Crossley (England) 1904-l937
Crossley of Manchester made four-stroke gas engines in the latter quarter of the l9th century, and then shifted to car manufacturing but was stopped in 1937, however commercial vehicles produced up until 1956.
Crossley Brothers was set up in 1867 by Francis (1839-1897) and William (Sir William from 1909) (1844-1911). Francis, with help from his uncle, bought the engineering business of John M Dunlop at Great Marlborough Street in Manchester city centre, including manufacturing pumps, presses, and small steam engines. William joined his brother shortly after the purchase. The company name was initially changed to Crossley Brothers and Dunlop. Each of the brothers had served engineering apprenticeships: Francis, known as Frank, at Robert Stephenson; and William at W G Armstrongs, both in Newcastle upon Tyne. William concentrated on the business side, Frank provided the engineering expertise.
The brothers were committed Christians and strictly teetotal, refusing to supply their products to companies such as breweries, whom they did not approve of. They adopted the early Christian symbol of the Coptic Cross (Coptic-Christianity) as the emblem to use on their road vehicles.
In 1869 they had the foresight to acquire the UK and world (except German) rights to the patents of Otto and Langden of Cologne for the new gas fuelled atmospheric internal combustion engine and in 1876 these rights were extended to the famous Otto four-stroke cycle engine. The change over to four stroke engines was remarkably rapid with the last atmospheric engines being made in 1877.
The business flourished. In 1881, Crossley Brothers became a private limited company, and then, in 1882, it moved to larger premises in Pottery Lane, Openshaw, in east Manchester.
Further technical improvements also followed, including the introduction of poppet valves and the hot-tube ignitor in 1888 and the introduction of the carburetor, allowing volatile liquid fuels to be used.
By adopting the heavier fuelled "Oil" engine, the first one being demonstrated in 1891, the companies future was assured. Then in 1896, they obtained rights to the Diesel system, which used the heat of compression alone to ignite the fuel. Their first diesel was built in 1898.
By the turn of the century, there was also some production of petrol engines, and from 1901 these engines were finding their way into road vehicles, including, in 1905, Leyland buses.
A major contribution to manufacturing was the introduction of the assembly line. The Crossley system even influenced Henry Ford, who visited Pottery Lane at the turn of the century.
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