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FIFTH DECADE 1939-1949
THE fifth decade of the Company's history was overshadowed by the Second World War, which engaged the whole strength of the country. For six years the works was entirely devoted to furthering the war effort, but as the full story of its Contribution to Victory has been told in the book of that name it will only be summarized here.
First tribute must be paid to those in the services. Though electrical engineering was a reserved industry, no fewer than 4086 men and 148 women went from M-V to the armed forces. Over a thousand were mobilized in August 1939, being members of the Volunteer Reserves or the Territorial Army; indeed Territorials from the works, mostly in the Forty-second Divisional Engineers and Signals, were already in camp when war broke out. Women also joined the Nursing Services, the Red Cross and St. John Organization, the Forestry Commission, and the Land Army.
Service honours and awards were many and varied, the total of fifty-seven decorations including a George Cross and bar. Two hundred and five men laid down their lives, and a Memorial Book in which their names and regiments are inscribed will, when all information is available, be placed in the entrance hall of the main offices at Trafford Park.
The Company brought all its technical resources to bear on the problems of an engineers' war, and some of the new developments made scientific as well as military history. A great manufacturing programme was undertaken at Trafford Park and Sheffield under the leadership of G. E. Bailey, and extensive research work under A. P. M. Fleming. Many M-V engineers and scientists were put out to work in Government departments. For the atomic bomb project the Company not only designed and built prototype machines but also released T. E. Allibone, P. P. Starling, and others for work in the United States.
Public tribute has been paid in the House of Commons to the work of Allibone and Starling and to that of J. D. Craggs, N. Eice, H. Smethurst, and M. E. Haine, also of the Company's staff and at one time directly concerned with the military aspects of atomic energy. Allibone, who was then head of the high voltage laboratory, took charge of a group of British and American scientists working at the University of California under Professor E. 0. Lawrence on the electromagnetic method of separating uranium isotopes.
It was some years before the war when M-V started to collaborate with Government departments on the development and production of war equipment: the manufacture of searchlights at Trafford Park began as far back as 1934, that of automatic pilots in December 1936, radar in June 1937, and gun mountings a few months later.
The most extensive enterprise — and the furthest removed from the normal range of work — was the building of heavy bomber aircraft. The first plan was that M-V and four other manufacturers should carry out assembly only, but later the Company undertook the complete manufacture except for engines. A new factory having main bays 100-ft wide was built for this work in 1939, and in the following year it was trebled in size, giving a floor area of 800,000 square feet.
Six months after cutting the first sod, work began in the machine shop; some 26,000 jigs and tools were required, and parts had to be made at the bench till tools were ready. By December 1940, the first airframe for a complete Manchester bomber had passed inspection tests. Alas, two days before Christmas there came an air raid in which a direct hit completely wrecked this machine and badly damaged the building, delaying production by six months.
Altogether the Company built forty-three Manchesters, but in May 1941 it was decided to change over to the famous four-engined Lancaster. Another 9,000 jigs and tools were required, but in seven months the first Lancaster was ready for its test flight, well ahead of time. After this the monthly programme was stepped up from thirty to thirty-five, forty and forty-five in quick succession, and eventually nearly 1,100 Lancasters were produced. Much later a demand arose for the four-engined Lincoln, another type that involved more large changes in tooling; eighty Lincolns had been completed, and another 250 were well on the way when contracts were cancelled soon after V-J Day.
The Company also made undercarriages, first the Messier type for Halifax bombers and the Dowty type for Lancasters and later electrically operated undercarriages of its own design.
The aircraft factory employed at its peak 8,411 people, of whom 3,250 were women. Equipment to a total value of £30,000,000 was produced under the leadership of T. Fraser, whose work was rewarded with a C.B.E. in 1946. F. Connors, at one time convenor of shop stewards, received the B.E.M. F. A. Pucknell, previously superintendent of the process and rate department, was in charge of Messier undercarriage manufacture. Most spectacular perhaps of the scientific developments in which the Company took part was radar. Beginning with the first radar transmitters ever commercially produced, equipment worth £10,000,000 was turned out for the three services, an achievement that resulted directly from the inter-war research work on high vacuum equipment. Before the end of 1937, little more than a year from the first request to provide high power valves, the Company had been entrusted with the manufacture of the complete transmitters for a chain of twenty 'CH' stations placed round the coast to give early warning of enemy raiders. Orders followed for many thousands of transmitters of various types.
A radiolocation section was set up in 1938 to carry on manufacture in a new extension to the West works, the first of three radar shops totalling 125,000 sq. ft. in area. Those who worked there will recall code names such as ASV airborne detectors of surface vessels. Gee navigation controllers, the Oboe ground guide to bombing aircraft, and H2S airborne sets giving the first direct picture of the unseen earth's surface at night or in cloud. Among parts and accessories were aerial pedestal units (AUK and AQB) and insulators of Polythene, an I.C.I. product for which M-V developed the first successful machines and moulding methods.
Radar manufacture was controlled by W. Symes, superintendent of the detail department, with A. C. Main as assistant superintendent. A radio engineering section was formed in 1939 in charge of A. K. Nuttall, but for some years technical design originated with the radio section of the research department under J. M. Dodds; in the early days Dodds was alone in the works in being entrusted with the secrets of radar, and he was later awarded the O.B.E. In the 'transmitter' department T. R. Porter, the chief production engineer, received the M.B.E.; T. R. Monkhouse and T. Robinson general foremen, R. Hill a shop steward, and May Reynolds an assembler were awarded the B.E.M.
Automatic pilots, which could take over the control of a heavy bomber on a long run, were made in large quantities, starting some years before the war with a contract for 3750. 'George', as this ingenious device was named, was an elaborate form of gyroscope with delicate discriminating mechanism linked to compressed air controls of the rudder, elevator and ailerons. It was manufactured in an extension to the instrument and meter department under G. A. Cheetham, who later became managing director of Ferguson, Pailin; his chief production officer, G. E. C. Hill, received an M.B.E.
Gun control work involved the use of the metadyne. Before the war this had been developed as a power amplifier having a ratio up to 10,000:1 and giving very rapid response. It enabled large forces to be applied with great accuracy and extremely small time lag to the power control of guns and other weapons, and it was soon used to enable anti-aircraft guns to be operated directly from the predictor, thus ensuring accurate aiming at fast moving aircraft. By 1939 metadynes were being made at the Sheffield works for the remote electrical control of naval anti-aircraft guns, which involved the rapid movement of heavy masses. Later the same principles were applied to stabilizing platforms, radar ranging, searchlights and automatic following of targets. In this work C. Dannatt, then on loan to the research department from Birmingham University, took a leading part for which he was awarded the O.B.E. in 1943.
The manufacture of electrically welded aeroplane engine mountings was undertaken, probably for the first time in this country, early in 1940 for firms engaged on Beaufiehter aircraft, and later for the Manchesters and Lancasters made at the M-V aircraft factory. Gun mountings, principally for 3-7 and 4-5 anti-aircraft guns, were made in the West works and elsewhere under T. Dooley, who received the M.B.E.; a welded mounting developed for the 3-7 gun saved many man-hours compared with riveting and gave a simpler and lighter job. In 1944 a roller spotwelder was produced in order to give consistent high-speed welding of aluminium for aircraft manufacture; it could make as many as 144 welds a minute.
