• If you like antique engines, vintage tractors or old iron machinery, register and join us. When you register on Smokstak, please give complete answers and fill in all blanks. IF YOU ARE ON WIRELESS OR SATELLITE, GIVE YOUR CITY AND STATE! NO ZIPCODES! All registrations are manually approved.

Ashton Valve Company

Ashton

Registered
My ancestor, Henry Ashton founded the Ashton Valve company back in 1871 based on the popularity of his patented "lock safety valve". It was a game changer in the age of boiler explosions. I've been researching the history of the company over the last few years and I'm wondering what the steamers of this group might know about the company.
 

Attachments

Ashton

Registered
It has been a lot of fun. Nobody in the family knew anything about the company and I've been able to tell them a little history and show them pictures of relatives that they have never seen before. I think the people I've met at museums and steam shows have been incredible, telling me how some of the products work and stories about their experiences working with Ashton and other valves.
 

Attachments

Ashton

Registered
Many factories were purchased by the War Department during WWII and used to manufactures materials for the war effort. The Ashton Valve company was one of those. The continued to make gauges and safety valves, but now exclusively for Naval ships.

The Defense Plant Corporation was the branch of the government assigned to this task. Here's a link to more information about them and a couple of letters that show the Ashton Valve's involvement.

http://what-when-how.com/the-american-economy/defense-plant-corporation-dpc/
 

Attachments

Ashton

Registered
A few key people in the Ashton Valve story.
Henry Ashton...founder
Albert Ashton....his son
Columbus Dill....salesman and complete character!
Fred Casey ......long time employee
J.R. Motherwell..another long term manager
Harry Ashton....also Henry's son
 

Attachments

Peter Holmander

Subscriber
Age
71
Last Subscription Date
12/23/2019
Where did you search the trade journals? Library? I have an engine manufacturer I want to research. I wish I had known you sooner. Before I retired, I worked at the former Quonset/Davisville Navy base in RI. The state turned it into an industrial park when it closed. Just before I retired, they tore down the original steam plant that provided the steam for heating all the buildings there. I'm sure there were Ashton gauges or valves in there. I remember seeing some of those square shaped ones on the huge boilers they had. They also had a stock room full of NOS parts still in the original packaging. And I can remember tons of vendor literature stored alphabetically on metal shelves. I grabbed a bunch of boiler thermometers before the wrecking ball went to town on the building and two vintage Lunkenheimer catalogs. Will have to take a peek at the thermometers, see who the manufacturer was. They tried to find an interested party to purchase the contents of the plant, but there was little interest. So the entire machine shop on the lower lever was emptied out into dumpsters and went for scrap. The rest of it was torn down. Seemed to me like such a waste, but I guess it happens all the time.
 

Ashton

Registered
What a sad story. I'm sure it does happen a lot but the old materials seem to be getting popular on ebay and the the asking prices of gauges have really gone up as gauges are a big part of the Steampunk movement.

https://machineagelamps.com/

As for the Trade Journals, I find them all on Google Books. someone has spent considerable time and effort to scan thousands of them. Once I type in the key words, Ashton Valve, Ashton gauges, or whatever other phrase I want to try a massive list comes up. Some can't be seem, "snippet", but others can be read page by page. Once you bring a journal up there is a box where you can get more specific about what you want to search for.
Be warned, it's addictive! But there is a lot of info out there.

Also www.archive.org is another place to search for old information.
 

Ashton

Registered
Here is some information on the Ashton lock up pop safety valve, the item that was responsible for putting the Ashton Valve Company on the map.
 
Top