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Joseph Whitworth's major workshop
Openshaw, Manchester, UK
associated engineer
Joseph Whitworth
date  1880
era  Victorian  |  category  Factory/Industrial Plant  |  reference  SJ882977
Joseph Whitworth (1803-87), pioneer of high-precision measuring instruments and standardised screw threads, built his major workshop at Openshaw in Manchester in 1880. His ideas were to revolutionise mechanical manufacturing and armaments.
The large factory at Openshaw was primarily a steel forge, producing ductile steel for guns using the hydraulic process Whitworth developed. He had realised that ductile steel rather than hard steel — which was inclined to explode if there were defects in the metal — was safer for gun barrels and had perfected his method by 1870.
In 1883, the gun-foundry board of the United States inspected the works and declared that Whitworth's forging process was superior to all other methods. His steel castings were shown also at the Paris Great Exhibition in the same year.
In later life, Whitworth took to spending the winter months on the Riviera and he died aged 84 while in Monte Carlo on 22nd January 1887.
Whitworth is the only person to have been elected President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers twice, in 1856 and 1866. In 1868, he funded 30 Whitworth Scholarships for engineering. The following year he was created a baronet, both for this action and for the value of his inventions.
Research: ECPK
bibliography
http://heritage.imeche.org
www.gracesguide.co.uk
www.oxforddnb.com
reference sources   DNB
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Joseph Whitworth's major workshop