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Posted By Robert. Stephenson

The Vulcan Foundry was founded in 1830 by Robert Stephenson in collaboration with Charles Tayleur, a Liverpool Engineer and owner of the Bank Quay foundry in Warrington. Robert Stephenson was managing a Locomotive Works in Newcastle-on-Tyne at this time, but finding it extremely difficult to transport heavy locomotives from Newcastle to Lancashire for use on the Liverpool & Manchester Railway. To remedy this problem he went into partnership with Charles Tayleur and built a second factory, in Lancashire, exactly half-way between Liverpool & Manchester in Newton-le-Willows.

The first Locomotive to be built at the Vulcan Foundry was produced for a Mr Hargreaves of Bolton the founder of what was to become the North Union Railway part of what is now the West Coast Mainline between Wigan & Preston. The Locomotive was named 'Tayleur' in tribute to the foundry's co-founder and was shortly followed by three more locomotives for the nearby Warrington & Newton Railway that opened in 1831.

In 1847 the Bank Quay Foundry was taken over by the Vulcan Foundry, and it was here that the materials for the Conway and Menai Straits Tubular Bridge were prepared. The Bank Quay Foundry also built the worlds first iron sea-going vessel again named the 'Tayleur' this vessel sank on its maiden voyage and was the Titanic of it's era with much of the blame being apportioned to the incompetency of its Captain and Crew.

During this era the Vulcan was associated with many distinguished early locomotive engineers including William Kirtley, H. Dubs and Sir Daniel Gooch.

Locomotive building proceeded apace and in 1852 the foundry's long standing connection with India commenced with the export of eight 2-4-0 passenger locomotives for the Great Indian Peninsula Railway. These were the engines that opened the first public railway in India, from Bombay to Thana in 1853.

In 1871, the Vulcan built the first Locomotive to run in Japan, and from then onwards Vulcan Locomotives became more widely known due to the quality of materials and excellence of their construction with many examples outlasting the products of rival companies in service.


Posted By Robert. Stephenson


Posted By Robert. Stephenson

Issac Lowthian Bell was born in Newcastle-upon-Tyne on the 16th of February 1816. He was the son of Thomas Bell, a member of the firm of Losh, Wilson and Bell Ironworks at Walker.In 1850 Bell was appointed manager of Walker Ironworks. In the same year he established a chemical works at Washington with Mr H ugh Lee Pattinson and Mr R. B. Bowman (the partnership was severed in 1872). In 1852 Bell set up Clarence Ironworks at Port Clarence, Middlesborough, with his brothers Thomas and John which produced basic steel rails for the North-Eastern Railway (Ffom 1865 to 1904, Bell was the Director of North-Eastern Railway Company). They opened ironstone mines at Saltburn by the Sea (Normanby) and Skelton (Cleveland). Bell Brothers employed around 6,000 workmen. They employed up to the minute practises (for example, utilizing waste gases which escaped from the furnaces) and were always keen to trial improvements in the manufacture of iron. In 1882 Bell Brothers had a boring made at Port Clarence to the north of the Tees and found a stratum of salt, which was then worked. This was sold to Salt Union Ltd in 1888.Bell's professional expertise was used after an explosion at Hetton Colliery in 1860. He ascertained that the cause of the explosion was due to the presence of underground boilers. Bell served on the Royal Commission on the Depression of Trade. He was a Justice of Peace for County of Durham, Newcastle and North Riding of Yorkshire, and was Deputy-lieutenant and High Sheriff for Durham in 1884. In 1879 Bell accepted arbitration in the difficulty with the miners during the General Strike of County Durham miners Between 1850 and 1880 Bell sat on the Town Council of Newcastle-upon-Tyne. In 1851 he became sheriff, was elected mayor in 1854, and Alderman in 1859. In 1874 Bell was the Liberal Member of Parliament for North Durham, but was unseated on the ground of general intimidation by agents. Between 1875 and 1880 he was the Member of Parliament for the Hartlepools.

Bell was an authority on mineralogy and metallurgy. In 1863 at the British Association for the Advancement of Science, held in Newcastle, he read a paper 'On the Manufacture of Iron in connection with the Northumberland and Durham Coalfield'
In 1854 Bell became a member of Tthe North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers and was elected president in 1886. Bell devoted much time to the welfare and success of the Institute in its early days.

During his life Bell was the founder of the Iron and Steel Institute (elected President in 1874); a Fellow of the Royal Society and of the Chemical Society of London; a member of the Society of Arts, a member of the British Association for the Advancement of Science; a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers; President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; President Society of Chemical Industry; and the founder of the Institution of Mining Engineers

 In 1890 he received the George Stephenson Medal from The Institute of Civil Engineers and in 1895 received the Albert Medal of the Society of Arts for services through his metallurgical researches.Bell married the daughter of Hugh Lee Pattinson in 1842 and together they had two sons and three daughters. The family resided in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Washington Hall, and Rounton Grange near Northallerton. Lowthian Bell died on the 21st of December 1904. 

Posted By Robert. Stephenson





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