This was manufactured in Patricroft for Thomas Walmsley and Sons of Bolton and was used until 1975 to process wrought iron using the indirect or puddling process at the Atlas Forge.
The possibility of steam hammers was first noted by James Watt (1736-1819) in his 1794 patent for the steam engine. James Nasmyth (1808-1890) and Francois Bourdon (1797-1865) reinvented the steam hammer independently in 1839 as they were trying to solve the problem of forging cranks for steam engines of increasing size for use in locomotives and paddle steamers.
Nasmyth noted the need arose for a paddle shaft for Isambard Kingdom Brunel's new transatlantic steamer the SS Great Britain which with a 760mm shaft diameter was larger than any that had previously been forged. He sketched a proposal for his steam hammer design in 1839 but the need disappeared when the SS Great Britain was converted to screw propellers.
Bourdon came up with an idea for a steam hammer also in 1839 and made detailed drawings of his proposal. Bourdon built the first steam hammer in the world in 1840 at the Schneider & Cei works at Le Creusot after the Bourdon and Schneider had visited the Nasmyth works in England and been shown his sketch.
Nasmyth visited Le Creusot in April 1842 to see the hammer working and built his own steam hammer later in 1842 after returning from France.
The design of the steam hammer continued to improve although during the 20th Century they became obsolete in heavy industry due to the advent of more advanced technologies in the form of hydraulic and mechanical presses.
Atlas Forge was founded in the 1860's by Thomas Walmsley & Sons in Bolton not far from where the steam hammer I photographed now sits. They produced wrought iron until 1975 and were the last wrought iron manufacturer in the UK.
Naysmyth and Wilson was founded in 1836 in Patricroft, Salford, England and was located close to the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, Bridgewater Canal and Manchester Ship Canal.
Photographed as I walked from a meeting in Bolton, Lancashire, UK on the 4 January 2016 - This was my first day back after the Christmas holidays.