Illustrated Guide to Christchurch and Neighbourhood
Messrs. J. And T. Danks'
Messrs. J. And T. Danks'
Manufactory, covering a quarter of an acre, fronting Lichfield-street, Christchurch, is one of the business premises in the city well worth description in our guide. It is a branch of the old-established, well-known Melbourne firm, and was opened in 1879; originally the partners came from Birmingham, where they had a manufactory for several years. They make all kinds of brass and iron work for steam, hot water, gas, and water works generally, and their exhibits of all kinds, from ornamental gasoliers to baths, and small beautifully finished brass fittings of every description, in the last Industrial Exhibition held in Christchurch, attracted considerable attention, and evoked much praise. The frontage to Lichfield-street is a handsome, solid three-storey brick building. The ground floor is devoted, in the front, to show rooms, warehouse, and offices; and in the rear to the workshops. In the show rooms are pumps, rams, force-pumps, and such articles, all manufactured on the premises; brass fittings of all kinds, gasoliers in brass aud bronze, artistic in design, elegant and well finished; and a host of articles appertaining to the works which Messrs Danks make their specialty, the mere names of which would fill a catalogue. The floor above is used as a storage room for various kinds of fittings, while the third is devoted mainly to glass globes, of which there is an immense stock. The difficulty of describing all that is to be seen will be easily understood when we say that over 1000 compartments are required to store the various articles used in the trade.
In the rear of the warehouse is a most interesting room—the only one we believe of the kind in Christchurch—namely, the photometer room, for testing the quality of gas, i.e., its candle power, and also the quantity consumed per hour by any burner. page 176Several testa were made in our presence, and we thus saw that an ordinary No. 6 fish-tail burner consumed 7½ feet of gas per hour, and gave a light equal to 7¼ candle power; while Danks' Patent Economiser consumed only 4½ feet of gas per hour, though giving at the same time a light equal to that of 10½ candles. The tests, as to the lighting power, are made by a very simple instrument. There is a bar on which divisions from 1 to 20 are marked; at one end of this a lighted candle (the beat sperm) is placed, and at the other a gas burner is fixed and lit. Sliding on the bar is a box with paper discs, which show the strength of the shadow thrown by the lights at each end of the bar. This box is shifted away from one light and towards the other, till the shadows thrown from them are equal, an index point registering on the bar the number. If the lights, should be of equal power the box would be in the centre of the bar, at the point when the shadows thrown would be equal, but according as one light is weaker than the other, so must the box be moved to that side to get equal shadows.
In the workshops, where twenty-fire hands are employed, there is one lathe with an 18ft. bench, nine other lathes, large and small drilling machines, shaping and polishing apparatus, a band saw, and all the usual appurtenances of an engineer's shop. We noticed the boiler was covered with a thick coating of paper, which had been reduced to a pulp before being laid on. This contrivance, by retaining the heat, saves at least one-fourth the fuel.
The casting sheds, for making brass and iron castings, are spacious, and fitted up with furnaces and all appliances for the work. The sand is easily procured. When a fresh supply is required the men dig some out of the floor of the sheds. This, when finely sifted, answers the purpose admirably.
In the iron sheds are pipes of all sizes, and the patent rolled shafting, which Messrs J. and T. Danks were the first to introduce into New Zealand.