Smith & Coventry Ltd

The company founded by William Ford-Smith and Arthur Coventry when the machine tool industry was still in its infancy as Smith & Coventry Ltd in 1854.

The company, formed by William Ford-Smith and originally situated in a Bonding Warehouse located in Salford. He was joined a year later by Arthur Coventry and they became partners. The company concentrated on smaller machines and produced various kinds of planing, milling, turning and boring machines.

In 1876 the company established the manufacturing of twist drills, which previously had to be imported from America. The company had sent Herbert Hunt there in order to discover and acquire the neccesary technical knowledge on how to manufacture twist drills. The company eventually became one of the largest producers of twist drills which necessitated the opening of a new larger premises at Park Road, Timperley.

In January 1898 the founders of the firm retired and left the running of the business to W.D. Ford-Smith, Consul for Japan in Manchester and Theodore Coventry J.P. As the company grew the Directors decided to concentrate on the manufacturing of small and medium sized machines which included the Robey-Smith patent bevel gear planer, Cooper's patent brass finisher's lathe and Knowel's patent key seater.

On the outbreak of the First World War the company were fortunate enough to receive a large order from Woolwich Arsenal for machines for the production of shells. As well as continuing to produce machines to produce shells the company also re-designed and produced machines for making guns.

The company was eventually purchased by John Hetherington & Sons.

As well as the Park Road premises the company's main site was at Gresley Iron Works, Ordsall Lane, Manchester.