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Reuben Craddock & Sons

January 10 2014 at 1:41 PM
Chris Gower  (no login)

Hi Everyone
Sitting here in glorious sunshine in Marrakech, we have now been travelling for over three months. Anyway have been doing a bit of research on RCS. Seems they are much older than we thought.
Reuben Craddock was born in 1835 and died in 1895, the earliest listing I can find of him is in 1872 where he is listed as a bit maker at 3 Albert Street, Walsall
In 1909 and 1911 Reuben Craddock and sons are listed as Bit Platers and their address was 27 Wisemore, Walsall
Again 1934 and 1935 show the same address and they are Spur and Stirrup Makers (Reuben Craddock & Sons Ltd)
1957 same address Bit Platers
1963 address 4 Croft Street, Willenhall listed as Ironmongery.
I did not bring any paperwork with me when we left France as we have very limited space in the campervan. I know that I have an old price list from 1957 and remember in one of Joes Books there was an advertisement stating handcuff suppliers for over a quarter of a century, think this was dated about 1955?
So we know they got the MOD contract to supply the army lets assume about 1940 and they must have produced handcuffs from the late 1920's or early 1930's
I am still puzzled as to why they were still supplying Plug '8' cuffs in the 1940's and still offered them for sale in 1957.
Also a great pity their swing ow pattern did not double lock as their design in my opinion fits very large to small wrists perfectly.
Any info greatly appreciated.
Chris Gower
PS 27 Wisemore, Walsall is now part of the large Tesco Supermarket Car Park!

 
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Joseph Lauher
(Premier Login lauher)
Owner

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

January 10 2014, 3:25 PM 

Hi Chris

I think RCS had two military contracts during the war. Both were to produce copies of the war department's favorite cuffs. These were the "backstrap" Darbies which were made by Hiatt and others from the early 19th century through WWI and second the heavy version of the plug 8 which Hiatt also made during the 19th and early 20th century.

Joe

 
 
Chris gower
(no login)

RCS types

January 10 2014, 5:38 PM 

Thanks Joe, this is a list of all the known models that I know of that RCS produced:

Heavy false strap hinge pattern, 3 sizes nearly all polished finish a few chromed
Standard Darby pattern 3 sizes polished and nickel plated
Darby long chain handcuffs (1 known)
Heavy plug '8' pattern 3 sizes polished and nickel plated
Figure '8' Darby screw pattern (1 known)
Darby 115 pattern adjustables polished and nickel plated
Brass Navy screw key leg irons (4 known) not marked RCS
Swinging bow pattern, polished and nickel plated (5 known)
?Swinging bow lightweight aluminium pattern (none known)
?Brass Darby pattern handcuffs several known not marked RCS

What is interesting looking through the trade catalogue a can not find a single mention about them as handcuff manufacturers.
Chris

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

January 10 2014, 9:12 PM 

1834 Whites Walsall Directory lists the following Bit Makers
Isaac Craddock
James
James
Job
John
John

In 1841 James Craddock is a Bridle Bit Maker in Walsall.

In 1851 his son Ruben is a Journeyman Bit Maker in Walsall. His father James is a Master Snaffle Maker employing 2 men and 2 boys.

In 1865 Jones Commercial Directory Lists the Following
Craddock,
Benjamin, snaffle bit maker
Jas., bridle bit maker
Job, bridle bit maker
Job, bit maker
John, bit maker
Reuben, bit maker
Samuel, bit maker

1895 - "Death of Reuben Craddock Sr. of St Paul`s Terrace, factory in Wisemore , the
Wisemore Bridle Bit Works. Firm will continue to mfr. bits, spurs, stirrup irons etc.
Business carried on in Harden where RC born n 1835"

So while they may have been in business for over 100 years, handcuffs were not a major part of the business.
I would expect a lot of their horse products were cast brass.
I have never seen an RCS handcuff that is not cast ie bow, lock, key and swivel.
Somewhere on this Forum is mention that Hiatt say RCS Boer War Plug 8s are cast and prone to shatter, whereas Hiatts are not cast.
If anyone has an RCS that is not cast, I would love to see it.
I guess that when handcuffs are needed in a hurry, casting them will be the quickest option if there are limited skills and resources available. Most RSC cuffs I have seen are made during war years (date stamped), either WW2 or Korean War.
Paul



