Sue Young Histories

William Vaughan Morgan 1826 - 1892

December 20, 2009

Morgan Technical
CeramicsMajor William Vaughan Morgan 1826 - 1892 was the Welsh founder of the firm Morgan and Rees (now Morgan Technical Ceramics), who was an advocate of homeopathy, the Chairman of the Management Committee (Anon, Homeopathic Medical Directory of Great Britian and Ireland, (Henry Turner and Co, 77 Fleet Street, EC, 74 New Bond Street, W1,  41 Piccadilly and 15 Market Street, Manchester, 1868). Page 92) and the Treasurer of the London Homeopathic Hospital, and a Founder and major Sponsor of the Homeopathic Convalescent Home in Eastbourne,

William Vaughan Morgan obtained mechanical patents in 1853, and he worked for the firm of Morgan Brothers, of Bow Lane, Cheapside, and he was elected a director of the English and Irish Bank (Limited) (Anon, The Bankers’ magazine and journal of the money market, Volume XXIII January-December 1863, (Groombridge and Sons, 5 Paternoster Row, 1863). Page 641.) in 1863,

William Vaughan Morgan’s Obituary is in The British Homeopathic Review, Volume 36 in 1892,

The Morgan Crucible Company’s traditions of excellence date back to 1855 when William Vaughan Morgan acquired a London based merchant and druggist business and began trading under the name Morgan and Rees.

William was joined by brothers Thomas, Walter, Octavius, Septimus and Edward (on land by the River Thames, including Manufactory Yard and Wharf formerly known as the Bolingbroke Oil Works).

By 1857 this joint enterprise - renamed the Patent Plumbago Crucible Company - was able to display a range of crucibles at the Crystal Palace Exhibition. The company was soon supplying customers throughout Africa, South East Asia, the Americas and in Europe where it was awarded a Gold medal at the 1868 Paris Exhibition.

Towards the end of the 1800’s, the business began trading as The Morgan Crucible Company. Today, The Morgan Crucible Group has become a world leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of technologically advanced materials, chemicals and components.

The Morgan Crucible Company Plc buys a year of the capital’s history in Museum of London’s sale of the centuries (2007) … Morgan has bought 1856, the year the five Morgan brothers, ‘Druggist, Sundriesman and Hardware Merchants, Importers and Exporters, of Jewin Crescent in the City of London’ set up a factory in Battersea to manufacture crucibles. William Vaughan Morgan, the most go ahead brother, had seen a superior American crucible on show at the Great Exhibition of 1851 and subsequently negotiated manufacturing rights.

One hundred and fifty years later, the company can look back on their part in memorable historical events like Blondin’s tightrope walk of 1869, when one end of his rope was tethered to their Battersea site; the Russian Revolution when the business was nationalised and the managers imprisoned; and  World War II when the factory was a target for enemy bombers and, on one occasion, was only saved when two employees kicked an unexploded incendiary out of a pile of waxed cartons and away from danger. Today Morgan produces many diverse products – from hip replacement joints to brake pads on the Space shuttle!

Of interest;

Sir Walter Vaughan Morgan 1831 - 1919, brother of William Vaughan Morgan, was the Lord Mayor of London in 1906,

The Vaughan Morgan family archive is held by the Powys County Archives Service Brecon Museum,