The Platt family moved to Wednesbury from Shropshire in about 1790. Samuel Platt, born around 1780, started a business at King's Hill, which grew into a large foundry, with a large number of staff. By the 1880s Kings Hill Foundry was producing a range of machines, many of which were aimed at the local nut and bolt, and tube manufacturers.

Samuel Platt junior, was born in 1813 and christened on 31st January, 1813 at St. Lawrence's Church, Darlaston. He married Susannah Deeley Howl, then around 1842 married his second wife, Rose Hannah Hadley, who was born in 1819. In 1841 he was employed as a Pattern Maker, in West Bromwich.

In the 1831 and 1851 editions of William White's History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Staffordshire, the business is listed as Samuel Platt, model maker (meaning pattern maker), King's Hill, but in the 1861 edition of Jones's Mercantile Directory of the District of South Staffordshire and East Worcestershire, it is listed as Samuel Platt, brass founder and iron founder, King's Hill.

In the 1851 census, Samuel Platt senior's family is listed as living at 103 Darlaston Road, King's Hill. The entry is as follows:

Samuel Platt, aged 71, pattern maker. Born in Drayton, Shropshire (Market Drayton).
Mary Platt, Wife, aged 67. Born in Darlaston.
Matilda Platt, Daughter, age 30, unmarried. Born in Wednesbury.
John Platt, Son, age 28, unmarried, pattern maker. Born in Wednesbury.
Mary Platt, Daughter, age 25, unmarried. Born in Wednesbury.

In the 1871 census, the entry for Samuel Platt and his family, who lived at 119 Darlaston Road, King's Hill, is as follows:

Samuel Platt, aged 58, brass and iron founder, employing 26 men & 5 boys. Born in Wednesbury.
Rose Hannah Platt, Wife, aged 52. Born in Wednesbury.
John Platt, Son, aged 27, unmarred, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury.
Eliza Platt, Daughter, age 21, unmarried. Born in Wednesbury.
Thomas Platt, Son, age 18, unmarried, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury.
Frederick Platt, Son age 13, unmarried, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury.
Isaiah Platt, Son, age 11, unmarried, scholar. Born in Wednesbury.

The firm displayed machines at the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire Industrial and Art Exhibition, which ran from 30th May until the end of October 1884. The following, is a description of the firm's exhibit from 'The Engineer', 13th June, 1884:

Among a varied assortment of machinery connected with the nut and bolt and tube manufacture, Mr. Samuel Platt, engineer, of King's Hill Foundry, Wednesbury, has a specially designed noiseless bolt screwing machine which deserves to be known outside the local nut and bolt centres, to which at present its use is chiefly confined. It is a three pulley machine, driven by two bands, one straight and one crossed, and is reversed by raising the lower end of a cross lever. The reversing gear is kept in its place by a ball on the hanging lever. The reversing motion is accomplished without strain or noise. It manipulates bolts and nuts together.

Another machine by the same exhibitor which has found favour in New Zealand and New South Wales for artesian well purposes is a specially designed improved revolving cutter, which can be worked by hand or by power, and will cut off any sized tube from ⅛ in. to 4 in. It will also treat small round iron, brass, or copper. The weight is 1 cwt. 3 qr. 18 lb.

King's Hill Foundry in the mid 1880s. At this time there were many small buildings on the site, with some houses and shops along Darlaston Road.

At this time the business was very successful and so the factory would soon be enlarged to cover the whole site, including the green area along the southern edge of the site.

The entry for the family in the 1881 census, still living at 119 Darlaston Road, is as follows:
 
Samuel Platt, aged 68, engineer and iron founder, employing 28 men & 12 boys. Born in Wednesbury.
Rose Hannah Platt, Wife, aged 62. Born in Wednesbury.
Eliza Platt,  Daughter, age 30, unmarried. Born in Birmingham (different to previous census).
Isaiah Platt, Son, age 21, unmarried, clerk in foundry and fitter. Born in Wednesbury.
Louisa Hall, general domestic servant, age 17.
King's Hill Foundry in 1904.

During the previous twenty years the factory had been greatly extended and now covered the whole site.

The frontage remained much the same until the 1970s.

A photograph from an old postcard showing the last steam tram that operated from Darlaston depot on 15th June, 1904. It's on its way to Darlaston from Walsall via the Pleck and Wednesbury, passing King's Hill Foundry.

