Sharp, Roberts & Company

Sharp, Roberts & Company was an engineering, machine and locomotive manufacturing firm formed by Thomas Sharp and Richard Roberts. The original company, Sharp Roberts, was founded in 1822. The company intially had its premises at Globe Works, Faulkner Street, Manchester before moving to Atlas Works in Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester. In spite of the products from the firm being known as "Sharps" or Sharpies it is Roberts who provided the dominant engineering skills. The first locomotive was constructed for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, a 2-2-0: No. 32 Experiment. Three similar locomotives were constructed for the Dublin & Kingstown Railway. These early products suffered from steam leakage from the vertical cylinders and these were subsequently abandoned.

In the new design the cylinders were placed under the smokebox and the 2-2-2 type was adopted with outside frames with additional inside bearings for the driving axle, and a combined dome and safety valve fitted near the chimney. Ten of this type were supplied to the Grand Junction Railway in 1837. 600 of this type were made between 1837 and 1857 and were supplied to France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Russia and Spain.

In 1843 Roberts left the firm and it became Sharp Bros. In 1852 John Sharp retired and Charles Patrick Stewart took his place and the firm became Sharp Stewart & Co.