Today we dive into Warrington’s wire history. At Risley-based Croft Filters, we continue this manufacturing history every day; as wire has now transformed into filters.
Directors Neil and Mark Burns have also recently spoken of Croft’s story, and the history of Wire in Warrington, with Warrington project; The Wire Works. Click here for the full interview.
FROM WIRE TO FILTERS
My career in the industry started when I was 17 and employed by local firm Locker Wire Weavers, working my way up and learning about the many benefits and uses of wire along the way.
Born from a love of all things wire, I later founded Croft Filters along with my brother – and you can read more about the history of our company, who we are and what we do, here.
Wire has gone from an experimental metal used for anything you can imagine – jewellery, hanging pictures, propping up plants in the garden, electric cable, fencing and birdcages – to now being an essential part of our most critical industries.
The world as we know it would be very different if wire mesh has not been innovated in the way we know it today.
Did you know, the power generation, food and drink, and pharmaceutical sectors would all fail to deliver the life-enhancing functions they provide for us without the use of filters.
So how did wire go from being a jewellery-making material to one of the core elements of our industry today?
WARRINGTON’S HISTORY IN WIRE
It seems fitting that we, as a manufacturer of custom metal filters, operate from the town where wire mesh was born.
The earliest history of metalworking in the region is found in the hoards that have been excavated from the Roman settlement in Wilderspool.
Metal artefacts from this time are on display at Warrington Museum, which is well worth a socially-distanced day out!
Warrington during the time of the Civil War again is flecked with important parts of our country’s history. Oliver Cromwell and his army famously stayed in the town during the civil unrest; his stay is marked, literally, by dents in the local parish church which are said to be from cannon fire.
In the Victorian era, the arts and crafts movement championed by William Morris encouraged individuals to create beautiful handicrafts for our pleasure – or use – and many fine examples from the era still exist if you go hunting in antique shops or online.
But in parallel to this, the steam-powered generation, which was gaining traction in the North, was driving new ways of wire weaving. The creation of this strong material allowed significant advancements across many industries.
Wire was utilised to improve industrial processes and commercial products. It was used to produce items such as mouse-traps, bird cages, lattice-work for windows, buckles, chains, clasps for garments, fish hooks, pack-needles, knitting needles, rings for curtains; and the list goes on.
One of the main successes of the wire weaving trade was the business run by Thomas Locker, who is thought to be the first person in the world to weave wire mesh on a loom, right here in Warrington, of course. Thomas then went on to become the largest private employer in the Borough of Warrington in the 1950s.
From the Romans who twisted wire into bracelets to the Industrial Revolution where machines turned strips of steel into thousands of feet of wire each day, innovation has always driven Warrington’s industry – and this continues today.
Today, we supply customised filters to companies across the globe, specialising in cones, cylinders, baskets and screens, from ‘one-offs’ to repeated large orders. We use the most inventive methods to produce boundary-pushing products with a swift turnaround.
At Croft Filters innovation is at the heart of everything we do; not only do we produce filters and mesh using traditional methods, but we are also one of the leading UK manufacturers of 3D printed parts.
The Additive Manufacturing side of our business has gone from strength to strength, as we can produce the most innovative and complex metal parts for our customers, that would not be possible with traditional methods.