Prior to Andrew Smith patenting his floor spring door closer, long before his trip to California with his son Andrew Smith Jnr (Later Andrew Smith Hallidie) and before his setting up at the 69 Princes Street, Leicester Square address he lived at York Terrace, in the Parish of Saint Margaret, City of Westminster. From here he patented various inventions and had varying business partners to market and sell the devices he either invented or improved upon.
The first I would like to show readers is below -
"To William Henry Kitchen, of High Street, in the Parish of St. Giles, Bloomsbury, in the county of Middlesex, Ironmonger, and Andrew Smith, late of York Terrace, in the Parish of St. Margaret, in the City of Westminster ; but now of Princes Street, Leicester Square, in the same City, Merchant, for their Discovery or Invention of certain Improvements in the construction of Window-frames, Sashes, or Casements, Shutters, and Doors, designed to afford security against burglars, as well as to exclude the weather.--[Sealed 7th Feb. 1829.]" English Patents of Inventions, Specifications, Volumes 5755-5800 AD 1929 No 5770
These improvements were initially shared with Thomas Don his business partner in 1827.
Second is his floor cramp for laying floor boards and his link to yet a further address, that being No 2 Palace Street Pimlico -
I also while researching the information above I found between an advert for a wet nurse and an advert for artificial teeth the link to the previous owner of 69 Princes Street Leicester Square (John Wright), reference to spring hinges for swing doors from around 1827, the bankruptcy sale of 69 Princes Street and a dissolved partnership between John Wright and Joseph Tanner from the previous year (1826) -
"PORTABLE IMPROVED WARM BATH The fire for raising the water to its proper temperature is put into the Bath on the principle of consuming its own smoke, and will warm the room at the same time, and will heat the Bath, in 15 minutes, inhaling the vapour arising from the warm water. — Price 91, 9-. One can be seen always in action, at the inventor's, J. WRIGHT, Smith and Engineer, 69, Princes - street, Leicester-square. Also his improved Garden Engine and Shower Bath, Vapour Baths, & Spring Hinges for swing doors."(Morning Post - Friday 20th April 1827).
As always I hope readers have found this entry of interest along with my others, please feel free to make positive comment.
Among other things I am currently working on a pair of Smiths I have been sent that have no pivots, need springs and have odd mismatched shoes that have different sized squares which I will be matching up to the pivots I am going to be manufacturing, rather a difficult job considering the many various pins sizes I come across as can be seen in the picture below. The one on the left is from the Andrew Smith which I will be replicating, the centre is from a Cartlands and the one on the right from a Smiths Patent.
The other three pivots you can see are from the Wing and Webb "Invincibles" that I have discussed recently and need machining also as they are badly worn. As I am working on Smiths in my next blog post I am going to discuss some of Andrew Smiths other patents besides his fantastic floor spring door closers.
I was contacted by Tom and Paula, who had a lovely old Smiths in a Victorian House they are renovating. Their problem was the springs had snapped and there was wear in other areas of the components that meant the Smithy was not working as it should.
They are also having new flooring material laid that meant the shoe would have been catching the new height of the floor and needed the shoe raising without use of washers for the reasons I have discussed previously. I was happy to help Tom with advise on how to remove the door spring from the floor, the door from the floor spring/shoe and replace it after we had repaired it. Here are some of the shots as we went along and shots provided by Tom of it back in the ground.
Much as I love to see the old decor plates on display along with the Victorian tiles I understand that this may not always be feasible especially as Tom was telling me about the gap beneath the skirting and the various drafts in the Victorian property, meaning previous owners would sit with their coats on indoors from November till March before they got central heating in or around the 1960's.
My personal preferences aside the renovating of the Smiths, along side the fitting of modern carpet is therefore in this case a happy mixture of old and new.
As always feel free to comment about this post or any other you may care to.
I have discussed Wing and Webb of Wolverhampton previously so would just like to show readers some "Invincibles" I have come across supplied by them in the early 1930's. I was informed these were original to the rebuilding of the school/frontage of the nearly 400 year old Richard Hale School (Science and Engineering Academy) in Hertford, here is a link to the history of the school and London merchant Richard Hale -
Although this door was not controlled by floor springs it was great to see it had been incorporated into the wall where either side of it four of the the six Wing and Webb Invincibles can be found. The door I was informed is the original entrance door to the first Richard Hale School as can be read about in the links provided.
This entry on my blog is a little different to others as it is about Andrew Smith and his family rather than directly about floor springs, door closers or the work I do, I still hope readers enjoy it however.
Recently I have had a run on inquiries for Smiths Floor Springs, which has lead me to turn my thoughts again to Andrew Smith, his family, his and his families influences on our industrial heritage and more, considering his connection with Sir Andrew Hallidie Royal Physician and Andrew Smith Hallidie, probably better known in America than here in the UK due to his involvement with the trams of San Francisco (something I will visit in the future).
If using Google to search for Andrew Smith, Hood and Co, it will take you to Graces Guide and an entry for Andrew Smith Flood and Co, where it does mention that the reference they have used is maybe a printing error, I hold it is and the true name of the firm was Andrew Smith, Hood and Co.
The Hood being John Lionel Hood, a gentleman from Newcastle-Upon-Tyne who it appears was jointly granted a patent with Andrew Smith for improving the manner in which belts, bands or straps were manufactured in the place of ropes or chains as you can see below of the two references I have found.
