View Full Version : Archived Report - Firth Vickers "Staybright" works - Sheffield - Sep 2011

October 1st, 2011, 16:23
Visited with Keďteď, Trankmast, 2Wid and Existential nihilist

Firth Vickers were a major name in Sheffield's steel empire, and perhaps best known for the invention of Stainless steel in 1912. They branded this 'Staybrite' which gives this works its name.

Firth Brown Steels was initially formed in 1902, when Sheffield steelmakers John Brown and Company exchanged shares and came to a working agreement with neighbouring company Thomas Firth & Sons. In 1908 the two companies came together and established the Brown Firth Research Laboratories and it was here, in 1912, under the leadership of Harry Brearly they developed high chrome stainless steel. The companies continued under their own management until they formally merged in 1930 becoming Firth Brown Steels.John Brown founded his company in the 1840s to manufacture steel files. Over the years the emphasis moved to the manufacture of rails, made from steel provided by the new Bessemer process, and later to rail coach springs. Ship cladding and shipbuilding interests came into the company portfolio and finally, in the 1950s to general construction.

Following an eight year role in successfully selling files and cutlery around the world in 1844, John Brown started in his own right a steel making company in Orchard Street, Sheffield, on the site of the present Orchard square shopping development. There was no room for expansion on the site and his second works was opened in Furnival Street, a short distance away. Business expanded rapidly and more new premises were needed, this time in Holly Street, just over the road from his original works. Having works scattered throughout the city centre area made for production problems and because of this, on 1 January 1856, he opened a totally new works on a single site on the edge of the city, in Savile Street which he named Atlas Works.

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