James Chesterman (1792-1867)1,2, the founder of the company, was a powder flask maker in London, who came to Sheffield in the early 19th century. In 1821 he set his business where he developed his spring-return linen tape in 1833 and other products such as the Thief Detector (alarm bell), a spring hat suspender and a portable tent. By 1838 the business had been established at Bow Works in Nursery Street. His first metallic woven tape, a steel tape, appeared in 1842. As at the time continuous strip-hardening was not yet possible, these steel tapes were made of five foot lengths riveted together.
In 1864 the Sheffield Flood overran Nursery Street and nearly ruined the business. In 1867 James died and the factory was continued by his son, William Chesterman. The company widened its range in measuring instruments and by 1893 it produced all forms of tapes, rules, chains, feeler gauges, squares and calliper gauges. Vernier callipers followed in 1910 and height callipers in 1933. In the meanwhile William had died in 1930, leaving the business to his sons Samuel and Gerald. The former died in 1941, while under the latter's chairmanship the firm became a public company in 1945.
In 1963 amalgamation with John Rabone & Sons created Rabone Chesterman, who were subsequently bought by Stanley Tools and transferred to Stanley's Woodside Plant. Bow Works was refurbished and extended for its new occupants, Norwich Union in 1993.
Instrument(s) in the collection
Chesterman has manufactured the folowing instrument(s) in the collection:
Notes: Chesterman, James Chesterman and Company Limited, Bow Works, Ecclesall Road, Sheffield II, England, Manufacturers since 1821 of Measuring Tapes, Rules, Gauges, Engineer's Tools, Catalogue No. 103, July, 1962, (Sheffield, 1962), p.iii.
: Inscription on a Plate on the old "Bow Works" taken from The Descendants of John Chesterman.
figure 1: Private collection.
figure 2: Budby's photostream on Flickr.
If you have any questions and/or remarks please let me know.
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Ahrend Askania Carl Zeiss Jena Chesterman Doyle & Son Jenoptik Jena Kern Aarau Keuffel & Esser Lerebours SAT-SAGEM Secrétan à Paris Société des Lunetiers Tibaut Desimpelaere Wild Heerbrugg