1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tangye, Sir Richard

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TANGYE, SIR RICHARD (1833-1906), British manufacturer, was born at Illogan, near Redruth, Cornwall, on the 24th of November 1833, the son of a small farmer. As a young boy he worked in the fields, but when he was eight years old he was incapacitated from further manual labour by a fracture of the right arm. His father then determined to give him the best education he could afford, and young Tangye was sent to the Friends' School at Sidcot, Somersetshire, where he progressed rapidly and became a pupil-teacher. Tangye was not long contented with this position, and through an advertisement in The Friend obtained a clerkship in a small engineering firm in Birmingham, where two of his brothers, skilled mechanics, subsequently joined him. Here Richard Tangye remained four years, obtaining a complete mastery of the details of an engineering business, and introducing the system of a Saturday half-holiday which was subsequently adopted in all English industrial works. In 1856 he started business in a small way in Birmingham as a hardware factor and commission agent. His first customers were the Cornish mine-owners in the Redruth district, and, the business prospering, he was able before long to start manufacturing hardware goods on his own account, his two brothers joining him in the enterprise. The speciality of the brothers Tangye was the manufacture of machinery, and their hydraulic lifting jacks were successfully employed in the launching of the steamship "Great Eastern." In 1858 the firm, who now confined themselves to making machinery, built their own works, and shortly afterwards secured the sole right of manufacturing the newly invented differential pulley-block, thereby materially adding to their business, which came to include every kind of power-machine — hydraulic, steam, gas, oil and electricity. The business was subsequently turned into a limited company, and in 1894 Richard Tangye was knighted. He died on the 14th of October 1906.