Tipton had one of the most
concentrated areas of heavy industry in the Black
Country. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the
sights and sounds of industry were everywhere, along
with brightly lit orange and red skies at night.
|Some of Tipton's Many Industries
Forge, Chain, Anchor, and Engine Works.
||Lee, Howl &
||James Keir &
H. P. Parkes, Chains and Anchors
In about 1820 Henry Pershouse Parkes, from
Dudley, established the Tipton Green Chain and
Anchor Works. The firm’s products included
cables, chains, anchors and all kinds of
forgings. In 1851 some tests were carried out on
the company’s chains to demonstrate the tensile
strength and fibrous toughness of the iron used
in their production. The iron used on this
occasion was supplied by Summer Hill Iron Works.
Some of the chains were exhibited at the Great
Exhibition in 1851 and also at the 1855 French
Exhibition in Paris, where they won a prize
Henry Pershouse Parkes died in 1867 and appears
to have been succeeded by his son, who had the
same name. In 1867 the firm produced the largest
anchor in the world, at that time. It was built
for Brunel’s S. S. Great Eastern to the patented
design of Joseph Beterley, of Liverpool. The
anchor, which weighed eight tons was twenty six
and a half feet long and cast from iron supplied
by Bloomfield Iron Works. It was tested at
Tipton Proving House and found to be able to
stand a strain of 100 tons.
Henry Pershouse Parkes junior went into
partnership with Alexander Stewart Ross to form
Henry P. Parkes and Ross. The partnership came
to an end in 1885 and the company became Henry
P. Parkes & Company.
In 1904 the business was sold and became H. P.
Parkes and Company, under the control of N.
Hingley & Sons Limited, of Netherton. In 1944 the
company’s name was changed to Richard Sykes and
Son Limited, then in 1947 it became H. P. Parkes
& Company Limited. The business went into
liquidation in 1966.
Tipton Proving House
The Proving House was owned
by Lloyd's Public Proving House Company,
Limited, with machines that were licensed by the
Board of Trade. It
stood to the west of Bloomfield Road, alongside
the railway, between the canal and the railway,
where Bloomfield Park industrial estate is
today. It was set up following an Act of
Parliament in 1864 which instigated various
All the work carried out
there was under the direct control of Lloyd's
Committee, London, and certificates issued were
signed by E. R. Isitt, Lloyd's Superintendent,
and were recognised by every insurance company
throughout the world. The Staffordshire Public
Chain and Anchor Testing Company also had
another test house at Netherton. The
Superintendent was Mr. S. Tregenner.
Chains, cables and anchors for seagoing vessels
had to be tested to ensure that they complied
with the various tests and specifications laid
down under the terms of various Acts of
Parliament. The Proving House also tested chains
for use in cranes and industrial applications.
Grates and Tiles
Charles Lathe & Company Limited was
founded in 1872 by Charles Lathe, J
.P. to produce a wide range of
products including glazed tiles for
fireplaces etc. and a range of tiled
fire places and grates.
The business was later run by Alfred
Lathe, J.P. and Charles E. Lathe,
grandsons of the founder.
The company's products included
solid fuel burning appliances,
continuous burning grates, convector
grates, ranges, rustless furnace
pans, castings for the building and
engineering trades and for the
A subsidiary company, Charles Lathe
& Company (Tile) Limited was founded
in 1927. The trade mark of both
companies was "Claco."
The company closed in 1969.
Two adverts from 1947.
The Tipton Tub and Tube Company
The Tipton Tub and Tube Company Limited was
founded in 1911 by Albert Parker and
incorporated in 1915.
Production consisted of colliery tubs, air pipes
and general engineering forgings at a site in
Brook Street, before moving to Bloomfield Road,
in 1938. A wide variety of welded and riveted
plate work was fabricated, including "Centriflovane"
grit catchers, invented by Albert Parker, and
widely used in gas works in the United Kingdom
and abroad, to remove the grit from the waste
gases from carburetted water gas plants which
would otherwise escape into the atmosphere. They
have been installed on Lancashire and other
boiler chimneys, and exhaust stacks.
The firm employed a large number of
erectors to erect both the grit
catchers and steel chimney stacks,
which were another of the company's
products. They were sold throughout
The company also specialised in the
manufacture of elevator and conveyor
buckets, ranging in weight from over
1 cwt, to less than 1 lb. Facilities
were also available to produce plate
work up to ⅜ inch thick
and forgings up to 40 lb. in weight.
The range of goods in regular
production included heavy duty and
special purpose wheelbarrows, coal
and coke chutes, tipping, drop
bottom, radial door and other
special skips, hoppers and pipe
Most of the employees were with the
company for many years, the majority
having started straight from school.
Company Directors included Albert
Parker’s brother, Joseph Parker and
his nephew, John Parker.
"Centriflovane" grit catcher.
W. J. Tranter Limited
W. J. Tranter Limited, of Tibbington
Works, Princes End, founded in 1890,
produced thermal insulation for many
years. The business was very
successful and the large number of
staff carried out contracts all over
the country. Materials used included
asbestos, cork, glass silk, etc.
