It is generally accepted in today’s modern world that William Lee a Curate of Calverton invented the Knitting Frame in 1577; however others disagree with this story. In fact the historian F. A. Wells Ph.D. in his book The British Hosiery Trade says “Framework Knitting was evidently considered, not as a new industry, but as a modification of one already in existence.” Other hosiery historians point towards an earlier machine being invented in Mansfield by Farmer Clay in 1563, but no proof is available of this claim.   In 1786 John Rodgers of Mansfield along with John Hayne, invented a new Knitting Frame that would produce “Double pressed fast point net”, which could be cut in any direction without unraveling.


In 1777 William Betts of Mansfield invented a new machine designed to knit Caps, Mitts and other Hosiery goods, both ribbed and plain. The machine passed the Great Seal.   HAND MANGLE: The common mangle, used in possibly millions of homes, is claimed to have its origins here in Mansfield , being invented by Lorenzo Tindall, a partner in the Sherwood Foundry (James Maude’s) in 1885.


With Mansfield being a textile centre for well over two hundred years it of course had its fair share of new inventions, within the industry. For example; two inventions within the Cotton industry, which became common place, were a) Fluted rollers or Stretchers and b) The Spindle & Cone movement.  While in 1904 a new machine was invented for producing textile fabrics.


It is claimed that James Murray, who worked as a wood and metal turner in a bobbin shop in Rock Valley , invented the Circular Saw in the late 18th century. After seeing the length of time required to cut a plank by hand he set about devising a way of speeding up the work. This he did by putting teeth onto a circular plate. His first successful efforts were actually with teeth cut into a wooden bobbin, which he used to cut a carrot. From there he proceeded to make the first steel circular saw blade, used to cut wood. This saw blade is on display in the reception of the Caurnaud Metal Box Company in Rock Valley .   However we have to admit that the actual patent for the first circular saw blade was granted to a Samuel Miller of Southampton in 1777. Unfortunately we don’t know the year of James Murray’s invention.


Stephen Simpson had a very active mind and is accredited with several inventions; perhaps the most widely used one being the Penny-in-the-Slot Gas Meter; which he invented in 1897.


Stephen Simpson was also involved in the cycle industry where he manufactured cycles for a few years. During his manufacturing he patented a) The Rigid Bicycle Wheel in 1878 and b) The Automatic Bicycle Wheel which was exhibited in the Athenaeum Bicycle Exhibition in London .


Although not a new invention in itself, Mr. W Richardson, of the Meadow Foundry, invented the first hot water radiator, in 1890, that was designed to give out the maximum possible heat, through giving it a large surface area, for the minimum space taken up.


Mr. Richardson also invented, in 1885, a stop tap used on the water mains’ system in order to control the water supply to individual homes, a system still in use today. He also invented the ‘India Rubber’ hot water pipe joint.


Across the Town, in 1875, in another foundry Messrs Farnsworth & Sansom invented a system used to form casting moulds.


Mr. Brodhurst invented a much improved Malt House by adding sliding doors to the apertures at either end of the kiln in order to regulate the draught and heat of the external air being admitted, which was necessary for the drying of Malt.

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  • The saw blade on display at rock valley shows the date to be 1815, sadly no longer on display due to factory move

    By Steve sims (18/03/2010)

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