Hartley & Sugden boilers

Hartley & Sugden’s welded boiler marked the era of the mass-produced hot-water boiler — and changed the face of the heating industry.
In the 18th century the development of boilers was directed towards raising steam to drive steam engines. Around 1810, systems of heating by hot water were introduced. Early hot water heating boilers were small and crude, and heating for buildings such as country houses, churches and prisons continued to be mainly by warm air. Most early hot-water boilers were of the saddle type, originally manufactured using rivetted wrought-iron plates. Steam heating for other than factories and large institutional buildings, such as hospitals and asylums, never achieved great popularity. An important change came in 1854 when Samuel Cook discovered a method of joining wrought plates by fire-welding. His first designs were saddle and cylindrical boilers. By 1863 he had established the Premier Works at Halifax in Yorkshire. This spawned a whole new industry, the boilermakers of Yorkshire, where the availability of coal, iron, water and good transportation links was an important consideration. Prominent among these early firms were Robert Jenkins of Rotherham, Lumbys (later Lumby, Son & Wood) of Halifax, and Hartley & Sugden, also of Halifax. Hartley & Sugden was established in 1867 and grew rapidly. In 1872 its improved wrought welded saddle boiler was awarded a gold medal at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Show. By 1891 its boilers, of which the patented Dome Top and the Climax were particularly successful, had been installed in their thousands throughout the UK and across Europe. The era of the mass-produced hot-water boiler, in which Hartley & Sugden played a leading role, had arrived — and changed the face of the heating industry.

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