• Title
  • Reference
    TR COO
  • Production date
    1800 - 1971
  • Creator
  • Creator History
    The firm of Cooch was established in 1800, when Joshua Cooch invented and patented a corn and seed dressing machine, patent no. 2416, 1800(17 Jun). Dressing machine manufacture, together with general implement and plough work, was then based at Harlestone, about 5 miles north west of Northampton and was probably a useful adjunct to John Cooch's main business, that of running a 500 acre farm at Harlestone. He was succeeded by his son Joshua Cooch in 1828, who improved upon the original dressing machine design and in 1848(10 Aug) patented a sackholder which the firm then began to produce. Four first prizes at R.A.S.E. shows in 1841, 1847, 1863 and 1872, helped further establish the dressing machine's reputation, and until the early 1870's a barley hummeller was also in production. Joshua Cooch died c.1875 only to be succeeded by his son Henry Cooch, who was instrumental in developing the emphasis on manufacturing. In 1880 the Harlestone farm was reduced to only 50 acres and 1885 saw the introduction of the first in a long line of Cooch potato sorters, one of the first known attempts to mechanise this process. Further expansion occurred in 1891 when Henry Cooch purchased James Mold's cart and wagon building business and premises in Commercial St., Northampton, though retaining the Harlestone premises for implement work. By 1900 the firm could also boast a steam saw mill in Weston St., Northampton and in 1906 a partnership between Henry Cooch and John Frank Cooch was formed, styled Cooch & Son. Originally the wagon side of the business seems to have been of greater importance than implement work, but the latter gradually took prominence. Various technical improvements helped make potato sorter manufacture the backbone of the firm, especially with the decline of dressing machine sales, until a slight post World War Two recovery. From the 1920's onwards a variety of screening machines were produced and the post war years saw the introduction of vegetable washers, potato planters, onion toppers and crop dusters. The Commercial St. Works were extended in 1940, helping run down operations at Harlestone and from the late 1940's onwards a gradual move occurred to a new site at Buttocks Booth on the Kettering Rd. to the north east of Northampton. The limited company Cooch & Sons Ltd., with John Frank Cooch and his two sons John Henry Cooch and Donald Frank Cooch as directors, was formed in 1949, which lasted until 1974 when after some 174 years production finally ceased with the sale of rights of manufacture to William Cook (Engineers) Ltd., Yaxley, Peterborough. The Cooch business interests, however, still continue, restyled as Cooch Bros. (Northampton) Ltd., under John Henry Cooch and Donald Frank Cooch. A useful article on the firm's history, covering 1800-1950 is contained in Farm Implement and Machinery Review, 1950(Oct), Pp 939-940. Styles of the Firm 1800 John Cooch 1828 Joshua Cooch c.1875 Henry Cooch 1906 Cooch & Son 1949 Cooch & Sons Ltd. 1974 Cooch Bros. (Northampton) Ltd.
  • Scope and Content
    The Cooch records cover the considerable range of 1800-1971, of particular importance when very few English agricultural engineering firms appear to have kept pre-1850 material, apart from exceptions such as Ransomes of Ipswich. Although the records have a bias towards accounting and publicity material, they nevertheless provide a great deal of information about the firm's activities. For instance quite detailed work entries can be found in the second series of wagon day books [TR COO/AC3/24-53] or the two early implement day books [TR COO/AC3/1-2]. The accounts [TR COO/AC] are remarkably well represented, particularly the double entry books where the firm's business was divided into wagon work and implement work accounts. The sales ledgers [TR COO/AC1/1-13] commence in 1874, about the time Henry Cooch took over from his father Joshua, and these accounts are