Herbert Morris & Co: Compasses and Cranes
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  1. #1
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    Default Herbert Morris & Co: Compasses and Cranes

    jd-2021-h-morris-1.jpg jd-2021-h-morris-2.jpg

    Herbert Morris & Co made a vast range of cranes and other lifting equipment. A friend recently gave me these chalk-holding compasses made (or just branded) by the company.

    I'm curious as to why it would be thought better to use these rather than conventional pointed dividers to scribe an arc? Perhaps blacksmiths favoured a coarse white mark over a sharper scribed curve, when working in a dark forge?

    The basic design would probably look familiar to an 18th century person, but these are dated 1887. They are also stamped with a broad arrow and 'WD' (War Department). Their last known user was a maintenance man in a south Wales colliery, who probably acquired them after WW1.

    If there's any interest, I'll post photos of other aspects of Herbert Morris's work.

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    I think use in blacksmithing would possible, but more likely for general fabrication layout. I guess they were one-and the same around the turn of the century, but nowadays "blacksmith" invokes images of a lone rural horse-shoer, not the large forging operations that produce steel construction components and heavy equipment.

    IMO, chalk or soap-stone is used partly because of the working conditions/lighting, but mostly due to the state of the material. In a machine shop, layout often happens on a mostly flat and slick surface that you can scribe accurate lines into. Wrought forged metal is rough and scaly so your scribe would be chattering all over the place and wouldn't leave a very visible line to follow. If they're laying out for a shear or punch to cut the material, I doubt they're working to the same +/- .001 finished tolerances you see in general machining layout, more like +/- 1/2" that would be machined to size later if needed.

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    Yes, please post more about Morris. I always enjoy your history lessons.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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    I have an 1100-page Herbert Morris catalogue. It's dated 1933, but some of the photos are certainly from the 1920s, and some of those show facilities that belong to a much earlier era, like this grindery:-

    jd-2021-h-morris-3.jpg

    If a burst grindstone didn't get you, the dust would.

    More up-to-date, and more intriguing (the two pages go together to describe an arrangement of overhead cranes which inhabit the same shop, even though they travel at right angles to each other):-

    dscn0281a.jpg dscn0282-2-.jpg

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    I scrapped a weird Herbert Morris mobile factory crane ,four wheels which could swivel 360deg to work in the most confined spaces ....I think I also have a Herbert Morris overhead hoist here somewhere,unusual because even the pendant controll is 3 phase ,415v........I was gonna make it air operated,but already have an IR overhead hoist .

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    I worked on a job at “ Dunlop’s “ at Speke near Liverpool back in the day. It had been a “ shadow factory “ during the war building aircraft, I don’t know which ones. The factory was fully equipped with “ Morris “ overhead cranes.

    Regards Tyrone.

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    Asquith,

    An 1100 page catalogue is pretty impressive! I had no idea Morris offered so much gear. Their chain blocks were found everywhere but I can't recall much else.

    The chalk-holding compasses remind me of school. Teachers used a large version for drawing on the blackboard, I think they were made from wood.

    I am also reminded of old photos showing castings being "marked out" by scribing lines on white paint. Perhaps you could do a quick marking out job by making a chalk curve followed by a sharp scribed curve....

    How about working with stone, concrete, timber.

    FWIW, I have a couple of Morris chain blocks, I happen to have photo of the 10 cwt model. Sorry, nothing special

    morris-02.jpg morris-11.jpg morris-08.jpg

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    jd-2021-h-morris-11.jpg
    At Dunlop's: Which one is Tyrone?

    jd-2021-h-morris-10.jpg
    Milling a worm for a wormgear chainblock.

    jd-2021-h-morris-9.jpg
    Milling grooves for spur gear chainblocks.


    jd-2021-h-morris-12.jpg jd-2021-h-morris-13.jpg

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    Thanks Asquith for giving me an excuse to lookout my Morris book. I thought I would post a couple of plates which appear to date a bit earlier, this book is only a modest 490 pages but is dated 1912.
    I have been on the lookout for an earlier book, this one is no 50, but no luck so far. I also keep an eye out for a really big chain block...also no luck.img_20210910_203211_resized_20210910_083322111.jpgimg_20210910_203231_resized_20210910_083321439.jpg
    Richard.
    Last edited by Ruston3w; 09-10-2021 at 03:33 PM. Reason: duplicate picture

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    When I was in Veterans Affairs(oz) the freight elevator well had a giant Morris 8 ton chainblock with two operator chains and eight falls of lift chain (2x4)......there was also a giant beam in the ceiling and a suitable sized monkey to remove the lift machinery by hand .

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    Quote Originally Posted by Asquith View Post
    jd-2021-h-morris-11.jpg
    At Dunlop's: Which one is Tyrone?

    jd-2021-h-morris-10.jpg
    Milling a worm for a wormgear chainblock.

    jd-2021-h-morris-9.jpg
    Milling grooves for spur gear chainblocks.


    jd-2021-h-morris-12.jpg jd-2021-h-morris-13.jpg
    The “ Dunlop “ factory I worked at was in Speke nr Liverpool.

    They also had a place in Walton in Liverpool and another one on Cambridge Street in central Manchester. I visited both of those but only briefly.

    All gone now I think, the one on Cambridge Street has been made into apartments.

    Regards Tyrone.
    Last edited by Tyrone Shoelaces; 09-11-2021 at 03:19 PM.

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    Those fellows hanging hoists in the bottom two photos would give Arnold the Terminator a run for his money. They look like they've just raised a loaf of bread. Those must be the magnesium model hoist.

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