 
 
Paul
(no login)

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

January 11 2014, 2:38 AM 

The Wisemore Works, Walsall appears to have been established in 1803
http://www.gracesguide.co.uk/Reuben_Craddock_and_Sons

While there is no indication that RCS ever made cuffs as early as the Boer War, they did have War Office contracts to make horse gear at that time.

p.11 State of Trade [Boer War]
Birmingham. Business good. Messrs Middlemore and Lamplugh much engaged in
War Office work, incl artillery harness, saddle flaps etc
Walsall, this town which may, without boast, be considered the saddlery metropolis
of the world has not seen such prosperity since the Franco- Prussian war of 30 years
ago [1870- 71]. The home trade has had to be neglected. Everyone has been working
up to full strength since last October. Several firms are extending their premises.

Enormous wages are being achieved by journeymen, and many people have been
attracted to the town as a result.
Messrs Hampson and Scott making a large extension to their works. Main problem
has been finding enough hands to carry out the work.

Messrs R Craddock and Sons of Wisemore, bridle bit mfrs, have been at it `hammer
and tongs` to cope with War Office orders. They are now catching up on arrears of
normal business.

 
 
Chris gower
(no login)

RCS castings

January 11 2014, 10:06 AM 

Hi Paul
You never cease to amaze me at what you turn up. I do not agree with you regarding the heavy plug '8' RCS cuffs. I think they are all drop forged - perhaps Ian could enlighten us on this?
I agree there are lots of unmarked Boar War cast plug '8' handcuffs all without markings, RCS did stamp theirs and often put a date on them, the finish on them is far too good for them to be cast. It is similar to the SMCo (security manufacturing co) which nearly all seem to be dated 1917 and I think these were also drop forged.
Not to sure when Hiatt stopped making their plug cuffs, they were still advertised in their 1907 catalogue but do not think they were listed in 1922?
Chris

 
 
Paul Davies
(no login)

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

January 11 2014, 5:20 PM 

Hi Chris,
my use of the terminology "cast" may be a vague one, and I've been pulled up on my terminology before, but my understanding is that anything with a hollow section like a Lock tube or a swivel is not possible with drop forging, which is basically stamping hot metal between 2 dies. The bows of a Darby on the other hand may well be drop forged, with the all-in-one bow and clevis. Drop forging and casting are cheaper ways of doing what Hiatt was doing by hand in the early days for their, bow, clevis, swivel etc. I believe Hiatt were casting their lock tubes and key heads from day one.

Below is the reference to cast RCS cuffs.
Paul

"Visit to Hiatts at Birmingham by Ralph B. LINDLEY on 13th February, 1975.
Mr. H.H. La TROBE, managing director of the firm took a great deal of his valuable time to explain things to me and much useful information was received.
The old heavy type figure of eight handcuffs which were given on loan to the Museum at Huddersfield are of Hiatts manufacture and are known as the WAR OFFICE FIGURE OF EIGHT and were, as the name implies, made solely for the War Officer by Hiatts until 1940. These handcuffs were hand made by skilled craftsmen and as time and effort were very precious in time of war, the firm decided not to make any more and tried to encourage the War Office to change to the standard 104 type handcuff, which does not need so much time and effort to make. The War Office did not want to change and managed to get another Birmingham firm, RUBEN, CRADDOCK & SON, to make this type of handcuff for a period of about 5 years. There is a distinct difference between the handcuff which was manufactured by Hiatts and the one manufactured by R.C.S. and it is that Hiatts was made of forged steel and was worked into shape by skilled craftsmen while the one made by R.C.S. was mast of cast steel in a mould. Hiatts make should outlast that of R.C.S. for this fact alone as those of R.C.S. will tend to break if they are dropped on to a hard surface with any force. Eventually the War Office decided to adopt the standard 104 pattern handcuff as supplied by Hiatts and the firm of R.C.S. slowly faded out of the handcuff scene, although they did for a short time make a type similar to Hiatts pattern 104.
According to Mr. La Trobe, the only restraint item manufactured by Hiatts which beat the famed escapologist, Harry Houdini, was the leg iron version of the Figure of Eight. The reason given by Houdini being that he was unable to keep his balance when it was fitted."