complicated up to 1935 [TR COO/AC1/1-10] both by their division into implement work and wagon work and their further division at one time into wholesale and retail. The following analysis shows their arrangement: Implement accounts: 1874-1900, wholesale only, [TR COO/AC1/1]; 1890-1900, retail only [TR COO/AC1/2]; 1900-1904 [TR COO/AC1/1]; 1905-1912 [TR COO/AC1/4]; 1912-1916 [TR COO/AC1/5]; 1916-1921 [TR COO/AC1/6]; 1921-1927 [TR COO/AC1/7]; 1927-1932 [TR COO/AC1/8]; 1932-1935 [TR COO/AC1/9]. Wagon accounts: 1891-1900 [TR COO/AC1/3]; 1901-1904 [TR COO/AC1/1]; 1905-1912 [TR COO/AC1/4]; 1912-1918 [TR COO/AC1/5]; 1918-1923 [TR COO/AC1/6]; 1923-1935 [TR COO/AC1/10]. From 1935-1956 a loose leaf ledger system was adopted for all sales accounts and three of the five resulting volumes are extant [TR COO/AC1/11-13]. The bought ledgers do not comprise a separate series, their accounts being usually entered in the same volume as the general and nominal ledger entries. They exist for 1891-1912 [TR COO/AC1/14-15] and 1937-1948 [TR COO/AC1/16-18]. The general ledger accounts survive as a whole for 1891-1912 only [TR COO/AC1/14-15], but the more nominal entries, mainly concerned with wages and related contributions, are preserved for 1937-1950 [TR COO/AC1/16, 17 and 19] and 1961-1969 [TR COO/AC1/20]. The cash books [TR COO/AC2] date further back than the ledgers to 1865, with an isolated farm cash account for 1846 [TR COO/AC2/1]. Those prior to the acquisition of the wagon business in Northampton in 1891 relate to Harlestone only and are divided into three: trade, income and expenditure for implement works; farm income and expenditure; household income and expenditure; and form a complete run for 1865-1892 [TR COO/AC2/2-7] together with three subsidiary 1870's cash books [TR COO/AC2/8-10]. The last two principal cash books 1882-1892 [TR COO/AC2/6-7] are particularly useful as they also include annual valuations of stock in trade and farm stock. Thereafter the cash books are for implement and wagon work only and survive for 1915-1918 [TR COO/AC2/11], 1926-1940 [TR COO/AC2/12-16] and 1949-1966 [TR COO/AC2/17-21]. Some of the hiatus in the 1940's is covered by a temporary cash book, 1942-1950 discontinuous [TR COO/AC2/22]. Moving to the more detailed day books [TR COO/AC3], we again find a generous survival. The sales day books divide into series for implements [TR COO/AC3/1-11] and wagons [TR COO/AC3/12-53]. The former are preserved for 1890-1904 [TR COO/AC3/1], 1911-1912 [TR COO/AC3/2], 1935-1944 [TR COO/AC3/3-6], 1945-1947 [TR COO/AC3/7] and 1949-1955 [TR COO/AC3/8-11]. However, only the 1890-1904 and 1911-1912 volumes contain reasonably detailed entries. Conversely the wagon day books survive in much greater number, abetted by the compilation of a principal and subsidiary series, containing respectively detailed and very detailed entries, the latter including a breakdown of individual amounts invoiced. The principal series [TR COO/AC3/12-23] runs 1891-1902, 1905-1911 and 1920-1950 whereas the 30 volumes in the subsidiary series [TR COO/AC3/24-53] cover 1900-1906, 1907-1908, 1909-1921, 1923-1926, 1927-1928, 1929-1935 and 1937-1947. A further sales day book is extant [TR COO/AC3/54] concerning plough repairs and fittings, 1869-1877. In addition two of the purchases day books are preserved for 1891-1910 and 1945-1947 [TR COO/AC3/55-56] together with two sales credit journals, 1945-1958 [TR COO/AC4/1-2]. Wages accounts [TR COO/AC5] are represented both in the form of detailed weekly wages books, 1942-1952 [TR COO/AC5/1-3] and analysis books of the composition of implement work wages, in terms of type of work done, 1871-1875 and 1900-1926 [TR COO/AC5/4-5]. Wages accounts figure elsewhere, as in the previously mentioned general and nominal ledgers [TR COO/AC1/14-17 and 19-20], as well as in a general 1847-1873 account book [TR COO/AC6/1] which includes details of wages paid to two workmen for implement work and sawing. Financial statements [TR COO/AC7] comprise an audited run for 