Hibbitt & Barnes Family History

Samuel WRIGHT - (abt. 1845 - 1917)

Below is an outline of Samuel WRIGHT'S life plus a transcript of an article about the company which Samuel was working for in 1893, published in a Cornish newspaper.

Timeline for Samuel Wright - abt. 1845-1917


The following was published in The Cornishman on 19th October 1893. Samuel Wright (Cappen Sam) is mentioned as the person in charge of the new joinery works...



The prosperity of Penzance undoubtedly depends on the expansion of its industries. This is being accomplished partly by the influx of continually increasing numbers of visitors, and by the enterprise of tradesmen in developing the various branches of their business.

The recent addition of a steam joinery works to the establishment of Messrs. Perkins, Caldwell, and Caldwell induces us to glance at the nature and extent of the work being undertaken at their premises in Bread-street and Victoria-square.

Mr. John Perkins, by the way, retired from the business' some six or seven years ago, owing to ill-health, but at the patriarchal age of 84, he is still hale enough to be interested in the Penzance water question and the 'burning' question as to the disposal of the town refuse. Alderman James Caldwell J.P. ex-Mayor of Penzance, is the present head of the firm ; and his partner is his son, Mr. W. J. Caldwell, who has initiated the recent important addition to the business. The firm are builders, contractors, and joiners. Masonry, decorating, painting, glazing, smithery, and in fact every department of the building trade, except plumbing, has a department assigned to it, and the number of men employed ranges from 60 to 120 or 130, according to the contracts in hand.

The new machinery, which was erected at considerable expense, was purchased to extend the business of the firm and to keep trade in Penzance which has hitherto gone to London, Bristol, and Plymouth. The machines are designed for joining wood in every department of the building trade - mouldings, doors, windows, church and chapel benches, sashes, etc. Hitherto the portion of the work done locally was turned out by hand-labour, while the rest was procured from large centres of industry. The latter portion can be obtained from the firm now less the cost of transit, which is a considerable saving to builders ; and the work which would formerly take a man three-quarters of a day to do is accomplished better and with the utmost exactness in ten minutes.

The machines are operated by a twelve (nominal) horse-power steam-engine, with large fly-wheel and high pressure steel boiler 20 feet long. The joinery shop is 100 feet long and contains 30 benches. The workmen feared that the introduction of labour-saving machinery would be "progressing backwards" as far as they were concerned, but the result, as in similar instances, has been an expansion of trade, giving an increase of employment. Although Messrs. Caldwell are builders they do not seek to cut-out other local builders by monopolizing the benefits of the steam-joinery machines ; but other builders can have their joinery done cheaply at the works, and have readily availed themselves of the opportunity.

The process of joining and moulding elaborate bench-ends, etc., may be briefly outlined. A circular saw (Western and Co's) breaks down the timber into scantles. Then a small general joiner, with rising and falling spindle, cuts any grove wanted, the process being termed "rabbiting." It next passes to the trying machine so that it may be smooth and true ; and is then planed by a machine and brought to the requisite width and thickness. A tennon machine (Robinson's) cuts away the wood so that it fits into a groove made by the Bloomsbury mortise machine, and so enables it to be joined satisfactorily. Moulding work is done by Messrs. Sagar and Co's machine, which works at the rate of 1500 revolutions a minute and by means of adjustable irons will take a plank 18 inches wide and five inches thick or one of an eighth of an inch thick, and, almost in the twinkling of an eye, turn it out a thing of beauty. When work is done by hand each piece has to be marked and cut separately, but once these machines are set they are almost automatic, and an immense amount of time and labour is saved.

After the work is done, the workmen have to put the pieces together, but this is now a very simple matter. The waste pieces are sawn, made into bundles, and sold as fire wood by the gross. In order to keep the timber dry, three floors 80 feet by 30 feet are being constructed as dry sheds. As there is a saving of some 25 per cent on all joinery work compared with the prices of distant firms customers within 30 or 40 miles of Penzance naturally study convenience and economy by buying materials from timber merchants and sending to the Penzance works to have them manufactured.

The machinist and joiner, who was had down from Exeter to take charge of this branch, was Mr. Samuel Wright, and Messrs. Caldwell consider "Cappen Sam" is "the right man in the right place."

The only other tradesman in Penzance, who has procured a little joinery machine for his own business, is Mr. W. H. Trounson, who served his apprenticeship with Messrs. Perkins and Caldwell and they are glad to see him prospering and utilizing modern improvements.

It is quite evident from the plant laid out by Messrs. Caldwell that they believe Penzance will survive the shocks of even the redoubtable sanitary Don Quixote at Truro; and will continue the erection of houses for the visitors to our beautiful health-resort.


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