IOM3 National Archive welcomes new collection

18 Dec 2018

Last year the Institute received an offer from member Bill Coles to incorporate the Firth Brown Tools Ltd Speedicut Reference Library courtesy of Marshalls Carbide Ltd, part of Mincon Group Plc, into the National Materials and Mining Archive at the IOM3 Grantham Centre.

The Institute welcomed Bill to Grantham on 4 December 2018 to view the collection in its new location. The collection consists of more than 1,000 books and reports and is an important contribution to the wide range of documents and content dating back to the 1940s. Coles said, ‘The company has been in a wide range of products and this is displayed in the history of the archive. Those interested in hard metals, high-speed steel, chemistry and the history of medium to large engineering companies would find this collection of valued interest.’

First Brown Tools Ltd was formed in 1946 having been the Engineers Tool Department of Thos. Firth and John Brown, the Sheffield-based steelmakers. The reference library was established in the early 1960s in order to formalise the management of all the books, technical reports and journals held by the company and was housed in its research laboratories where physical testing, chemical and X-ray analysis and metallography of steels, predominantly high-speed steel, and hardmetal, were undertaken. At the time, the company had a diverse range of engineers’ cutting tools but also included the manufacture of tungsten rod, electrical contacts – silver tungsten – and a chemical plant converting wolfram ore to ammonium paratungstate. At its peak, the company employed more than 2,200 people. Between the 1980s and now, the library archive was not managed. As a member of the Institute and having seen in Materials World the request for collections, Bill approached IOM3 to manage the collection.

For any archive enquires please contact