|A Brief History
Joshua Bigwood & Son Ltd. were an engineering
company based in Wednesfield Road, Wolverhampton.
The company, which was founded in 1874 produced a
wide range of machinery and heating equipment. It became a
public company in 1937 and initially provided machinery for
One of the company's early products is
this drain channel in Gordon Street, Wolverhampton.
The company expanded and formed The Bigwood
Group, which consisted of five divisions:
The Metal Forming Division produced
straightening machines for tube, bar and section. Oil, sheet and
plate processing machines, roll forming
machines, plate levellers, slitting lines, three or four roll
bending machines, cut-to-length lines, press brakes,
guillotines, shearing machines and stretch-levellers.
The Radiator Division manufactured a complete
range of equipment for motor vehicle radiator production , which
was exported to almost every country.
The Heating Division operated under the trade
name, Unicalor and was Britain's leading manufacturer of
automatic coal stokers. The company supplied stokers for the
heating of public buildings, schools, hospitals and factories,
both at home and abroad. Other equipment manufactured by this
Division included coal elevators, ash crushers, ash extraction
units, and burners for anthracite, turf and other fuels.
The Dust Control Division specialised in
equipment for the control, collection and suppression of dust
and treatment of trade effluent. In the 1960s it was known as
'The Traughber Filter Company Limited' and was later called
'Bigwood Dust Control Limited'. The company’s products included
wet type dust collectors, grit arresters for installation in
chimneys, pneumatic dust conveying equipment, fabric dust
collectors and cyclone type dust collectors.
The Fabrication Division supplied fabrications
to the parent company and to the trade in general. In the 1960s
the division traded as 'The Butro Jig & Engineering Company
Limited' and in the 1970s was called 'Bigwood Metal Fabrications
Limited'. As well as metal fabrications the company produced
jigs, assembly fixtures, press tools and carried out all kinds
of precision engineering work.
A very solidly built Bigwood
wood-turning lathe. Courtesy of Tim Roper.
The manufacturer's plate on
the lathe above. Courtesy of Tim Roper.
The group had area offices in Manchester,
London, Glasgow and Bristol. The group’s managing director was
John Byam-Grounds who came to Wolverhampton after working for
the Alvis Car Company in Coventry and B. & M. Massey of
Manchester, who made drop hammers and presses. John was an
active mountaineer and a member of the Alpine Club.
The museum’s engineering hall has several of
the company’s products on display: