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1934 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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Note: This is a sub-section of 1934 Institution of Mechanical Engineers



Automatic Electric Co

The firm is the largest automatic telephone engineering and manufacturing organization in the British Empire, and produces, in addition to dial telephones, complete automatic exchange equipment. The company is one of the principal contractors to the British Post Office. Other manufactures include vehicle-actuated street traffic control equipment, street lighting control apparatus, mine shaft signalling apparatus, street fire-alarm equipment, telegraph apparatus, and selective central supervisory control and indicating apparatus for power schemes. The works comprise administration, accounting, costing, engineering, draughting, and research departments, an extensive and well equipped machine shop, switchboard erecting and wiring shops, assembly, plating, and enamelling departments, a cabinet-making department, and packing and dispatch departments, all of which are laid out on ground floor level. Other departments, including the coil-winding sections and finished stores, are disposed on floors at higher levels. The floor space of the works has increased from 80,000 sq. ft. at its inception in 1912 to 500,000 sq. ft., while in the same period the number of employees has risen from less than 800 to nearly 4,000.

In 1926 the firm acquired extensive premises at Broadgreen, where the Victor works were erected for the manufacture of domestic and heavy-duty electric heating and cooking equipment. Recently a complete plant for the mass production of telephone condensers has also been installed at these works. The floor space covers 95,000 sq. ft., and there are over 500 employees.

Both factories have been provided with canteens and staff dining rooms, while a large club house adjoining the Victor works has been acquired for the sports and social organization.


J. Bibby and Sons

The primary business of the firm is seed crushing, which is carried out in the works by hydraulic pressure. The extraction of oil from seed by solvents, and the manufacture of compound cakes for cattle are also carried out. In addition, soap is manufactured and lard compounds are made from vegetable oils.


British Enka Artificial Silk Co

The company was established in 1925 on the site previously occupied by the National Aircraft Factory, and manufactures rayon by the viscose process. The entire process involves three stages: (1) chemical, (2) spinning, and (3) textile. The chemical process uses wood pulp as raw material, from which cellulose is obtained in the form of sheets and passed through lye-soaking tanks and presses to grinding machines. After a fixed maturing time at a steady temperature it passes through mixers, where it is brought into contact with carbon bisulphite, into final dissolvers. The mixture is then subjected to filtration and becomes viscose, a thick liquor of high viscosity. Great accuracy is required in the measuring of materials and the adherence to fixed temperatures throughout the process. The material advances in accordance with a strict timetable so that the first stage takes exactly a full week, leaving a period of another two to three weeks for the completion of the second and third stages.

The second stage consists in the formation of rayon thread. Each "thread" consists of a number of single threads which are formed by pumping viscose through a metal nozzle containing a certain number of holes, into an acid bath. The size of these holes varies from 80 to 100 microns (0.08 to 0.10 mm.) according to the type of yarn required. The threads must be kept absolutely uniform, and the spinning pumps are therefore arranged to measure continuously the correct quantity passing through them. In addition the acid running through the machines is kept at a fixed temperature. The quality of the yarn is mainly governed by the accuracy of pumping and the mechanical condition of the metal nozzle. Either of two methods of spinning the yarn is then followed. In the first, yarn is brought on to revolving spools, which are replaced at fixed times. The spools are then washed and dried, and the single filaments twisted together, after which the spools are ready for transferring into skeins. The second method employs revolving glass rollers over which the yarn passes into revolving pots. These pots are provided with individual drives, using low-tension alternating current with a frequency of 100 cycles per second; the speed of rotation is 6,000 r.p.m. The yarn, now twisted, accumulates in the form of cakes, which are removed from the machine at fixed times and transferred to the textile department.

In the third stage, the yarn from both methods of spinning is transferred into skeins each of which is marked with a small coloured silk thread to identify its class. It is then washed, bleached, dried, and sorted for packing and dispatch. A recent modification consists in bleaching the cakes as they come from the spinning department before transferring the yarn into skeins. The amount of process steam required is considerable and is supplied by a high-pressure boiler plant to pass-out alternators which provide the power for the motors driving the spinning pots. Water is derived from deep wells and part of that required passes through a softening plant. The company produces more than 6,000,000 lb. of yarn per annum.


British Oxygen Co

In this factory acetylene gas is manufactured and compressed into cylinders under conditions laid down by the Home Office. The generators in which the gas is produced from calcium carbide, together with the slings for handling the carbide, and the sludge dryers, are mechanically operated. After purification both at low pressure and at high pressure, the compression of the gas into cylinders takes place. The maximum pressure attained is 225 lb. per sq. in.; the cylinders are then weighed before being dispatched. An additional product consists of small-mesh carbide, which is packed in tins for export, chiefly to the Colonies.


Bryant and May

The factory, which was established about forty years ago, is one of several owned by the firm, whose total output is over 6,000,000 gross of matches per annum, say 45,000,000,000 matches. Matches are manufactured here by two processes; in the first, the match splint is made by the match machine itself from machined blocks of best yellow pine, and in the second the splint is made independently and afterwards fed into the match machine. In the first process, splints are cut from the pine blocks by dies, and are driven into perforations in cast-iron plates, each holding 40,000 splints, coupled together to form a travelling band. They are then dipped in a bath of paraffin; without this immersion, the raw timber splint would not burn effectively. From this bath the splints travel to another bath containing the composition for the heads; after being dipped in this, they are dried slowly for about half an hour, and are then removed from the plates by a horizontal bar with projecting pins, which fit into the perforations in the plates and force out the splints. These fall into match boxes which are conveyed to a wrapping machine.

The other process, in which square sticks are used, is similar to the first process up to the point at which the matches are ejected from the plates. Instead of falling into boxes, however, they fall on to a travelling carrier divided into compartments, each able to hold sufficient matches to fill a match box, and then travel to another carrier conveying the boxes ready for filling. When full, the boxes are mechanically closed, and wrapped into dozens. In these machines the plates hold 100,000 matches.

The boxes are of cardboard or wood; the former are made up on bars where they are scored, glued, folded, and then glued on one side to receive the striking medium of ground glass. In the case of wooden boxes the timber skillet forming the outer cover is folded round a fixed bar and then receives the label. In the peeling room logs are placed in machines which peel off a veneer of suitable thickness for making the boxes.

The factory is equipped with two sets of Crossley gas engines, each set developing about 400 h.p. Timber waste and trimmings are utilized in wood-fuel suction plants which supply these engines with gas with great economy. Three five-drum Stirling boilers with Underfeed mechanical stokers supply steam for process work. A laboratory for research work and routine testing is provided, and the factory is equipped with automatic sprinklers and maintains its own fire brigade. For future supplies of timber, the firm is cultivating an aspen forest on about 7,000 acres of suitable mountain land in Scotland. Water is obtained from a well 400 feet deep on the premises and is treated in a softening plant.

The welfare of the 1,000 employees is provided for by the Men's Memorial Hall and the Victoria Girls' Club, and a 14-acre sports ground has been laid out about twenty minutes' walk from the factory.

Matches, being excisable commodities, are subject to governmental duty. The match trade yielded over £4,000,000 to the Government last year; it is noteworthy that 40 per cent of the price of a match represents its value to the Government.


SS Duchess of Bedford

The Duchess of Bedford was built by Messrs. John Brown and Company of Clydebank for the Liverpool - Montreal service of Canadian Pacific Steamships. She is 600 feet long and 75 feet beam, and has a gross tonnage of 20,120, and a service speed of 18 knots. The machinery is capable of developing 19,000 s.h.p., and the installation is an interesting example of the trend in recent years toward the use of higher pressures and temperatures, the steam pressure being 350 lb. per sq. in. and the temperature 700 deg. F. There are two sets of Parsons turbines driving twin screws through single-reduction gearing, steam being supplied by six Yarrow water-tube boilers burning oil fuel. The use of high-pressure superheated steam is confined to the main units, turbo-generators, and turbo feed pumps, where thermally advantageous. In these units, no internal lubricant is necessary, and there is consequently no dependence on filters. A duplex feed system is installed, whereby either of two Scotch boilers working at 200 lb. per sq. in. evaporates all raw make-up feed, the steam being led to a convenient stage in the turbines and expanded to the main condenser, where it augments the main condensate, and gives a supply of distilled make-up feed for the water-tube boilers. The Scotch boilers also supply all steam for hotel purposes, such as heating, cooking, etc. All important auxiliaries are motor-driven, energy being supplied by two 450 kW. Diesel generators and two 500 kW. turbo-generators. This arrangement provides alternative sources of power, as the Diesel generators are particularly economical for port use. The installation as a whole represented a marked advance in fuel economy over older types of steam installations in ships of this character, the fuel rate per shaft horse-power per hour being 0.62 lb. for all purposes and 0.57 lb. for propulsion duty.


Howard Ford and Co

The firm produces ladies' fine-gauge stockings under the well-known "Bear Brand" trade mark. The factory, the largest of its kind in the country, is the only one within a radius of 2 miles, and as it is situated in a country district of Liverpool, a high degree of cleanliness of atmosphere prevails. There are three main buildings, from two to seven years old, the latest addition, a four-story structure, being one of the largest in the north of England. Special attention has been paid to ensuring maximum light and air, and to the control of temperature and humidity. Raw materials are received at the mills principally in the form of cones or balls of yarn. The yarn is chiefly of pure Japan silk, although a considerable quantity of rayon and cotton is used as well. The machinery of the extensive plant is of the latest type, and 75 per cent has been installed within the last three years. The number of employees exceeds 1,500, and the firm has furnished them with a canteen, tennis courts, sports ground, and pavilion.


William P. Hartley

The late Sir William P. Hartley commenced the manufacture of jam, marmalade, and table jellies in 1871 and in 1919 the business was formed into a limited liability company. The present works and warehouses occupy a site of about 10 acres and the output in the season is upwards of 200 tons of jam and marmalade per day. The jam and marmalade filling machines are unique, while the plant includes label and wrapping machines, together with printing and carton-making machines. A recent addition to the works is canning plant capable of dealing with 200 cans of fruit and vegetables per minute. The electric supply for power, light, and heat is generated in the factory. Water is pumped from a well on the site, yielding 15,000 gallons per hour.

A prominent feature of the business is the welfare of the employees. A profit-sharing scheme has been in operation since 1884, and a village has been established at Aintree for the benefit of some of those engaged at the factory.