1917-1926 [TR COO/AC7/1-9], but earlier balance sheets for 1882-1890 can be found in a principal cash book [TR COO/AC2/6] and for 1891-1912 amongst the general ledger entries [TR COO/AC1/14-15]. Administrative and commercial material [TR COO/AD] is less extensive, though nevertheless still of some importance. In many ways the most valuable records in the collection are the dressing machine registers forming an eight volume unbroken run for 1800-1949 [TR COO/AC7/1-8] and including sales ledger postings from c.1895 onwards. The potato sorter sales registers are not in the Institute's custody, but the 1848-1862 sackholders registers is so preserved [TR COO/AD7/9]. A 1940's implement agency book [TR COO/AD7/10] reveals the British Isles outlets for Cooch's goods, four copy letter books [TR COO/AD8/1-4] show something of the minutiae of business for 1902-1924, seven pocket notebooks of Henry Cooch [TR COO/AD9/1-7] contain miscellaneous details of the various activities at Harlestone during 1875-1890 and a 20th century materials book [TR COO/AD5/1] concerns the prices of materials and goods dealt in by the firm. Legal company records comprise the 1906 articles of partnership establishing Cooch & Son [TR COO/CO1/1], papers concerning the purchase of James Mold's wagon business and premises in 1891 [TR COO/CO4/1], a draft of the 1800 dressing machine patent specification [TR COO/CO5/1] and three letters patent for potato sorter improvements, 1911-1914[TR COO/CO5/2-4]. Of some technical note is a particulars book of various individual carts, wagons, etc. built by the firm during 1891-1923 [TR COO/ET1/1]. Publicity records are numerically quite extensive. There are some 415 different advertising and servicing items issued by the firm from c.1860-1971 [TR COO/P2/A] divided into those numbered and those not numbered by the firm. The practice of numbering commenced in 1948, including virtually all issued items thereafter, apart from circular letters and the collection contains 262 such publications [TR COO/P2/A PN]. Un-numbered items comprise mainly pre 1950's material [TR COO/P2/A 1-117] and circular letters and postcards, 1937-1967 [TR COO/P2/A 118-152]. Nearly all the advertising material is in leaflet form, the firm having rarely produced a range of goods wide enough to necessitate issuing catalogues. There is also a single poster, concerning the success of the dressing machine in the 1872 R.A.S.E. Show [TR COO/P3/1] and an impressive file of 119 testimonials for 1850-1929 [TR COO/P7/1], mainly concerning dressing machines and potato sorters, many of which were used in Cooch's publications. Nearly all are drawn from the home market. Other items in the collection comprise three photographs, two of carts and one of a float [TR COO/PH3]; two R.A.S.E. show certificates of 1841 and 1863 for dressing machines [SH1] and show papers concerning Joshua Cooch's improvements to the winnowing machine, including water colour illustrations [TR COO/SH3].
  • Extent
    22 series
  • Level of description
  • Content Subject
  • System of arrangment
    TR COO/AC ACCOUNTS TR COO/AC1 Ledgers TR COO/AC2 Cash Books TR COO/AC3 Day Books TR COO/AC4 Journals TR COO/AC5 Wages Accounts TR COO/AC6 Other Accounts TR COO/AC7 Financial Statements TR COO/AD ADMINISTRATIVE AND COMMERCIAL RECORDS TR COO/AD2 General Administrative Records TR COO/AD5 Materials Records TR COO/AD7 Commercial Records TR COO/AD8 General Correspondence TR COO/AD9 Minor Administrative Records TR COO/CO COMPANY RECORDS TR COO/CO1 Partnership Records TR COO/CO4 Estate Records TR COO/CO5 Patenting Records TR COO/ET TECHNICAL RECORDS TR COO/ET2 Technical Reference Records to Cooch Products TR COO/P PUBLICITY, PROMOTIONS AND ADVERTISING RECORDS TR COO/P2 Individual Advertising and Servicing Publications TR COO/P3 Posters TR COO/P7 Testimonials TR COO/PH PHOTOGRAPHIC RECORDS TR COO/PH3 Individual Prints TR COO/SH SHOW AND EXHIBITION RECORDS TR COO/SH1 Show and Exhibition Certificates TR COO/SH3 General Show and Exhibition Records