An ingenious Autodrill equipment was devised at the N.P.L. for rendering unexploded bombs harmless. Once clamped to the bomb, this device operated automatically, drilling holes in the casing and steaming out the explosive charge, developed and manufactured by M-V: an effective model was produced by the research department in less than four weeks, and most of the 400 drawings were made and put into work in one hectic weekend. Stelna, another type, was made entirely of non-magnetic materials so as not to detonate magnetically-operated fuses. The cutting tools used were ofCutanit, the very hard sintered carbide, which was also used in armour-piercing projectiles.
Other 'warlike stores' produced in quantity included degaussing and other equipment for combating magnetic mines, over 114,000 a.c. generators for aircraft power supplies, nearly 80,000 luminous magnetic compasses for aircraft, and 9500 searchlight and signalling projectors.
Side by side with these exceptional undertakings, the Company was making more normal types of equipment in special forms to meet wartime requirements—for instance 8000 motor generator sets for ground radar, 4000 motor generator sets for marine radar, and about 40,000 gear wheels and pinions for tanks. Of the smaller components, Metrosil resistance units were at one time being produced at the rate of 25,000 a week.
Many standard products were required in larger quantities than usual in order to satisfy the increasing demand from new and extended power stations and factories and the need for increased production throughout the country. Besides this, a Government slogan "If you are working for Export you are working for Victory" encouraged the pursuit of overseas business. Though handicapped by delivery troubles the Export Company maintained contacts with representatives of allied governments and others in this country and with its own representatives abroad, considerably to the national benefit. A particular service, which has been frequently acknowledged by the Soviet authorities, was the manufacture of power plant worth millions of pounds for Russia. M-V was main contractor for the complete equipment of seventeen land power stations. In addition thirty-five completely mobile power stations were constructed and shipped (through the Ministry of Supply) from the end of 1943; these ranged in size from 1,000 to 5,000 kW and consisted of trains of three or four trucks, one carrying the boiler and another the generating plant. Ten 500-kW generating units were made in a transportable form consisting of a self-contained turbo-generator set mounted in a framework with skids. A 30,000-kVA synchronous condenser was the largest that had been built in this country.
Marine propulsion equipment manufactured during and after the war included many geared turbines. Several 6,800-s.hp units installed in cargo liners and fast tankers gave excellent performance in service, and their fuel consumption compared very favourably with that of reaction turbines built to meet the same operating conditions. Earlier a number of 4000-s.hp turbines had been built for high speed gunboats; the weight of these turbines with gears and condenser was only a fraction over 4 Ib per s.hp, a figure that was characterized by the Admiralty as "a remarkable achievement". Following the manufacture of a prototype for use in a fast minelayer, fourteen welded l.p. cylinders—the largest ever made in this way—were constructed for propulsion turbines in aircraft carriers.
In 1938 when the Government decided that a national emergency pool of transportable transformers should be available in case of war, the Company took a prominent part in standardizing the range. It also built six 30,000-kVA 132/33-kV units, which were suitable for normal rail transport when fully assembled. Special transformers were made for radar, remote power control for guns, arc welding in shipbuilding, resistance welding in aircraft construction, and other purposes; oil-filled transformers for use in aircraft were hermetically sealed and provided with expansible enclosure to enable them to withstand the wide range of temperatures.
Centralized control systems were applied to air-raid precaution signals, and some fifteen equipments were installed by various supply undertakings. Among these was Manchester Corporation, where the Ripplay installation controlled the public sirens for a radius of more than 10 miles from the centre of the city, the largest single ripple-signal equipment in the world. Infra-red heating using specially designed 250-watt electric lamps was developed by the lamp and lighting department for the quick drying of paint and fillers on aircraft, the first plant being installed in a Spitfire factory. Another equipment was supplied to the factory that later turned out the record-breaking Gloster Meteors. The industrial use of tubular-sheathed heating elements expanded considerably, an important application being for preventing condensation in service equipment. Nearly 300,000 radiant boiling plates were made during the war.
A wide range of testing apparatus came from the research department. Among the most important was magnetic crack detection equipment, which was made in special types for testing items ranging from small components to engine mounting frames for aircraft.
Among the many other normal types of product in demand were, for example, auxiliary turbo-generator sets for cruisers, motors for submarines, and a range of d.c. marine starters redesigned to stand the severe shocks of naval service. At the other end of the scale, miniature instruments were turned out for the services at rates up to 250,000 a year.
Manufacturing space required for new work undertaken during the war was provided chiefly by new buildings. These were designed and constructed, generally in record time, under the supervision of the works engineer, W. L. Beeby, whose department acted as main contractor, and they now form permanent additions to the Trafford Park works. Nearby premises were also taken over, and others further away for the dispersal of some offices and workshops.
By far the largest addition was the aircraft factory. This was built, starting in 1939, on land bought by George Westinghouse forty years before. (Some original boundary posts are still in position.) With the second section completed in the following year, it covered a total area of 800,000 sq. ft. and is still outstanding for its shop length of more than a quarter of a mile.
Extensions to the West works, built in 1937 to deal with the growth of switchgear business, were taken over for the manufacture of searchlights and sound locators, and further extensions turned in the same way to Government work. A separate factory was built nearby in 1938 and was ready for radar manufacture in the phenomenally short time of thirteen weeks; this shop with extensions completed in 1940 and 1943 provided an area of 125,000 sq. ft. known as *West works 4, 5, and 6', which was responsible for the whole of the Company's radar production.
A building to the south of D aisle, erected in 1939 for impregnation processes and subsequently doubled in size, was used for the fabrication of mountings for anti-aircraft guns. In 1942 most of this work was transferred to a 28,000-sq. ft. extension of the tank shop. An important addition was the war-damaged Leonard works in Trafford Park, which was taken over in 1941. This works, originally part of the first Ford motor factory in England, was almost rebuilt, giving some 250,000 sq. ft. of floor area which was used for the manufacture of engine and gun mountings, searchlights, and projectors.
In 1941 premises at Warrington were equipped for the manufacture of Cutanit sintered carbide, then in growing demand for tool tips. Soon, however, they were diverted to the production of armour-piercing shot in the same material, and by 1943 production had spread to an M.O.S. factory at Risley in the same area. These two factories for sintered products, both operated by M-V, achieved an output hitherto undreamed of.
Other manufacturing premises were taken over temporarily and often put to unexpected uses. A furniture factory at Sandon near Patricroft provided a tool room, cabinet shop and automatic pilot assembly shop; the Valpercy clothing factory in Longsight made miniature instruments and control gear; a printing works at Park Road, Timperley, produced radar equipment, and a garment factory at Sharston near Wythenshawe made paints and varnishes. At Legh Street, Patricroft, cotton spinning gave place to central stores, files and records. A newlycompleted factory at Fitzwarren Street, Pendleton, started work on gun carriages. A factory at Bamford in Derbyshire turned out altogether 45,000 aircraft generators and provided a remarkable example of the accuracy and reliability obtainable from previously untrained labour.
