Bowling Iron Company

The Bowling Ironworks was established in 1788 in the district of East Bowling part of the township and manor of Bowling, now in the southeast of Bradford in Yorkshire. It was established by John Sturges & Co., the partners including Sturges plus Richard Paley. The other partners were John Sturges junior, William Sturges and John Ewell. Ewell left the partnership in 1792. In 1802 they began manufacturing a vertical boring machine that had been patented by Ironworks employee Michael Billingsley. This machine was intended for large-scale boring, such as for steam engine cylinders.

By 1804 they were also making and selling bar iron. In 1805 Sturges established the Bowling Iron Co. to carry on the business of producing bar iron and other metal products. Under the John Sturges & Co., name, the foundry and works also produces guns for the war against France. Bowling iron, or Best Yorkshire, became well known around the world.

The business continued under the John Sturges & Co. name until 1849 when that name was dropped in favour of the Bowling Iron Co. name. By this time, so far as we know, they were no longer making metalworking machinery. In the late 1800s, however, they were apparently making large steam engines. In 1903, the business was reorganized as the Bowling Co., which survived until at least 1951, making tanks and drums.