 
 
Ian McColl
(no login)

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

January 11 2014, 9:27 PM 

I think that the RCS P8 and intergal clevis and bow darby were cast. (sand cast)

The only item I know to be sure was drop forged was the tower handcuff bow.

The RCS boer war cuffs I have seen have the trace surface marks of sand casting and the same on some darby adjustable cuffs, especially around the clevis where is meets the bow and harder to clean up.

Most of the raw state boer war cuffs I have seen have wide grind mark were the flashing has been removed, if these were drop forged, there would be a finer line to clear up than half the width of the cuff grind mark across the edge.

I also don't know of any hollow drop forged parts. Cores were used in darby locks to create the hollow tube, tapered so the square holed washer for the locking bolt would stay in place.

I don't subscribe to the brittle nature of some cast P8 or darby cuffs. All appear to be cast "malleable' iron not brittle grey cast iron.




 
 
Anonymous
(no login)

rcs

January 13 2014, 3:00 PM 

here some pics of 2 items one with special link

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

[linked image]

best


    
This message has been edited by lauher on Sep 18, 2017 2:30 PM


 
 
Anonymous
(no login)

nice

January 19 2014, 1:29 PM 

very nice

 
 
Mark Beech
(Login MarkBeech)

Reuben Craddock & Sons Ltd

September 18 2017, 11:33 AM 

Hi Chris,

Just noticed your message about RCS, Walsall. I'm not sure if you will read this after three years, or if it will be of any interest to you, but here goes anyway.

My father, Charles 'Alec' Beech ran Reuben Craddock & Sons Ltd with his brother, George Beech and George's wife, Blanche from the late 1920's to the late fifties, when it was sold. My father retired in 1959 and the family moved to the South Coast, where I still live.
My father died in 1988. aged 84.

As a young child I spent many happy hours playing in the foundry when all was quiet at the weekends, and searching dusty shelves of samples in the stores, including the handcuffs you described. I was offered the opportunity to join the business when my father and uncle retired, but declined - probably put off by the long hard hours my father had to put in over about thirty years. A fortunate decision made 25 years before Maggie Thatcher decimated the manufacturing industry in the Black Country.

Before the business was sold, my father rescued many samples of the products RCS made. My sister, who now lives in Dorset, now proudly displays samples of a selection of the handcuffs in a glass case in her hall. I, too, have a selection of the quality stainless steel products that they made.


 
 

Joseph Lauher
(Premier Login lauher)
Owner

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

September 18 2017, 3:01 PM 

Mark

Thank you for the very interesting and informative post. It is always of interest when we learn anything about the true history of the individuals behind the curtain.

If you have any pictures of your display I know the readers of this forum would like to see them.

Joe

 
 

Dan
(Login weaseldandaw)

Re: Reuben Craddock &amp; Sons

September 18 2017, 4:35 PM 

Chris & I both live in Dorset. It would be great if we could meet up

 
 
Ian McColl
(no login)

R&C

September 18 2017, 7:45 PM 

Hello Mark and greeting from Australia. Would really like to see photos of your hall display and are there any photos of the foundry?

 
 
Chris Gower
(no login)

RCS

September 19 2017, 2:26 AM 

Hi Mark
Great to hear from you and your memories of the past. It would be great if we could arrange to meet up. I live near Bournemouth. Might be best if you could email me directly;
cgower1@aol.com
Like many others it would be good if you could post some pictures. Look forward to hearing from you and hopefully arranging a meeting.
Chris

 
 
Chris Gower
(no login)

RCS

October 9 2017, 12:30 PM 

Thank you Mark for a most enjoyable meeting we had last week. I had no idea that RCS was such a large company and employed about 250 people in the 1940's. Furthermore it was very interesting to hear that they had their own Foundry and pattern makers with a workshop area of about 10,000 square feet.
The four photos you sent taken in the 1930's are very interesting giving us all an idea of what appears to be a house in a street but once you entered through the doors it would have been like entering Dr Who's tardis! Hopefully the pictures will come through okay.
Chris

 
 

Joseph Lauher
(Premier Login lauher)
Owner

Re: Reuben Craddock & Sons

October 9 2017, 4:36 PM 

Here are Chris's pictures.
Neat view of the past.

[linked image]
[linked image]
[linked image]
[linked image]

 
 
 
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