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E.Ormerod & Co. Ltd 1880


The early 1860’s saw huge developments in engineering technology. The advent of the steam winder and the introduction of stranded wire ropes gave the mining engineer all the tools required to raise heavier payloads from ever-increasing depths. With all new technology, new dangers were introduced to the workplace, which, in the case of winding, was being able to accurately position the cage as it came to Bank. Winders of the day were by no means small; drum diameters ranged from anything from 14 to 33 feet (depending on their construction), with one additional turn of the drum sending the cage crashing into the headgear timbers. Problems were compounded further when Keps were used, as it was first necessary to raise the cage so that the Keps could be withdrawn; applying steam in favour of the engine at pit top was a particularly precarious operation, and led to many over-wound cages and accidents.


Edward Ormerod (middle) inspecting detaching hooks. Circa 1880

In 1867, Edward Ormerod, the Engineer at Gibfield Colliery, Atherton Nr. Manchester, patented a detaching hook for “The prevention of accidents from over-winding in mine shafts.” Manufacture commenced in 1868 from a small forge adjacent to the Colliery, with the first hook being installed at Gibfield No2 shaft in the same year. The design was widely adopted by the industry, and went on to be awarded a Gold medal at the “Manchester Mechanical & Industrial exhibition” of 1875, and a silver medal at the “Franco British Exhibition” in 1908. In 1954 Ormerod’s supplied its 10,000th detaching hook to the same shaft at Gibfield Colliery, and in 1980 supplied the World’s first 40 Ton SWL detaching hooks and skip suspension gear to Thoresby Colliery in the UK.


Stone's Colliery 1903



To date, Edward Ormerod & Co. Ltd. have designed, manufactured, and supplied over 13,500 Ormerod detaching hooks and sets of suspension gear World-wide, and continue to do so from their original seven acre site, adjacent to the former Gibfield Colliery.