EG Wrigley and Company

E G Wrigley & Co Limited was a British tool maker, car component, and mechanical parts manufacturer, located at Foundry Lane, Soho, Birmingham active from 1897 to 1923.

Share of the E. G. Wrigley & Co Limited, issued 16. March 1922

FoundationEdit

Edward Greenwood Wrigley established a tool making business at 232 Aston Road, Birmingham in 1898. He expanded in 1902 by moving some operations to Foundry Lane, Soho, Birmingham. They manufactured high-speed twist drills and made a specialty of milling cutters, taper and adjustable reamers and gear cutters.[1]

Small tools and GearsEdit

In addition to the small tools mentioned Wrigley's made gears of many types for all mechanisms but the engine and they assembled gears into boxes making a number of products. Their reputation for high quality was excellent though Dr Lanchester went on record as saying the one use for a Wrigley Worm was for fishing.[2]

Transmission setsEdit

A range of three speed gearboxes and worm-driven back axles with propellor shaft and torque mechanism and transmission brakes and front axles with steering gear. In 1906 Wrigley's showed a complete car gearbox at that year's Olympia Show and were manufacturing front and live-rear axles.[1]

DevelopmentsEdit

In 1912 at the opening of a new building at Soho Foundry Lane core activities were:

  • Manufacture of twist drills, cutters and small tools of all kinds
  • the machining of toothed gearing
  • assembly of gearboxes and other complete units

Other special tools made in large numbers were: hobs, metal-splitting saws and all kinds of special cutters and gauges. At that time it was reported there were now eighteen draughtsmen, 47 staff and 280 men in the workshops.[3]

After the war, due to ill health, Wrigley handed over the running of his business to F G Woollard. Wrigley died in January 1941.

CarsEdit

Wrigley cars were only made during 1913. In 1913 they began experimenting with a cyclecar with a two-cylinder, air- or water-cooled engine and two-speed gearbox. Very few were built before the business was involved in war work, including making aircraft parts.[2]

Morris Commercial CarsEdit

Wrigley's continued building, among other products, axles and gearboxes. In early 1920 they issued shares to take control of engine-maker J. Tylor and Sons[4] who were supplying engines to Angus-Sanderson which was intending to move to large scale production. However Angus-Sanderson overstretched themselves, and Wrigley stopped supplying them in November 1920. Angus-Sanderson failed in 1921, this forced Tylor into receivership. Wrigley's had to write off its shareholding in both companies and for the year ending April 1921 reported a loss of £548,300.[5] Wrigley's was not able to recover and was placed in receivership at the end of 1923. Although Angus-Sanderson was resurrected as Angus Sanderson (1921) Ltd (with control of J Tylor and Sons) it made relatively few cars, and failed in 1927.

The failure of Angus-Sanderson was in part due to being undercut by Morris, and on 1 January 1924 William Morris bought from the receiver the complete assets of Wrigley, including the buildings, and on 4 February of that year, the former Wrigley business, now incorporated as Morris Commercial Cars Limited, began the manufacture of light commercial vehicles with a 1-ton truck.[2] By 1930 trucks of from 10 cwt up to 5 tons capacity were being made and Dictator and Imperial single and double-decker buses.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b The Olympia Show, The Commercial Motor, 22 November 1906, page 13
  2. ^ a b c L P Jarman and R I Barraclough, The Bullnose and Flatnose Morris, David & Charles, Newton Abbott, UK 1976
  3. ^ The Birthplace of the Wrigley Worm, The Commercial Motor, 7 March 1912, page 12
  4. ^ Preliminary Announcement, Coventry Evening Telegraph, 24 March 1920, p5
  5. ^ E.G. Wrigley out of gear, Pall Mall Gazette, 21 October 1921, p10