W. and R. Jacob and Co

In the company's factory, which is situated at Aintree, cakes and wafers are manufactured in addition to biscuits. There are three main blocks of buildings to which the flour and other materials are conveyed by elevators after having been weighed on arrival. Each block is arranged so that the raw materials enter at one end, and are then made into dough. This is rolled out to the required thickness and cut and embossed in appropriate style, after which it passes on to trays. The trays are passed slowly through gas-fired ovens, and the biscuits emerge, properly baked, at the far end, and then proceed along a cooling length before they reach the packers. Here new and reconditioned tins are conveyed, into which the biscuits are packed direct. The tins are then passed to the stock room, and from this stock consignments are made up as required into containers which subsequently are handled by an overhead runway, and are loaded on to either rail or road vehicles for dispatch. Somewhat similar arrangements are made in the case of cakes and fancy biscuits.

About 1,500,000 cu. ft. of town's gas per week is used in the factory and the consumption is carefully checked, each oven having its own meter. The gas is distributed at low pressure, but is compressed at the points of use. On most ovens the gas is hand-controlled, with the aid of thermometers, but in certain instances it is thermostatically controlled by automatic apparatus. For general heating and process work steam is used. It is generated in three Galloway boilers, working at 205 lb. per sq. in. The fuel is small coal which is discharged from a screw conveyer into the hoppers of the mechanical stokers. The factory is steam-heated on the low-pressure system. Electrical drives are employed throughout, and some 300 motors are in use. From the Liverpool Corporation substation the factory is supplied with current at 400 volts, three-phase. Energy for lighting is transformed within the works by three 70 kVA. sets of transformers wound to give 105 volts, two-phase. The lighting feeders are treated as single-phase and are balanced against each other. Each block of buildings contains its own refrigerating plant and is more or less self-contained as regards cold storage. In the company's sidings a battery locomotive and a petrol locomotive provide the power required.


Clarence Dock Power Station

Electric supply by the Liverpool Corporation began in 1896, when the Liverpool Electric Supply Company was purchased, and steady progress has been maintained since then, the number of units sold for the year 1932-3 being 310,275,371, or 370 times the number sold in 1896. The Clarence Dock Power Station was built primarily to operate as a base load station under the national grid scheme. For 1932, the first complete year of operation, the station held the record in Great Britain for efficient operation, with a thermal efficiency of 24.72 per cent per unit generated, while for 1933 the efficiency was 26.05 per cent. Construction was commenced in 1929 and generation of electrical power in 1931. The designed ultimate capacity of the plant is 400,000 kW. The use of a dock is unique in power station design, but affords several advantages. Excellent natural foundations are provided, as the dock was cut out of solid rock; the amount of excavation necessary is reduced, and the storage of coal to a depth of 30 feet under water is made possible. The latter is a considerable advantage since the type of coal used in power stations ignites spontaneously when stored in air to a depth greater than 8 or 10 feet. Storage space for 85,000 tons of flooded coal is at present available, and this can be increased to 120,000 tons. Coal is brought in 20-ton hopper wagons, and a train of 400 tons can be unloaded in less than ten minutes.

The station is designed for four boiler houses. At present one has been constructed and contains four boiler units, each of a normal capacity of 160,000 lb. of steam per hour. The working pressure is 450 lb. per sq. in. and the total temperature 750 deg. F., but provision is made for increasing this to 825 deg. F. if desired. Chain-grate mechanical stokers are fitted, but arrangements have also been made for the use of pulverized fuel, each unit being fitted with two pulverizing mills. Each boiler unit is provided with two forced draught fans, two induced draught fans, an air heater, and a steel tube economizer. Bailey blocks are used for the entire furnace lining.

The turbo-alternators each have a capacity of 50,000 kW., and are of the two-cylinder construction, exhausting into central-flow condensers. The circulating water is obtained from the Mersey and is led through coarse screens consisting of galvanized iron bars into settling chambers from which it is drawn through two reinforced concrete ducts, each 6 ft. 6 in. by 6 ft. 9 in. in maximum section, to the condensers. Generation is at 7,250 volts, and duplicate transformers for each alternator raise the voltage to 33,000. A unique feature, which is both convenient and economical, is the location of the transformers in the foundation block below the alternator. Switching takes place at 33,000 volts, and feeders lead to the chief distributing centres and to the substation for the grid, about a quarter of a mile away, at which the pressure is raised to 132,000 volts. Great attention has been paid to the design of auxiliaries. Those in the turbine house are driven by 400-volt three-phase motors, the current being obtained from the main 33,000-volt busbars by duplicate transformers or from special generators mounted on an extension of the shaft of each unit. These supplies cannot be put in parallel. The forced draught and induced draught fans, however, use a 3,000-volt supply from separate 33,000-volt transformers on the fan floor of the boiler house; this supply drives constant-speed motors, and regulation is obtained by Vulcan-Sinclair hydraulic couplings. Remote control enables the fan speeds to be regulated from the firing floor.

To avoid initial and periodic disturbance of the railway system of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, all cables are led from the station into the public roadway outside the dock area through a reinforced concrete tunnel. Each cable is supported on a reinforced concrete shelf running the full distance along the walls of the tunnel.


The Liverpool Daily Post was established in 1855, and its companion papers, the Weekly Post and Liverpool Echo in 1878 and 1879 respectively. Nearly 2,000,000 copies of the three papers are printed weekly, for which approximately 200 tons of paper are required. The plant is entirely modern and includes Murray and Creed telegraph installations, a Belin machine for telegraphic picture transmission, forty-one composing machines, electric and hydraulic moulding presses, and autoplate casting machines fired by automatic oil burners. The printing plant comprises fourteen presses, ten of which are capable of an output of 36,000, and four of 42,000, 16-page papers per hour. An oil-fired central heating plant is installed. Storage for a fortnight's supply of newsprint is provided and the buildings are protected throughout by sprinklers and the Pearson fire alarm system. The street separating the two buildings was purchased from the Corporation to form a covered loading yard.


Liverpool Electric Cable Co

The company was formed in 1901 for the manufacture of rubber-insulated wires and cables. After a few years the original works in the city were found to be inadequate and the present site, adjacent to the docks, was purchased, and the factory built in 1912. The range of products has also been increased and the firm now manufactures a great variety of cables, including high- and low-tension cables, paper-, rubber-, and varnished cambric-insulated cables, mining cables, motor car cables, flexible cords, and aerials. The works are divided into two sections, one of which is devoted to the making of all types of rubber-insulated wires and cables, and the other to the heavier types of main cables for underground power distribution schemes. Of special interest is the making and application of rubber insulation. Sheets of raw rubber are washed in running water, and after drying, are mixed with various compounding materials in rubber mills. A dough-like substance is formed, and passes to calendering machines where it is reduced to sheets of uniform thickness. These sheets are cut into tapes, in which form the rubber is applied to the tinned conductor. The cable is then taped with a rubber-proofed calico tape, and after vulcanizing, undergoes a 24-hours' immersion test in water, followed by high-voltage, conductivity, and insulation resistance tests. For mechanical protection, jute or cotton braid and lead sheathing is used, and armouring is added if specified. In paper-insulated cables, the dielectric, of carefully selected papers, is dried, and impregnated under vacuum with insulating oils; a lead sheathing is then applied, and after rigorous testing the required form of armour is added. A fully equipped laboratory is attached to the works for the testing of raw materials as well as the routine testing of process work.


Liverpool Gas Co, Garston Gas Works

The company, which was established in 1816, now manufactures and distributes nearly 8,000,000,000 cu. ft. of gas yearly in Liverpool and the surrounding districts. The area of supply is 95 square miles, the length of main pipes is over 1,203 miles, and the number of consumers is about 220,000. There are six works, of which the Garston Gas Works is the most recently built; it is the second largest station of the company, and the total manufacturing capacity of the coal gas and carburetted water-gas plants is 11,000,000 cu. ft. per day.

Coal Gas Plant. - The plant was erected during the years 1920 and 1921 and commenced making gas in the early part of 1922. The retort house is a brick-panelled steel-frame building, and there are two benches of horizontal retorts, each consisting of seven settings of ten retorts. The retorts, which are arranged in two rows of five tiers, are of horizontal-D section, 24 inches by 18 inches by 22 feet long, and 17.5 cwt. of coal are carbonized in each in twelve hours. The coal is brought into the works by railway sidings, and the wagons are discharged by a rotary tippler into a hopper with bottom doors leading to the coal breakers, the wagons being clamped to the tippler by electrically operated gear prior to tippling. Each breaker has a capacity of 40 tons per hour and delivers into a gravity bucket conveyer which elevates the broken coal into the retort house and deposits it in a shoot. The shoot feeds the tipping tray conveyers for filling the continuous coal bunkers, the latter having a capacity equal to 48 hours' supply. There are two five-tier stoking machines, a Fiddes-Aldridge simultaneous charging and discharging machine which has a special chain designed for putting into the retorts large charges suitable for 12-hour work, and a [[De Brouwer[[ combined charging and discharging machine. On the discharging side a "G.N." patent coke-handling and producer-charging machine has been installed. The main feature is a telescopic tube of special construction through which the coke slides on being pushed out of the retort. The quenching bench is inclined at an angle of 35 deg., and the coke is quenched by water from hose pipes. It is then transported by a telpher either to the storage hoppers in the generator house of the carburetted water-gas plant or the stock heap in the yard. The telpher plant has a maximum span of 69 feet and a maximum radius of 64 feet. The capacity of the skip is 25 cwt., the speed of lifting 70 ft. per min., and the power of the lifting motor 18 b.h.p.

There are three water-cooled condensers, each having a capacity of 1,250,000 cu. ft. of gas per day. The exhausters are of the four-blade type and are driven by horizontal steam engines. One set can also be electrically driven by a 28 b.h.p. motor in case of a failure in the steam supply to the engines. Each set has a capacity of 125,000 cu. ft. per hour.

The whole of the coal-handling plant, stoking, and coke machines, telpher transporter, carburetted water-gas plant, water pumps, oxide conveyer in the purifying house, etc., are electrically driven by direct current at 220 volts. Three dynamos are installed. The largest, consisting of an 88.6 kW. machine driven by a 132 b.h.p. twin-cylinder Crossley gas engine, is used for the day load, while the smallest, a 50.3 kW. machine, coupled to a 75 b.h.p. National gas engine, is run during the night and week-end when the coal-handling plant is not working. The third dynamo is a 70 kW. machine driven by a 105 b.h.p. Sisson's high-speed steam engine, which is used when there is an excess of steam from the boilers, or to assist either of the above engines with the load. Automatic compressed-air starters are fitted to each gas engine, the compressor and air receiver being fixed in one corner of the power house. A cast iron water tank erected above a portion of the building is utilized for cooling the supply of water to the cylinder jackets.

