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Stuart Steam Hammer

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Bill Dawes16/10/2017 18:49:11
298 forum posts

Seeing this article in latest ME took me back to my first days at work.

At the tender age of 15 in Jan 1957 I joined Alldays & Onions in Birmingham as an apprentice.

At the time Alldays made industrial fans, rootes blowers, smithy equipment and pneumatic and steam hammers.

We had a separate shop, called appropriately, the hammer shop. This shop had a floor surfaced with massive wood sections to absorb the shock. Every hammer was tested and I vividly remember seeing a man running through the main works trailing sparks behind him from a large bar of red hot steel from the smithy we had there.

Despite the wooden floor the whole place trembled when the large hammers were being tested. At the back of the same shop the Rootes blowers were built and tested, they ran for several hours and I walked back home with a throbbing droning noise in my ears.

I have a couple of old catalogues from the late 1800's, a feature of catalogues of this era seemed to describe everything as a 'Patent xxx or 'New improved xxx.

Happy days.

Bill D.

Jeff Dayman16/10/2017 19:44:58
1187 forum posts
31 photos

Wish we had a "wayback" machine Bill, I'd love to go back in time and see Alldays and Onions as a working shop. Run into many pieces of very old equipment they built, all over the world, in out of the way small workshops. My grandfather's forge blower was a hand cranked one from A&O. He said it was bought in 1870ish timeframe and used on his Dad's farm, then at my Grandfather's garage until the mid 1970's when my idiot uncle sold it and the portable forge to an antique collector while Gramps wasn't looking.

Bill Dawes16/10/2017 22:57:51
298 forum posts

Hand driven blower, that brings back another memory. Alldays made a range of these for 'Field Forges', the army used loads of these. They had a gearbox on it and one of my first jobs was drilling various holes including tapping some blind holes. I was put to work doing this on a pillar drill fitted with a reversing attachment. Unfortunately the drill speed was that fast that the tap bottomed out before I could blink, talk about sweating blood. The machine shop foreman came up and told me 'Don't be afraid of your machine son' ushered me to one side to show me how it was done and promptly did the same. 'Carry on' he said walking away and puffing on his pipe.

Some of you will be aware of Alldays cars and motor bikes. An old fella there had a load of envelopes on top of his cupboard ( in my innocence I was not aware of the phrase 'plain brown envelopes' plucking up courage i asked what they were and he showed me loads of photographs of cars, bikes, vans hot pie trikes. I regret not having the cheek to ask him if i could have some.

Another old fella (youngsters were in their 60's, old fellas in their 80's) in the fabrication shop came to work on an Alldays push bike, about 50 years old, it had an enclosed oil bath chain which had never been removed, the rusty spokes finally gave up the ghost one day. I think he retired after that

Bill D.

RICHARD GREEN 217/10/2017 10:56:06
277 forum posts
150 photos

Hello Bill,

Here is a picture of me in a previous life using a 1cwt Alldays forging hammer making railing heads, on the left is a 1cwt Massey hammer, and on the right you can just see the front of a 1/2cwt Alldays hammer.


a+o 5.jpg

Bill Dawes21/10/2017 12:14:29
298 forum posts

That's brilliant, thanks Richard. I may have even made some of the bits on those hammers if they were circa late fifties.

The castings were machined on horizontal borers, the machinist Joe looked like a chimney sweep after raking out the swarf which of course was cast iron.

The anvil blocks on the largest hammers weighed about 10 tons and I had the job one day of 'slinging' it on the crane. The crane driver a welsh man Glyn, was a tease and poised the hook just high enough for a strong man to lift the chain but not me, a 7 stone dripping wet 'man'.

This was the first time i pinched a finger in a large chain link and I can tell you it hurts!

H&S would have a blue fit these days of course.

Bill D.

Neil Wyatt21/10/2017 14:15:43
13410 forum posts
576 photos
68 articles

Inspired by the ME article I've included and interesting shot of an old steam hammer in the next MEW.

There's one at a motorway service station too, an anyone remind me which one it is?


Journeyman21/10/2017 14:41:12
493 forum posts
68 photos

Welcome Break, M54 *** LINK ***


Richard Carlson 105/11/2017 19:33:36
2 forum posts

I recently acquired a Stuart Steam Hammer. It is manually run by lifting the hammer lever. Has anyone made it continuous run.

Bill Dawes11/12/2017 19:27:38
298 forum posts

Just caught up on last weeks country file on the beeb. There was a young (20's ?) woman featured that was a blacksmith, not your farrier type as far as I could see, an ornamental blacksmith I suppose. What caught my eye was her using a pneumatic hammer together with all the other blacksmith aids to produce some wonderful iron art creations. Worth a look on catch up.

Bill D.

Alan Vos11/12/2017 19:40:06
57 forum posts
3 photos
Posted by Journeyman on 21/10/2017 14:41:12:

Welcome Break, M54 *** LINK ***


Slightly late to this party. Telford Services are on the A464 rather than the M54 itself. So you can visit by bicyle or on foot if you like. Not far from Telford Central station.

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