MESSRS. JAMES MARTIN & CO.'S ENGINEERING WORKS, GAWLER.
[From our own Correspondent.]
The rapid growth and increasing importance of the agricultural implement and engineering works of Messrs. James Martin & Co., Gawler, demand some public notice, emcloying as they
do a plant estimated to be worth from £20,000 to £30,000, and affording labour to some 200 artisans. To agriculturists especially have they become of great interest. The long period of success which the firm has enjoyed says some thing for the character of the labour-saving implements they have brought to such marked perfection, and which they now annually construct. This year, for example, some 500 reaping and 100 winnowing machines will be turned out, not to speak of contracts for iron bridges either just completed or in course of construction. The works are situated in the very centre of the main thoroughfare of Gawler. They occupy both sides of the street, and extend far up the hill on the Calton-road. Their area and the unceasing clang of hammers and the hustle and whirr of the machinery never fail to arrest the attention of passing visitors, and more particularly of the stranger hailing from either of the sister colonies. The manufactory has attained a degree of general importance no less interesting to the general public than to the agriculturist in search of labour-saving machinery, now recognised as one of the essential conditions of success in running. It may be safely averred that in general magnitude and extensiveness these works surpass those of any similar establishment in Melbourne or Ballarat. A brief description of them, then, may not be out of place; for besides other things it may somewhat startle the protectionist to know that these works, like most others which have since attained much celebrity, maintain a prosperous existence with out the pampering aid of protection. This is saying a great deal when it is remembered that the firm must use a vast quantity of material to turn out at frequent intervals as many reaping michines an from 400 to 500 yearly, which figures we were informed correctly represent the number now being supplied, irrespective of steam-engines, iron girders for bridges, mine pumps, quartz batteries. Warren & May's patent ore-jiggers, castings, boilers for steamships, and everykind of agricultural implement and machine, from the plough and winnower upwards. The fitting shop and foundry, which first clams attention, stands on the first flat of the hill reached from High-street, and is 200 feet long by 80 feet wide. Entering it from the front it presents to the view a perfect hive of human industry and forms a maze of machines and belts running in every direction, and connected with huge but exquititely-adjusted mechanism used in the driving of machines for turning, drilling, boring, planing, screwing, slotting, and other purposes. Altogether in this building there are 25 machines driven by belts. A little further on is the wheelwright and woodwork department, slightly to the rear of the fitting shop. The latter, however, first claims notice. It occupies a space some 200 feet long by about 35 feet in width. The din here renders speaking inaudible to the unaccustomed visitor, for sawing, planing, boring, noticing, tenoning-machines, and turning machines screech and whirr and hiss in ceaseless and extraordinarily rapid operation. Belts ny to the roof in every direction, and give1' ? motion to the machinery. It is noticeable that in the wool department their speed is mueh swifter, arising from the fact th:t they are lued for driving machines operating on softer ? material than iron. There are altogether 12 machines in this department. These as well as those in the adjacent workshop are driven by two powi rful engines. Noteworthy in the large room are the very great nrunber of lathes turning out ironwork op to 14 feet in diamoter. Several of these of the firnrs own manufacture are credited with potse&HDg special advantages over those i mported In one of the. lathes was a large shaft about 20 feet iu length and of considerable diameter for the Malial* Mills. It was sur prising to observe the ease with which each suc cessive coating of iron ttss peeled off as easily as one might fare a potato with a common knife. A large machine for bending boiler plates was in operation, curving them to any requisite length, and performing other difficult work. This is of Messrs. Mnrtic k Co.'s own make, and is undoubtedly a very powerful we.'-fini*hed machine. Some yards further on is the wood work department, in which the first thing claiming notice is a large wood-planing machine by Rarnome & Co , London. It works with remarkable rapidity, and is capable of planing up stuff to 14 inches square, and wms at the time in rapid motion, planing planks at the rate of 30 teet per minute. This machine has been sir prisiuglj improved by Mr. May, one of the partners in the firm. As designed by the maker it was merely intended to plane material clamped on to the table; but Mr. May's ingenuity contrived to make it also serve the purpose of a continuous feeding machine, thereby tnrning out three times the amount of material it did as sent out by the maker. Near this is another similar machine of the firm's own make — the difference between the two being that the latter proves to be by fir the best adapted for general work. A number of these machines have been made for most of the wood-working firms in the colony, as also Victoria. Near by was a morticing-machin-j designed by Mr. May. To the nninitiated eye this appears to be a marvel of skill, rapidly and accurately performing all kinds of morticing and boring. By it mortices can be cut into naves or ordinary framework at the rate of one ? ' every half minnto, while in some cas^s as many v»a 1,150 mortices of considerable size have been made in eight hours. It is apparent that ha«l the firm taken out a patent for it the result must have tended greatly to their advantage. The foundry anil smiths' shop arc ia Murray street, and the latter contains 22 forges. The new smiths' shop u now being fitted with bl*st, &c, and will contain upwar Js of 30 forges. We ?vere shown the pUns of two engines now in -course ^pf censtruction, one for driving mills at m' MalIaU,'8nti the other for replacing an engine »X in ? the workshops used in working the '* michinery. Both were prepared by Mr. F. May. The firm are also engag in reconstructing the mill burnt down sone time ago at Mallala. It is not too much to say that without a careful and minute inspection but few would form an adequate idea of the extent and usefulness of these works, and it is much to the credit of the firm that by perserverance and industrious ingenuity as well as a keen conception of the requirements of the agricultural portion of the community they are materially enabled to assist in the progress of agriculture.