Moore & Wright Legacy Shines on With New Exhibition at Hawley Tool Collection


The history of Bowers Group’s Moore & Wright brand is being brought to life by The Hawley Tool Collection as its new “Britain’s Tool Factory” exhibition launches at the Kelham Island Museum in Sheffield.

With a history dating back over 100 years, Moore & Wright is one of the most prominent names in measurement tools and one that is deeply rooted in the history of the steel city. Famous for its huge range of high-quality tools and measuring equipment, this new exhibition tells the story of the brand and its products, as well as some of its former employees.

Bowers Group Marketing Manager, Ellie Skinner, said: “This new exhibition really demonstrates the impact that Moore & Wright has had throughout its history, and it’s exciting to have our brand being celebrated in its birthplace. Sheffield has such an important legacy in industrial and manufacturing Britain, and it’s a real eye-opener, even to us within the business, of just how much Moore & Wright meant to the people of the city. The display really encapsulates the history of Moore & Wright; from the earliest tools manufactured to the latest in our line of digital micrometers, the team at the Hawley Tool Collection has done an incredible job.”

The exhibition offers a captivating journey through the brand’s history, showcasing its renowned products and featuring personal stories from former employees. Two years in the making, highlights of the display include a BBC video spotlighting Moore and Wright’s groundbreaking Micro 2000, hailed as the world’s first digital micrometer.

Moore and Wright, known as “Britain’s Tool Factory”, is still, to this day, one of the most prominent names in precision measurement around the world. Visitors can re-live the experiences of former apprentices such as David Barber, John Peace, and Steve Nettleship, while archived photographs capture the company’s vibrant community spirit. For those who have connections to Moore and Wright, the exhibition presents an opportunity to reconnect and maybe even spot familiar faces among the displayed images.

Founded in 1906 by engineer Frank Moore and businessman Charles Wright, Moore & Wright quickly became a recognised name in the manufacturing industry, establishing itself as a leading producer of precision measuring instruments and tools.

The company’s roots were deeply planted in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, a city renowned for its industrial heritage. Over the years, Moore & Wright expanded its product range to include a diverse array of high-quality tools and instruments, earning a reputation for accuracy, reliability, and innovation. With a commitment to excellence and a focus on meeting the evolving needs of its customers, Moore & Wright continued to thrive throughout the 20th century and beyond.

Today, as part of the Bowers Group, Moore & Wright remains dedicated to upholding its legacy of craftsmanship and precision while embracing new technologies to drive continued growth and success in the global market.

The Moore & Wright exhibition is expected to be displayed within the Hawley Gallery, alongside the wider Hawley Collection, until the later part of 2024.

The Hawley Collection itself is an internationally important material record of tool making, cutlery manufacture, and silversmithing from Sheffield, created and hosted by a team of passionate volunteers. Funded by donations and grants from the likes of the Heritage Lottery Fund, this collection offers a unique glimpse into the city’s manufacturing heritage by showcasing tools both old and new, providing insight into the intricate processes involved in their creation.

With a wealth of published catalogues, archival materials, photographs, tapes, and films on display, it walks visitors through the evolution of Sheffield’s manufacturing techniques and products, as well as the expertise of its skilled artisans.

Over a span of fifty years, Ken Hawley meticulously curated the collection, gathering tools, catalogues, photographs, and insights related to Sheffield’s tool industries. With three decades spent running his own tool shop in Sheffield, Hawley’s unparalleled knowledge of the city’s industrial heritage fills the collection with significance and authenticity.

His vision was for the collection to remain in Sheffield, serving as a tribute to the craftsmanship, skills, and excellence displayed by Sheffield’s firms and workers throughout history.

In 2010, the Hawley Gallery at Kelham Island Museum opened its doors as the first permanent exhibition space dedicated to the collection, allowing visitors to explore Sheffield’s industrial legacy and contribute to the ongoing narrative of the city’s industrial heritage.

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