The gas, after leaving the exhauster, is passed through washers, of which there are two - one of 3,000,000 and the other 2,500,000 cu. ft. capacity per day - and then through a rotary washer scrubber. Near the scrubber yard is a tar dehydration plant capable of dealing with 10 tons of tar per 24 hours. There are two sets of purifiers, each consisting of four units. Each purifier is 48 feet by 32 feet by 6 feet deep, and has four covers of the Green type fitted with Milbourne's patent fasteners. The purifying material used is hydrated oxide of iron. Near the purifying house a rotary washer scrubber has been erected for the removal of benzol and naphthalene from the gas; gas oil is used for the washing medium. Adjacent and connected to the benzol washer is an oil regeneration plant which extracts the benzol from the gas oil which has passed through the washer. One station meter is of the usual type with rectangular case and has a capacity of 125,000 cu. ft. per hour; the second is a Kent Venturi meter having a capacity of 250,000 cu. ft. per hour.

The first section of the carburetted water-gas plant was erected in 1894, and until 1922 only carburetted water gas was manufactured at Garston. Sections Nos. 1 and 2 have been remodelled by Messrs. Humphreys and Glasgow and fitted with their complete labourless safety automatic system incorporating the back-run process and waste-heat boilers, which increased the capacity of each section from 1,500,000 to 2,500,000 cu. ft. per day. Section No. 3, a large automatic set, complete with generator, carburetter, superheater, washer, and waste-heat boiler, has a capacity of 3,000,000 cu. ft. in 24 hours. Each set is completely automatic; generators are self-charging, self-clinkering, and self-steaming, and all the valves used during the cycle of blow and run are controlled by a mechanical operator. The waste-heat boilers of sets Nos. 1 and 2 are of the vertical type, while that of No. 3 is horizontal. The coke for the generators is taken direct from overhead storage hoppers situated above the operating floor, and after passing through a breaker and while flowing down a shoot to each generator charger, the dust and fine breeze are removed by a "Cascade" screen. All the sets are provided with "Centriflovane" grit catchers mounted upon the blast products stacks above the superheaters and waste-heat boilers.

The steam necessary for gas making is supplied by generator and waste-heat boilers, but that required for the blowers, pumps, and exhausters, also for the coal gas plant, and on other parts of the works, is provided by six Babcock and Wilcox boilers, five of which have each a heating surface of 1,827 sq. ft. and one of 2,255 sq. ft. The furnaces of the boilers are fitted with forced draught and arranged for the use of unscreened breeze as a fuel.

The machinery room contains gas exhausters, pumps, blowers, etc. One of the turbo-exhausters is coupled direct to a 75 b.h.p. turbine, and has a capacity of 250,000 cu. ft. per hour. The three Sturtevant blowers are each joined by a flexible coupling to a 75 b.h.p. de Laval steam turbine, which drives them. All the steam exhaust mains are connected to jet condensers. The primary condensing plant is situated outside the generator house, the condensers being of the vertical water-tube type. The gas afterwards passes through cast iron vertical pipe condensers before entering the relief holder.

The gas is drawn by the exhausters from the relief holder through a pair of filter boxes, 10 feet square, which are filled with layers of broken clinker, carefully screened and graded to different sizes, the gas flowing through a coarse layer first and finishing with the finest. These filter boxes are very efficient in removing the bulk of the tar, but do not remove the last traces. This is effected by passing the gas through a "Hurricane" tar extractor fixed between the exhausters and the purifiers. The purifying house contains eight purifiers arranged in two sets of four boxes each. Each box is 40 feet by 20 feet by 5 ft. 6 in. deep, and is charged with oxide of iron. On leaving the purifiers the carburetted water gas is passed through meters, at the outlet of which it is mixed with coal gas. The mixture then passes into the gas holders.

Of special interest is the 6-inch oil pipe line laid in 1910 from the Stalbridge Dock through the streets to the storage tanks at Garston works, a distance of about half a mile. The pipes are made of steel 7/16 inch thick, lap welded, tested to a pressure of 1,800 lb. per sq. in., and are covered with Hessian cloth and coated with a tar preparation. By means of flexible connexions at the dock quay, the pumps of the oil ships are connected to the pipe line, and a large cargo (say 5,000 tons) can be discharged and placed into the company's tanks in the course of a few days at practically no expense. The four oil tanks at Garston have a capacity of 1,782,500 gallons, or 6,856 tons.

There are two gas holders. No. 1, which is the largest of the company's holders, is steel-column guided, and has a capacity of 4,000,000 cu. ft. No. 2 is a four-lift spiral guided holder of 2,250,000 cu. ft. capacity.

A two-stage pressure-raising fan coupled to a 70 b.h.p. de Laval steam turbine and having a capacity of 300,000 cu. ft. per hour is employed for pumping coal gas through a connecting main from the Eccles Street, Caryl Street, and Wavertree Works, and mixing this gas with the coal gas and carburetted water gas made at Garston, in the inlet mains to the gas holder. There are three pairs of exhausters; each pair has a capacity of 400,000 cu. ft. per hour, and is driven by one engine. The exhausters return the mixed gas from the outlet mains of the gas holders through another connecting main to Caryl Street and Wavertree works for distribution through their station governors. A recording calorimeter is installed in a room in the governor house, where it is under the charge of the city gas examiner. In order to meet the requirements due to the increased demand for gas a turbo-driven booster of 600,000 cu. ft. per hour capacity has been installed on the outlet main from the gas holders and maintains a steady pressure on the inlet main to the station governors. There are two station governors, while a water loaded governor has also been installed and the outlet mains are so arranged that by operating certain valves this governor may be used in place of either of the other two. At present it is supplying the South Liverpool district and is controlled by a distant-pressure apparatus.

The whole of the water used in the works is obtained from a borehole through sandstone rock to a depth of 609 ft. 6 in.; the upper 506 ft. 6 in. is 21 inches and the lower portion 15 inches in diameter. The water level is 32 ft. 3 in. from the surface. The pump is of 16 inches bore, with the base 200 feet below the surface, and is capable of lifting 25,000 gallons per hour into a tank 26 feet above ground level. The water has a total hardness of 12.6 to 14.4 deg., and all required for boilers is treated in a softener which reduces the hardness to about 2 deg.

There are nearly two miles of railway track on the works, and two locomotives, one in reserve, deal with the coal, coke, and other traffic.



The business now carried on by Messrs. Meccano was originally commenced in 1901 in a small room equipped with a few hand presses, a lathe or two, and a small gas engine. The present factory, which dates from 1913, consists of spacious well-lighted workshops covering nearly 5 acres, with every department except one on the ground floor. Here over 1,000 hands are employed in the production of "Meccano" outfits, motor car and aeroplane constructional sets, "Hornby" clockwork and electric trains, speed boats, and electrical and chemical outfits.

Of special interest is the rail-making plant in the press department, where standard sheets of tinplate are transformed into rails by passing them through rotary guillotines and quadruple-action presses which, in a single operation, produce rails of Vignoles section at the rate of 40 to 50 per minute, while a moving belt carries the rails clear of the presses for the purpose of curving or packing. Another interesting unit is the Wright high-speed dieing machine, which is used particularly for blanking operations. With a double tool this machine can produce 200,000 5.5-inch strips in a day of 8.5 hours, a striking contrast to the output of 1,200 strips from a hand-fed power press working at normal speed. Using a multiple tool, the machine can produce as many as 1,000,000 washers per day. In the machine department the making of sprocket chain can be seen. The chain-making machine works with a coil of fine steel wire which is rolled straight as it enters the machine. Short lengths of wire are sheared off, shaped into links, and connected up with the preceding links at a speed of 160 per minute.

Much of the material from the press department is transferred to the barrelling department, where it is "tumbled" in suitable media for the removal of burrs, and partial cleaning. Final cleaning is carried out by modern methods, utilizing vaporized trichlorethylene in specially constructed vats. The parts are then enamelled by the latest type of paint spraying apparatus. They are spring-clipped on to frames drawn by endless chains through two spraying booths, and are then transferred to carriers which travel through the drying oven, and finally are delivered at the starting point after being subjected for two hours to a temperature of 180 deg. F. There are also two automatic multi-spindle spraying machines which, after being hand-fed, automatically spin the part within the range of three "pistols" where it receives an even and complete coating of colour. An average of about 120,000 pieces are sprayed every day in this department.

An interesting feature of the electrical department, where transformers and motors are wound and assembled, is the equipment used for testing transformers intended for use on non-standard frequencies. This machine is a motor-driven alternator which can be adjusted to give any voltage from 100 to 250 at any frequency between 25 and 100 cycles per second.

Practically the whole of the operations in the factory are carried out on line assembly methods, and conveyers are used for every possible purpose. An extensive system of overhead monorail conveyers facilitates "feeding" the various departments and carries away the finished products. Rapid internal transport is attained by the use of electric trucks.


Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Gladstone Docks

The Mersey Docks and Harbour Board obtained in 1906 further Parliamentary powers for the extension of their dock system, and the project was actively commenced in 1910 by the construction of the present Gladstone Graving Dock, which was opened in 1913. The development of the complete scheme was delayed during the War, but from 1919 the work was accelerated so that the whole system was completed by 1927, in which year it was opened by H.M. the King. The dock system comprises a vestibule dock having an area of about 25 acres and two branch docks, one 1,420 feet in length and the other 1,285 feet long, both branches being 400 feet wide, together with the graving dock already mentioned. The quays of the branch docks are provided with ferroconcrete treble-story sheds. Single-story sheds are provided on the quays of the vestibule dock. Access to the docks is obtained from the river by means of a lock entrance 1,070 feet in length and 130 feet in width, and from the northern dock system by the Gladstone Hornby Lock, 645 feet long and 90 feet wide. The total water area of the docks, graving dock, and locks is 58 acres and the dock quays have a total length of 24 miles.

Northern Impounding Station. - To maintain adequate depth of water in the northern docks during neap tide periods, and to make up the water lost due to locking vessels through the entrances, an impounding station has been provided. The pumping plant consists of four sets of centrifugal pumps, with discharge pipes 54 inches in diameter delivering into the dock. The average capacity of each pump is 52,300 gal. per min., and the suction pipes are at such a level that the pumps can operate throughout the tidal range of the river, the total head varying from zero to 32 feet. The pumps are directly driven by electric motors running at a speed of 362 r.p.m. The electric supply is three-phase alternating current at a voltage of 6,000.