 

The frontage remained much the same until the factory closed. Only the far single storey building would change to any great extent.

Samuel died on 7th September, 1885 and is buried at Wood Green Cemetery. The business was then run by seven family members, in partnership, until 1894, as can be seen below:

The family's entry in the 1891 census is as follows.

Address: Hawthorn Cottage, Darlaston Road, King's Hill.

Rose Hannah Platt
, Widow, aged 72. Born in Wednesbury.
Eliza Platt,  Daughter, age 41, unmarried. Born in Birmingham.
George Platt, Son, age 33, unmarried, fitter. Born in Wednesbury.
Isaiah Platt, Son, age 30, unmarried, pattern maker. Born in Wednesbury.

Rose Hannah Platt died on 18th November, 1893.

Other family entries in the 1891 census are as follows:

Address: 118 Bright Street, King's Hill.

John Platt
, aged 45, iron founder. Born in Wednesbury.
Rose Platt, Wife, aged 40. Born in Wednesbury.
George Platt, Son, age 18, unmarried, iron moulder. Born in Wednesbury.
Margaret Platt,  Daughter, age 15, unmarried. Born in Wednesbury.
Frederick Platt, Son age 8, unmarried, scholar. Born in Wednesbury.
 
Address: 119 Darlaston Road, King's Hill.

Tom Platt, aged 38, foreman moulder. Born in Wednesbury.
Hannah Platt, Wife, aged 38. Born in Darlaston.
James W. Platt, Son, aged 16. Born in Wednesbury.
Tom Platt, Son, age 13. Born in Wednesbury.
Fred Platt, Son age 11. Born in Wednesbury.
Rose Hannah Platt, Daughter, age 8. Born in Wednesbury.
Isaiah Platt, Son, aged 7. Born in Wednesbury.
Norris Platt, Son, aged 5. Born in Wednesbury.
Eliza. Platt, Daughter, aged 4. Born in Wednesbury.
Ernest Platt, Son, age 2. Born in Wednesbury.
Samuel Platt, Son age 5 months. Born in Wednesbury.
Emma Pallat, general domestic servant, age 22. Born in Darlaston.

Entries in the 1901 census:

Address: Church Hill, Wednesbury.

John Platt
, aged 55, iron founder and employer. Born in Wednesbury.
Rose Platt, Wife, aged 50. Born in Wednesbury.
George Platt, Son, age 28, unmarried, merchant's clerk. Born in Wednesbury.
Emmie Ellis, general domestic servant, age 23. Born in Tipton.
 
Address: Hawthorn Cottage, King's Hill.

Eliza Platt
, aged 50, head, unmarried,  engineer, iron founder and employer. Born in Birmingham
Isaiah Platt, Brother, aged 40, unmarried, engineer, iron founder and employer. Born in Wednesbury.
Elizabeth Robinson, general domestic servant, age 27. Born in Wednesbury.

By 1886 Isaiah became head of the drawing office, and then a partner. In 1918 he left to form his own business, Isaiah Platt of Wednesbury. Two other family members, John Platt and George Platt left the business on 31st August, 1904, as can be seen below (from the London Gazette):

In the 1904 edition of Kelly's Staffordshire Directory, Frederick Platt is listed as living at The Shrubbery, Wood Green Road, Wednesbury, and the business is still listed as Samuel Platt, Brass & Iron Founder. In the 1909 Ryder's Annual the business is advertised as Samuel Platt Limited.

By this time the firm was producing a wide range of products including machinery for tube making, nut and bolt making, drop hammers, stripping presses, reeling and straightening, and also lathe chucks, pulleys, mill gearing, shafting, shaft fittings, and pressings.

The firm also patented designs for a wide range of machines, for many applications.


An advert from 1909.


An advert from the 'Engineering Journal' 1909.


From 'Engineering' 24th November, 1899.


King's Hill Foundry. From the collection of the late Howard Madeley.


From the 1918 Wednesbury Handbook.

