Thomas Oliver (engineer)

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Thomas Oliver was an engineer who invented the first machine for forging bolts in England. This used a treadle-operated hammer which was called an Oliver hammer or English Oliver, after the inventor. Production of bolts using this machinery started in Darlaston in Staffordshire in 1838.[1][2] Similar machines were still being using in the Black Country in 1979, at Lench's Oliver Shop, making special bolts to order.[3] Using such a hammer could be strenuous work, stamping on the treadle to force the red hot iron into the die over a thousand times a day. Despite the physical strain and injury which resulted, even women laboured in this way during the 19th century.[4]


  1. ^ Franklin Day Jones (1928), Handbook Encyclopedia of Engineering, p. 127
  2. ^ E.J.Wiley (1926), "The Development of Bolt and Nut Forging", Machinery and Production Engineering, 29: 430
  3. ^ Lench’s Oliver Shop, Black Country Living Museum
  4. ^ "Annotations.", The Lancet, 1: 498, 541, 1889, doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)49982-4