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Family Notices



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STEEL MAKING AT CYFARTHFA. 1 Monday next will probably witness a fresh start in the Wrelsh manufacturing world in the direction of steel making. We have excellent reasons for believing that upon that day three blast furnaces will be blown in, and that the neighbourbood, so long under a cloud, will be once more alive with the glow and roar of industrial activity. Before proceeding to deal with the present aspect of affairs at Oyfarthfa it may not be amies to give a glance at the past. The place has a history well worth a brief re- capitulation, because its beginning un- doubtedly marked an epoch in the commercial life of the Principality. Probably, also, the law of contrasts will enable us the better to understand the new order of things from a sketch, however imperfect, of the old. The first event of importance in the early history of the place was the taking over of the forges which Homfeay had abandoned by Mr. David Tan-neb,of Monmouth, who on Bacon's retire- ment acquired the two furnaces, which were all that the place then contained, and became proprietor of Cyfarthfa. This was in 1784. Tanneb appears to have been in partnership with Mr. Bowskh and Mr. James COCKSHUTT. The manager was Thomas TaEirAnxr:, an energetio man from Gwendracth, Carmarthen. The record of Tbeharnk's entry, given us by a worthy descendant, a respectable inhabi- tant of Aberdare, reminds us of the days of the patriarchs. The species of travel was called a" cymmorth," The family came up from the oountry with thirty or forty horses and mules; children perched amidst beda and chests of drawers; household gods in dignified and degraded positions with, as chief and leader of the great expedi- tion, the new manager, TjioMAs Tbeharne, himself. lie settled down at Cyfarthfa, and proved to be in every respect au excellent man. The scale of operations continued small. There was only one furnace in blast, and seven pairs of blacksmith's bellows at work. Mine was partly obtained by scouring, and in the greater part collected by the women of the village in the bed of the river. Most of the men lived iu a row of cottages, called Birch-row, in front of the site of the present mill. On the last house a bell was placed, the duty of ringing which, and of calling the men, de- volved upon an anoient female, Times be- came bad, and Bowser, who appears to have been at one period the acting proprietor, got into difficulties. Mrs. Bowser paid a friendly visit one day to Mrs. Tbeharne, and bor- rowed all their savings—one hundred guineas —to pay the men, her husband's usual cheque not having come to hand. Next week THOMAS, coming home, took a mighty pinch of snuff, and said sorrowfully to bis wife, It is all up with us; the bailiffs are come from London, and are in the works." There was much consternation at this, but Tbkharxk took comfort in the thought that they could go borne. And so horses and mules were sent for, and again was the patriarchal migration made. For two years Theiiaune worked at Gwendraeth Iron Faotory, bringing his hammer down with a fiercer blow on the iron every time he thought of his one hundred guineas and of Bowskh. One day he heard someone at his elbow say, Tom, how do you do '< He looked around, and there, to his surprise, was Bowser, who not only came to pay him his money, but to get him back again to Cyfarthfa. So once more the horses and mules came forth, and, with even more children scattered about, the final march was made to the hills and a final settlement effected at Penheol. Up to within liiteen years ago descendants of the first manager of Cyfartbfa were still in the owner's employ Ian.vkii lost money by his venture and seceded. Bowser, after starting a works at Ilirwain, disappeared from the district, and for a while Cockshutt held Cyfarthfa alone. From investigation of the rate-books we found that he subsequently became partner with Homfhay next with a gentleman named l'OPKIN; and again, for Cannaid Mill, with SAMUEL BEES, of the Court. The impression the rate-book gives of this ironmaster is that of an able, enterprising man, The rates paid were astonishingly low in comparison with ours. CocKsiiui-r paid six shillings forl'andy, quarterly, in 1 iöi¡ HOMFRA y. sixteen shillings for Penydarren Gukst, ten shillings and sixpence for Gellyfaelog. At this time the iron trade was beginning to assume a most important character. Cout's invention had pointed to the track, and men who lacked his genius, but possessed greater tact and determination, were availing them- selves of the new mythods of rolling and puddling; and already it required no prophet to foresee that iron was to have a mighty destiny, and iron merchan ta were to become iron kings. It was at this important crisis that Richard Crawshay linked his fortune with Cockshctt and a gentleman named STKpHEKs, and became identified with Cyfarthfa. At the earliest date at which we can glean any particulars