Modern discoveries in the art of steel making are ranked by the industrial historian as the most important of the latter half of this century, and, in all probability, should be considered the most important in the modern industrial period. Steel is now the prime requisite of the engineer, and is in universal use, and has, in many departments of engineering, entirely supplanted iron. Hence, the manufacture of steel castings has assumed an importance, which has, naturally enough, led many firms of large resources to turn their attention to it; but, while some of these have secured more or less reputation and success, it must be admitted that the firms which have received eminence in this field of industry, are few and far between, and not difficult to enumerate. While trade was depressed, this was not felt so much, but now, when things are so different, the difficulty of getting orders executed is severely felt as somewhat of a handicap in the industrial race.

Among the firms of steel founders whose resources are the back-bone of the mere important departments of engineering, Messrs. F. H. Lloyd & Co., Ltd., Wednesbury, occupy one of the foremost places.

To this firm, we notice with pleasure, has been entrusted the making of many of the castings used in the construction of Her Majesty's new Royal yacht, a pretty sure indication that they enjoy the confidence of engineering circles in a special degree, and a well merited tribute to their reputation in the department they have made their own.

Part of the works.

The business of this company was founded 20 years ago by the present chairman, Mr. F. H. Lloyd, for the production of steel castings and special qualities of ingots. The development of basic steel making in the district led to a modification of the original scope of the enterprise, and, very fortunately as it has turned out, led Mr. Lloyd to concentrate his whole attention on steel casting. Some eleven years back, when the growth of development of the business made it advisable, it was turned into a limited company, and its steady expansion since then has been remarkable; Mr. Lloyd, taking a great interest in the business as chairman, assisted by a strong directorate, consisting of the managing director, Mr. J. Hemming, Mr. S. J. Lloyd, and Mr. J. Fellows.

Turning now to the James Bridge Steel Works, we may say they form, practically, the only establishment of the kind outside Sheffield, within a radius of 60 or 70-miles from Wednesbury, for though several midland firms have tried their hand at steel casting, their success has not been conspicuous.

The Heavy Foundry.

The works are on a large scale, the property consisting of over eleven acres of ground, and extending from the valuable frontage on the Walsall Road right through to the London & North Western Railway, from which private sidings run into the main buildings, the trucks coming into the various shops.

A handsome detached building has recently been erected for the accommodation of the directorate and managers, the commercial staff and the draughtsmen, and including also the chemical laboratory, one of the most important adjuncts of a modern steel foundry.

The foundry proper is on a big scale, having a floor space of between 17,000 and 18,000 feet, the whole of which is commanded by lifting appliances of various types. The melting plant consists of three 10 ton Siemens-Martin furnaces, and a small crucible furnace, the larger furnaces being served by an electric crane for charging and tapping. These furnaces, together with the stoves and drying annealing furnaces, are all heated by gas made on the premises by Wilson Producers.

The Machine Shop.

Quite an army of workmen is employed in the foundry, and the busy scene, impressive enough at any time, is more than Rembrandtesque of an evening, when the place is lit up suddenly with the flash of molten metal. Our next visit was to a big fitting and turning shop, equipped with the best and most powerful modern appliances for finishing castings requiring machining. Here we saw a number of big steel rolls, finished and ready for despatch, these being one of the leading items on the firm's list.

The pattern shop is of a size in keeping with the rest of the establishment, and is replete with splendid machinery for the rapid and economical production of the patterns necessary in the business.

The Melting Shop.

A very large staff of expert pattern makers is busy here. In this shop and in three other stores, the company keep an immense stock of patterns for repeat orders, and take great pride in the fact that they are so methodically arranged and booked, that any pattern wanted can be brought to light in a minute.

There are many subsidiary shops and stores, and a great yard commanded by a powerful steam derrick, useful for the storage of casting boxes, and the testing of castings. The motive power is derived from vertical compound condensing engines of the most modern type. About 200 to 300 workmen are employed, many of whom have been with the firm since the commencement.

Messrs. F. H. Lloyd & Co., Ltd., can turn out any description and size of steel castings up to 6 or 7 tons, and are makers for the British Admiralty, for British and foreign railways and tramways, and for engineering firms of nearly every description, collieries, etc.

The Pattern Shop.

Among their specialities are machine-moulded wheels made on the most modern system and finished by special machinery, points, crossings, and other tramway patents and equipments; patent and other anchors for the merchant and naval service; ship and engine casting; hydraulic castings of any description.

But, in fact, everything in the shape of steel castings, small or large, is executed by the firm, whose output is of the most varied and comprehensive description. Indeed, one of the orders we saw in course of construction were several large spur wheels, about l0ft. and 12ft. in diameter.

Needless to say, the company are working at high pressure, and under the guidance of the experienced directorate, their business is going ahead, as Mr. Gladstone phrased it, "by leaps and bounds."

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