130-foot River Entrance Lock. - The entrance lock is 1,070 feet in length and 130 feet in width, with sills at a level of 20 feet below Bay datum, providing a depth of water of 48 ft. 4 in. at high water ordinary spring tides, and 42 ft. 9 in. at high water ordinary neap tides. The lock is equipped with three pairs of steel gates; the centres of the inner and outer gates are 1,070 feet apart, and the middle gates divide the lock into two sections, 450 feet and 620 feet in length respectively. Each leaf is 56 feet in depth and about 72 feet in length. The swinging weight of each leaf in the dry is 495.55 tons; watertight chambers are provided at the bottom of the gates of such a capacity that the preponderance of dead weight over flotation at high water is 46 tons. Greenheart heel and mitre posts and clapping timbers are fitted to the steelwork. The gates are operated by hydraulic power on the "Norfolk" patent strut system. The hydraulic cylinder is 22 inches in diameter, fitted with a piston with a crosshead and chain fairleaders. The control valves and piping are so arranged that either or both leaves of a pair of gates can be operated from either or both sides of the lock. The machines are capable of exerting a load on the operating strut of about 20 tons; the time taken to operate the gate is about 11 minutes.

The water in the lock is levelled or run off through culverts in the walls, the water being controlled by twelve sluices fitted with greenheart paddles 12 ft. 9 in. in height and 8 ft. 5 in. in width, operated by direct-acting hydraulic cylinders 20 inches in diameter. Twelve hand-operated stop paddles are also provided for use in case of failure of the hydraulic power. The dimensions of the river entrance lock and the depth of water on the sills enable the largest ships that have ever been constructed to enter or leave the docks on every tide of the year, while ships of normal size, having a draught of, say, 28 feet, are able to dock at any time during the day or night, except for a few hours before and after low water on spring tides only.

Graving Dock. - The graving dock is 1,050 feet long, 155.5 feet wide at the top, and 141 feet at the bottom, of the side walls. The entrance is 120 feet wide and the sill 15 feet below Bay datum, affording a depth of water on the sill of 43 ft. 4 in. on spring tides. At each side of the centre blocks, nineteen cast steel sliding bilge blocks are provided, which are hydraulically operated from above water level by means of a system of chains and fairleaders. The bilge blocks are used for docking the largest type of vessel, without the use of side shores to support the vessel. The entrance is closed by a sliding caisson. This method of closing was adopted to enable the dock to be used as either a wet dock or a dry dock when access to the dock was obtained from the river. The caisson is of steel construction, 128 feet in length, 52.5 feet deep, and 25 feet wide. It is opened and closed by an electrically operated winch and wire ropes. The winch is driven by a 460-volt d.c. electric motor of 150 b.h.p. through two trains of spur gearing.

The machinery for emptying the dock consists of five centrifugal pumps 54 inches in diameter, directly driven by Diesel engines of the vertical two-cycle four-cylinder type, each having a normal output of 1,000 b.h.p. at 180 r.p.m. The engine cylinders are 510 mm. diameter with a stroke of 660 mm. The scavenger pump is 920 mm. diameter with a stroke of 660 mm. Each engine is fitted with an air compressor of the rotary type, both these pumps being driven from the main crankshaft. These engines, which were placed in commission in 1914, were at that time the largest units of their kind installed in this country. The pumps each have an average output of 58,300 gal. per min. when working against a head of water varying from 0 to 47 feet maximum and are capable of emptying the dock in 2.5 hours.

Crane Equipment. - The sheds and quays of the main system are equipped with sixty-two modern electric jib cranes, as shown in the following table:—

  • 12 Dockside Cranes
  • 29 Dockside Roof Cranes
  • 21 Roadside Roof Cranes

(Note: More information in table not transcribed)

All the cranes are of the crank-operated level luffing type, with independent motors for each movement, working from the 460-volt d.c. mains. The hoisting motors are fitted with the Laurence-Scott floating brake control.

Hydraulic Pumps. - The hydraulic power for operating the various appliances is supplied from a pumping station adjacent to the docks, which, in addition to coping with the demand from the Gladstone system, is also coupled to the general system of hydraulic mains supplying the Board's northern docks; the working pressure of the supply is 750 lb. per sq. in. The station is equipped with two sets of ten-stage "Plurovane" rotary pumps, each having an output of 300 gal. per min., directly driven by electric motors running at a speed of 1,470 r.p.m. These pumps deal normally with the constant demand; for the intermittent or peak load two sets of three-throw reciprocating ram pumps are provided, each having an output of 300 gal. per min. The pump shaft runs at 55 r.p.m. and is driven by an electric motor through single-reduction gearing. All the motors are designed for three-phase alternating current supply at 440 volts with a frequency of 50 cycles per second; the supply voltage of 6,000 is reduced by static transformers.

Electric Converting Station. - The electric supply is taken from the Liverpool Corporation Electric Supply Department, as three-phase alternating current at a pressure of 6,000 volts, and a frequency of 50 cycles per second, at the Board's converting station, and from there it is distributed to the various points of demand.

The Gladstone Dock System comprehends (sic) the largest and deepest docks recently constructed on the dock estate. It provides accommodation for liners of the largest types afloat, and affords examples of many of the most up-to-date mechanical units of dock equipment. Even so, it forms only a small proportion of the docks under the control of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board at Liverpool and Birkenhead, as the whole estate has an area of 2,046.75 acres, a water area of 657 acres 3,753 square yards, and a lineal quayage of 38 miles 524 yards.


Milners' Safe Co

The firm was founded by Thomas Milner, a native of Sheffield, who, according to official records, commenced the manufacture of fire-resisting safes, or "patent safety-boxes," as they were originally called, in 1834, 100 years ago. In 1840 he was granted his most important patent, namely, the utilization of the water of crystallization of various salts as a means of protecting documents, etc. This patent covered the principle still used by manufacturers of safes throughout the world.

The firm had always manufactured safes in Liverpool and in 1853 Thomas Milner acquired a 2.5-acre site in Smithdown Lane, the present premises of the company, where he erected new works. Since that date many improvements have been made in fire-resisting safes, and concurrently the development of burglar-resisting safes and strong-room doors of many tons' weight has taken place, using the most effective combinations of metals for resisting attack with the oxy-acetylene blowpipe, high-speed drills, and high explosives. More recently the firm has specialized in the manufacture of steel furniture and storage equipment for office and factory use, also steel rolling shutters. The works are equipped with practically all classes of machine tools and power presses, deriving energy from the municipal electric supply.


Union Cold Storage Co

The cold store is situated at the head of No. 3 Branch, Alexandra Dock, and is one of the largest buildings of its kind in Europe, with a total capacity of 2,773,000 cu. ft. There are three separate blocks, each consisting of six floors, divided into chambers having capacities up to 300,000 cu. ft. The insulation is effected by slab cork with cement facing, and an adequate range of temperatures is provided to suit the different commodities stored. Cooling is by ammonia direct-expansion piping having a total length of 60 miles, and also by air circulation. The main cooling plant consists of three large ammonia compressors, each capable of maintaining the whole building at suitable temperatures, and thus allowing a wide margin of safety. Twenty-five goods lifts are provided and are driven by current supplied at 6,000 volts and transformed to 240 volts. A series of covered escalators and conveyers connects the building with No. 2 Branch dock and enables cargoes of frozen meat to be brought quickly to the cold store without defrosting. The conveyers deposit the meat on the roof of the building, which is entirely covered in to form a sorting floor with northern light. Electric cranes also discharge the contents of the company's refrigerator barges on this floor for sorting, and electric band-saws cut the frozen meat to owners' requirements. A double railway track is taken inside the premises and as many as 150 refrigerator cars can be dealt with in one day.


University of Liverpool - Walker Engineering Laboratories, Harrison-Hughes Engineering Laboratories

The School of Engineering in University College, Liverpool, dates from 1885, when Dr. H. S. Hele-Shaw, F.R.S., Hon. M.I.Mech.E. (Past-President) was appointed lecturer. In the following year the late Mr. Thomas Harrison founded the Harrison Chair of Engineering and Dr. Hele-Shaw, who was appointed first Professor, occupied the chair from 1886 to 1904, the late Professor W. H. Watkinson, M.I.Mech.E., succeeding him in 1905. The Walker Laboratories, costing £24,000, were the gift of Sir Andrew Barclay Walker, and were opened in 1889, while the Harrison-Hughes Laboratories were opened by Viscount Haldane of Cloan in 1912. The cost of the latter laboratories was £40,000, and was met out of funds provided by Mr. Thomas Fenwick Harrison, Mr. John William Hughes, and Mr. Heath Harrison, shipowners of Liverpool. They are fully equipped for carrying out the laboratory work associated with the lecture courses.

The boiler house contains one Stirling water-tube boiler and one Scotch marine boiler; each is oil-fired, one with the low-pressure and the other with the high-pressure system. An independently fired superheater is also installed, together with a forced draught fan, an air heater, an economizer, and bituminous and anthracite gas producers. The steam engine laboratory contains a 150 h.p. triple-expansion engine with a hydraulic brake, a 60 h.p. Rateau turbine with electrical dynamometer, a 15 h.p. de Laval turbine, and a 15 h.p. Marshall single-cylinder steam engine, all of which are fully equipped for testing.

A large laboratory contains representative types of internal combustion engines and air compressors, including a 300 h.p. six-cylinder M.A.N. Diesel engine, a 50 h.p. Mirrlees, Bickerton and Day single-cylinder Diesel engine, a Crossley gas engine, a National gas engine, and several petrol engines. The air compressor equipment comprises a Robey two-stage compressor having a capacity of 300 cu. ft. of free air per minute and a delivery pressure of 100 lb. per sq. in. gauge. A single-cylinder Pilkington air compressor in series will compress the air to 300 lb. per sq. in. gauge. In addition there is a Reavell compressor and a Worthington compressor. The same laboratory is equipped with apparatus for the experimental study of hydraulics, including two centrifugal pumps, each with a delivery of about 30,000 gallons of water per hour, and a turbine which utilizes the discharge from the pumps. Venturi meters and notches are provided for measuring water flows.

The strength of materials equipment includes a 100-ton Buckton machine and a 30-ton Dennison machine, with an Amsler impact machine, a torsion machine, and the usual cement-testing apparatus. For experimental work in refrigeration, a laboratory has been fitted with a Sterne ammonia machine and a carbon dioxide machine by Messrs. J. and E. Hall, together with a small cold store. Space is provided for testing fuels and sampling the products of combustion, while smaller experiments in dynamics and kinematics are accommodated separately. In addition there are two large and two small drawing halls and a library containing textbooks and current scientific literature.


W. Watson and Co

The firm occupies modern fireproof premises with a total floor area of 5,549 square yards, and is divided into three self-contained departments. The ground floor is devoted entirely to "Morris" service and repairs and the sale of "Morris" spare parts. The second floor, which is approached either by electric lift or by a ramp from the roadway, is concerned with repairs to all makes of cars other than "Morris," and contains a fully equipped machine shop. In addition, this department deals with all classes of light engineering work, battery charging and repairs. The top floor is occupied by the coach department, between which and the other departments a close co-operation is maintained. In addition, there is a basement in which chassis frames, axles, axle and torque casings, and wheels are reconditioned for distribution as service requirements over a large area covered by the firm.


