian Manchester. In 1924, a Special Commissioner who was sent to Canada and the United States, reported that the development of a large British industry was feasible, providing that modern machinery and methods were used.

Mather & Platt’s entry into the Food Machinery Industry, in 1930, was followed by a Canners Convention a year later, in Manchester, when the Firm was able to entertain delegates to Park Works to study the latest machines they had to offer.

The new Food Machinery Department was started first as a branch of the General Machinery or Textile Department, though it drew its small staff from both it and from the Pump Department. The start was only a small one; the new line of production was difficult to develop, particularly during those depression years, the Americans had had much experience of designing Food Machinery, particularly automatic machinery, and it was felt that if further progress was to be made, that the Company would have to work closely with an American firm of experience.

In 1932, an Agreement was made with the Food Machinery Corporation of the United States, for the manufacture of some of their standard Canning Equipment. A general Selling Company was set up outside the United States and Canada, called “Food Machinery (M & P) Ltd”, to sell both American and British made machines, as was convenient.

The new Company faced a difficult period. The expansion of the Canning Industry during the First World War had been considerable and Canners’ investments in plant had often outstripped the growth of the markets for their products. Even by 1926, when the General Trade Depression had receded, the new Company did not come up to expectations, although it had served a useful purpose in opening up fresh markets in Britain and also overseas. However, it was mutually decided to close down the sales Company, Food Machinery (M & P) Ltd although the friendly relationship between the Food Machinery Corporation and. Mather & Platt Ltd continued. Visits and ideas were exchanged and certain American Patents were retained. Nevertheless, the business continued, to expand slowly and the Department was able to justify its existence.

When the Second World War broke out, the small Food Machinery Department turned to Government Contracts, and while making a certain amount of Dehydration Plant for the Ministry of Agriculture, its productive capacity was largely devoted to War Contracts, which had no relationship to Food Machinery.

It was not until the end of the War that the demand for British Made Food Machinery really increased. The great use which was made of Canned Food by all of the conflicting Nations, stimulated the civilian demand and made the general public expect to have Canned Food as part of their daily ration. At the same time, the demand for all other products of the Firm had correspondingly increased and to relieve the congestion at Park Works, a lease was taken of the Royal Ordnance Factory at Radcliffe. The whole of the Food Machinery Department, being the smallest and most compact Department in the Firm, was moved there. This Works was suitable for light engineering, and that part of the Factory which was not required for Food Machinery became an overflow for the other departments at Park Works.

The inevitable teething troubles which followed on from a move of this sort were made worse, by the general post war conditions. Irregular, or short, deliveries of raw materials and bought out parts, wide varieties in quality, and unexpected delays or shortages, created many new problems which had to be tackled, by comparatively inexperienced workpeople and staff, many of whom had but recently returned from the War. Nevertheless, the Department set about putting its house in order with enthusiasm and in its new home, expanded rapidly. Meanwhile, by the end of the War, the various patents and manufacturing agreements with the Food Machinery Corporation and its subsidiaries had run out and consideration had to be given to future policy.

Before the War, a useful trade had been carried on in Europe. This was done partially by export, and partially by local manufacture. In France, Brittany was the main centre of vegetable and fish canning and in this area S.A. Mather & Platt had made arrangements with a local firm at Quimper, Establissements Jean Louarn, to manufacture any Food Machinery which, for various reasons could not be imported. Similarly, in Belgium, an arrangement was made with the firm of Edouard Lecluyse in Antwerp, and Food Machinery of Mather & Platt design was manufactured in both Factories for sale in Europe.

In Belgium, during the German Occupation, matters took a different turn. A German Firm of Food Machinery Manufacturers, Karges-Hammer A.G., came to an Agreement with Edouard Lecluyse whereby they took over and expanded his business, building a new Factory which provided machinery to can German Army Rations. They acquired technical information and drawings, which had been the property of Mather & Platt Ltd and were also able to continue certain development work which was being undertaken in the Belgian Factory.

At the end of the War, this Factory was sequestrated by the Belgian Custodian of Enemy Property, and offered for sale. A series of negotiations then took place amongst interested parties, principally the Food Machinery Corporation of America, the Sobemi Company (Can Manufacturing Concern) of Belgium, and Mather & Platt Ltd. These negotiations naturally linked up with future manufacturing policy between the Food Machinery Corporation and Mather & Platt Ltd., and the renewal, or otherwise, of their association. Final proposals were that a new International Company should be formed called the “International Machinery Corporation” operating from the Lecluyse/Karges-Hammer Factory at Antwerp, and jointly owned by the interested parties. In addition, it was suggested that Mather & Platt’s Canning Department should be incorporated in the new Company and some form of rationalised production arranged between the new Antwerp Factory and the new Factory at Radcliffe.

