Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 125,183 pages of information and 195,063 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Turner Manufacturing Co

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November 1922. Turner Sales Ltd.
October 1923.
December 1939.
Sept 1940.
April 1943.
May 1943
May 1943
Jan 1945.
August 1945.
1946.
September 1954.
Sept 1963.
Yeoman of England. Reg No: RWD 512. Fitted with a Marles Steering Co steering box.
Yeoman of England. Reg No: RWD 512.
Yeoman of England (detail). Reg No: RWD 512.

Turner Manufacturing Company of Wulfruna Works, Villiers Street, Wolverhampton

and of Fordhouses, Wolverhampton (1960)

General

Mid-19th century. The Thomas Turner Company started as an engineering business around the middle of the 19th century.

Manufactured a variety of automatic machines and workers' time recording devices

In 1902 the company started production of motor cars, acquiring the manufacturing rights of a well established vehicle, the Belgian Miesse steam car from the Brussels-based company of J. Miesse. James Burns Dumbell was in charge of this part of the business

The Turner-Miesse steam cars were initially produced at the company's works in Walsall Street. The car had a three cylinder, single acting engine (steam only admitted above the piston) with a paraffin-fired flash boiler.

1906 Private company formed as Turner's Motor Manufacturing Co. Ltd to acquire as a going concern the company which manufactured velocipedes and steam cars.

1914 Directory lists them as Turner, T., and Co., Lever Street, Wolverhampton and as motor car manufacturers. [1]

WWI Car production ceased during the war and they concentrated on components and machine tools

1928 Ended car production

1934 Started to manufacture aircraft landing gear under the guidance of P. B. Dumbell the MD; as a result of WWII this product sold in such quantities that the works at Moorfield Road had to be enlarged. Seem to have also produced a marine diesel engine at this time.

1937 Pneumatic strips for undercarriages. "Turner" Compressed Air Landing Legs. "Turner" Pumps to Romec Patents. "Turner" Undercarriages. [2]

1937 Listed Exhibitor - British Industries Fair. Turner Machine Tools, comprising: Roller Bearing Headstocks, Countershaft Drive or Direct Motor-Driven Capstan Lathes; Universal Tool and Cutter Grinders, Countershaft and Motor Drive; examples of Landing Legs for Aircraft. (Stand No. D.429) [3]

1938 Name changed to Turner Manufacturing Co

1939 See Aircraft Industry Suppliers

WWII Involved in aircraft engineering and manufactured military winches.

Late 1940s a separate company was formed called Light Delivery Vehicles

Post WWII: Aircraft activities were focussed on helicopter components and ground equipment. Found they had excess capacity and looked again at producing vehicles. There was great interest in increasing agricultural production at the time so Turners started producing agricultural machinery. This resulted in the Yeoman of England tractor. The engine was designed in house by a Freeman Sanders who also developed the Fowler diesel and Ferguson TEF20 engine. A range of accessories was also developed including ploughs, cultivators, harrows and mowers.

1950 The tractor was submitted for test by the NIAE in June 1950 whereupon several problems were found.

Even though the engine was re-designed in 1951, the tractor had gained a bad reputation.

1956 Ceased manufacturing their own diesel engine and tractor; went into sub-contract work for the Perkins C499 engine and components for Ford tractors.

1960 Licenced transmissions from Clark Equipment International of USA

1961 Engineers, manufacturing aircraft hydraulic components, winch gear and machined components for the automotive trade and hydraulic and pneumatic equipment. 800 employees. [4]

1962 Gearboxes supplied to Ford and Vauxhall commercial vehicles.

1964 Subsidiary Hydraulics and Pneumatics, set up to exploit opportunities in commercial hydraulics, won its first order for the tanker British Admiral for hydraulic control valves.

1966 Acquired Baetz Equipment Ltd which made pumps for oil storage and other metal fabrications.

1968 Acquired Earby Light Engineers Ltd, makers of components for airframes and engines, which expanded the company's aircraft sub-contract work which had previously been focussed on helicopters

1968 Public company incorporated to acquire the previous company[5]

1996 Turner Manufacturing Co became Turner Powertrain Systems and was purchased by Caterpillar in 1996.

Tractors

Post WWII: Turners started producing agricultural machinery. This resulted in the Yeoman of England tractor. The engine was designed in house by a Freeman Sanders who also developed the Fowler diesel and Ferguson TEF20 engine. A range of accessories was also developed including ploughs, cultivators, harrows and mowers.

1950 The tractor was submitted for test by the NIAE in June 1950 whereupon several problems were found. The radiator was too small and the engine overheated when undergoing a belt test. Problems were also found with the transmission. After these problems had been solved the tractor went on sale for £690 which was more expensive than the opposition. Unfortunately problems continued to surface, the air cleaner had to be replaced because the elements were breaking up and being drawn in to the engine cylinders.

The engine didn’t start very well in cold weather and many machines suffered from head gasket failure. The major problem remained the transmission wasn't sufficiently robust, resulting in many failures. Thus even though the engine was re-designed in 1951, the tractor had gained a bad reputation. Predictably sales were affected although production apparently continued until 1957 although alternative tractors were available for some £300 less.

1956 Ceased manufacturing their own diesel engine and tractor; went into sub-contract work for the Perkins C499 engine and components for Ford tractors.

Motorcycles

Turner was a motorcycle produced in 1946. It was a radical contraption and a one-off. It was seen in Brussels in April 1946, called the Turner Byvan, and was constructed from components left over after the end of World War II. It had a 126cc Royal Enfield wartime Flying Flea engine and three-speed gearbox, mounted on top of the pressed-steel front forks and which drove the wheel by chain. The rest of the machine was a large box, fitted with forks to provide a mounting for a wheel at the rear, and with a seat for the rider on top. In effect, it was just a large parcel carrier and nothing further came of it.[6]

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. 1914 Wolverhampton Red Book and Directory
  2. 1937 The Aeroplane Directory of the Aviation and Allied Industries
  3. 1937 British Industries Fair p426
  4. 1961 Dun and Bradstreet KBE
  5. The Times (London, England), Tuesday, Jun 18, 1968
  6. Powered Vehicles made in the Black Country by Jim Boulton and Harold Parsons. Published 1990. ISBN 0 904015 30 0
  • Turner [1]
  • The British Motorcycle Directory - Over 1,100 Marques from 1888 - by Roy Bacon and Ken Hallworth. Pub: The Crowood Press 2004 ISBN 1 86126 674 X
  • [2] Richard Lines Web Site
  • Powered Vehicles made in the Black Country by Jim Boulton and Harold Parsons. Published 1990. ISBN 0 904015 30 0