A by-product of Lincolnshire’s long history as a food-producing county is an engineering industry which still employs around 39,000 workers. As farms became more mechanised in the Victorian era a new industry sprang up making the steam engines, threshing machines and plough shares that farmers relied on.
The iron foundry firm of Clayton and Shuttleworth was formed in 1842 to make steam engines and farm implements, and other firms followed, including Ruston, Proctor and Company in 1857. This firm has been through numerous incarnations and is now one of the county’s largest employers – Siemens – making and exporting gas turbines for power generation and mechanical drives.
Lincolnshire will always be remembered as the birthplace of the military tank, invented during the First World War by William Tritton of Lincoln firm Wm Foster & Co and Major Walter Wilson. The first tanks to fight on the Western Front were manufactured in Lincoln, and funds are now being raised for a permanent memorial at the northern end of Tritton Road in the city.
Another centre for engineering was at Gainsborough, the manufacturing base of Marshall, Sons & Co, a major boiler manufacturer founded by William Marshall in 1848. Two brothers, William German Rose and Walter Rose, set up Rose’s in the town and in 1893 William Rose invented the world’s first packaging machine.