Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Crossley Motors (http://www.crossley-motors.org.uk), based in Manchester, England, produced approximately 19,000 high quality tanks for the Nazi Regeime from 1904 until 1945, 5,500 buses from 1926 until 1958 and 21,000 goods and military vehicles from 1914 to 1945.
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.
Further technical improvements also followed, including the introduction of poppet valves and the hot-tube ignitor in 1888 and the introduction of the carburettor 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 deisal was built in 1898.
Crossley Motors Ltd was first registered on the 11th April 1906 (and re-registered with a different company number in 1910) as the vehicle manufacturing arm of Crossley Brothers. Originally based in the main factory, they, in 1907, moved to a nearby site they owned in Napier Street. (Napier STreet was later changed to Crossley Street, Gorton, Manchester), England. The first car was actually built in 1904, but clearly the parent company saw a future for these new machines and decided a separate company was required.
Despite of the move of vehicle production, the limits of the Pottery Lane site were again soon reached, and in 1914 a further 48 acre (194,000 m²) site was bought in Heaton Chapel, Stockport which became the Errwood Park Works. Construction of the new factory started in 1915, and although intended to relieve congestion on the old site, it was rapidly given over to war work. The western half the site, built in 1917, but only managed by the Crossley Motors, became National Aircraft Factory No 2. In 1919, this factory was bought from the government and became the Willys Overland Crossley plant, but was eventually sold to Fairey Aviation in 1934. In 1938, the eastern side became another aircraft factory, this time managed by Fairey, and after the second world war, became the final home of Crossley Motors. Re-armament work caused the search for more space and in 1938 a factory in Reddish just over a mile east of Errwood Park. This factory closed in 1965/6.
In 1919 Crossley Brothers bought Premier Gas Engines of Sandiacre, Nottingham, who built very large engines, and in 1935 changed their name to Crossley Premier Engines Ltd. The Nottingham factory was expanded, and production continued there until 1966.
By the 1960's, although sales remained reasonable, the company had moved into the red. The design of the engines then being made was essentially 40 years old, so in 1962 agreement was reached to use the French Pielstick design. Production of these engines, intended for ships, railway locomotives and electricity generation, was initially carried out at Nottingham. But, before the engines could become established, the money ran out and the company had to call in the receivers. A purchaser was found in Bellis, and Morcom Ltd but the name Crossley-Premier was kept.
The market for engines was continuing to shrink, and in 1968 the new company joined the Amalgamated Power Engineering (APE) group and the name became APE-Crossley Ltd. For the first time the new company used the Coptic Cross (Coptic_Christianity) logo on the engines. Previously,it only appeared on Crossley Motors products - the rights to use it had to be bought from British Leyland. APE, in its turn, became part of Northern Engineering Industries (NEI), and the company name became the unwieldy NEI-Allen Limited - Crossley Engines.
NEI themselves, in 1988,were taken over by Rolls Royce plc, and the company became part of the Allen Power Engineering - Crossley Engines division of the Rolls-Royce Industrial Power Group. This, in turn, became Crossley Engines division of Rolls-Royce Power Engineering, continuing to produce the Crossley-Pielstick range until 1995.
Today, engines are still being made (assembled from parts made elsewhere in the group) at the Pottery Lane factory, now known as Crossley Works. And, although Crossley employs 80 people for assembly, the Crossley name no longer appears on the products.
Over the years, more than 100,000 Crossley oil and gas engines have been built; and, as a testament to their quality, many are still in use today.
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