These proposals were not acceptable to Mather & Platt Ltd, since it was felt that complete control of the Radcliffe Factory should be retained within the general framework of the Company. Accordingly, no new arrangements were made with the Food Machinery Corporation and the I.M.C. was formed, in conjunction with the Sobemi Co., and a number of leading can making companies but without Mather & Platt Ltd. This new Company, and also the Food Machinery Corporation, thus came into direct competition with the British firm.

Most of the Food Machinery Department’s early machines were of American design or based upon American designs and during the War, the Americans had done much research and development work which resulted in new and up to date models. In Great Britain, all efforts had had to be concentrated on the War, and development work on Food Machinery had not been permitted.

Research and development work was intensified, in close co-operation, as previously, with the University of Bristol Fruit and Vegetable Preservation Research Station at Campden. One machine evolved as a direct result of this co-operation was the Stero-Washer which, working on the contraflow principle, was able to reduce the bacteriological infection of peas about eightfold.

Perhaps the most interesting and. revolutionary machine developed by the Department was the Non-Agitating Automatic Continuous Pressure Cooker. This machine was originally developed and patented in 1933, in conjunction with Campden and was designed to take advantage of the short time, high temperature cooking theory, which the Research Station had advanced. All vegetable packs are sterilised by being held at a high temperature for a given time - the higher the temperature, the shorter the time. It was found that peas which required sterilising in the ordinary retorts for 30 minutes at 2400F in the new Cooker only required 11 minutes at 260 0F. This shorter time not only produced a better looking and more economical pack, but also resulted in a higher nutritive value. Continual advances were made in the design of these Cookers and by 1951 they were capable of running continuously at speeds of 200 cans per minute and more, and even handling aluminium cans. These machines being about the only satisfactory non-agitating automatic Pressure Cookers found a wide market both at home and overseas.

The range of Food Machinery manufactured by Mather & Platt Ltd, included not only machines for Canning, but also machines for general food purposes such as Root Vegetable and other Washers, Food Pumps, Grain Dryers and Glass Jar Dryers, Peelers for all types of fruit and vegetables, Graders by size, weight or specific gravity, many forms of Cutters, Choppers, Dicers and Slicers, Filling and Inspection Tables and Conveyers which handle a great variety of items.

The M & P designed Pea Viner, embodying several new features, and having a higher throughput than competitive models, found ready markets, several hundreds being sold at home and overseas.

A Mather & Platt Canning Line is fully automatic, and processing times and temperatures can be controlled by the operation of instruments alone. A good example is the Pea Line. The Pea Vine is reaped in the field and loaded automatically onto a Trailer. It is then tipped alongside the Viner into which it is fed. with pitch forks. The shelled peas are delivered from one side of the Viner at the rate of about 30 cwts per hour and the waste vine is carried away on a Conveyor to be made into silage. The peas are then elevated into the Winnower, which cleans them, gravitate through a Washer and are pumped to the Grader and again to the next process of Blanching. Here the intercellular gases are driven out, surface infections are removed and the peas are thoroughly cleaned. They are then cooled and washed again, passing over a Picking Table where they are visually inspected for the removal of sub-standard peas. They are then washed again, pass through a machine to remove splits and skins, elevated to a Hopper, from which they gravitate to the Filler and then into the can together with a measured quantity of brine. The filled cans then pass through an Exhauster system which, by heating the can and its contents, drives off the air and ensures a good vacuum in the can after the next process of seaming on the lids. The closed cans then travel through an automatic Pressure Cooker and Cooler from where they roll away to be labelled and cased, or stored. Similar lines are made for handling other Vegetables, Fruits and Fish while specialised machines can be incorporated in the Lines to adapt them for Soup, Milk or Meat.

Throughout the whole of this process, no part of the pea or pea vine need be touched by hand, and the peas are usually in labelled cans, graded according to size, and cooked within four hours of the pea vine being reaped. An automatic line of this description can handle two hundred cans a minute with very little labour, and under complete and automatic process control. This chain of processes would amaze a housewife, and surprise an early pioneer like Appert. It is an excellent example of a revolution in the consumer industry, which has revealed yet again the close connection between technical invention and business enterprise.