Works management problems were naturally intensified by the impact of war. The Company attained record numbers, employing over 30,000 men and women in 1943 and 1944, but it had lost many of the most skilled and experienced. However, in spite of this vast increase and the dilution of skilled labour very high outputs were achieved, and the works and staff committees were successful in avoiding major labour disputes. A. Walmsley, the superintendent of labour, was also the chairman of the Stretford and District Employment Committee; he received the M.B.E. in 1943.
The works was scheduled a 'protected place' by the Admiralty on October 2, 1939, and in June 1940 the Company became a 'controlled undertaking'. The delegation of inspection to the Company's staff, which had been started by the Aeronautical Inspection Department in 1932, was extended during the war by the Chief Inspector of Armaments and later by the Admiralty (Engineer-in-Chief's Department). Early in 1942 'joint production consultative and advisory committees' were constituted as agreed between the engineering employers and trade unions. The committees, which are departmental, are representative of all concerned with production; delegates other than from the management are elected by ballot. At their monthly meetings views are exchanged, thus helping to maintain a friendly atmosphere on the floor of the shops, and ideas to improve production are put forward. Women were taken on at an increasing rate for some years, as many as 2520 in 1941. The number employed in manufacturing departments rose from 2000 before the war to over 9000—about a third of the total strength. They made an outstanding contribution to the war effort, often in jobs hitherto reserved for men; large numbers were employed on radar. Part-time employment, started in 1941, brought in several hundred married women, and, though requiring considerably more supervision, it is still very successful in relieving the labour shortage.
The women's works committee helped to smooth out many new problems, and the management representative. Miss A. G. Shaw, did a great deal to ease the transition from peace production to war work. She was also responsible for the initial organization of the first-aid work, begun by volunteers before the war. Miss Shaw was seconded to the Production Efficiency Board of the Ministry of Aircraft Production in January 1943, and shortly before leaving the Company in March 1945 she was appointed a member of the Cotton Working Party. During her absence much of the work devolved on Miss M. A. Havelock, who succeeded her as chief supervisor of women.
Training, both for men and women, had to be expanded and adapted to meet wartime conditions. The motion study section, besides helping to develop manufacturing methods for many of the new products, reorganized its operator training work to cope with the intake of unskilled labour; many thousands were passed through the girls' training school. For a time, at the request of the Ministry of Aircraft Production, a series of training courses were run for aircraft engineers from other firms with the object of disseminating the M-V system throughout the aircraft industry. The replacement of men called up for the forces required specialized training for which intensive courses were provided by the education department; other special wartime courses were run, for instance for Indian artisans under a Bevin scheme and for midshipmen for the Admiralty. Recruitment of typing staff was so difficult that untrained girls were engaged and trained in the stenographic department, a successful innovation that is still in operation.
The King and Queen came twice to the works during the war. On their first visit on May 2, 1940, they made an extensive tour, seeing the production of both industrial and service equipment under war conditions and inspecting detachments of the civil defence services. On leaving they drove slowly down the main avenue, which was lined with cheering crowds. A brief return visit was paid on February 13, 1941, in the course of inspecting air raid damage to homes and factories in the district. A few weeks before, on January 15, the Duke of Kent had visited the aircraft factory, the West works gun-carriage and radar shops, and other parts of the works.
Welfare and social facilities kept pace with the expansion of the works. In 1940 the ambulance room and all first-aid work were taken over by Dr. J. Robinson, who, in accordance with the Ministry of Labour requirements for munition factories, had been appointed whole-time works medical officer and with whose advice a high standard of first-aid treatment had already been attained. The ambulance room was greatly extended and re-equipped with the most modern apparatus. Before long the increasing number of women employees led to the appointment of a part-time woman medical officer. Dr. B. L. Renwick, who had special training as an ophthalmologist. A short-wave clinic for the treatment of catarrh and rheumatic diseases was set up in 1941, and an eye service with full-time optician in 1943. In the following year a works health committee was established with the object of promoting better health in the factory by encouraging the fullest use of the medical service and improving working conditions.
Of new canteens, the largest was a two-storey building at the aircraft factory, where 2500 main meals were served daily on the cafeteria system; the kitchens were designed on motion study lines and equipped with steam and electric cooking equipment and refrigeration. The canteen service supplied dispersed departments with about 800 cooked dinners a day and also fed civil defence workers, often at unusual hours.
The M-V Club with a considerably increased membership continued to be the main centre of social activity. The bowls section, always the largest, had the record number of 439 in 1944. At Sheffield the works acquired its own sports ground in 1940, and in 1944 the sports association turned itself into a sports and social club.
The M-V war savings group was formed in March 1940. In its earlier years the Company gave £200 a year to be distributed as prizes through a ballot scheme, and campaigns conducted by a savings committee raised the membership to more than 8000. The group still flourishes, and total savings have exceeded £700,000. Another aid to the national exchequer was the gift from M-V employees and the Company of sufficient money to buy a Spitfire.
A.R.P. organization began early in 1938. A call for volunteers brought a fine response, especially from the 1914-18 veterans, and provided the backbone of the service throughout the war. By September 1939 there was a complete a.r.p. service with a system of dug-out shelters and a headquarters under the fire station. From 1940 the chief a.r.p. officer was W. L. Beeby, who had A. W. Muir, the senior man-hours instructor, as his first chief executive officer. A section of the protective covering over the old Manchester sewer (see p.7) was labelled 'tunnel 4' and utilized as the control centre; it was equipped with anti-gas and rescue stations and a hospital with operating room and fifty beds. Later a spotters' post was established to give the *take cover* alarm signal when direct attack seemed imminent, and this together with new shelters nearer the shops is estimated to have saved about 600,000 man-hours of work. The water tower, which might have provided a landmark for enemy aircraft, was demolished, and the stump used as a gun site. Four additional ambulances were bought for a.r.p. service, and two county ambulances were added for service under the area control. Our works fire brigade was the first one to be affiliated to the national fire service' and its numbers increased from eighteen to 1100. Efficiency was maintained at a high level, and under Chief Officer J. Burke, G.C., the brigade won three out of four events in the Manchester and district competition for 1942.
A company of local defence volunteers, the original home guard', was raised by K. G. Maxwell on behalf of Trafford Park firms. After various changes in organization, this force became the 45th County of Lancaster Battalion Home Guard, over 4000 strong, of which C Company containing the two M-V works units was commanded successively by E. Strong and H. Lawson-Jones. By this time the company specialist officers were entirely M-V men, and the battalion headquarters staff mainly so.
Christmas 1940 will long be remembered at Trafford Park for the 'blitz' on the works. It began on the night of December 22 with an attack mainly by high explosive, including two large parachute bombs which caused considerable damage and another bomb that severed the main water supply. The following night came an attack by incendiaries. More than a thousand fell in the M-V area and caused many fires, devastating large parts of the main works. The box factory was burnt out, and nearly half of H aisle including the tool room, whose wreckage also involved C aisle beneath it. Most of the roof of B aisle was destroyed, and almost the whole of the main machine shop was laid waste by fire and water. In addition a 1000-lb bomb was dropped in the middle of the new aircraft factory, where it destroyed the first completed Manchester bomber and a dozen others.
