Guest and Chrimes
The Chrimes family have been associated with Brass founding in Rotherham from as early as the 19th century when the founder member of the company, Mr Edward Chrimes was trading as a plumber and glazier in 1814.
By 1822 after moving premises, his , Edward jnr, Richard and Peter entered into partnership with their father. Two years later Edward snr purchased land near the River Don and the Market Place and they moved into brass founding. Their premises was known as the Butter Market Foundry.
Following the retirement of Edward snr in 1844 the three brothers took over the business and the following year Edward jnr obtained a patent for the screw down high pressure water tap.
John Guest writes on the subject, “Somehow or other amongst them they hit upon an invention for a Screw Down High Pressure Water Tap, which had eluded the experience and ingenuity of the large brass tap manufacturers of Birmingham, where hitherto, this staple had had its seat. It had been a crying want for years, every one knew that two ground metallic substances, must with very little working wear away”.
Edward Chrime’s invention with its screw down and replaceable rubber washer became the first leakproof tap. Before this time all water supplies, household and otherwise, were supplied through ground plug taps with a quarter turn which could not deal with high pressure water and subsequently leaked. The screw down tap contributed somewhat to improved public health after the time of its introduction. It was this invention, which established the family fortune.
The partnership, between the brothers, however lasted for only two years and in 1846 Peter and Richard Chrimes dissolved the partnership.
Edward Chrimes went into partnership with Thomas Neatby, who had been manager of the Rotherham Foundry. Unfortunately Edward died age 31 before the difficulties associated with the manufacturing of his screw down tap had been overcome.
Edwards Chrimes was a 19th Century champion of Human Rights and a staunch member of the temperance movement John Guest remembers him as follows; “He was a friend of whom I shall be proud, and whose memory I shall cherish to the end of my days. An earnest believer in human progress and an intrepid asserter of human rights, his place left vacant in the vanguard of truth, has not been since filled up”.
The death of Edward Chrimes ended the partnership with Thomas Neatby and Richard Chrimes Thomas’s brother returned from London initially on a temporary basis to run the company. Richard entered into partnership with John Guest and the firm became know as Guest and Chrimes.
New land was purchased next to the Butter Market in order, to expand further but eventually new premises were acquired following a contract for equipment for the new waterworks in Madrid. A new factory was built in 1857 on Don Street and still exists to date as a listed building. The company was now had the facility for casting and machining both brass and iron. In addition to ordinary taps and values the company began producing Siemens turbine type water meters and they introduced fire hydrants.
John Guest describes the hydrant as being covered by the same principle as the Bib Cock, which substituted a Ball Valve for the metal disc valve of Chromes’ patent. The introduction of this substitute for the wretched wood plug before in general use, was the beginning of a new epoch in obtaining water from street mains for extinguishing fires by which large properties have been saved.
In 1860 the company started manufacturing gas meters and gas fittings Five years later in 1865 John Guest retired from the business to concentrate on researching the history of Rotherham. Richard Chrimes continued in the business until 1886 and died in 1897 seventeen years after the death of his partner John Guest.