The Proposed Mather & Platt Museum
                                                                                                                                                (click on this image)

1926 -  The M&P Long Service Association 

Forerunner of the M&P L.S.A. annual celebration ... This particular dinner was held at the Victoria Hotel on December 3rd, 1926 with over eighty Foremen and guests attending.

"The function was introduced by an attempt - arranged by the Publicity Department - to take a flashlight photograph of the company present ... it was noticed that the photographer made a hasty exit by an inconspicuous doorway, and in view of the dense smoke which for a time befogged the room, it was, perhaps, as well! However, as soon as the excellent dinner itself was served, this minor affair was speedily forgotten and everyone proceeded to do justice to the excellent fare provided. Towards the close of the repast, Mr. Flockton made a short and witty speech of welcome to the guests of the Foremen and took the opportunity of thanking the Directors of the Company ..."
2002 - 50th Anniversary Annual Dinner & Reunion of Mather & Platt Long Service Association, Friday 19th April 2002 at the Ballroom Pennine Way Hotel Oldham    

     ... the spirit of good fellowship.

Mr. Albert E. LambertAddress and Toast by Mr. Albert E. Lambert
President and Chairman of the Association

"It is a great pleasure to me to propose the toast to the L.S.A. in the Golden Jubilee Year of the Association, particularly as we are honoured and delighted to welcome Lady Eleanor Mather and Peter as our principal Guests of Honour. This gives us all a timely reminder of the memory of Sir William, our late President, who supported the Association so loyally and enthusiastically - from when he succeeded his father, Mr. Loris Emerson Mather in 1960, to when he was Chairman of M+P and later also, after he retired. We remember “Bill” with great affection and respect. It is also particularly interesting and gratifying the we are sharing this Golden Jubilee with Her Majesty the Queen who came to the throne in such sad circumstance at about the same time that the Mather & Platt Long Service Association was inaugurated. 1952 was quite a momentous year!"

Reported in “OUR JOURNAL” Spring 1953

2012 - 60th Anniversary Annual Dinner & Reunion of Mather & Platt Long Service Association-  *


The History of Mather & Platt Ltd book
was commissioned to celebrate the 60th Anniversary
of the Mather & Platt Long Service Association.

"Fascinating... a fabulous insight into how Mather & Platt helped to
create social welfare reforms for the impoverished Salford
community during the early 19th Century.

Salford Museum of Social History and Art Gallery 
Required reading for those who want to learn more about the
Manchester and Salford engineering pioneers and innovators that
helped to make Britain great.

Manchester Museum of Science & Industry
The employees of this local Manchester and Salford Company
excelled themselves both on and off the Battlefield. No other
company made such a diverse and valuable contribution to the war
effort during World War Two."
Imperial War Museum
*  Long Service Association   *   (click on)

2014 - 62nd Annual Dinner & Reunion of the Mather & Platt Long Service Association, Friday 4th April 2014  at the Smokies Best Western Hotel Oldham                                               

     ... the spirit of good fellowship.         Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester, England. It lies amid the Pennines on elevated ground between the rivers Irkand Medlock, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) south-southeast of Rochdale, and 6.9 miles (11.1 km) northeast of the city of Manchester. Oldham is surrounded by several smaller towns that together form the Metropolitan Borough of Oldham, of which Oldham is the administrative centre.

Historically in Lancashire, and with little early history to speak of, Oldham rose to prominence during the 19th century as an international centre of textile manufacture. It was a boomtown of the Industrial Revolution, and among the first ever industrialised towns, rapidly becoming "one of the most important centres of cotton and textile industries in England". At its zenith, it was the most productive cotton spinning mill town in the world, producing more cotton than France and Germany combined.[5] Oldham's textile industry began to fall into decline during the mid-20th century, and its last mill closed in 1998.                                    


                                         (click on this image)

2015 - 63rd Annual Dinner & Reunion of the Mather & Platt Long Service Association, Friday 24th April 2015 at the Smokies Best Western Hotel Oldham   

    ... the spirit of good fellowship. 

Norman Ellison - Secretary M&P L.S.A.

Mr. Norman Ellison
                                               Service Division

Peter Jones - Vice President M&P L.S.A.