of the founder of the prosperity of Merthyr, he was a Yorkshire lad, sharp, robust, and possessed of great powers of endurance. His father appears to have been a man of the farmer class, and set tled atWoodhouse, a short distance from Nor manton, where the fam i ly can be traced to the reign of James I., when one Milks Crawshay flourished as a farmer. Before his time the farm was held by one Pyman, or Pymosd, a family that became related to the Crawshays by the marriage of William Chawshay to Elizabeth PYMA, In the register ofnornianton the name of the family is spelt in various WAVS-CRAWSIFAW, Chaw- shae, Chawshawe, and Crawshay. In the village of Normanton there were two families of the name, though in no way related to each other. One was called the upper Crawshay, because they lived in the upper part of the village; the other the lower Crawshay, because they lived in the lower part of the village. From the latter sprang Richard. The upper Crawshays left the village in the eighteenth century, and were never more heard of. Richard's son ruled alone at C/farthfa, and after a long' and prospertkos career died and was buried at Llandaff. He was succeeded by his son WILLIAM, who did little with Cyfarthfa, and was greater as a financier than as an iron maker. His non, William, grandson of Richard, was really the Iron King, and it is owing to him that Cyfarthfa acquired its prominence in the country. The tale of his rise and successes has been told too recently in the National Magazine of Wales to need repeti- tion here. Between the advent of the first Crawshays to that of the present quite ai century elapsed, during which the iron trade progressed to ita full development, and then faded away before the uprise of the age of steel. Iron-making of the past was conducted on the prinoiple of getting the best men and the least machinery. It was quite an innova- tion when small locomotives replaced horses in the ironworks. Since then the change there has been a complete revolution. The rntenow is, the beat machinery and the least costly labour obtainable. The Crawshays were foremost in the bar-iron trade; they did a great busi- ness with foreign countries at the dawn of the railway era; and they have assisted as. largely aa any firm in the country in meeting the demand for rails from all parta of the world. In America especially they have done great service, and it is a well-known fact that in several instanoea Mr. William Crawshay not only supplied the rails, but found money for the carrying out of railway undertakings. At one time a large railway in America was bis entire property. Mr. CaAwsHAY Bailsv WAS also a similar helper in railing America. At one time this gentleman had the bad news conveyed to him that t;,00,(M of his money had been irre- II trievably lost in one of the American rail- roads, lie died in this belief; but of late years the whole of the money has been repaid to his heirs, After the death of Mr. H. Crawshay the great works of Cyfarthfa remained for a time in silence; but two years ago the task of transforming them was begun. It was a gigantic undertaking, entailing the expendi- ture of over a quarter of a million of money, in tha face of a steadily decreasing market. The heirs of Mr. Crawshay have, however, been imbued with the perseveranoe of their ancestry, and now the work may be said to be fairly complete; and Merthyr, let us hope, enters from this time upon another lease of prosperity. The new steel works are amongst the most important in the kingdom, whether as regards extent or completeness. The Messrs. Crawshay have had the great advan- tage of the skill of Mr, Edward Williams, of Middlesborougb, who has personally supe- rintended all the arrangements, and availed himself of the latest scientific appliances. The new plant includes three of the most modern blast furnaces, fitted up with seven of Cowper's regenerative patent stoves. There are three new blowing engines, with the necessary complement of boilers, supplied by well-known Preston and Manchester firms. Attached to these is a very ingenious patent fuel economiser for beating the water. The rail shed is a model as regards size and oom- pleteness; and the arrangements are such that, with every facility for despatch, the comfort of the men in these usually exposed places of work has not been overlooked. In the old mill the small rolls for merchant bar are still in one corner, but the other part has been literally turned upside down. It is here the Bessemer plant has been located. This is oomposed of blowing and bydraulio engines, with two immense converters. The blowing engine is high-pressure compound condensing. In the mills the cogging and finishing engines are high-pressure condensing. Tho roll standards, roller gear, engines, steel tubular boilers, &o., are all of most modern type, and the best that can be had for money. If good wishes of the pubiio can bring grist to these great mills of Cyfarthfa the Messrs. Crawshay are aure to reap a large and immediate harvest of them.