Phoenix Ironworks The First Lawnmower Adjustable Spanner Daniels WWII Brimscombe Boatyard

John Ferrabee established the Phoenix Iron Works foundry at Thrupp Mill in 1828. The foundry produced cloth-making and farm machinery, steam engines, the world's first lawnmower and the adjustable spanner. By 1855, his son James was running the business.

Among James Ferrabee's important inventions were his card feed of 1858 and fulling machine. His machinery won medals at the international exhibitions in London in 1862 and in Paris in 1867.

In 1863, James Ferrabee's set up a clothier business at Port Mill. Phoenix Iron Works was taken over by George Waller & Company.

SM 1974 262 38 James Ferrabee card rear side
SM 1974 262 35 James Ferrabee and cloth machine
SM 197426225 Ferrabee's Vertical Machine


By 1872, Phoenix Iron Works had been taken over by George Waller and Company of London. In 1887, they moved all their wide ranging heavy engineering operations to Thrupp.

Their chief output was castings and machinery for the gas and coke industry such as gas pumps, exhausters, boosters and compressors. The compressor or booster drove the gas from the works to the consumer. The company produced munitions during the First and Second World Wars.

 From January 2016, this website is managed by Stroud Local History Society

George Waller's shop floor