The morning after the fire-blitz many workers were told "it's no use going to Metros — the factory's done for". This conclusion was not accepted for a moment. Under the direction of G. E. Bailey the tremendous job began of tidying up, restoring services and reorganizing production. The repair workers, many of whom had suffered severe personal losses, were reinforced by the staff of other departments and by 500 labourers from outside contractors. Scouts were sent out all over the country to obtain replacements of tools and instruments. In spite of the weather—the roofless shops were open to snow and rain—rapid progress was made: within a week the damaged sections were producing again, and in four weeks' time the output of the works was up to 80 per cent of normal. The raids had cost about £1,000,000 in repairs, to say nothing of the loss of production and damage to work in hand.
This clearing up and reconstruction was only one of the big tasks handled by the works engineer's department under W. L. Beeby. There was the construction of buildings, the adaptation of old ones, and the maintenance of a.r.p. equipment and services. For parallel work on the local emergency services organization, Beeby was awarded the O.B.E. in June 1944. The Sheffield works and the Company's other establishments in this country had their own civil defence organizations, and many of them suffered damage requiring similar rehabilitation work to that at Trafford Park. The outside erection staff also did their share of good work—for instance after a raid on September 9, 1940, on Fulham power station. A high explosive bomb exploded between two of the three main turbo-generator sets and put the whole station out of action. One machine was repaired and put back into service two months after the raid, and another was recommissioned six weeks later.
Further afield astonishing vicissitudes were undergone by L. C. Thornton, who was returning from railway electrification work in Warsaw. On receiving secret advice that the Germans were dangerously near the city, Thornton put his wife on a crowded refugee train for Latvia and went back to his office, where he destroyed everything that could be of value to the enemy. Obtaining a bicycle, he left the city by back streets to avoid the barricades and headed north. Though dive-bombed, betrayed by peasants, and nearly starved, he eventually reached Riga.
Later our representatives in the Far East had some narrow escapes. At Singapore E. C. Whiteley boarded an Indian coaling vessel a few hours before the Japanese entered the city.
Many important changes among the higher management took place during the war. Some familiar faces went into deserved retirement, and others reappeared in more responsible positions.
With the quickening tempo of war work G. E. Bailey's responsibilities became heavier, and in 1940 E. W. Steele was promoted to the position of works manager at Trafford Park. Steele had come to M-V in 1919 on the absorption of a Vickers subsidiary, the Electric and Ordnance Accessories Company, where he was chief electrical machine engineer. Since then he had been superintendent of the motor department, and on T. Eraser's appointment to the aircraft factory he had also taken over the plant and insulation departments. He was succeeded in the plant and motor departments by R. B. D. Lauder, from whom main production passed to A. E. L. Scanes.
In June 1941 J. S. Peck, the chief electrical engineer and from 1928 a director, retired after more than thirty-six years' service. Since stepping as a young man into what was described even then as the first rank of the electrical engineering profession. Peck had played a leading part in the development of the industry. Besides bringing his own wise and farseeing approach to all matters of engineering design, he rendered valuable service to the Company in the selection of staff: a sound judgment enabled him to assemble a team who soon became recognized as experts in their own lines. Equally important was his deep and still continuing interest in the social life of the works, and few can have done more to encourage the spirit of good comradeship and mutual help. The new chief electrical engineer was G. A. Juhlin. Born in Sweden, he had come to Trafford Park in 1915, having previously been chief a.c. designer with Dick Kerr and Co., and was soon made chief engineer of the plant department, where he was responsible for many developments, particularly in the design of large a.c. generators. He was also a director of the Export Company, and in July 1942 he was elected to the M-V Board.
The Company lost also two departmental chief engineers, D. B. Hoseason of motor and H. L. Guy of mechanical. Hoseason, who had been a trade apprentice and became a chief engineer at the age of twenty-nine, resigned in November 1940; he continued a notable career, first on the board of the Brush Electrical Engineering Co. and then as director of studies at the new Administrative Staff College, till his death in a road accident in 1948. Guy left in 1941 having been chief engineer of the mechanical department for more than twenty years, and in 1942 he was appointed secretary of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers; he was made a C.B.E. in recognition of his services on government committees during the war and was knighted at the beginning of the present year.
Among the many honours received by M-V men during the war a special welcome was given to the New Year's list of 1944, when G. E. Bailey received a knighthood. In the following April he became chairman of the Company, succeeding Sir Felix Pole, who was compelled to relinquish the position owing to failing eyesight. Thus 'G.E.B.', as he is still affectionately known, achieved the highest office in the Company he had served since 1907.
For most of the war and for nearly twenty years previously. Bailey had held the manufacturing reins and had instilled something of his own capacity for getting things done into every unit of the works organization. The starting of a great drive in radar manufacture in 1938 originated in his personal energy and his realization of the importance of rapid production. During the same period he was initiating the Manchester defence scheme; his work on this was recognized by the award of the C.B.E. in 1941. He also found time to serve on a number of Government committees and to continue in many public offices including that of president of the Engineering and Allied Employers' National Federation which he held from 1940 to 1943. Later he became deputy chairman of A.E.I., and he holds directorships in many of its constituent companies and in other concerns.
Sir Felix Pole remained for a short time chairman of A.E.I., being succeeded by the Rt. Hon. Oliver Lyttelton in 1945, and he is still deputy chairman of M-V. During more than twelve years of leadership he had seen the Company grow from strength to strength, both in the formative years of A.E.I, and later during its notable contribution to the war effort. At Trafford Park and Sheffield his generosity and benevolent disposition made him the friend of the ordinary man. He was always at call to attend works functions whatever the inconvenience, and the curtailment of his activities was received with genuine regret. There are many in the Company who have a warm place for him in their affections.
When Bailey became chairman, E. W. Steele, the works manager, was made general manager of works, and later in 1944 he joined the Board. In his place W. Symes, who had been superintendent of detail department since 1935, was appointed manager of the main works. Coming to Trafford Park from the B.T.H. in 1914, Symes had done pioneer work in time and motion study after the first war. On the pre-1939 defence programme he was responsible for the manufacture of searchlight projectors, sound locators and gun mountings, and later he planned the shop extensions and superintended the manufacture of radar equipment.
Two of the best known personalities in the works — Tom Smith and Sam Ratcliffe — retired in July 1944. Tom Smith had had no less than fifty-three years, service, counting an early period with the Westinghouse Company in America. The process and rate department had been under his care almost continuously since its inception, and for many years he instigated progress in the design of machine tools and the development of high-speed cutting steels. He had some of the best attributes of the Scot, including a great fund of anecdotes.
Sam Ratcliffe had been with the Company for nearly forty-two years, for twenty-six of which he was chairman of the works committee. An ardent trade unionist, he served for long periods on the national committee of the A.E.U., the Manchester and Salford Trades and Labour Council, and the committee of the Manchester Engineering Council; he became a well known figure at the Trades Union Congress and at the annual conferences of the Labour Party, and in 1941 he received an M.B.E. for his services to Labour. Since 1922 he has been a J.P. for Lancashire.
