Smith’s Cranes, Catalogue, Spare Parts Section, nd. But post formation of limited company in 1918 [ebook]


Soft grey card  cover with gilt lettering, large landscape format, pp. 40, black and grey lithographs on pages with pale orange decorations, headings and borders


The firm was founded in the early 1820s as a partnership, Bamforth Booth and Smith at Saltley. By 1840, they were specialising in hand operated guy and derrick cranes. Following a move to Yorkshire in 1841, Booth left the partnership to set up on his own account in 1847 at at an adjacent site at Rodley. The sole draftsman employed employed by Bamford and Smith  in 1860 was John Brook and after Thomas Smith gained sole control of the firm the following year, Brook developed designs for a “locomotive” or traveling crane, introduced in 1877. By 1880, the firm was said to employ 70 men and 20 boys. The three surviving sons of Thomas Smith formed a partnership and by 1914, had 400 employees. In 1918, the partnership was converted into a private limited company, which in 1939 sold three quarters of the shares to Thomas Ward Ltd. of Sheffield.

In late Victorian and Edwardian times, many engineering catalogues were fine examples of the commercial artist’ and printer’s work and this is no exception. The crude woodcuts of earlier years have gone, and the grainy half tone blocks of later years, when economies had to be made have not yet been introduced. The components of the firm´s locomotive steam cranes are beautifully illustrated with delicately shaded lithographs .

Presented in thin black frames, they would make admirable decorations on the walls of offices, studies or hobby rooms.



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