Mr. Peter JONES
Power Division

December 2003: Norman writes (see Guest Book) "My father, Arthur Ellison, worked at M&P Park Works from the 1920s to 1962 when he retired as the foreman of the Machine Tool Maintenance Dept. He was born in Lower Broughton, Salford and lived in Camp St. His father (my grandfather) W.T.Ellison, designed the early "Non-Rush" Turnstiles which are still at many stadiums throughout the world - including Old Trafford cricket ground and, until recently, at Maine Road football ground."

  Top of Page

Late twentieth century - 

                                                                                                  Click  here
                                                                                                 (click on)
                                                                                                                           The Last days of Newton Heath 

                                                                               - UNITED  STATES OF AMERICA -   

                                                                                                               Résultat de recherche d'images pour "états unis d'amérique"

                   United States

                Tyco Simplex-Grinnell

  Westminster, Massachusetts, USA                 

                                                                                            "The Grinnell Corporation History"

                                                                                               Founded: 1850 as Providence Steam and Gas Pipe Company 


                                                                 Frederick Grinnell - Sprinklers Fire systems -  http://www.zipworld.com.au/~lnbdds/Boschi/grinnellco.htm 



                                                                                        Frederick Grinnell (1836-1905)                             First Head of Sprinkler designed by Frederick Grinnell  (1881)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          


                                                                                                   The Descendants of Matthews and Rose (French) Grenell

 -  Frederick Grinnell - Pioneer in fire  safety 

Inventor, engineer, and industrialist, Frederick Grinnell was the creator of the first practical automatic fire sprinkler, which has made an enormous contribution to fire safety.

Earlier in his career, he was draftsman, construction engineer, and manager for various railroad manufacturers. He designed and built more than 100 locomotives.

In 1869 he purchased a controlling interest in a company that manufactured fire-extinguishing apparatus. Grinnell licensed a sprinkler device patented by Henry S. Parmelee, then worked to improve the invention, and in 1881 patented the automatic sprinkler that bears his name. He continued to improve the device and in 1890 invented the glass disc sprinkler, essentially the same as that in use today.

He secured some 40 distinct patents for improvements on his sprinklers and he adopted a dry pipe valve and automatic fire-alarm system, invented by John T. Taylor.

The year 1883 was the key in the history of the Fire Engineering Department of Mather & Platt Limited. Two important events took place. William Mather visited the United States of America to investigate American methods of technical education and in the course of his travels met Frederick Grinnell, who had just patented his new "Grinnell" automatic sprinkler head. Grinnell was so amazed and delighted that an Englishman should give his time and pay his own expenses to travel in search of knowledge for the benefit of his country, without a hope of personal reward, that he offered William Mather the sole selling rights for the “Grinnell” sprinkler for the whole of the world excepting the territories of the United States of America and Canada. The offer was accepted and Mather & Platt thus had their first ‘baptism’ in the business of fire engineering.

The ingenious Alarm Valve invented by Mr. John Taylor, Next to Mr. Frederick Grinnell‘s invention remains the most important advance in the development and practice of Automatic Fire Extinction. The new valve of Mr John T. Taylor was speedily adopted by Mr Frederick Grinnell himself and applied all over America. It is still an integral part of every Sprinkler Installation.

The patent rights covering John Taylor’s Alarm Valve were later granted to the ‘Grinnell’ Corporation in America, and his alarm valve continues in use to this day.

In 1892, Grinnell organized the General Fire Extinguisher Co., an amalgamation of several smaller companies, which became the foremost organization in its field of manufacture. Today the Grinnell Fire Protection Co. is a part of Tyco International Ltd.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grinnell's sprinkler head 1890                                                    How Sprinkler Systems Work see  Video vimeo.com/71783310                                                       Grinnell's Sprinkler 2000


 - REFERENCES :  University and College Fire protection see video 


 (by courtisy of BASF, Morgan State Universiy and Loyala  College)   

             ... the spirit of good fellowship. 

  2017 - Bibliography -


       The right honourable


             P.C., LLD., M, Inst. CE

                 1838 - 1920

            Edited by his son 

       Loris Emerson MATHER



              17 Thavies Inn



          Salford Iron Works

     Hardman Street, Salford


   The History of Mather and Platt Book    

   Industries textiles protégées par sprinklers :
   Histoire de Fraize - La Costelle - L'industrie Cotonnière (pages 258 à 268) 
   Archives départementales des Vosges  

  1.  Fonds de la filature Géliot
  2.  Fonds de la filature de Vincey