Link to Graces Guide and the entry discussed above - https://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Andrew_Smith,_Flood_and_Co
Link to the place I believe they got their reference from - https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433066344452;view=1up;seq=319
1 Link to the place I got my 1st reference from - https://books.google.co.id/books?id=jB0AAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA215&dq=john+lionel+hood,+newcastle+upon+tyne+gent+and+andrew+smith..&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_wJKD8onhAhUF7oMKHQkiDikQuwUILDAA#v=onepage&q=john%20lionel%20hood%2C%20newcastle%20upon%20tyne%20gent%20and%20andrew%20smith..&f=false
2 Link to the place I got my 2nd reference from - https://books.google.co.id/books?id=yN2FAgeFpxIC&pg=PP281&dq=john+lionel+hood,+newcastle+upon+tyne+gent+and+andrew+smith..&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi_wJKD8onhAhUF7oMKHQkiDikQuwUIMjAB#v=onepage&q=john%20lionel%20hood%2C%20newcastle%20upon%20tyne%20gent%20and%20andrew%20smith..&f=false
Further reference to Smith and Hood - https://books.google.co.id/books?id=U77Rz84RjlIC&pg=RA8-PA1&lpg=RA8-PA1&dq=john+lionel+hood,+gentleman+newcastle+upon+tyne&source=bl&ots=YOtMvNtQRU&sig=ACfU3U2DS6MYd5ApdOY9pL8CBvsBNc0XIw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjV0qG8-YnhAhWjxYMKHczeDBEQ6AEwAXoECAgQAQ#v=onepage&q=john%20lionel%20hood%2C%20gentleman%20newcastle%20upon%20tyne&f=false
To those interested, if you Google John Lionel Hood, gentleman, Newcastle Upon Tyne much more information can be found.
I have shown you these floor springs previously and from that job I am using some of the spares I managed to collect to repair these. At first I thought the parts were the same (all be it hand finished) as I have discussed previously so I did know it would not be as easy as just swapping the parts. I have come across a few changes in the design however that means I was unable to use the parts even if I had to modify them slightly, mainly centred around the piston and to some degree the action. These changes I believe were to overcome some problems I had encountered with the original design.
The Gibbons are from the Grade 1 Listed Liverpool Town Hall and are holding open about 15 degrees from centre, having no checking action whatsoever. Here is a link to this handsome building if readers would like to know more about the history of the building. https://www.liverpooltownhall.co.uk/
The Gibbons are off the main entrance hall in the east part of the building, I was shown another set of the original Gibbons and was upset to see that previously some of the original floor springs had been replaced with modern units. I had believed these to be called "Zeniths" I now know this to be not correct.
Because of the difference in design and the problems I discovered once I began to dismantle them it was decided that it would be best to remove the parts and take them back to the workshop to be repaired.
Anyone care to hazard a guess to why the design changes, the bottom one is from the Liverpool Town Hall, the above from the Star & Garter?
As I have stated on many occasions any input from readers would be great and I always try to reply whenever someone makes a comment and I spot it, I hope you enjoy the post.
It is great to be able to put a face to the name of Ben Turner found in the book titled 'The Corporation of the City of London and the First Twelve of the Great City Guilds in the Diamond Jubilee Year of Her Majesty Queen Victoria, R & I and Edited by Alfred Arthur Sylvester.' 1898.
In WAKEFIELD's MERCHANT & TRADESMAN's GENERAL DIRECTORY, LONDON, WEST MINSTER, BOROUGH of SOUTHWARK and TWENTY TWO MILES CIRCULAR FROM ST PAUL's FOR THE YEAR 1794 you will find the earliest reference I have yet found to the 50 Bartholomew address. I believe H. Savage (Smith and Bell Hanger) is the employer mentioned in the above article.
Below is the patent for Joseph Smiths Spring Hinge for Doors and Gates A.D 1814.
With the Joseph Smith patent (Which I know to be similar to Ben Turners later design), the information regarding 50 Bartholomew Close (H. Savage), the information regarding Benjamin Turner above and the information below with regard to Joseph Smith (50 Bartholomew Close) from Johnstone's London Commercial Guide, and Street Directory 1817, I believe this is the beginnings of Smith and Turner.
Readers of this blog will know I am still trying to understand the exact relationship between the Smiths and Ben Turner. I have been sent these shots of some decor plates that may go some way to me knowing the various lineages once and for all. As you can see these plates mention both 50 Bartholomew Close (associated with Smith and Turner/Ben Turner) and Smith Patentee, along with I believe the crest of the Royal Letters Patent granted to Ben Turner by Queen Victoria in 1872. I feel however that these are related to Joseph Smith and his 1814 patent as previously mentioned. More to follow on these in the future, if I have the privilege to investigate further.
I was called to visit Kedleston Hall, a fine National Trust property local to MFS to price for fitting and manufacture of a full set of Smiths springs. The ones in this Archibald Smith & Co floor spring are by far the largest I have yet come across, I hope to bring you shots of it repaired in the near future.
Due to various constraints unfortunately we were not able to save this Ben Turner designed floor spring, manufactured by Smith and Turner of 50 Bartholomew Close, London. We did however manage to find a floor spring of similar age, action and reliability which we managed to fit beneath the original decor plate, mating the pin to the original shoe and utilizing the original top centre, certainly not an easy one.
Interestingly when first coming across this floor spring the top centres were in up-side down, meaning the pin retracted into the door rather than the header. The owner had saved the doors and floor spring from what was the front of the property when converting it from a shop into a beautiful home, parts of which we were informed were nearly 500 years old, the King and Queen beams believed to have themselves been recycled from ships were a sight to behold.
The doors themselves had been rebated at one time to make them single action which we removed as they were now back to double action. The owner has informed us he will be taking them to a joinery shop to have the bull nosing where the two doors meet replaced as they were far from square as often found in these beautiful old properties.
As there is so little information out there with regard to door closers, especially vintage and antique model floor springs, I thought I would start this blog.