In 1945 the company was voluntarily wound-up and reconstructed, as can be seen below:

 
 
In 1959 the business was acquired by Harper Engineering and Electronics, and in 1965 it became part of Cope Allman & Company. In 1981 Samuel Platt Limited was wound-up:

Some of the company’s patents:

6th October, 1926 Substitutes for packing non-metallic stuffing-boxes. By Ralph Frederick Platt.
7th December, 1926 Metalworking presses. By George Arthur Standley and Samuel Platt.
15th September, 1927 Improvements relating to machinery bearings. By Ralph Frederick Platt.
1st March, 1928 Improvements relating to presses. By George Arthur Standley and Samuel Platt.
26th March, 1928 A machine for coating fabrics and like materials in long lengths by applying an adhesive and then dusting or sifting powdered cotton, wool, etc. in various colours. By Downham & Company (1927), Limited and Samuel Platt.
26th September, 1929 Improvements in or relating to machines for surfacing fabrics and like materials in long lengths. By John Downham & Company and Samuel Platt.
3rd November, 1932 Stuffing box substitutes. By Ralph Frederick Platt.
26th April, 1934 Improvements relating to machinery bearings. By Ralph Frederick Platt.
16th August, 1961 A machine for straightening bars or tubes of the kind incorporating a pair of rolls.
31st October, 1962 Improvements in, or relating to straightening machines. By Arthur Martin Garrington.
14th May, 1963 Friction drop hammers.
27th May, 1964 A new or improved drop hammer or like machine. By Arthur Martin Garrington.
19th May, 1965 A machine for straightening bars and tubes by rolling.
13th July, 1966 Machines for straightening bars and tubes by rolling. By Graham Roy Martin.
19th April, 1967 Reflector assembly for roads. By Martin Graham Roy.
6th December, 1967 Apparatus for feeding rods or tubes for drawing dies.
5th March, 1969 Feeding apparatus for use with a drawbench.


A five-throw reducing and forging machine from 1909.


An advert from 1909.

Articles from 'The Engineer' magazine:


The Engineer. 9th May, 1890. Platt’s Bolt and Rivet Forging Machine.

The above engraving illustrates a double bolt and rivet forging machine, made by Mr. S. Platt, Wednesbury. These machines are simple in construction and the tools not expensive. The bottom tool, or die, is of cast iron, and only requires drilling out for the different sizes of bolts to be made. The top tool, or snap, is of wrought iron faced with steel. The flywheel is held on a taper-turned cone on the shaft, so that the flywheel will slip in case of the stoppage of the machine by any greater pressure than is ordinarily required. The machine will make at one blow, either snap, cheese, square, or hexagon head bolts or rivets, so that these kinds the machine can be worked on all four dies of the two ends at once.

The two sets of dies at either end of the machine may be used for making bolts with square necks, which obviates reheating or taking the bolts to the other end of the machine, the bolt being upset in one die and then removed to and finished in the other. This is only when the square neck is required. The machine will make bolts up to 16inches long. The saddles carrying the bottom tools slide on planed steel plates let into the table of the machine, so that they can be easily replaced when worn.

In working the machine the bottom tools are drawn back by the levers attached to the slides carrying them, the iron heated at one end is inserted in the die, and the die is then pushed under the top tool, one blow of which for all kinds, except square neck bolts, finishes the bolt. The die is then drawn back, and whilst doing so a self-acting arrangement raises the bolt that has been made, and it is then picked out by a pair of tongs. It will be seen that the machine is applicable for a great variety of ordinary work. A fine jet of water should be directed on to both top and bottom tools when the machine is at work.
 


The Engineer 9th December, 1892. Draw Benches

We illustrate by the engravings above, two draw benches for the manufacture of cold drawn seamless tubes. The lower bench, in which the stands are all bolted to retaining plates, being for heavy work, is especially strong in all its parts, and all the joints throughout, including the retaining plates and stands, being planed, makes the whole, when bolted together and bolted down to its foundation plates, very rigid and firm, so that the work can be done not only better, but faster than on an inferior bench. The driving wheel being in the centre of the bench instead of on one side allows the workmen to pass to the extreme end of the bench on both sides when drawing tubes, thus utilising the whole length of the bench, and being able to draw on the one side a longer tube than if the wheels were on the outside of the bench. It may also be noted that the driving wheel being in the centre of the bench, the power is more evenly transmitted, and with less strain on the bench and the bearings than when the wheel is on the outside.

