Ashcroft Manufacturing Company History
Bridgeport CT and New York NY
Antique Clocks Guy Reference Library

Ashcroft Manufacturing Co - Bronze Ship's Wardroom/Engine Room Clock - Antique Clocks Guy Ashcroft Manufacturing Co - Bronze Ship's Wardroom/Engine Room Clock - Antique Clocks Guy
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Edward H. Ashcroft of Lynn, Massachusetts bought the American rights to a French pressure guage design and founded the Ashcroft Manufacturing Company in 1852 to make pressure gauges for steam engines. The firm had offices at 87 liberty St., New York City, and also in Bridgeport, CT. Their internal- and external-spring Tabor indicators, pressure gauges (water, pressure, atmosphere etc), counters, alarms, indicators, and pipe fitter and machinists tools for steam engines were manufactured from about 1852 to the WWI period, when the company was sold in 1912. Some of their products are still being manufactured today as the best in the field by the surviving company, Dresser Industries.

One might argue that it was people like Ashcroft who facilitated expansion of the railroads and the country's industrial might. Without a reliable means of measuring and controlling steam pressure, locomotives, steamships, and even the humble heating boiler would never have flourished as they did. Ashcroft, though, didn't have just one feather in his cap. A few years after launching the pressure gauge, he collaborated with George W. Richardson in New York to develop a spring-loaded safety valve that still exists today as the Consolidated Safety Valve.

Ashcroft Manufacturing Company - Neafie & Levy Penn. Works Ship's Clock - Time Only - Antique Clocks Guy Reference Library

In fact, Ashcroft was always more interested in engineering than selling and eventually the rights to the Ashcroft and Consolidated names changed hands when he sold his interest in the business to his head of sales, Charles A. Moore the third M of Manning, Maxwell and Moore (MM&M). In 1912, MM&M was noted for having Diamond Jim Brady one of New York's more colorful characters and its most successful salesmen as vice president. But for more than 80 years, MM&M served America in a much more illustrious capacity with its cranes and hoists as well as taking good care of the Ashcroft brand. During World War II, virtually all of MM&M's products were in great demand and new designs and lines were added to the range. Safety relief valves were needed for petro-chemical and synthetic rubber plants. Naval and merchant ships needed gauges, valves, and instruments by the thousand. Gauges for uses as disparate as oil and oxygen were used in huge quantities on board military aircraft.

After the war, and especially in the 1960s, expansion grew apace with new manufacturing facilities being built and new industries such as nuclear fuels becoming more popular and replacing demand for industry sectors such as railroads, which were in decline. In fact, MM&M had such a strong strategic position in American industry that in 1964, Dresser Industries Inc, from its Dallas headquarters, put in a bid to buy the business, which was then initially renamed the Dresser Industrial Valve and Instrument Division. In April of 2001, the company became known as Dresser, Inc. Now composed of several business units, Dresser Instrument (a sub-unit of Dresser Measurement, Dresser, Inc.) is custodian of many famous brands. In the 1970s, it acquired the Heise Bourdon Company from Otto Heise. In 1993, the acquisition of Ebro Electronics brought electronic temperature instruments to the group, along with names such as Willy and Ebro . Weksler pressure and temperature indicators were added to the Dresser line in 1995 to meet the mil-spec demands of the Navy and to complete the line for which Dresser Instrument is well known today.

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