Robey & Company, Lincoln, UK – suppliers of structure and machinery at Silver Mine, Mui Wo

Andrew Wood’s article, The Silver Mine of Silver Mine Bay, contains the following: “By 1888, Ho’s engineers had driven at least four adits – horizontal tunnels – deep into the granite… An aerial ropeway took the ore from the mine over rice fields and a hill to a smelting works near the seashore 3000 feet (900 metres) away on the north side of Silver Mine Bay. A British company, Messrs Robey & Co of Lincoln in eastern England, supplied the structure’s cast-iron columns, its roof and most of the machinery. The works were 240 feet long, and designed to process 40 tons of ore a day…”

I have not seen a photograph of the mine in operation either above or below ground. If you find one please send it in to the Group. In particular it would be of great interest to see one showing the aerial ropeway or of the above-ground structure and machinery as supplied by Robey and Company.

In the meantime here is information about the latter’s history supplied by Grace’s Guides in the UK:

1854 The company was formed by Robert Robey at Perseverance Works (later the Globe Works).

1855 Patent. ‘2166. To Robert Robey and George Lamb Scott, both of the city of Lincoln, Engineers, for the invention of “improvements in locomotive and other boilers.” 

1856 September. ‘…the Partnership heretofore subsisting between us the undersigned, Robert Robey, George Lamb Scott, and Thomas Gamble, all of the city of Lincoln, and carrying-on business there us Engineers, under the style or firm of Robey and Scott‘ 

1859 Showed an impressive threshing machine at the Manchester and Liverpool Agricultural Show 

Robey & Company Advert 1860 Grace's Guides

1860 Advert Courtesy: Grace’s Guides

1861 Employing 114 men and boys 

1861 The first traction engine built.

1862 May. At the Bath and West Society Show, they are shown as Taplin, Robey and Co with a traction engine. 

1862 Exhibited at the 1862 London Exhibition with a model with duplex cylinders and producing 10 bhp.

1862 Patent. ‘2166. Robert Robey and George Lamb Scott, both of the city of Lincoln, Engineers, for an invention of “improvements in locomotive and other boilers,” 1871 Employing 503 men and boys 

1869 Patent. ‘3483. To Robert Robey and John Richardson, of Lincoln, in the county of Lincoln, Engineers, for the invention of “improvements in steam engine governors and apparatus connected therewith.” 

1876 Exhibitor at the Royal Agricultural Show at Birmingham with a traction engine and a thrashing engine. 

1876 Details of an air compressor. 

1876-84 Produced six steam railway locomotives.

1877 Exhibitor at the 1877 Royal Agricultural Show at Liverpool.

1880s Started building i/c engines under the Richardson and Norris patents 

1888 Compound Horizontal engine for Glasgow Exhibition. 

1889 High-speed vertical engine combined with a dynamo by J. H. Holmes and Co.

1893 Public company. The company was registered on 22 December, to take over the business of engineers of the firm of the same name. 

1894 Compound Underground Hauling Engine. Article and Illustration in ‘The Engineer’. 

1894 Charles Merz left Newcastle to become a pupil at the Robey engineering works in Lincoln but soon after moved to London.

1894 Nine Hundred HP Compound Engine. Article and illustration in ‘The Engineer’. 

1894 Smithfield Club Show. Showed an improved starting lamp and fan for their engine. [18]

1894 100-hp Power Gas Engine. Article and illustration in ‘The Engineer’. 

1895 Engine type 4P. Exhibit at Anson Engine Museum.

Robey & Company Advert 1898 Grace's Guides

1898 Advert Courtesy: Grace’s Guides

1899 Advert. High-speed compound vertical engine and dynamo. Horizontal and portable engines. 

1900 June. Royal Agricultural Show at York. Showed fixed steam engines. 

1900 Paris Exhibition. Compound Electric Light Engine. Article and illustration in The Engineer. 

1900 Offering oil engines in stationary and portable forms

1910 Produced steam road rollers.

1910 Steam engine generator set. (Exhibit at Birmingham Thinktank museum).

1912 Introduced a vertical two-stroke engine

1913-1917 For a list of the models and prices of Steam Motor Wagons, Tractors and Ploughs etc. see the 1917 Red Book

1913 Advert for drop valve winding engines, air compressors, drop valve horizontal engines, crude oil engines, semi-portable engines and locomotive engines. 

1914 Specialities: High-class Engines for driving purposes up to 3,000 horse-power, Mining Machinery, Air Compressors and Engines of all types including Tractions and Portables of all sizes. 

WWI Maker of aeroplanes.

1917 Advert for Air Compressors, Drop Valve engines, Uniflow Engines, Steam and Electric winding Engines, Boilers etc. 

1919 Advert for Air Compressors, Drop Valve engines, Uniflow Engines, Steam and Electric winding Engines, Boilers etc. 

1920 Issued List 263 detailing medium-stroke engines in vertical and horizontal types. 

1920 Showed a 5-ton steam wagon with rubber tyres; a uniform horizontal engine and other products at the Darlington Agricultural Show. Showed it again at the Commercial Motor Exhibition in October. 

1926 Supplied horizontal twin-cylinder, cornish and drop valve winding engine for South Celynen Colliery.

1927 See Aberconway for information on the company and its history

1955 Still producing steam engines at the Globe Works. In production are the Uniflow, Long Stroke Horizontals with either Drop, Positive, Piston, Corliss or Slide valves; High Speed Vertical; Portable and Semi-Portable including Superheated.

1956 Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies sold the steam engine part of their business to Robey and Co.

1961 Manufacturers of road and quarry plant, mining machinery, winding engines, air compressors, prime movers and boilers. 

1985 Babcock International Group acquired Robey of Lincoln to enhance the boiler product range.

1988 The company ceased trading

1994 The Wellman Group acquired the Babcock Robey boiler operations amongst a clutch of other businesses from FKI.


  1. Grace’s Guides – Robey and Company

This article was first posted on 27th March 2017.


  1. Grace’s Guides – Grace’s Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 119,216 pages of information and 173,136 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Related Indhhk articles:

  1. The Silver Mine of Silver Mine Bay

One comment

  • Hello i have just watched fred Dibnah on bbc4 and he mentioned your company any information would be gratefully appreciated thank you warm regards Kev Dale

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *