Portrait of James Nasmyth                       Steam hammer at the entrance to the Nasmyth Business
                                                                                                 Park on Green Lane, Patricroft.
James Nasmyth was born in Edinburgh in 1808. From an early age James showed an interest and a talent for things mechanical and as a youth he was taken on as an apprentice by Henry Mawdsley, one of the leading engineers of the day.
It was on a walking tour to view the Liverpool-Manchester Railway, then recently opened, that James noticed the site at Patricroft that was to become the site for his foundry.

His inventions and improvements to machinery were many, the steam hammer being the best-known. He also designed a safety device that prevented accidents in moving molten metal. He did not take out a patent on this so that it could be copied without charge.
He also took a keen interest in art, astronomy and local government. He became Chairman of the Local Board of Health in 1854.

At the age of 48 he retired to Kent where he devoted his time to his interests. He died in 1890, having become a key figure in the history of engineering. Read more in the Society's publication, The Steam Hammer Man by John Aldred
(pictured below,right)and in James Nasmyth and the Bridgewater Foundry: a study of entrepreneurship in the early engineering industry (Manchester University Press, 1984) by John A.Cantrell.


Above, left: The massive 'Thor' steam hammer that was in operation in the Bridgewater Foundry in Patricroft up to the 1930s.
The sound of its blows could be heard from a long way off and so the name 'Thor' - the Norse god of thunder - was fitting.
The steamhammer was included on the Eccles coat of arms in recognition of Nasmyth's achievement and of the importance of engineering to the borough.