Please note

Because of the lack of published trowel and masonry tool histories, the information here is based on other sources that may be less reliable and certainly are incomplete. These include eBay and tools that I purchase myself that are the starting points for my research. I will write what I know as I learn it. If what you read here interests you, please check back often and look for revisions and corrections. Scanned catalogs are either mine or by Rose Antique Tools and used with permission, and are on Google Docs as pdf files. A few are links to other websites. Your photos and information are welcome. Please click on any picture to enlarge it. Comments are welcome, but any with links will be deleted as possible spam.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

History of Matthias Spencer and Sons, John R. Spencer and Son, Albion Steel Works, Sheffield

Matthias Spencer and Sons, Albion Steel Works, Sheffield, were in business from 1749 to 1968. They manufactured brick trowels and other products of forged, plate, and drawn steel, such as shovels, miner's picks, files, table knives, razors, and wire. In the 19th century the works were on Pea Croft, now Solly Street, Sheffield, a neighborhood of small factories and attached worker housing. According to the book, "Illustrated Guide to Sheffield & District 1879", they were called John R. Spencer and Son, Albion Steel Works at that time. The picture shows 3 cone-shaped cementation furnaces at the rear, indicating that Spencer was making their own steel from wrought iron and charcoal.

For an article about a surviving steel works and owner's house, located only a few blocks away from Matthias Spencer and Sons, see the fifth link below.

Grace's Guide - Matthias Spencer and Sons
Albion Steel Works picture, circa 1879
Wikipedia - Cementation process of steelmaking
Google Maps - Solly Street, Sheffield
Wikipedia - Well Meadow Street Crucible Furnace
Wikipedia - Surviving cementation furnace, Sheffield
Related article - Early Victorian Housing in Sheffield

Matthias Spencer brick trowel, missing handle 

Matthias Spencer 1895 (Grace's Guide)

1 comment:

  1. i have an 11 inch narrow london brick trowel that i got on ebay u.s.a .the brand name stamped into the blade is tara.have you ever come across them.its got a wood handle on it.