This record notwithstanding, Ratcliffe was one of the most modest of men. In spite of many inducements he remained to the end of his career on the first radialarm drilling machine at the main crossing in E aisle, and it was inside the factory that his greatest work was done. He was associated with the running of the works benevolent fund, the long service association, and the M-V Club, and above all he was chairman of the works committee from 1917 to 1942. In this capacity he was a most efficient channel of communication between the management and 'the man on the floor of the shop'. Few have made a greater contribution to the smooth running of the works, and at the same time he held the loyalty of his fellow workers and fought their battles. In disputes he was a patient seeker after the truth. In conference his man-to-man approach and his breadth of view brought him success. A lifetime of service to his fellow-men found its reward in their universal regard and affection.
The Company suffered a severe loss in January 1941 when C. S. Richards was drowned while bathing in Brazil, where he was on a Government trade mission. Following early training at the works, he had served on the mechanical side in Russia, as acting manager from 1914 to 1917, and in Japan; he became joint managing director of the Export Company in 1922 and was elected to the Board of the parent Company in 1933. Possessing a worldwide knowledge of markets, people and conditions, Richards was a commercial ambassador of the first order. He will long be remembered as a typical merchant adventurer of fine character and unaffected personality.
In the Export Company Richards was succeeded by I. R. Cox, who on E. J. Summerhill's retirement in January 1944 became sole managing director.
In April 1944 P. S. Turner relinquished his post as general sales manager. For over thirty years his technical and commercial abilities had been conspicuous, particularly in the field of electric traction where no trouble was too great for him and where his many overseas visits had contributed to a vast experience. He had been a director of the parent Company and chairman of the Export Company since 1931. His departure meant the loss not only of a leading member of the commercial organization but also of a charming personality, and his death a few months later was mourned by all his associates.
Turner was succeeded as general sales manager by H. C. Pierson, previously in charge of home sales, and on Pierson's retirement in February 1945 his place was taken by I. R. Cox, then managing director of the Export Company and destined for rapid elevation to even higher positions. Following Turner's death in June 1944 Sir George Bailey took over the chairmanship of the Export Company.
The New Year of 1945 brought another welcome honour to the Company in the knighthood conferred upon A. P. M. Fleming for his services to education. Fleming had controlled the educational and the research work of the Company since their inception and inspired them with some of his own vision and foresight. Outside of M-V he is a past president of the I.E.E., whose Faraday Medal he received in 1941, and he holds many important positions on advisory bodies connected with education, science and engineering. He was elected president of the engineering section of the British Association for 1949, in which office he follows many famous men including Miles Walker, another of the Holy Forty. With his presidency of the education section in 1939, he enjoys the further distinction of having headed two separate sections of the B.A. within a decade.
AFTER the war it became increasingly clear that Britain's future prosperity depended on a high level of industrial production. Overseas trade in particular proved vitally important owing to the necessity of paying for the imports required to maintain a reasonable standard of living. Accordingly, in the post-war years the Company carried out a considerable amount of expansion and reorganization and did much re-equipment, the need for which had been increased both by the strain of exceptionally heavy war production and by the rapid obsolescence resulting from new improvements and discoveries. One problem of this period was the reestablishment of ex-service men and women in their civilian jobs. More intractable was the continued shortage of vital materials, and another factor in production was the five-day week of forty-four working hours, which was started by agreement between the engineering employers and trade unions at the beginning of 1947.
It was during the same year, however, that production began to take an upward course, and the slightly greater tonnage output was all the more satisfactory because of the fuel crisis with which the year began. This had its effect in a power cut that left the Trafford Park works without any external electricity supply from February 10 to February 28. However a 2,500-kW turbo-generator set on test was used to give an immediate emergency supply, which was soon supplemented from a second set that was just ready for despatch; these turbines were supplied with steam from the works boilers, several of which had previously been converted from coal to oil burning. Work was rapidly resumed, section by section, and all who could not be employed were paid the guaranteed thirty-four hour week for the whole three weeks of the stoppage.
The upward trend has continued. In 1948 shipments and sales were higher than ever, and the Jubilee year found the Company with a record order book, a strength of 23,000 (only exceeded in war-time), and a reputation as high as at any period in its history.
In meeting the demand for increased exports M-V has played its full part. The backbone of the business is still steam power station plant, and modern high pressure installations are being put in in many countries. Production of hydroelectric generators has continued to increase, principally for India, Australia, and New Zealand. Other important activities are in switchgear, transformers, and mining equipment: M-V electric winders installed in South Africa amount to nearly three-quarters of the total in that country.
The Company was quick to spread its wings in the ex-German markets on the Continent. The largest waterwheel generators yet built in this country have been made for Finland; 220-kV switchgear and high voltage transformers are in hand for Finland and Holland, and power plant equipment for Portugal. Licence agreements with Dutch and Danish firms are less obvious exports, but none the less valuable in the national interest.
Today we are represented abroad by five offices, four associated companies and forty-one agents, operating in seventy towns and thirty-four countries, and are fortunate in possessing many engineers having long overseas experience and well fitted to face the situation when conditions become more normal. The sending of specialists abroad by air to help the local representatives without waste of time has proved very useful in dealing with the wide range of M-V products. Perhaps the most important development affecting exports is the tendency for the Commonwealth nations to manufacture in their own countries everything they can make economically. Industrial developments of great importance are in progress in Australia, India and South Africa. This Company with its high level of technical and scientific knowledge can be of great assistance, not only by supplying the machinery required but also by exporting men and experience. In South Africa, where M-V has supplied more electrical plant than any other manufacturer, the long-standing link with Union industry has been strengthened through A.E.L, which first acquired an interest in the Vanderbiji Engineering Corporation (Vecor), mechanical engineers of Johannesburg, and more recently took a financial interest in First Electric Corporation, the largest electrical manufacturers in South Africa. These associations entail the provision of technical information and the transfer of highly qualified engineers from this country, and the M-V Company will be an important contributor to this form of invisible export.
Before giving an account of the extensive changes in the factory and of departmental reorganization and development after the war, some important changes in the Company's administration must be recorded.
In June 1945 it was decided to revive the office of managing director after a gap of eighteen years, and I. R. Cox was chosen to follow in the distinguished line of Carlton, Lange and Hilton. Cox started as a college apprentice in 1911, and after some years in the mechanical engineering department had established a high reputation on export work in Russia, Australia and America. Besides being joint managing director of the Export Company from 1941, he was a director of the parent Company and general sales manager from April 1944. Cox was succeeded as general sales manager by D. MacArthur, who had had a long career with the Company. Beginning in Glasgow m 1906, he achieved the managership of the Glasgow office in 1919, of London office in 1935, and of the whole of the home sales in April 1944. He joined the M-V Board in November 1943 and that of the Export Company in February 1945.