The firm also supplied lubricating
oils and greases, motor oils and
greases, soluble oils, drawing
mixtures, screwing oils, curriers'
oils, and sulphonated oils, etc.
which were regularly analysed and
tested in the company’s
well-equipped laboratory to ensure a
high standard of quality.
Other products included paint and
bitumen solutions, made in all
colours and grades, from the highest
quality glossy varnish paint to the
cheapest grades for rough coating.
Also gold and aluminium paints. All
materials were sold under the name
of 'Titan' Specialities and were
very well known.
Triplex Foundry was founded in 1918 at Toll End
by Charles Robert Horrell to make Triplex
grates. Production began in 1919 and Triplex
Foundry Limited was formed.
A new factory was built for the production of
the triple function grate, which heated the
room, heated water and cooked food.
Around 1930 the company opened a new factory
in Upper Church Lane and introduced fire
resistant products, finished in porcelain
enamel. During the Second World War II the firm
produced munitions for the war effort.
After the war the company modernised and
started to concentrate on castings for the
automotive industry. In the 1990s the business
expanded and became one of the main producers of
turbo housings for cars.
The Triplex Foundry Group was formed with several other foundries. In the 1980s
it became Triplex Lloyd and was later taken over by
Doncaster Engineering, to become Triplex
Components. In 2003 it became Sigmacast Iron
Limited after a management buyout and in 2005
was taken over by Amtek. The Tipton factory
closed in 2009 when production had been
transferred to India.
The Vono Company
||The Vono Company, an acronym of
Vaughan Only, No Others, was founded by
Vaughan in 1896. At one
time it was Tipton's largest employer.
His son Septimus, went into
partnership with Frederick Reeves, who
founded Revo in 1907.
Vono factory, called Hope Works, was in
Sedgley Road East, Dudley Port, where
the Vaughan Trading Estate is today.
Vono specialised in the manufacture
and bedstead fittings. In 1933, products included mattresses, wooden bedstead fittings and
combination and spiral spring mattresses.
Ernest Vaughan married Cecilia and
they moved into a small house on a site
that is now occupied by Burnt Tree
Island. They later moved to 'Greenroyd',
a big detached house with a large garden
in Pedmore, Stourbridge and after the
First World war, to 'Field House', Clent,
which has a Japanese style water garden
that was designed by Gertrude Jekyll in
In 1939 the firm was incorporated as a
During the Second World War, products for
the war effort included Bailey Bridges,
pontoons and ammunition.
|In 1946 the firm became a public
company, concentrating on the production of
perfect sleep equipment; domestic equipment;
wood and metal components required for the
housing programme; engineering accessories
for the motor; aircraft; electrical; gas and
refrigeration trades; speciality castings;
plastic mouldings; fibre upholstery and
components for the railways, and the motor, aircraft
and furnishing trades.
The site of Hope Works and
The perfect sleep equipment consisted of
adjustable bedstead castors, bedstead
fittings, divans, metal camp folders,
overlays, spring interior mattresses and
In 1950, W. L. Barrows took over as Chairman
and the company name was changed to Vono
Industrial Products, which became Duport in
1956. The Duport name was derived from
Dudley Port. It was initially used as the
name for the iron foundry on the Vono site,
Duport was an industrial holding company
that purchased a large number of
manufacturing companies, including Revo (by
an exchange of shares) in 1956. In 1967
Duport sold the goodwill, patents, and
trademarks of Revo to English Electric. The
street lighting division was sold to Tubes
Limited, who sold and developed the range
under the 'Relite' name. In 1970 Duport
acquired Slumberland Limited, which with
Vono gave it 30% of the British bed
By 1980 the steelmaking part of Duport
was in trouble and in 1981 it was purchased
by British Steel. In 1982 the bed making
part of the business was sold to Airsprung
of Trowbridge and in 1986 Duport was
acquired by Williams Holdings, an industrial
conglomerate based at Monmouth.
like to thank Jason Vaughan for his help
with this section.
|In the 1980s, part of the Vono factory was demolished
by W Hayden & Son Limited, based in Webb
Street, Coseley. The following three photos
were taken during the demolition. They are
courtesy of Andy Hayden.
Wellington Tube Works Limited
Static air-cooled heat exchangers were first
used widely where water supplies were
inadequate, polluted or non-existent.
The Heat Exchange Division of Wellington
Tube Works Limited, Great Bridge, developed
a range of air-cooled equipment which in two
basic types, could deal with any heat
exchange problem of any size.
The Wellington heat exchangers were designed
to be used worldwide, in several different
forms ranging from a single fan to multiple
fans. They were easy to install and
A small Wellington
||A large multiple
fan Wellington heat exchanger.
||The Denbigh Engineering Company Limited
was founded in 1902 to produce the 'Denbigh'
range of machine tools, vertical drilling
machines, horizontal milling machines, power
hacksaws, and fly presses.
were sold through machine tool merchants and
agents throughout the world.
An advert from 1947.
An advert from 1947.
An advert from 1958.
An advert from 1958.
An advert from 1958.
An advert from 1958.
An advert from 1958.