The bench has a treble link chain, and both the links and the rivets of the chain are of steel, the links of the chain being drilled and also milled on the ends by tools specially constructed for this purpose. The bodies of the wagons on the bench are also of steel, and are carefully balanced so as to give a minimum of labour to the workmen in catching and releasing the same from the chain. The connecting bars and levers to the throw-out gear are under the bench, and thus clear from the foot of the workmen, and being carried to the die plate on each side enables the workmen to throw out the underground gear, and so stop the bench when necessary.

The stems, mandrils, and dies, as will be seen, are carried by the front end of the bench. The upper bench, with the lattice supports, is intended for lighter work than the preceding bench, and although not planed on the joints is firmly bolted together, and the chain, links, and rivets are of steel, and drilled and machined as in the heavier bench, although not so strong in section and not of treble links. The throwing out levers are carried up to the die-plate on each side of the bench, and the wheel is also in the centre of the bench, as in the heavier one, and either balanced wagons or pliers are made for gripping the tubes, as preferred. These tube drawing benches are made by Mr. S. Platt, of Wednesbury.

 


An advert from 1921.

 


The Engineer. 24th November, 1893. Four feet Ingot Boring Machine.

We illustrate above an ingot boring machine designed and made by Mr. Samuel Platt, Wednesbury, for boring the solid ingots from which the cold drawn seamless steel or copper tubes are made, and for boring ingots up to 4ft. in length. The self-centring grips for holding the ingots are tightened on the ingots by screws worked simultaneously by worm wheels and worms, and a band wheel at the back end of the machine. In working the machine there is a fast band traverse of the main spindle for bringing the boring bit up to the ingot before throwing into gear the self acting motion, and by means of special self-acting arrangements the machine can be set to throw out of action the self-acting traversing motion, after having bored any desired length of hole to which the machine may be set, when the boring bit can be run back clear of the ingot by the quick hand traverse. The machine has two speeds in the self-acting traverse to suit different diameters of holes to be bored. If desired the machine can be fitted with geared wheels, and will then bore up to 12in. diameter ingots.

 

The Engineer. October 25th, 1912. An extract from the article: Some of the exhibits at the Engineering  and Machines Exhibition at Olympia.

The production of nuts and bolts in large quantities necessitates the employment of a special plant. Such a plant is shown on the stand of Samuel Platt, Limited, Wednesbury. Three of the machines are illustrated herewith. The first, Fig. 39. is a double spindle nut-milling machine for removing the pin or burn from hot forged nuts. The machine has two milling spindles, and is semi-automatic in operation.

The nuts are placed in chuck plates on the revolving tables, which are raised vertically six times per revolution, bringing the nuts under the cutters, and after being operated on they are projected.

One operator can, we are informed, feed both plates, and an output of upwards of 20,000 nuts per day of 10 hours is obtainable by a dexterous operator .

A wide range of adjustment is provided to suit nuts of varying thickness.

These machines are also made with a single spindle.

Fig. 40. represents a horizontal heading and forging machine constructed on the lines of the well known large machine made by the same firm for the rapid production of large quantities of bolts, rivets, spikes, etc.

The machine illustrated is specially designed for dealing with the smaller sizes of bolts, etc., and forges a bolt head in two blows, after which the bolt is cut off to length and ejected.

It may, however, be used equally well for making bolts or rivets in one blow, in which case the article is forged, cut off from the heated bar, and ejected at each stroke.

In tube machinery Messrs. Platt show a three-way screwing machine, Fig. 41. for screwing wrought iron or malleable iron gas, water, and conduit fittings.

The fittings are held by twin grips adjusted by a hand wheel, and are operated on simultaneously by three screw taps. These are withdrawn automatically after each operation.

The length of the taps is also regulated by the hand wheel and the guide- screw, which are made according to the pitch of the thread being tapped, and can readily be altered.

The machine is operated from a self-contained countershaft, on which are three pulleys, one for each direction of the spindles and a loose pulley. This shaft communicates motion to a second shaft by spur gearing, and the tapping motion is obtained by bevel gearing on the second shaft.

The reversing motion is effected by means of spur and worm gearing actuating a quadrant plate, quadrant, and clutch with stops to suit the various lengths of fitting. The machine on exhibition at Olympia differs from that shown in our illustration somewhat in that it is mounted on a large cast iron tray. The machines in motion are driven by transmission plant of the firm's own production, and the hangers are equipped with Platt's swivelling self-oiling bearings.
 


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