G. A. Juhlin retired from the position of chief electrical engineer in June 1947 and was succeeded by C. Dannatt (who in the following month took Juhlin's place on the Board). Dannatt was a college apprentice soon after the 1914-18 war. Subsequently he was in charge of the electrical and magnetic section of the research department and became an authority on measurements, especially in relation to magnetism and the behaviour of dielectrics. In 1940 he was appointed professor of electrical engineering at Birmingham University, but at the request of the Admiralty he continued part-time activities at the works until 1944, when he resigned his chair to return to the Company.
W. A. Coates left the switchgear department to become home sales manager in May 1946. He originally came to the Company from Siemens' of Stafford in 1909 and later had a varied overseas experience including periods in Canada, Russia, Australasia and the Far East. At the works he was successively chief engineer, consulting engineer and sales manager of the switchgear department, and he has written extensively on the subject. Coates and W. Symes, the works manager at Trafford Park, were elected directors of the Company in February 1948.
In the Export Company J. F. Perry, then general manager, was appointed managing director at the end of 1948, thus lightening the load on Cox. Perry was succeeded by F. J. E. Tearle, an export director with long Russian experience.
Many well-known employees who had given faithful service for forty years or more left the scene soon after the war. It may be permissible to single out L. C. Benton of the instrument and meter department, who died in harness in 1946 having started on June 1, 1900. P. Fitzpatrick of the iron foundry, F. Gardner of West works, G. Marland of research, W. Mayor of motor machine shop, H. Pattison of the pattern shop, E. Taylor of K plating, and G. H. Taylor of janitors can all be credited with forty-six years' service on their retirement. 'Forty-fives' include H. E. Bradley of inspection, M. J. Glynn of G mica, A. Mayor of stationery, and C. E. Woodrow of mechanical sales, whose service ended only with their death, and A. Innes of B machine and T. Ogden of N transformer, whose retirement was all too short. G. Kelly of traffic department retired with the distinction, perhaps not unique, of never having been late for forty-four years. Several long established managers of district offices also relinquished their posts, including H. Paterson with forty-five years' service and R. G. MacLaverty with forty-four; R. Hodge died after forty-three years on the Company's strength. The retirement of R. Johnson and T. Fraser in 1946 deserves special reference. Johnson joined the Company in 1900 as one of the Holy Forty, and after early work on insulation testing, he became chief d.c. designer in 1917 and later chief engineer of the motor department. In 1928 he took over marine work, and for the last ten years of his service he had charge of special contracts, dealing with all Government work during the war. He played a prominent part in the initial organization of the Manchester Defence Scheme.
Fraser, an M-V director and the manager of the aircraft factory, had forty-three years' service. His early days as chief of dynamo test provided for many ex-apprentices their most thrilling reminiscences. In 1919 he became superintendent of the plant department, and later his field was extended to transformer and insulation manufacture. He was put in charge of the projected aircraft factory in February 1939, and his personal enthusiasm and drive, which penetrated to every part of the shops, did much to inspire the factory's notable contribution to the war effort. He joined the Board in 1944.
A. E. L. Scanes, manager of main production and formerly of detail, retired at the end of 1946 after forty years' service. He had been chairman of the suggestions committee since the early twenties. A year later came the retirement of J. Billington, the purchasing agent and storekeeper, after forty-five years, for thirty of which he was primarily responsible for the supply of material to the works.
The expanding range and scale of the Company's business in the post-war period necessitated a number of changes in the organization, which, flexible enough to meet the temporary demands of war work, required modification to suit the new and more permanent conditions of peace. Even before the end of the war the growth of jet engine and gas turbine work and the increasing complexity of feed heating circuits for steam plant had resulted in splitting the mechanical engineers into three separate departments dealing with steam turbines, gas turbines, and condensers respectively under L. S. Robson, D. M. Smith, and E. V. Winstanley as chief engineers. At the same time N. Eice was appointed assistant to the chief mechanical engineer, taking charge of development work, and in 1948 he became assistant chief mechanical engineer.
Electronic design, having expanded rapidly during the war, was handed over in June 1945 to a quasi-independent section of industrial control engineers under G. L. Newman; later a separate electronic control committee was formed on the lines of the departmental groups to coordinate the engineering, manufacturing, and sales sides. The radiolocation section became a new radio engineering department under A. K. Nuttall in December 1945, and a radio sales department was set up under L. H. J. Phillips. Manufacture of electronic control and radio apparatus remained under the detail and transmitter department. Early in 1949, however, 'detail', which from early days had been the largest employer of labour in the Company, ceased to exist, being replaced by separate departments for switchgear, control, and radio manufacture. A 'new products' sales department was established under J. W. Buckley in November 1945 to handle the testing and allied equipment made and previously sold by the research department, and also any new apparatus lying outside the field of existing departments.
In January 1946 the Company took over the business of the Vickers Train Lighting Company, for which it had manufactured equipment for many years.
X-ray work, in which M-V pioneered the production of high voltage apparatus, particularly for industrial crystallography and for deep therapy, was expanded in 1946 by the acquisition of Newton & Wright, one of the oldest manufacturers of x-ray and optical equipment with origins going back to the celebrated Sir Isaac. In 1948 the Victor X-ray Corporation, handling medical and industrial x-ray apparatus, was purchased from the General Electric X-ray Corporation of America, and at the end of July all x-ray interests were amalgamated by the formation of Newton Victor Limited. Extensive manufacturing facilities were provided in a new factory at Motherwell near Glasgow.
The Warrington works and all technical and commercial work on the metallic carbides made there were transferred at the beginning of 1949 to a new company, Metro-Cutanit Limited, formed jointly with Cutanit Limited which had hitherto bought and marketed these sintered carbides. Besides the carbides, which are now used widely for cutting tools and for wear-resisting parts such as wire-drawing dies and sand-blast nozzles, Metro-Cutanit handles Elmet compound metals, formerly made by Compound Electro-Metals Limited for use in switchgear, resistance welding equipment, bearings, and so on.
With the end of war production much space became available at the Trafford Park works, and as each factory or shop was vacated it was quickly adapted to normal manufacturing purposes. Something like a million square feet of floor space was involved in this great change-over, which was planned by the works manager, W. Symes.
In August 1945 the Government cancelled the Company's aircraft contract, and before the end of the year the last completed airframe had been despatched. At the former aircraft factory, renamed the Mosley Road works, only a skeleton staff remained to dispose of tools, jigs and redundant material. Meanwhile preparations were in hand to transfer the press shop and the entire motor department from the main works, and in February 1946 the actual removal began.
Within five months the press shop and the machine shop, commutator, winding, shaft and detail sections of motor department were in full operation on the new ground; no production time had been lost, as every machine had been transferred to a prepared site during a weekend. The engineers, drawing office and sales also had moved into the aircraft offices. The transfer of the tests beds—the biggest job of all—was finished by February 1947, and two months later the move was complete. Motor manufacture now occupies a floor area of some 250,000 sq. ft. laid out to give a smooth flow of materials and manufactured parts. The increasing demand for tubular-sheathed heating elements, both for industrial and domestic use, continued after the war, and manufacture was therefore transferred in May 1948 to a new and larger department in the Mosley Road works. Time-saving assembly methods were brought into play, and the weekly production capacity increased from 5,000 to 15,000 single elements. Many of these are for assembling into boiling plates and grill boilers, of which over a million have been sold since 1932.
