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Cantaba Alloy

  1. Feb 7, 2018 #1
    I'm trying to learn more about this alloy and there is scant little on Google. William Godfrey Lecomber created a copper alloy for use in frictionless bearings and apparently huge amounts were sold to America and South Africa. WGL called the alloy Cantaba and named his farm in Ruthin (which he built in 1915) Cantaba after this alloy. WGL’s engineering businesses were Thomas Ryder & Co and Allen Harrison & Co which were in Commercial Street, Knott Mill, Manchester. Allen Harrison & Co operated out of the Cambridge Works in Commercial Street. Any information gratefully received.
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 7, 2018 #2


    Staff: Mentor


    I too can't find cantaba with searches. However, I did find this.
    [QUOTE+"https://www.copper.org/publications/newsletters/discover/1997/Ct83/bronzes.html"]Cast and sintered bronzes perform an important anti-friction function in millions of American homes, automobiles and trucks, and in virtually all heavy industrial equipment. A familiar example is the common kitchen food processor. These machines use bronze bearings to smooth the motion of their whirling blades.

    For centuries, bronzes have played a major role in combating friction. And bronze bearings continue to hold their own, in spite of long-time competition from ball, sleeve and roller bearings made of steel - and even those bearings may require bronze retainer rings.[/QUOTE]

    I wonder if cantaba is bronze in some other language. I tried several languages on translate.google.com without luck. In Welsh, bronze is efydd.
  4. Feb 8, 2018 #3


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    Google translates, from Spanish, the phrase 'La rana cantaba debajo del agua' to 'The frog sang under the water.'
    Where Cantaba translates to Song.

    p.s. Above result found by entering 'cantaba' in the DuckDuckGo search engine, then having Google translate one of the results.
    Looks an awful lot like a dead end. :frown: Google claimed Spanish and returned the singing frog!

    [EDIT] There was another hit on DuckDuckGo that found 'cantaba' in in US Patent 1987650 for a variable pitch airplane propeller. That was another dead end. The find was from an OCR (optical character recognition) of the scanned patent (page 7, line 42 of the scan) and the character recognition converted 'can take' to 'cantaba'.

    Last edited: Feb 8, 2018
  5. Feb 8, 2018 #4
    Thanks for those. I too feel that this enquiry is about to hit the buffers!
  6. Feb 8, 2018 #5


    Staff: Mentor

    Good man @Tom.G . The most discerning Internet users prefer DuckDuckGo. :wink:
  7. Feb 8, 2018 #6

    jim mcnamara

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    Where did you get the original reference information? - you show considerable details. Note that bronze alloys are legion and many have been in use for thousands of years. So instead of a patent, (in the US at least) manufacturers create brand names, which they can copyright. Cantaba seems more like 'Big Mac' than 'double hamburger with cheese and gorp' to me anyway. Patents at this point seem unlikely.

    British patent law notwithstanding, it is possible we are all barking up the wrong tree.
  8. Feb 8, 2018 #7
    Useful reply, thanks.

    To be honest, I'm trying to help a surviving member of the Lecomber family to shed some light on 'Cantaba'. It was this person who supplied the information which formed the basis of this thread.

    Your note on bronze alloys being legion and many and the effect this has on copyrighting makes a lot of sense.
  9. Feb 9, 2018 #8


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  10. Feb 9, 2018 #9
    Thanks for that. As it happens, we are familiar with that site, the current enquirer being partly responsible for the content.

    Good point you make regarding the Cambridge connection.
  11. Feb 13, 2018 #10


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    Finding a patent for the Cantaba alloy registered by Lecomber would help. I got close, but probably won't win a coconut.
    A book titled … "Abridgment Of United States, British And German Patents On Alloys Covering The Production Of Platinum Substitutes Including Alloys Having Certain Of The Properties Of Platinum". Compiled in1918 by MOCK & BLUM, Patent Lawyers, 220 Broadway, New York, N. Y.
    An archive copy from; https://ia600309.us.archive.org/14/items/abridgmentofunit00mock/abridgmentofunit00mock.pdf

    Lists under Class 3-A. … alloys considered suitable for electric resistance purposes and for ignition points for spark plugs and magnetos. …
    British Patent 16,324 of 1884, Lecomber.
    "Non-oxidizable or difficultly oxidizable hard alloys, consist of 9 parts of gold, 1 of silver and 14 of copper, or 3 parts of gold, three of iridium, and 4 of platinum. Nickelcobalt, chromium, or palladium may be added. These alloys are very ductile."

    Since this is a very expensive alloy it will have quickly fallen out of use. Being a high copper alloy may have confused it with anti-friction bearing materials. It is unlikely but possible that it was the proverbial Cantaba. If the meta data such as the patent attorneys can be identified, then it may lead to other patents.

    Early British patents are in the Archives at Kew. If someone would care to search the UK Government Web Archive for a reference to British patent 16,324 of 1884 they may find Lecomber refers to WG Lecomber at the age of about 14, or more probably his father, WW Lecomber.
  12. Feb 13, 2018 #11
    Many thanks for that.
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