Cammell Laird and Co

The firm, which is one of the oldest shipbuilding and engineering concerns in the country, was founded 110 years ago, since when the keels of no less than 1,004 ships have been laid down at Birkenhead. The first steamship built was the Lady Landsdowne, a cross-channel vessel for the City of Dublin Steam Packet Company. The firm has been instrumental in the development of nearly every type of vessel for the merchant service, ranging from large passenger and cargo liners to channel steamships, dredgers, and small vessels for river and ferry services, and has given special study to the building of steamships carrying refrigerated cargoes. One of the vessels launched this year was the Mona's Queen, one of the latest type of cross-channel steamships for the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, with accommodation for 2,400 passengers, while there are also in hand two submarines and two destroyers for the British Admiralty, two twin-screw oil-driven vessels of a special type, two steamers for the Booth Steamship Company, a passenger ferry steamer, and a large sand-pump hopper dredger.

The firm has for many years taken part in the design and construction of warships, and its connexion with the Admiralty extends back to 1840. In the "sixties" it was largely instrumental in effecting the introduction of armour-clad turret ships, the forerunners of the modern Dreadnought. Among the most recent of the 160 ships which have been built for the Admiralty at Birkenhead are H.M.S. Rodney, the largest battleship constructed for the British Navy, with a displacement of over 35,000 tons and a length exceeding 700 feet, and H.M. Cruiser Achilles, which lately set up a record on a run from Gibraltar to England. Since 1893, when the first torpedo boat destroyers were built, 68 destroyers have been constructed, including H.M.S. Swift, the First Flotilla leader. A number of submarines, including their engines, have been built for the Government, and numerous war vessels have been built for foreign governments. An important repair business is also carried on, and ships of all sizes are dealt with. Special provision is made for oil tankers, for which an oil separating plant has been installed, enabling the clearing of tanks to be undertaken immediately after the ships have entered the docks. A special feature is also made of repairs and overhauls of Diesel machinery.

The shipbuilding and engineering works cover an area of 108 acres, and have a frontage to the River Mersey of 3,100 feet. There are ten building berths, ranging up to 1,000 feet in length, all of which are provided with overhead cranes and the latest devices for the rapid handling of materials. Seven graving docks are provided, the largest of which is 860 feet long, and there is a fitting-out basin with a water area of 15 acres and quay space for the largest vessels. Each quay is served by overhead cranes. The entrance to the basin is 140 feet wide, and is closed by a sliding pontoon. In addition to a fixed crane of 150 tons lifting capacity, there is a floating crane with a lifting capacity of 200 tons. The gross tonnage which can be produced annually is over 100,000 tons, and the engineering works can produce annually machinery and boilers equivalent to 450,000 h.p. When fully employed, occupation is found for about 10,000 workpeople.

The factory buildings are conveniently situated in relation to their functions in the building of a ship and the manufacture of its machinery and boilers. The platers' shed is at the head of the building berths, and here the frames of the ships are "tuned," and the plating is shaped and prepared for building into the structure of the vessel. Immediately to the rear is the mould loft, while smithies both for heavy and light work are in close proximity. At the south side of the fitting-out basin are the main engine shops, consisting of three bays, all equipped with electric travelling cranes; the centre bay is over 1,000 feet long. The most up-to-date machinery is provided, including machines for jig-making and gear-cutting, the latter being a speciality of the firm. Gear-cutting machines have been installed which are capable of cutting wheels over 20 feet in diameter and 9 feet across the face, and separate machines are employed for cutting the pinions. In the centre bay turbines and reciprocating engines are assembled and tested under steam. A special machine is provided for dynamically balancing turbine rotors, and every rotor is balanced before being built into the turbine. The other bays are given over to the tool room, brass finishers' and coppersmiths' shops, and stores.

In the boiler shop, which is situated on the west quay, all types of boilers have been constructed, including large boilers of the locomotive type and water-tube boilers of the three-drum and Babcock and Wilcox types. The equipment is modern and includes hydraulic riveting machines and welding plant. Near the boiler shop, and in close proximity to the fitting-out basin, are the paint shop and plumbers' shop. The latter is equipped with machines capable of bending, while cold, steel pipes up to 6 inches in bore. A power station has been built at the north end of the premises, and contains turbo-generators supplying power to the numerous hydraulic pumps and air compressors which are situated close to the machines they operate.


Vacuum Oil Co

The works occupy a site of 6.75 acres adjacent to the West Float, Birkenhead, and have the largest output - 3,750 tons of lubricating oils and greases per month - of any of the company's works. The oils are pumped into storage tanks direct from the company's 7,000-ton tank steamers, which berth alongside the works. These tanks, of which there are sixty-one, ranging in capacity from 20,000 to 400,000 gallons, provide storage for a total capacity of 6,500,000 gallons of oil. Blending and conditioning are carried out in the works. One building contains sixty-one tanks, with an average capacity of 8,000 gallons, set on steelwork supports; these "warehouse" tanks carry the grades of which large shipments are made, packages being filled against orders received. A can-filling department is arranged for the filling of small drums and tins. The company's productions cover every phase of lubrication requirements, and in the main warehouse some 600 grades of oils and greases are packed.

Steel barrels of the returnable type, and wood barrels, are reconditioned in a special department. The packages are placed on steaming nozzles, and then passed through a paint-stripping bath to an outside washing bath. Vacuum nozzles remove water and any traces of foreign matter, and the interiors are dried by hot air. Wood barrels are reconditioned by coopers. All packages then pass through painting machines, and the interior of each package is afterwards examined by inspection lamps.

The grease plant is equipped with sixteen steam-jacketed gas- and oil-fired kettles, also sieving, block-cutting, and slabbing machines, and has the largest output of grease of any plant in Europe. Steam is supplied to the works by three water-tube boilers having 6,220 sq. ft. of total heating surface. Pumping of oil is performed by horizontal duplex steam pumps. Electric power is derived from two 75 kW. dynamos driven by high-speed reciprocating steam engines; the exhaust steam is employed for process work. A suction gas plant supplies two 100 h.p. gas engines which drive the line shafting in the grease department. Special attention is paid to the economic handling of materials and packages, and gravity and power-operated conveyers are installed in all departments. Local deliveries in packages and in bulk quantities are made by a fleet of lorries, while delivery in bulk is also effected by the company's rail tank wagons, for which there are rail sidings into the works.


John Summers and Sons

The firm manufactures every kind and grade of steel sheet, both black and galvanized, the steel for which is also made at Shotton, the company's headquarters and principal works. The weekly capacity is over 10,000 tons of ingots, and between 4,000 and 5,000 tons of sheets are manufactured; the balance of the steel ingots is absorbed by a subsidiary company at Ellesmere Port, and by sale in the form of sheet bars to the trade. Most of the coal and pig iron required is supplied by a further subsidiary company at Stoke on Trent, where there is also another steel works for the manufacture of sectional steel and rails. The normal number of employees at Shotton is about 5,000; including the subsidiary works from 15,000 to 20,000 men are employed. The total weekly steel capacity of all the works is about 14,000 tons, and the finished sheet capacity 7,000 tons.



Construction on the mills commenced in 1930, on a 52-acre site adjoining the Manchester Ship Canal, about a mile and a half from the canal entrance locks at Eastham. Newsprint only is manufactured and the production at first was 60,000 tons per annum, but in 1933 the mills were extended to yield 125,000 tons per annum. The raw materials are wood pulp and a small amount of china clay. These are at present unloaded at Ellesmere Port Wharf, but a private wharf 1,100 feet long and 80 feet wide is under construction. Fireless locomotives bring the wood pulp to overhead Goliath travelling cranes of 80-foot span for stacking. The pulp then passes into the breaker house where it is disintegrated in water to form a fluid mass called "stuff." After refining, china clay is added, having been previously mixed with water in a reinforced concrete building. The stuff is then pumped to the paper machine through a meter, which automatically controls the quantity passed, and is diluted to a consistency of 1/2 per cent fibre to 99.5 per cent water, as it passes through screens which prevent knots of fibres passing on to the paper machines. These four machines are 300 feet long and 20 feet wide and are housed in a machine room 96 feet wide and 450 feet long. An endless woven wire cloth 90 feet long receives the stuff from the screens, the upper portion, supported on rollers, acting as a table on which the paper is formed. A considerable quantity of the water is here removed, and the paper is brought by the wire to the suction press rolls, after which it passes to drying cylinders which are 5 feet in diameter and supplied with steam at 10 lb. per sq. in. Cotton, or asbestos and cotton, "felts" convey the paper through the double bank of dryers, where hot air is blown on the felts and removed through a hood above the dryers by eight fans having a total capacity of 320,000 cu. ft. of air per minute. A surface is imparted to the paper by finishing calenders, consisting of ten chilled iron rolls, after which the paper is wound on to steel shells 14 inches in diameter. Special electrical interlock drives maintain the set relationship of the speeds of the various parts of the machine. The reels are generally 42 inches in diameter and 218 to 236 inches wide. If required, a higher finish can be imparted by a supercalender consisting of ten rolls running at a maximum speed of 2,000 ft. per min. In the case of machine-finished paper, the reels are taken to a winder, wound on strawboard centres, and slit to the width required by the newspaper printing office. All joins in the paper are made on this machine, to form one continuous length. The finished reels, usually about 32 inches in diameter and 67 inches long, are then passed over weighing platforms to the packing room. The two reel stores are each 80 feet wide and 558 feet long, with a capacity for 8,000 tons of paper.

Practically all the power used on the site is produced from five Babcock and Wilcox boilers with a capacity of 60,000 lb. per hour, working at 350 lb. per sq. in. One 6,000 kW. and one 9,000 kW. turbo-alternator of the pass-out type are installed, and generate three-phase alternating current at 3,300 volts and 50 cycles per second frequency, which is used for all motors except those rated lower than 100 h.p., in which case the voltage is transformed to 440 volts; while for lighting purposes the current is transformed to 110 volts single-phase. Three boreholes 500 feet deep supply fresh water, which is treated in a large softening plant. Elaborate means of fire prevention are installed, most buildings being fitted with sprinklers and some with drenchers. In the coal yard a coal-handling plant and transporter by Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox deals with the 1,500 tons consumed each week.


