16 March-Frederick York Wolseley

Frederick York Wolseley was a member of the Wolseley family of Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland. He invented the first mechanical sheep shearing machine and with Herbert Austin was the producer of Wolseley motor cars. Wolseley lived in Australia for most of his life. A monument to Frederick York Wolseley stands in Wakool, New South Wales about 70km west of Deniliquin.

Frederick York Wolseley was born in Ireland in 1837. His father died in 1840 and Frederick and his six siblings were raised by their mother. In 1854 at the age of 17 he emigrated to Australia to work on his brother-in-law’s sheep station near Deniliquin in New South Wales. He began to work on developing a sheep shearing machine. He invented the world’s first mechanical sheep shears for which a patent was obtained in 1884. He founded the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Company Limited in Sydney in 1887.

In 1893 Wolseley moved to Birmingham, England. With Herbert Austin he established the Wolseley Sheep Shearing Machine Co. Pty Ltd which would later become Wolseley Engineering Ltd. Sales of the sheep shears was seasonal, so in 1895 they began producing Wolseley motor cars in Birmingham. By 1913 Wolseley was selling 3,000 cars annually, making it the largest car manufacturer in Britain. Frederick York Wolseley died on January 8th 1899. Though production of Wolseley cars ceased in 1975 the company continued to grow and move into other areas of engineering. Today Wolseley describes itself as ‘the world’s leading specialist distributor of plumbing and heating products’.

The ancestral home of the Wolseley family in the town of Tullow is now the Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa and Golf Resort. Originally known as Mount Aaron it became the home of the Wolseley family in 1725 and remained their home for the next 200 years. The stained glass east window in St Columba’s Church in Tullow was erected by the Wolseley family in 1907. Mount Wolseley was sold to the Patrician Order of brothers in 1925. They made the estate the Order’s world headquarters. The Order sold Mount Wolseley in 1994 and it was subsequently developed into a hotel, spa and golf resort. Several vintage rallies are staged there including the Gordon Bennett Rally.

Frederick York Wolseley, inventor and industrialist, was born in the year 1837 On This Day.

Wolseley by allenthepostman on 2009-05-24 09:11:34

Mount Wolseley, Tullow, Co Carlow, Ireland

gc365day101 by leppre on 2014-04-11 09:45:09

One Reply to “16 March-Frederick York Wolseley”

  1. We could do with more like him personally nowadays. I think Wolseley was one of the companies that was offered both the VW range & Wolfsburg factory as part of Germany’s war reparations to Britain in the late 1940s. Wolseley declined on the grounds that they felt the VW product had no future.

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