Very often we can forget that much of the technology we use today had some pretty important beginnings, and being close to Birmingham, arguably the heart of the industrial revolution, there can be a lot to uncover.
This weekend was such a time when I realised that a company Worlifts have dealt with for decades had a history going back longer than I had realised.
Tangye hydraulic jacks have been part of Worlifts for years, and we’re proud to be one of their largest distributors, but when I visited Bewdley Museum, I noticed a plaque on the side of an engine. The engine was being used in a brass works, mostly, it seemed, to polish the finished pieces.
A notice on the wall confirmed that it was indeed from Tangye, it was a 10hp oil engine from 1924 and the short bit of history seemed to match what we already knew about the Tangye brothers.
Next to this was a diagram explaining every part of the pump.
What a find!
The Tangye Brothers
Digging a bit deeper and researching the company more, it seems that Richard Tangye was the driving force behind the company.
After being born and raised in Cornwall, he obtained a clerkship in a small engineering firm in Birmingham. His two brothers eventually joined him and they learned to master the business of engineering.
The Tangye company was created in 1856, and in 1857 the company became James Tangye and Bros, and they began manufacturing hydraulic equipment, including lifting jacks.
The company went on to design the hydraulic systems for the UK’s first funicular cliff railway in Scarborough, and their tools were used in the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Richard Tangye was knighted in 1894, a fitting award for someone who did so much, and who’s legacy lives on today.