Wolverhampton Corrugated Iron Company

The business was established by two brothers, John and Joseph Jones, at Church Lane, Wolverhampton, in 1857, and in 1880 its growth led to a removal to the Shrubbery Works, Wolverhampton. In 1905 the present site was purchased, as it afforded better shipping facilities for a trade which almost wholly depended upon exports. The site occupies 40 acres, of which 16 acres are covered by buildings, and the number of employees is about 2,000. The material used for the sheets is 15-foot steel bars, which are cut into 3-foot lengths by automatic multiple shearing machines of the latest type, from which they are conveyed to twenty-five coal-fired furnaces, where they remain for about 3 hours. There are twenty-five rolling mills, four being driven by two 1,200 h.p. electric motors through reducing gear with a third flywheel on the second shaft, and the remainder by 2,000 h.p. steam engines. Three-quarters of the steam is supplied from Lancashire boilers, and one-quarter from multitubular waste-heat boilers attached to the heating furnaces of the mills. In one engine house is a new form of hydraulic accumulator supplying power to the rams charging the furnaces. The steam engines are of the side-by-side compound condensing type working at 65 r.p.m. Every week-end the rolls are changed and polished in a grinding machine. Before starting, the rolls are heated to 400 deg. C. by oil, when they are ready for rolling the heated portions of bar into sheets. The sheets are then treated in gas-heated annealing furnaces, the temperature of which is exactly ascertained by electrical contacts fitted to the bogies, and after cooling for 24 hours about half the sheets are sent to the black-sheet finishing department for cold rolling, flattening, and re-shearing, while the remainder are sent to the galvanizing department. Here they are loaded into bronze "cradles," pickled in a tank containing dilute sulphuric acid, and then lifted out and fed through rollers to a gas-heated galvanizing pot which consists of a steel vessel containing molten zinc kept hot by gas. After water-cooling, and further rolling, the sheets are branded and inspected, after which, if corrugations are required, they are rolled in the corrugating machine, and are then ready for packing. The weekly capacity of the works is 3,000 tons, and the present weekly production 2,400 tons. Waste pickle from the galvanizing process is treated in a special plant and made into copperas (ferrous sulphate). In another department, sheets for roofing are coated with bitumen and asbestos. A notable feature is the layout of the works on parallel lines, which enables the fullest use to be made of the forty overhead cranes, ten of which have electrically operated grabs. Transport to Liverpool is effected by twenty-three barges, and internally largely by road transport. About 500 houses have been built for the better accommodation of employees, and the village of Wolverham, containing 200 houses, has also been laid out by the company; in addition, the grounds for a flourishing athletic institute have been provided.



The first jetty was constructed in 1815 and remained in use until 1876, when the growth of the borough necessitated the building of a larger structure. By 1924, however, this had become inadequate, and, with the sanction of the Government, a new landing stage was constructed, together with a three-track floating roadway. A further improvement was commenced in 1930, involving the rebuilding of the ferry entrance; the work was carried out without interruption to traffic and completed in April 1933, and has made it possible for passengers to pass under cover from the omnibus services to the ferry steamers. Separate embarking and disembarking positions are provided to guard against overcrowding, and a covered car park adjoins the landing stage, with accommodation for 200 cars. Included in the improvement scheme was the redesigning of Victoria Place in the form of an open square with ornamental gardens, flanked by the new booking hall.

The booking hall, which is capable of dealing with 500 passengers per minute, is 200 feet long and 75 feet deep. In front is a colonnade 190 feet long and 16 feet deep, behind which is a vestibule with a depth of 28 feet. A clock tower 90 feet high surmounts the hall and contains a master clock for all clocks on the premises. On the south side of the square is a new building, fronted with a covered colonnade, which contains the administrative offices and tramway sub-offices. Most of the new buildings have been erected on reinforced concrete piles, owing to the treacherous nature of the subsoil; in some cases the piles were driven to a depth of 37 feet before a suitable foundation could be obtained. The entire cost of the scheme was £98,443.


The bathing pool was constructed in 1932-3, at a cost of £41,750, immediately to the west of the sea bathing station, and is well protected by sand dunes on the land side. The length is 330 feet and the width 75 feet, sufficient to accommodate 850 bathers, while provision is also made for 1,000 spectators. A concrete gangway, 8 feet wide, having an indented non-slip surface, surrounds the pool, which is 2 ft. 6 in. deep at the shallow end and 8 ft. 6 in. deep at the deep end. The total water capacity is 800,000 gallons. At the deep end, a stepped diving board with five tiers, rising to a height of 16 ft. 3 in., has been erected.

At high tide, water is drawn from the sea through duplicate 18-inch pipes to a pump well 20 feet deep. It is then lifted by an electrically driven centrifugal pump into a 175,000-gallon concrete storage tank, where it is allowed to stand for ten hours, thus removing all sand held in suspension. The pump has a capacity of 3,000 gal. per min. and is driven by a motor of 34 b.h.p. After settlement in the precipitation tank, the water is withdrawn through floating arms to a separate compartment of the pump well, where it is delivered by the circulating pump to filters capable of dealing with 100,000 gallons per hour. The water is thoroughly purified in its passage through the filtering medium, and is then chlorinated and passed through an aerator. Finally, it flows over two ornamental cascades to the inlets at the shallow end of the bath. This process is repeated eight times, in order to fill the bath to its full capacity. Having filled the bath, the water is kept in continuous circulation through the filters. It passes out through four gratings at the deep end, and gravitates to the pump well, where the circulating pump again lifts it to the filters.

For washing the filters, a wash-water pump is provided, which passes clean sea water through the filters in reverse direction to the normal flow, whilst at the same time compressed air is blown in to agitate the filtering medium. The wash water is run off to waste, and carries all the impurities with it. A special feature of the filtration and circulating plant is that the materials of construction are almost entirely non-corrodible, and iron has been practically eliminated.

The administrative block, which has been erected on the north side of the pool, is some 370 feet in length, the overflow block placed on the east side being 150 feet long. In addition, two sheltered balconies, each 135 feet long, provide accommodation for about 200 sun bathers, while a cafe has been built overlooking the south side of the pool.


Parliamentary powers were obtained in 1927 for the extension of the promenade from Marine Park to a point 300 yards west of Harrison Drive, a distance of 1.5 miles. The scheme comprises a massive concrete sea wall, a promenade 130 feet wide, public gardens 46 acres in extent, a marine lake covering 10 acres, an open-air bathing pool, and approach roads at the rear of the promenade. The greater portion of the work from Marine Park to the "Red Noses" has now been practically completed.

A light railway system with petrol engines was first laid down for the conveyance of materials to the desired points. For the construction of the sea wall, a convenient length was entirely enclosed from the tide by steel sheet piling, which was driven in to an average depth of 20 feet below shore level. The joints between the piles, called clutches, were caulked with oakum after driving, to give additional resistance to water. Pile driving operations varied in time, according to length and driving conditions, from 15 to 45 minutes. Compressed air was used to aid driving operations; this was introduced through a small tube, which was pushed into the sand, alongside the pile; the air acting in conjunction with the water in the sand, helped to disintegrate the sand and permitted of piles being driven more freely. When the dam was sufficiently timbered, excavation work commenced, and as the sand and clay were removed, further timbering was introduced, until at the greatest depth there were from four to five sets of heavy timber, also secured as previously described. Cranes were introduced to handle the buckets and skips, and to convey the excavated material to the place of deposit, usually immediately behind the dam. The excavated material formed part of the filling required in the construction of the new promenade. The presence of water complicated the work considerably, as in addition to "ream water," tidal waters found their way through faulty joints and fishplates, and through fissures in the rock. The wall on certain sections is built on red sandstone, and a penetration depth of at least 1 ft. 6 in. is obtained, so as to form a perfect key between the new concrete and the rock foundation. Reinforced concrete piles, of 14-inch square section, were driven through the clay into the rock below. The reinforced concrete piles were usually driven in at 10-foot longitudinal centres under the toe of the wall; their average length was 18 feet. The piles penetrated 5 feet into the wall, and the top 2 feet were stripped of concrete, and the steel reinforcing bars bent over to provide an additional key.

The wall was formed to shape by means of steel shuttering, the face of which was treated with suitable material to prevent the concrete adhering to it. The concrete was brought up inside the shuttering, which constituted a mould, and well rammed to ensure perfect consolidation. Plain butt expansion joints, caulked on the face with lead wool and pointed, were placed at 60-foot intervals on the main wall, and at shorter intervals in the coping. As the wall was completed, the steel sheet piles forming the dam (except where the wall was built on clay) were withdrawn, and filling to form the new promenade proceeded. Steel cut-off dams were constructed of a similar type of steel piling to the ones used on the main dam and were driven at right-angles to the wall shorewards. Their object was to keep out tidal water and to expedite filling operations. When the promenade levels were reached, the filled-up area was covered by rock rubble, and, after being fully consolidated, was in turn covered by a reinforced concrete road coated with asphalt. The sloping face of the wall rises in a stepped curve from the shore and terminates in an overhanging "bull nose." In storm conditions with high tides it has so far been found very successful in preventing any appreciable volume of tidal water from reaching the promenade.


The lake has an area of 10 acres, and a depth of about 4 ft. 6 in. in the middle, diminishing to 2 ft. 6 in. at the sides. It is filled through six specially designed valves, which can be used either as inlet or outlet valves, constructed in the sea wall, and during spring tides the water also flows over the wall into the lake. Emptying is accomplished by the six special valves and two additional outlet valves; the entire contents can either be discharged into the outfall sewer or direct into the sea. About five or six hours are required for emptying, while the time taken for filling varies with the tides.

The wall round the lake is of mass concrete with the foundation partly on red sandstone and partly on tough boulder clay. The wall was constructed inside a coffer dam, to keep out tidal waters, and the steel sheet piling was left as an additional security in the portions founded on clay. The bottom of the lake consists of natural rock clay or sand and is quite watertight. A reinforced concrete roadway, supported on each side by mass-concrete dwarf walls, forms the eastern border of the lake. At the western end is a large circular boating platform of reinforced concrete, with a creosoted greenheart fender, adjoining the offices and turnstiles.


Occupying a position to the west of the marine lake and immediately opposite Marine Park, the New Brighton bathing pool, opened in June 1934, has been designed to face due south so that maximum sunshine and shelter will be obtained. The pool has been constructed of mass concrete suitably reinforced with steel mesh.