Other sections moved over to Mosley Road included mercury arc rectifiers and other vacuum plant, distribution and instrument transformers, and small switchgear with their corresponding office staffs. The various sections of the publicity department were brought together for the first time, and the organization of exhibition stands and production of cine-films were resumed on an increasing scale.
Some steel fabrication work, principally on large condensers, evaporators and feed heaters, was transferred in 1948 to Stockton-on-Tees, an area where suitable labour was available. Here a partly built excavator factory, the Bowesfield works, was acquired and completed, providing a floor area of 110,000 sq. ft.
Small turbine manufacture was moved to one of the West works extensions originally intended for switchgear. Control board assembly, which had been on K aisle for nearly fifty years, took over the remaining space, thus bringing nearly all switchgear work together again and allowing control gear to spread over most of H and K aisles. The manufacture of radio and electronic control equipment continued to occupy West works 4, 5 and 6, and railway signalling equipment was added to the products of this area.
These removals enabled much more room to be given to the manufacture of steam turbines and large electrical equipment in the main works, and it became possible to meet not only the exceptional demands immediately following the war but also the needs of a growing electricity supply industry overseas. The whole of the floor space under the giant cranes in B and D aisles is now used for machines of the largest size, and 'dynamo test' has been enlarged by the construction of a new pit measuring 30ft x 14^ ft x 16 ft deep and the addition of a 2500-hp driving motor; some two miles of high voltage cable are now installed.
For jet engine and gas turbine development, which began in 1938 with the first machines being built and tested in the main works, a special test house was built at Wincham in Cheshire. By 1944 however a new factory in Barton Dock Road, Trafford Park, had been built and equipped on behalf of the Government, and it was taken over by the Company for gas turbine work after the war.
The manufacture of welding equipment was moved in 1946 to the Leonard works, and the electrode section was designed to produce two-and-a-half to three million feet a week. The engineers, drawing office and sales staffs moved over in the following year, thus bringing the whole department under one roof. In 1946 the acute shortage of women workers in Trafford Park led to the taking over of a part of Barton airport for coil winding and of a small factory known as California Mill, Bury, for making house service meters and for Sunvic domestic control apparatus. The Bury works was only on a short lease, but it served its purpose well until permanent quarters were ready at Motherwell, near Glasgow, Here a new factory was acquired from the Government in 1947, and by the following year it was making standard instruments, relays, house service meters and domestic temperature control devices. Part of the factory is occupied by Newton Victor for the manufacture of medical and industrial x-ray equipment and supplies and physiotherapy apparatus.
The Motherwell works is laid out on industrial estate lines on a site of twenty-three acres and has well lighted single-storey workshops covering 300,000 sq. ft. together with offices and canteen blocks. Substantial progress has been made in establishing this light engineering unit in a heavy engineering centre, though the training problem remains severe; most of the 600 workpeople were enlisted locally, and eventually over 2000 are expected to be employed.
At the main works increased production required more offices; additional accommodation was provided by building a 'north office block' in 1945 and adding a storey to the west office block in 1946.
The Company now occupies over 200 acres of land with some two-and-a-quarter million square feet of covered floor space, and a heavy load falls on the works engineer's department, which is responsible for all upkeep and maintenance as well as policing, fire protection, safety precautions and salvage. One wartime development—the complete rebuilding of worn machine tools at the works—has been continued as the quickest and most convenient method of maintenance.
The Trafford Park works alone consumes thirty million units of electricity a year. Though the maximum demand is 9,500 kVA, only 5,500 kVA is taken from the grid, thanks to the works power station, which also produces 647,000,000 lb of steam a year for heating and process work. Another aspectof the growth of the works is seen in the weight of material received yearly by the purchasing department, which has risen from 78,000 to 131,000 tons during the last thirty years.
The transport of today's big loads is a special problem. To move stators or transformers weighing 100 tons or more requires elaborate planning of the route by the traffic department under A. Mycoe, who joined in 1907 and was appointed traffic agent in 1919. The department also arranges for the transport of workers in and out of Trafford Park; nearly 250 buses, about one-fifth of the local municipal transport, are at the works gates morning and evening.
A comprehensive scheme of foundry reorganization began in 1947. When there is enough other employment the laborious and unpleasant nature of foundry work is a deterrent to workers, particularly to the apprentices who should be providing the foundrymen of the future, and after the war better working conditions and more efficient methods became indispensable if production was to be maintained at the pre-war level.
Perhaps the most difficult problem was the dressing shop, where the cores are removed from the castings; this work is now done by high-powered jets of water in an enclosed hydro-blast equipment, and there is a much cleaner atmosphere outside. The core shop, where women are employed, has been divided into two parts, each immediately adjacent to the foundry in which the cores are required. Both shops have been completely mechanized.
The moulding sections where repetition work is done have also been mechanized and equipped with unit plants, which in the event of breakdowns prevent major stoppages and the consequent loss of productive hours. The absence of loose sand makes it difficult to realize that moulding operations are in progress. For the bigger work sand slingers have been installed to ram the moulds, and it is hoped to extend their use when larger machines are available. In the brass foundry the melting plant has been reorganized and concentrated, making it possible to remove all fumes. A modern die-casting shop has been erected.
Better working conditions throughout have resulted from the introduction of concrete floors and mechanized plant with roller conveyors, and they have been further assisted by the installation of a central heating system to replace the old open fires with their noxious fumes and by the conversion of the drying stoves from coke fires to gas recirculating methods. Wide and well-cleaned gangways, fume removal plants, mechanical lifting appliances, and good lavatory and washing accommodation with baths are other modern features of the M-V foundry.
The addition of oil-fired boilers to the works boiler plant and the conversion of the older boilers to oil burning in 1946 prevented much loss of production in the following winters when coal was scarce. A 3000-kW turbo-generator purchased as an emergency standby set during the war was installed permanently to avoid the staggering of working hours when the public electricity supply was restricted, and in 1948 this was supplemented by a 1,250-kW back pressure set, from which low pressure steam is now taken for works processes and heating. But the greatest innovation was the erection of a 2,000-kW gas turbo-generator, which was installed with the object of smoothing out the peak demands on the local supply. By October 8, 1948, this set had generated power in parallel with the grid, the first gas turbine plant to do so.
A central 'personnel department' was established in January 1946 with the object of ensuring the greatest possible amount of cooperation between employees and the management. K. Miller, who had been superintendent of the aircraft factory during the war, was appointed the first manager of the new department, which oversees the male employment, women's supervision, and canteen work and also provides for the coordination of all welfare schemes. The proportion of women employed in the works fell rapidly at the end of the war, mainly because of the removal of Government control and the small number of young girls who had been coming in. The Company now employs about 2300 workgirls compared with a wartime peak of 8250. With another 1400 on the staff, women form about 15 per cent of the total strength.
