• Welcome to this forum . We are a worldwide group with a common interest in Birmingham and its history. While here, please follow a few simple rules. We ask that you respect other members, thank those who have helped you and please keep your contributions on-topic with the thread.

    We do hope you enjoy your visit. BHF Admin Team

John Rabone & Sons of Hockley rulers tapes and tools


New Member
Re: raybones rulers and tapes and tools ;of hockley ;

My Uncle Alan Layton worked at Rabone Chesterman he was a tool setter/foreman from 1970 till they closed when they were bought out by Stanley Tools, they moved everything up to Sheffield and Alan Layton helped them with all the tools for a few weeks, he actually stayed up there hoping they would take him on but they just picked his brains for all his knowledge then said thanks and and goodbye
My Aunt rememberers your Uncle Alan well


master brummie
My future wife lived at 45 Whitmore St and at the back up the yard lived there family friends Winn & Harry Phelps.Many year later her mother got a job making the rulers and finished up Marrying Jim Day who was the Forman for many many years at Rabones before retiring in the 70s

izzy eckerslike

Yaw've med my day yaw ave
An interesting catalogue of John Rabone & Sons, Whitmore street, they did measuring equipment, spirit levels etc. The catalogue is 83 pages. Their factory was quite big, I wonder what replaced it

Last edited:


master brummie
Hi all, my late brother Ron Jones worked at Rabones as an electrical fitter in the mid 50s he often spoke about his time there, he emigrated to Australia in the 60s,and would always remember with great affection some of the people he new and worked with at Rabones, as they say you can take the man out of Brum but you can never take Brum out of the man. RIP, Ron.


Engineer Brummie
A few snippets of info from the internet:

1963 John Rabone and Sons, of Whitmore Street, Birmingham, merged with James Chesterman and Co, toolmakers of Sheffield, and the name was changed to Rabone Chesterman.

1970 they acquired another tool maker, Fry's (London).

1989, Stanley Tools, one of the Great White sharks of tool empires, purchased the assets of Rabone Chesterman from Bardsey PLC (now dissolved). Since then, the name has disappeared from their product lines.

izzy eckerslike

Yaw've med my day yaw ave
I have a vintage Stanley tool catalogue on CD, here is the inside first page which shows a London address but the bottom of the page says printed in USA, the front cover says ' STANLEY, The toolbox of America'



master brummie
I still have an old Rabone 2ft. Folding, boxwood rule. Superbly made.

This must be several decades old, but the original quality still shines through.



Super Moderator
Staff member
The Rabone wooden ruler was an essential part of every builder’s tool kit, we even had a special pocket in the leg of our overalls to keep one in.