Originally formed by the five Tangye brothers from Cornwall as James Tangye & Brothers in 1857, this Birmingham engineering firm grew to become one of the largest suppliers of jacks, pumps, steam and oil engines, hydraulic presses, gas producers and machine tools in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The successful sideways launching of I.K. Brunel's 'Great Eastern' from the mud of the Thames in 1857 using Tangyes hydraulic jacks gave the firm much needed publicity and new orders flowed in. To finance expansion, George Price provided additional capital and the company name became Tangye Brothers & Price in 1859. A new factory known as the 'Cornwall Works' was built in Clement Street, Birmingham. In 1872, the firm became Tangye Brothers and in about 1879- 1880 began production of internal combustion stationary engines based on Horace Robinson's patents, later using the Otto four-stroke design for its Soho range of gas engines. Examples of the Soho engine were exhibited by the firm at the 1880 Melbourne International Exhibition. Petrol and oil engines were made from the 1890s onward, and by 1910 had developed into the Model B, BR and AA series engines. Tangyes supplied custom-built pumps and presses for particular applications, becoming a major exporter of engineering equipment.

In 1884, Tangye Brothers opened a custom-built branch office, showroom and warehouse in Melbourne at Cornwall House in Collins Street West, advertising the full range of engineering products. These lantern slides images are taken from Tangyes product catalogues from the 1910-1925 period and are believed to have been used as sales promotional aids in Australia by the Tangye Brothers. There is also family association with Australia as one of the founding brothers, Richard Tangye purchased land near Renmark, South Australia, following a visit in 1890 within the irrigation scheme to be managed by the Chaffey brothers on his behalf.

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