After his establishment of a patent salt works at Stoke Prior he moved to Cheshire where he established “patent salt works” at Winsford and Anderton. His works were to survive but Furnival earned the displeasure of the other salt makers by undercutting the agreed market prices. According to his surviving Statement of Fact, he was allegedly “framed” by other salt interests and was last heard of in a debtor’s prison. Furnival’s works of about 1830 were possibly the first to be built to meet the new demands for salt, not merely as a food related commodity, but as an industrial chemical.
The growth of new salt works inevitably led to overcapacity. Some failed or changed hands while others merged to survive. Such problems were to dog the industry for much of the century until the merger of over 90% of the salt firms in 1888 to form the Salt Union.
At Stoke Prior, salt making had been consolidated under John Corbett. He prospered and by the 1880’s had become the leading UK salt producer. In 1888 Corbett’s Stoke Prior salt works and the works of Joseph Verdin at Winsford were by far the most valuable components of the new conglomerate. Each valued at over £600,000.
It was not usual for a Leblanc alkali works to be built alongside a salt works since other vital raw materials were coal, limestone and sulphur and the availability of these by water-borne carriage was important. For an alkali industry based on Cheshire salt, Merseyside was the logical location with the ready access to Lancashire coal, North Wales limestone and sulphur imported from Sicily and later Spain. An early alkali works was established at Stoke Prior but eventually became unprofitable and closed down.
18th, 19th & 20th Century Salt Making
- Eighteenth Century Salt Making – Inland White Salt
- Eighteenth Century Salt Making – Open Pan Salt Technology
- Nineteenth Century Salt Making – Developments in Salt Making Technology
- Nineteenth Century Salt Making – The Entrepreneurs
- Nineteenth Century Salt Making – Tricks of the Trade
- Salt Making in the 20th Century