Ormerod Detaching Hook

Edward Ormerod (2 May 1834 – 26 May 1894) was an English mining engineer.

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Edward Ormerod ( centre ) with detaching Hooks 1880

Edward Ormerod (sometimes Ormrod) was born on 2 May 1834 in the village of Church, near Accrington, in Lancashire, England. He worked as a mining engineer at Fletcher, Burrows and Company’s Gibfield Colliery in Atherton, Greater Manchester, where he devised and tested a safety device. He was supported by chief engineering foreman, James Rothwell from Hindley. He married Betsy Hope in 1856 and had several children. He died on 26 May 1894 and is buried in Atherton Cemetery. A small memorial stone in front of his grave depicts and pays tribute to his invention.

Via Old Leigh Photographs
Photo – Shurtz Leigh Lancashire

Known in mining circles as a “butterfly”. This elegant device was inserted into the winding rope in such a way that if the lift cage was accidentally overwound the link would be pulled into a bell through which the winding rope passed.

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An Ormerod Detaching hook

This action would not only disconnect the cage from the winding rope but also prevent the cage from falling back down the shaft. The device was patented in 1867 and manufacture commenced in 1868 from a small forge adjacent to the colliery and the first hook was installed at Gibfield No. 2 shaft in the same year.The hooks are still manufactured today by the same company in Atherton. It is believed that the lives of many miners have been saved by its use and it has never failed in service.
The design was awarded a Gold medal at the Manchester Mechanical & Industrial exhibition of 1875 and a silver medal at the Franco British Exhibition in 1908. There are a number of these hooks on display at the Lancashire Mining Museum @ Astley Green.

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3 thoughts on “Ormerod Detaching Hook

  1. What I find impressive is that this was invented (and, yes, still made) only a mile or two from Astley Green Colliery, and yet is found in countries all over the world. That, of course, was when this country led the world in such things. Perhaps again, one day?

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    1. “Perhaps again one day”wishful thinking John,now-a-days they would sooner start up in a cheap labour country,not that wages here are that great.

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