Expansion joints have been provided in the floor and walls. During construction the high diving area was enclosed by steel sheet piling which was left in after concreting and the side walls for half the total length were supported on 14-inch square reinforced concrete piles spaced at 12 ft. 6 in. centres. The area of the pool is 6,500 square yards; the extreme length is 330 feet, and the maximum width 225 feet. The special competition area to the south is 165 feet long (32 laps to one mile) and 60 feet wide, and the central portion of the pool for general swimming is 330 feet long (16 laps to one mile) and 60 feet wide. The greatest depth is 15 feet, in the diving area, and the minimum is nil, at the edge of the shallow area, so that bathers can walk down an artificial sloping beach into the water. The average depth over the central area is 5 feet. The pool contains 1,375,000 gallons of sea water, which is constantly changed, purified, filtered, and chemically treated at the rate of over 172,000 gallons per hour.

Three open gravity filters have been constructed, each 20 ft. 6 in. long and 14 feet wide, the total filter area being 861 sq. ft. and the rate of filtration 200 gallons per sq. ft. per hour. The turnover period is 8 hours at 172,000 gallons per hour. The plant includes the usual chemical tanks, aerator, ammoniator, chlorinator, air compressor, and electric motor for aeration, with additional plant for agitating the filter bed, and duplicate 30 b.h.p. centrifugal pumps and electric motors for pumping water from the lake or pool to the filters, or from the pool to the lake. From the filters the pure sea water gravitates to the pool through an ornamental cascade fitted with an electric booster pump and jets under separate valve control. Six other pure water inlets are arranged round the pool, all controlled by valves.

The water is pumped from the deep end of the pool through three outlets 18 inches in diameter, in the diving area, connected to the 24-inch suction pipe. The pool can also be emptied by an 18-inch pipe leading from the bottom of the diving area to the sewer. All the circulating pipes to and from the pool are cement-lined cast iron pipes with turned and bored joints, and all materials which would be corroded by the action of the sea water have as far as possible been eliminated. A 10-metre (32 ft. 6 in.) regulation high diving stage has been constructed, together with various spring boards, double chutes, and stainless steel bath-side ladders. Under-water lighting and flood lighting have also been provided. The bath buildings include the administrative offices, staff apartments, and committee room. A two-story cafe has also been constructed. Provision has also been made for sun bathing, and accommodation exists for a total of 2,000 bathers and 10,000 spectators. The total estimated cost of the work is £98,137.


The former pier at New Brighton was bought in 1928 for £13,000, when in a derelict state, and the old pier buildings were completely demolished. The present pier, which is 660 feet long and 72 feet wide, was reconstructed with a view to utilizing as far as possible the foundations and structural work of the older pier. Open lattice girders are employed, supported by cast iron columns taken down into the solid rock, and the structure is stiffened crosswise by beams supporting the wood decking. It was necessary to renew entirely most of the lattice girders, but the cast iron columns had remained in very fair condition. The decking is of jarrah planks clipped to the deck beams by special cranked bolts, countersunk and plugged with circular jarrah plugs.

Approximately at the centre of the pier, on the north side, a large combined cafe and licensed premises have been constructed. The building is two stories high, octagonal in plan, and consists of a steel framework built about a main central compound stanchion. The upper floor is of similar construction and is surmounted by a large dome, and a projecting balcony is arranged all round the outside. At the eastern extremity of the pier is a two-story octagonal building, rather similar in construction to the cafe, which is used as a yacht club. It possesses in addition two further stories above, of smaller floor area, one of which is used as a look-out and the other as a judging position for yacht races. The pier is also provided with a large bandstand and a glazed double-sided cast iron shelter 75 feet long.

Steel Girder Bridge, New Brighton Ferry. - Owing to excessive corrosion, it was found advisable to replace the old steel bridge on the south side connecting the ferry pier with the floating stage. The rather delicate operation of removing the old bridge was carried out by means of the large floating crane Mammoth belonging to the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, and by the same means the new bridge of about 100 tons weight was placed in position shortly before Easter 1934. The new bridge, which is for passenger traffic only, has a span of 195 feet, a width of 16 feet, and allowance is made for a live load of 112 lb. per sq. ft., with an additional allowance for corrosion of 10 per cent.


Lever Brothers

The works and the village of Port Sunlight are built on a tributary of the Mersey, and are situated about four miles from Birkenhead. Construction began in 1888 and to-day the works occupy 272 acres, and the village 240 acres. Raw materials are brought by rail or by ocean-going vessels direct to Bromborough Dock, which was built by the firm and opened in 1931 and has a deep-water area of 18 acres. Adjoining the dock is an oil tank park capable of storing 34,000 tons of oil. Palm kernels and copra are stored in silos of 10,000 tons' capacity.

The essential process of soap-making depends on the chemical reaction which takes place when animal and vegetable fats are boiled with caustic lye. The products of this reaction are liquid soap and glycerine; the latter is separated by introducing brine into the soap pan. The glycerine and brine form a salt solution which is run out at the bottom of the pan, and refined glycerine is obtained from it by distillation. The liquid soap is run into the cooling room and solidifies in rectangular steel boxes or "frames." It is then cut into bars and dried in ovens, from which conveyers bring it to be stamped by machines, each of which can deal with 10,000 tablets of soap per hour. The tablets are then placed in cartons and packed for distribution. For the manufacture of soap flakes, the liquid soap is carried over water-cooled rollers, from which it is removed in thin shreds. These are dried by travelling several hundred feet through a hot chamber, and then milled in a system of polished steel roller mills until they are reduced to a film 2.5 thousandths of an inch thick. The film is cut into flakes which are conveyed by a belt to storage bins. The flakes are weighed with great accuracy by machines to which the cartons are brought for filling. In other departments perfumed toilet soaps, dry soap, and abrasive cleansers are manufactured. The total capacity of the works is over 4,000 tons of soap per week.

The population of the village of Port Sunlight is about 6,000. Its chief buildings include the church, two halls for public meetings, a staff training college, and girls' and men's clubs, but its most notable feature is the Lady Lever Art Gallery, built by the late Lord Leverhulme as a memorial to his wife, and opened in 1922. It contains collections of paintings, porcelain, and furniture.


British Insulated Cables

The company was established in 1891 for the manufacture of paper-insulated cables as a substitute for the rubber-insulated cables which were then in general use. Since then a subsidiary company, British Copper Refiners, has been formed for the production of the copper required, with works adjacent to those of British Insulated Cables. The copper refinery is the only plant of its kind in the country and has an output of 150 tons of high-conductivity copper per day, of such a degree of purity that electrical deposition is rendered unnecessary. A reverberatory furnace using pulverized fuel produces the copper from blister "pigs" imported from Rhodesia, the molten metal being tapped into a ladle and poured into moulds carried on a revolving wheel for the production of wire bars. Directly above the furnace is a waste-heat boiler producing process steam at 150 lb. per sq. in., which is supplied to the parent company.

Three rod mills at Prescot produce copper and aluminium rods for drawing into wire. All mills are electrically driven and the largest is equipped with the latest oil-fired reheating furnaces. After "pickling," the 1/4-inch rod is drawn out in one operation without intermediate annealing to about 0.062 inch in diameter on tandem automatic machines. Subsequent annealing is carried out in furnaces from which, to avoid oxidation, air is excluded by water seals. In an adjacent building various extruded sections are obtained from hydraulic presses, and "cakes" of metal are rolled into sheets. The drawing of fine wires has recently been transferred to a new building.

Wire for use in cables passes to the stranding shop to be laid to any required size, and is "shaped," if required for multicore shaped conductor cables. A notable feature in these works is the giving of an initial spiral "lay" to the strands, so that when laid up the cores drop into their places and no mechanical stress is set up; the twisting of the paper insulation is, moreover, avoided by this means. Paper tapes are then lapped on to the copper until the necessary insulation thickness has been attained, after which the cable is vacuum-dried, impregnated, and sheathed in lead. The cables then pass into a test room 240 feet long, where insulation resistance, copper resistance, capacity, and pressure tests are carried out at various voltages. Tanks are provided for immersion tests if required. Finally the cables proceed to the armouring room, a building 520 feet long and 100 feet wide, where jute bedding, wire or tape armour, and jute serving are applied as specified. After being tested again, the cables are ready for dispatch. The drum-making department provides annually about 20,000 drums of all sizes.

Recent additions to the works are a plant for manufacturing oil-filled cables, and a cable research department equipped with apparatus for accelerated life tests on super-tension cables. Pressures of 200,000 volts to earth are also available for tests. The company manufactures a great variety of plain and reinforced aluminium strands, cotton-covered, paper-covered, and asbestos-insulated wires and strips, telephone and aerial cables, bare copper for power and traction lines, and accessories such as joint boxes, meters, rail bonds, tramway overhead fittings, cut-outs, electrical resistance welders, and paper pinions.


Runcorn Power Station, Mersey Power Company

The station, which is a selected station for the national grid, forms the connecting point between the North West England and North Wales schemes and the Central England scheme. It is also interconnected by private lines to the power stations of the Salt Union at Weston Point and Imperial Chemical Industries at West Bank, Widnes. The site occupies 27 acres and is situated on the Runcorn Dock branch of the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. At present three 12,500 kW. turbo-alternators are installed, supplied from seven Babcock and Wilcox boilers with chain-grate mechanical stokers. The evaporative capacity of each boiler is 45,000 lb. per hour; the working pressure is 270 lb. per sq. in. and steam is superheated to 670 deg. F. Turbine-driven feed pumps are provided, and deliver 175,000 lb. of water per hour. Induced and forced draught fans are fitted, the former being driven by a 97 h.p. motor.

Coal is brought by a gravity bucket conveyer, having a capacity of 40 tons per hour, to a storage bunker holding 800 tons. The ashes are dealt with by a suction ash-handling plant driven by a 120 h.p. motor or by a water trough drag-link conveyer. The power is derived from three Parsons tandem reaction turbines having a steam consumption of 10 lb. per kW.-hour, exhausting to twin surface condensers. Circulating water, amounting to 14,000 gal. per min., is pumped by 350 h.p. pumps from the Manchester Ship Canal, through 38-inch pipes; the pump house is 500 yards from the condensers. The alternator ventilating fans deliver 50,000 cu. ft. of air per minute.

The switchgear is of special interest. The whole of the grid 132 kV. and 33 kV. gear, and the generator and station transformer panels, are operated by remote control assembled in a control room together with the grid meter equipment. A switch house contains Reyrolle compound-filled gear, having a rupturing capacity of 750,000 kVA. for the 33 kV. switchgear and 350,000 kVA. for the 6.6 kV. switchgear. The former switchgear controls the two main step-down transformers with a ratio of 132/33 kV., two step-up transformers with a ratio of 6.6/33 kV., and the 33 kV. lines to Chester; the latter controls the three generators, the interconnecting and station transformers, and the various trunk feeders. A reactor house contains single-phase reactors of the B.T.H. type. The outdoor transformers have a ratio of 6/33 kV., those for the three Ellesmere Port lines being arranged in three banks, connected delta-star. Other transformers deal with the two 25-mile lines to Crewe and the 100-mile line to Maentwrog.


