header Cymraeg English
Aberdare - Cambrian Lamp Works  -  E. Thomas & Williams  
Aberdare - Cambrian Lamp Works - E. Thomas & Williams

 The Lamp Works can be contacted via the address opposite.

 Note this site is part of The Rhondda Cynon Taf Library Service  Heritage Trail Website - 



 E. Thomas & Williams Ltd
 Cambrian Lamp Works
 Robertstown Industrial Estate
 Aberdare,M. Glam
 CF44 8YY
 Tel: 01685 876107
 Fax: 01685 881319

The company was founded in 1860 by Evan Thomas, and was originally based at premises in Cardiff Street, Aberdare. In 1877 it moved to new premises at Graig Street just off Monk Street, Aberdare. Mr. Lewis N. Williams who was an authority on the theory and construction of safety lamps joined Mr. Evan Thomas in the business. In 1907 the business became a limited company operating under the name of E.Thomas & Williams Ltd.

During the 1880s and 1890s the company exhibited lamps at various important industrial exhibitions, winning many prestigious awards including the gold medal at the London Mining Exhibition. The expansion of the coal industry was creating an active home market for their goods and exports were also on the increase with goods being exported to countries such as Australia, India, South Africa, Canada, America and Russia.

The coming of the First World War saw the company making shell casings for the Army, with the workforce reaching 70. The years between the wars were not so successful however and the depression led to a decline in business and a cut in the workforce. It was the Second World War, which brought about an upturn in their business, with the company winning contracts from the Ministry of Supply for the manufacture of steel parts and a small battery operated "Lightbuoy" designed to locate survivors from torpedoed ships.
Following the war the company continued to prosper until the decline of the coal industry in the UK forced management to look for alternatives for its workforce. It was the company's practice of manufacturing Cambrian Miners' Lamps for presentation to political, military and sporting dignitaries that was to provide a solution to their problem. Very soon the company's product was to find its way into shops all around the world. This departure into the gift market did not however signal an end to the production of safety lamps. The Cambrian Safety Lamp is still seen as an essential tool for detecting dangerous gas build ups and is used in collieries, ships holds and sewers today.
The company continues to operate from a factory in Robertstown, having moved there after their Aberdare premises were destroyed by fire in 1978. With a staff of around 12 they continue to produce approx. 1500 fine crafted lamps per month for sale around the world and are the only approved manufacturer of safety lamps in Wales. Now 70% of the factory output goes for export in countries as wide spread as America, Canada, Scandinavia and throughout Europe with only a small proportion used in connection with mining. It is hoped that the appearance of cheap imitation lamps on the market will not not affect the sales and possibly the future of this long established local company that has been in existence over 140 years.

Lampworks advert
9F Lamp
Left: The 9F lamp advertised in the companies 5th edition catalogue Circa 1910
© 2018 Rhondda Cynon Taf Libraries