The following photographs, possibly from the 1930s were kindly supplied by Darlaston historian Tony Highfield. They were taken during the company's heyday, when Imperial Works was supplying nuts, bolts, fastenings, and tools to countries throughout the world, and Darlaston was still the capital of the nut and bolt industry.

Charles Richards & Sons product range included the following:

Black, bright, and cold-headed bolts, nuts, studs, and set pins of all kinds.
Carriage bolts and nuts.
Permanent way railway fastenings.
Telegraph ironwork.
High tensile bolts and nuts.
Precision repetition work from 4BA to 2 inches in diameter.
Wheel studs and dome nuts.
Alloy steel stud bolts, studs and carbon steels, nuts for the petroleum industry.
Washers, bright and black.
Straining eye bolts.
Bright-drawn steel.
Roofing and gutter bolts and nuts.
Foundation bolts.
Moorhouse patent lock nut.
Burston rapid action cam spanner.

Items could be galvanised or plated in all finishes.

The company had many representatives throughout the UK, and in the following countries:

South Africa New Zealand
Kenya Egypt
Tanganyika Ceylon
Uganda India
Zanzibar Norway
Rhodesia Sweden
Nyasaland Finland
Australia Denmark

Bright mild steel studs were produced up to 1¼ inches diameter, Hexagon head bolts, and hexagon head set screws were made up to 1 inch diameter, Hexagon huts and locknuts were made up to 2 inches in diameter (Whitworth thread), and square head coach bolts were made up to ¾ inch diameter.

A vast number of small machines producing the smaller nuts and set screws. 

The noise must have been deafening when the machines were running, all from overhead line shafting, and an immense array of belts.

A corner of the packing department, overflowing with a large number of Hessian bags, all filled to the brim with nuts and bolts of all kinds.

Notice the scales for weighing each bag, and also the array of heaters, which would have been a necessity in the cold winter months.

A fine view of Heath Road and Imperial Works  from the 1930s.

It still looks much the same today, although part of the factory is now derelict, and so its future must be uncertain.

Charles Richards at his desk.
An example of repetition work, turning what appears to be round-head bolts before the thread is cut.
The corner of a machine shop, possibly in the maintenance department where parts and tools would be made for the production machines.
Large diameter coils of steel are threaded into machines, possibly to be cut and threaded for studs.
Part of the factory where long bolts are in production.

In the 1950s the company's standard range was up to 9 inches in length, but longer bolts could be made to order.

A fine display of some of the many products made at the works.

If you have any further information about the photos, or the company, or have any photos that we can add, please contact the webmaster who will be delighted to hear from you.

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