THE IRON FOUNDRIES OF ADELAIDE.
Ironfounding is one of the oldest of our colonial industries. It took root in the very early stages of our history ; and if it has not advanced in propor- tion to the general progress of South Australia, it
is gratifying to know that it now occupies a very creditable position in the catalogue of local manu- factures. Castings from the ponderous machinery used in mines to the most ingenious and elegant ornaments may now be obtained without difficulty in the colony. The absence of protection has not paralyzed this branch of industry ; and although some of those who pursue it are to be found in tbe Protectionist ranks, they content themselves with taking very moderate views of the limit of State interference. They are not led astray by the cry that a heavier tax on a few articles, and the removal of imposts from others, will keep the revenue up to its present standard, when the object of such a tariff is to exclude those articles placed under a special disability. We have pleasure in publishing the subjoined particulars respecting the operations of our principal founders. We have purposely ab- stained from entering into other branches of the iron trade further than was requisite to render this account intelligible and congruous. Mr. G. Wyatt's Foundry, North-terrace. If any one wishes to gain a good idea of the foundry works of South Australia it will be his wisdom to visit the establishment of Mr. George Wyatt, North-terrace. It is not merely that Mr Wyatt takes a leading place in the particular branch of industry with which his name has been so long associated, but he has premises which stand high in comparison with those of other firms in the trade. It seems characteristic of many of our manufacturers to rest content with the tumble down erections of a quarter of a century ago. In the early days of the colony they were probably quite up to the times, but the march of improve- ment has thrown them notably into the shade. Adelaide people have evidently little faith in the showy side of trade. They are content to plod on quietly, having little ambition to keep up appearances, and less to compel attention But there is a medium in these things, and Mr Wyatt is now discovering the advantage of having respect to that fact. Since the year 1842 the name of Wyatt, father and son, has been known in con nection with foundry operations. At first they occupied a place in Grenfell-street, but of late years they have had premises opposite the railway sheds. ln our list of building improvements for 1867 appeared a short account of the factory erected to supersede the less pretentious edifice, which had been outgrown by the requirements of the busi- ness. The design throughout was that of the pro- prietor himself, who has plainly made good use of his experience, and of his acquaintance with the principles of architecture. The total depth is 212 feet, and the breadth representing the frontage to North-terrace is 28 feet. There is also plentiful provision in the shape of windows and doors both for light and ventilation, and for expediting the workmen engaged in the several departments. The first compartment is the fitting shop, 90 feet in length, which is furnished with machinery arranged in excellent order. There are in it two powerful drilling-machines, besides planing, screwing, and shearing machines. There is, moreover, a gigantic lathe for forming screws, weighing altogether about seven tons. The bed alone has a weight of five tons, and is the only part of the apparatus not made by the owner. All of this machinery, besides other items yet to be mentioned, is driven bv an eight-horse engine. The centre of the building contains the smithy. One of the most prominent articles here is a ponderous steam-hammer, made by Mr. Wyatt from the descriptions and diagrams given in a scientific periodical. Its weight is 11 cwt , and with a fall of two feet it is able to exert upon any substance placed under it a force equal to about two tons. It has faggotted and welded several shafts six inches square, and on one occa- sion it performed the same duty for a shaft of eight inches round. Here also are a punching and plate-bending machine. There are in all four forges, which, with the cupola, a large furnace accommodating a charge of 30 cwt. and capable of supplying food for a casting of four tons, are all supplied with toe blast from one of Lloyd's fans.
This, when at full work, makes no less than 1,000 revolutions per minute. The blast acting upon the cupola passes along the pipes a distance of 80 feet. Space has been left for a second furnace, which may be conveniently constructed whenever it is needed. The foundry proper is a splendid room, 80 feet long and 20feet high, thoroughly lit with gas. In it there is a travelling crane, with action in both directions, capable of lifting a weight of 10 or 11 tons. The casting proper is all done here by means of loam, the moulten liquid being poured into the moulds from a huge ladle. The drying-room is a sort of oven built outside, but opening into the foundry. Its dimensions are 16 feet by 9, and it is heated by means of a furnace at one end. The loam moulds are borne in and out on a truck travelling upon rails. There is now being cast a new piston for the steamer Coorong, 33 inches in diameter. A visit alone cannot convey much idea of the magnitude of the works carried on, and although at present there are no specially large castings being turned out, those lying about are sufficiently massive to afford a very favourable idea of the resources of the establishment. The heaviest piece of work that has been executed was a hydraulic woolpress for Messrs. Stilling & Co., weighing seven tons. It has been found to suit admirably. It is seldom that a week passes without a casting of 30 cwt. or two tons being required. The loam employed is obtained from the rear of the Government Domain, but the supply threatens to fall short of the demand. The coal-dust used as a facing for the sand in casting is prepared by means of a grinding-mill, consisting of a pair of heavy rollers rotating in a large pan. Previously a small machine like a flattened globe, first introduced into the colony by Mr. Wyatt, having been fashioned by him after the model of Burdam's patent in Melbourne was used, but it was found not to perform its work with sufficient rapidity, and was therefore thrown aside. In the yard are stationed a large single-arm crane for loading and a set of sheer legs, which may be employed for the same purpose, or in breaking up old castings which are too bulky for the hammer. This latter operation is performed by means of a solid ball, half a ton in weight, which is made to fall from a great elevation on to the iron below. We were shown a bevil wheel of 35 cwt., which had done service in the dredge at the Port since 1854 or 1855. It is worthy of remark that this and the fellow-wheel made by Mr. Wyatt have been in use for all those years, whereas the articles brought out from England in two months succumbed to the strain brought to bear upon them. An order was executed a week or two ago for a wheel to replace that now condemned to the melting pot. As a rule about seven tons of iron is cast weekly at this foundry. The chief dependence is placed on mine work, some of which it of great magnitude. But in addition to this there are also castings of miscellaneous descriptions, including wrought iron girders for the Post-office, bridge work for the Central Road Board, cylinders, wheels of every size and shape. In the fitting-room machinery of vast bulk is operated upon, and in the trimming room it is all put in excellent condition. The planing, boring, shaping, bending, and twisting of iron are accomplished with the greatest ease and exactness, and all the appliances of a first-rate workshop are at hand. There are at present 27 men engaged, and Mr. Wyatt's practical knowledge of the several branches of the trade enables him personally to superintend the whole. He occupies in all about two-thirds of an acre, some on the west and some on the east side of Victoria-street. On the latter are situated his offices, and here also he keeps his stores of coal and coke. He has had numerous contracts from public bodies, and on his merits has achieved a good position in the trade.