Salt Union

The plant, which was erected in 1911, is capable of an output of 24 tons of salt per hour. Three main evaporating vessels are in use; the diameter of each is 26.5 feet and the height 66 feet from the floor level to the top of the casing containing the stirring gear which is fitted to assist in the circulation of the brine. A 28-inch valve controls the admission of steam to the first vessel. This vessel is also fitted with a high-pressure steam pipe, and by-pass pipes are provided to warm the vessel when starting from cold. Electric motors drive the stirrers through worm gearing running in oil baths, and the propellers are supported on ball bearings. Each vessel is very completely equipped with pressure gauges and thermometers.

Steam passing from the third vessel is condensed in a barometric condenser, 10 feet in diameter and 62 feet high, capable of dealing with 60,000 lb. of steam per hour. For condensing this quantity of steam, 330,000 gallons of circulating water are required per hour. A twin dry-air pump is fitted, with cylinders 32 inches in diameter and 30 inches stroke, and is driven by a 150 b.h.p. electric motor through suitable gearing. The injection water is delivered by a centrifugal pump, power being derived from a 100 b.h.p. motor. The brine is pumped from a feed tank into the pans of the evaporators at the rate of 400 gal. per min., and the pump motor is rated at 17 b.h.p. A 90 b.h.p. motor drives an additional pump, having a capacity of 3,920 gal. per min., for filling the pans, while a steam-driven duplex pump capable of delivering 80 tons per hour is installed for water service, and another pump of the same capacity deals with the drain water.

The water obtained by evaporating the brine in pans Nos. 1 and 2 is collected from the belts of Nos. 2 and 3 in a tank measuring about 80 feet long by 20 feet wide by 20 feet deep, and is used for washing out the pans and for fire service, but the exhaust and live steam used in No. 1 is condensed and returned as feed water to the boilers. The boilers are of the Stirling type and most of the steam is used in the adjacent power house, where the steam is reduced to the pressure required for the evaporators.

Each evaporator is provided with its own elevator which carries up the wet salt and deposits it in trucks; after draining is complete the trucks are run into the warehouses and discharged. The warehouse in which salt is stored prior to shipment is 300 feet long and 88 feet wide; it is constructed of timber with Belfast roofing and has a floor of wooden blocks laid on ashes and suitably drained. The machinery installed is capable of loading vessels with salt at the rate of 400 tons per hour.


Pilkington Brothers

The earliest records of the manufacture of window glass in St. Helens date back to 1773, when the British Cast Plate Glass Company was formed, employing at that time 300 or 400 men. The Pilkington family first became directly associated with the industry in 1826, and the firm's employees, and those of its subsidiary companies, now number about 12,000 in all. The chief products are polished plate glass, sheet, rolled, wired, cathedral, and "vita" glass, together with "Vitrolite" and "Armourplate" glass.

Polished plate glass is manufactured from sand, soda, and limestone, these making a "frit" which is melted in crucibles within a furnace and poured on to rollers where it is formed into plates. It then passes into an annealing kiln, at which stage it is translucent, but not transparent, and is cooled in "lehrs," a series of chambers kept at graded temperatures. Grinding is effected by water, sand, and emery, whilst rouge is used as a polishing medium. The operation is carried out on tables about 650 feet long over which twelve grinding and twenty-five polishing units are arranged vertically, and the whole machine is mounted on a reinforced concrete tunnel forming the baseplate, as great accuracy is required in grinding, the vertical slides being set to 0.005 inch. The power absorbed in the machine amounts to 1,500 h.p. An auxiliary plant is installed for grading and feeding the abrasive.

Sheet glass, formerly produced by hand-blowing and later by cylinder-drawing, is now manufactured on a flat glass drawing machine. This is arranged in a built-up tower containing several pairs of horizontal rollers set one above another in the vertical plane. The sheet of glass is drawn upwards from the fore-hearth of the glass furnace by the asbestos-jacketed rollers, the pressure between which can be varied by adjustable weights to suit varying thicknesses of glass. The rollers are driven by electric motor through reduction gear and a vertical shaft carried on ball bearings of special design. The whole tower, which weighs 22 tons, is supported on four jacks, by adjusting which correct alignment can be made with the drawing point. The lower sections are of cast iron, which withstands high temperatures without distortion.

"Armourplate" glass is made by subjecting polished plate glass to a special process. It is four to five times as strong as ordinary plate glass and will withstand without breaking a temperature of 300 deg. C. on one surface while the other surface is kept at atmospheric temperature.

"Vitrolite" is an opaque material with a hard brilliant fire-polished surface and is available in many colours. The standard thickness is inch, and its chief uses are for wall linings of bathrooms, kitchens, etc., and for the external facings of buildings.


The entrance to the lake, which was opened in 1928, is from Prince's Park, while access may also be obtained from Marine Drive. The lake, which holds 1,400,000 gallons of water, is 330 feet long and 212 feet wide, and a full-sized swimming course, 110 yards long and 19 yards wide, is provided along the centre. Reinforced concrete 6 inches thick has been used for the bottom; the water varies in depth from 4 ft. 6 in. to 6 feet, with a diving pit 9 feet deep, and diminishes to about 9 to 18 inches at the edges. Diving platforms, with a maximum height of 16 ft. 6 in., are provided together with a double chute. The water supply is pumped from the sea by a 37 h.p. electrically driven pump into three settling tanks, having a combined capacity of 250,000 gallons, whence it passes through filters to the lake as required. There are three filters of the enclosed pressure type, which are at present capable of filtering the whole of the water in the lake in 14.5 hours; this time will be reduced to 10 hours by an additional filter now being constructed. After being drawn from the lake, the water is treated with a coagulant of alum solution, and then passes to the filters. After filtration it is sterilized by the addition of a small amount of chlorine, and after passing through an aerator, is delivered to the lake down cascades or through sprays.

The buildings include two two-story dressing pavilions, between which stands a cafe, linked to the pavilions by curved verandas, each 230 feet long and 10 feet wide. Seating accommodation for 4,000 spectators is provided round the lake. There are sun bathing enclosures for both sexes on the seaward side of the pavilions, while on the north side there is a car park which can accommodate 500 cars. The average number of bathers during busy days in August varies between 4,500 and 9,500.


Liverpool Refrigeration Company

The firm acquired in 1897 the designs and resources of the Kilbourn Refrigeration Company whose compressor works were at Coalbrookdale, Salop, and whose coil and tank works were at Warrington. The present site was purchased in 1920, and in the following year the works were transferred there. In 1927 the control of Messrs. H. J. West and Company, of Saxilby, whose founder had commenced refrigeration work in 1851, was also acquired, and further premises were built at Warrington, so that by 1929 it was possible to transfer there the work previously carried out at Coalbrookdale and Saxilby. The firm's products comprise refrigeration machinery of all types and sizes, including sleeve-valve ammonia compressors, multitubular heat-transfer apparatus, methyl chloride and carbon dioxide compressors, coils, tanks, and insulation for refrigeration and for the chemical industry. The works are divided into two groups; first, the tank and coil shops, with the galvanizing shop and main stores, all of which were built in 1920, and second, the machine shop, tool room, erecting shop, joinery, and sand-blasting and metallization departments. Metallization, which is applied to tanks and other components, consists in the application of a metal coating in the form of a spray. In the machine shop, the extensive use of milling has superseded planing. A horizontal boring machine with a table 28 feet long is provided for large castings. One of the milling machines is of the horizontal planer type, carrying a helical mill 2 feet long and 7 inches in diameter, which is used for facing large blocks. The galvanizing department is capable of handling parts weighing up to several tons, and the main bath therein is 22 feet long and contains 100 tons of spelter. The pipe shop contains a battery of pipe-bending machines, together with pipe-coiling machines developed by the company. Coils formed from tubes up to 6 inches in diameter are regularly manufactured, principally by the resistance welding method.


Thomas Bolton and Sons

The firm was established in Birmingham in 1783, and in 1825 the Broad Street works were built, which continued in operation until 1911. In 1852 the Oakamoor, North Staffordshire, works of the Cheadle Brass and Copper Company, which had been operating since 1719, were acquired, and in 1892 Messrs. Bolton erected works at Froghall in North Staffordshire for the production of high-conductivity copper for telegraphy and electrical generators. Additional works, the Sutton Rolling Mills, were acquired at St. Helens in 1894 for the manufacture of copper rollers, chiefly used for calico printing. The firm was probably the first in this country to use diamond dies for the drawing of copper wire; the dies were made at the Birmingham works, but recently synthetic dies of "Ardoloy" have come into use as an alternative, and these are manufactured at Froghall. The Mersey Copper Works were built in 1881 for smelting and electrolytic refining; the site on the western seaboard was chosen in order to save carriage on the imported ore. Latterly, owing to the development in the Dominions and the United States in the production of electrolytic copper, it has become uneconomic to carry out these processes in this country, and the importing of copper ore has ceased. The works now specialize in the manufacture of locomotive copper firebox plates and stay rods, and sulphate of copper.

Refining is carried out in reverberatory furnaces, in which blister copper is melted and arsenic added to produce toughness. The metal is cast into cakes, or round billets if intended for rolling into rods. The cakes are heated to 900 deg. C. and passed through rolling mills driven by a 550 h.p. 440-volt a.c. motor through two sets of reduction gearing. Wrapper plates for fireboxes are made either rectangular, or are tapered across the width. Tube plates are formed by rolling to the greatest thickness required - the tube-bearing portion, or "bump" - and reducing the thickness of the remainder on a vertical milling machine driven by a 40 h.p. motor. The column of the machine has a long overhang to enable the spindle to reach to the centre of wide plates. Flanging is carried out by heating the shaped plate, placing it on a mould built to the required shape, and malleting the flanges down to the side of the mould. The plates in which the firehole is made are dished under power hammers.

The recovery of copper from low-grade materials is performed in a smelting department containing a large cupola which is charged with copper ores, residues, etc. The slag is removed by running the molten mass into a settling furnace, from which copper matte containing 50 to 60 per cent copper is tapped. Copper scrap is refined in reverberatory furnaces and cast into "shot" form by pouring the molten metal into water; the shot is then sent to the sulphate department, where it is dissolved in sulphuric acid in lead-lined vats. The hot liquid is distributed by gunmetal centrifugal pumps to other lead-lined vats in which the copper sulphate cools and crystallizes, the crystals forming on lead straps hung in the vats. This product, which is largely used for agricultural purposes, has been manufactured by the company since 1903, and exported to all parts of the world.

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