Naylors and Vickers

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Sheffield England foundries producing cast steel bells between 1853 and 1902:

  • Naylor & Vickers Foundry, from 1828 to 1867
  • S. Vickers & Sons, Ltd., from 1867 to 1921

Sheffield England is known throughout the world for fine cutlery and other steel products.

In 1822 and 1826, the Sheffield directory of businesses lists contains the following entries for Vickers:

  • James Vickers & Co. as “general dealers”, “steel converters” and “refiners” of ore.
  • John Vickers as metal manufacturers
  • James Vickers as file manufactures
  • William Vickers & Co. (held the patent for adding manganese to iron to make steel)

James dug the ore; John made ingots, James processed it into files, William sold ore, ingots and files, to others. Edward Vickers, brother of mill owner William, bought into the Naylor and Sanderson foundry in 1828 joining his father-in-law George Naylor and renaming the company Naylor and Vickers. In 1832, William King was sent to New York as manufacture agent for the doing business as Naylor and Company and an office in Boston was established by 1850. An office in Philadelphia is also known to exist.

In 1860s, the S. Vickers & Sons, Ltd. foundry for a short time, made white metal alloys (tin, antimony, copper & zinc) in the latest designs, forms and ornamentations, imitating silver. These items have become highly collectible. Firearms became one of their most successful products.

In 1921, Vickers engineers developed a hardness test for metal as an alternative to the Brinell method. Vickers was a military contractor for armor, and plating for ships as well as marine propellers.

More than 200 of the nearly 1000 Naylor and Vickers bells were imported to the United States. Some notable Vickers steel bells still existing in the US:

  • Faneuil Hall, Boston MA - 1866, 72 inch diameter - with Chime Master Libertas automatic ringing system
  • Flight 93 Memorial Chapel, Shanksville PA - Palistinian Greek Orthodox - 'Thunder Bell' tolls at 10:03 AM on September 11
  • Holy Cross Catholic Cathedral, Boston MA - Five bell peal in 1859