In the works their chief occupations are a wide variety of bench or machine work, e.g. assembling, coil winding, coil taping, armature and stator winding, mica building and trimming, core-making and moulding, viewing and testing, canteen helping and cleaning, and machine tool and press operation. Staff women are employed as clerks, typists and secretaries, and on office machinery; as tracers and draughtswomen; as engineering estimators and designers; and in the research laboratories and library.
Early in 1949 Miss Winnie Baddeley, a coil winder in meter assembly and a member of the women's works committee for the past twelve years, was chosen to join four other members of the A.E.U. on a six-weeks' tour of engineering centres in the United States. Miss Baddeley, who has been with the Company for nearly twenty-seven years, is the shop steward for sixty women, and she was elected last April as the A.E.U. women's representative for the Manchester area.
The girls' training school was closed temporarily in 1948 owing to the irregular supply of labour and changes in type of work required. The technical work of the school had previously passed to the motion study department, which now deals with all problems of layout, material handling and operator training, either in a consultative or an executive capacity as required. It also designs and makes special equipment for the improvement of work methods. Training courses for engineers have been recommenced, and annual courses for foremen started.
The works medical services continued to expand in scope. Dr. Max W. Robinson, who succeeded his father in September 1946, now has a medical staff of seventeen including a full-time assistant medical officer, a sister-in-charge, and nine state registered nurses. In 1945 and 1946 chest examination by mass radiography (with strictly confidential results) was made available, and largely thanks to the works health committee four out of every five took advantage of it; some early cases of tuberculosis and other abnormalities were discovered. During 1948 the ambulance rooms, which are manned throughout normal working hours including night shifts, dealt with no less than 216,000 attendances at all the Company's works. More than half of the cases were surgical and a quarter medical, the bulk of the remainder requiring eye treatment and 10 per cent skin treatment; only 12 per cent of the skin cases were of occupational origin. In the short-wave clinic nearly 20,000 treatments were carried out by three physiotherapists, and the eye service dealt with over 1000 cases.
Canteens have grown much more popular during the last ten years: the number using them has risen from 17 to 52 per cent of the staff and from 10 to 18 per cent of the workpeople. The eight canteens in the Trafford Park area serve something like 5,500 main meals, 2,200 subsidiary meals and 11,500 beverages in a day. Tea is served in the departments to about 1,700 work-girls at half-past eight and to 2500 staff employees at three o'clock. The waitress service, which was abandoned due to labour difficulties during the war, has been reinstated in the staff canteens and introduced for the work-girls.
The staff committee was reconstituted in November 1942. The delegates are now elected by groups of staff and not by departments, and they themselves elect twelve members, who with two representatives of the management form a 'staff council'. At the present time there are ninety-two delegates representing 6,600 members of the staff. In the winter of 1945-46 the staff council introduced the first of an annual series of educational talks by heads of departments on the departmental activities, and in 1948 it arranged with the Company for visits to the works by the staff, their wives and families — a very successful innovation.
The council's most important function however is to settle day-to-day complaints, which in a large company are otherwise difficult to deal with satisfactorily.
Existing provision for retired employees received a valuable addition in 1947, when at Sir George Bailey's suggestion the Company instituted a 'retiring grants fund' to supersede the special grants account of the long service association. From this fund, which is non-contributory, varying allowances are paid to clock employees on the basis of age and length of loyal service.
The association itself attained its silver jubilee in 1948, when A. Walmsley who was the first chairman of the committee was succeeded by H. Annis. A sub-centre has now been formed at the Sheffield works. Some 2000 long service members are still at work: they may be said to represent the hard core of the Company and, with their former colleagues, to have made a unique contribution to its history.
A Joy Keith trust fund to help women employees was formed in 1940 with money left by a former employment supervisor. One of the three trustees is a representative of the women workers, and cases for assistance are recommended by the women's employment department and the members of the women's works committee. So far the fund has provided thirty-nine girls with grants to cover cost of holidays in rest homes, a type of assistance that no other fund provides.
An early appointment in the new personnel department was a welfare officer, F. S. Grace, who thus received official recognition for his long-standing and voluntary task of visiting sick employees. He had been with the Company since 1905 and was ideally suited for this work, having a useful knack of obtaining such things as a wheeled chair or a wireless set for a lonely invalid. On his death in 1948, he was succeeded by C. Powell.
Social activities took a new lease of life after the war. At the M-V Club the bowls, billiards and snooker, chess, tennis and general social sections continue to flourish with increased numbers, alongside the complete pre-war list of affiliated organizations; these provide for the devotee of angling, badminton, bridge, fencing or hockey on the one hand and languages, music or photography on the other. A new departure was the inauguration of an annual exchange of visits with the B.T.H. Recreation Club at Rugby. The Club president. Sir George Bailey, resigned in 1947 and was succeeded by I. R. Cox. Bailey, whose membership dates from 1909, had been president for nineteen years, during which he had consistently •supported the Club and all the allied activities that have contributed so much to the Company's success.
The annual sports, revived in 1946, now include many open events and attract leading amateur athletes. The total number of competitors is in the region of 750, of whom perhaps 200 come from other A.E.I, firms.
There have always been a number of well-known sporting personalities at the works, and today's names stand as high as any of the past. Four of them took part in the 1948 Olympic Games — Fred Ireland and Stan Boardman as officials and Alan Bannister and Max Shacklady as competitors. Ireland, captain of Winton Harriers for six years and winner of over 150 trophies and prizes, has done with active running, but he retains a keen interest in sport and holds important positions with amateur athletic organizations. Boardman has just completed twenty-seven years as a soccer referee. Bannister is the leading amateur cyclist in the country, and Shacklady, now retired from boxing, won the Northern Counties welterweight title for three years in succession and the A.B.A. championship in 1948.
A new education building designed by the late H. S. Fairhurst, a well-known Manchester architect, was completed in 1939; it has a floor area of some 20,000 sq. ft. and includes well-equipped classrooms and a gymnasium. Another building of 36,000 sq. ft., designed by the works engineer's department, is being put up on the south side of the works across the Bridgewater Canal and will provide a practical training workshop and more classrooms.
The Company's works school has recently been accepted by the Lancashire education authority and is reported to be the only one in the county area that is satisfactory to continue under the proposed county college scheme. During the year it provides a half-day's schooling per week for some 700 probationary and trade apprentices and part-time classes for 300 college and school apprentices. It also affords general and commercial education (half a day and one or two voluntary evenings a week) for 350 girls under twenty-one and some older women. The apprentice's association, run by themselves, provides a range of social and intellectual functions for 1500 members—about 1000 trade and 500 college and school. Its governing body, the apprentice council, coordinates and controls the enthusiasm of the 'c. and s.' and trade sections, and also of the Rotor group which produces the apprentice magazine. Annual events such as inter-section sports and dances, section dinners, and the c. and s. revue are far more than highlights of the social year: they are opportunities for the development of character, which is no less essential than the acquisition of technical knowledge.
A year's inflow now amounts to about a hundred graduates and another eighty professional apprentices together with about 230 trade apprentices. Though most of the latter are subsequently employed as craftsmen, a large number become technicians or professional engineers.
Many ex-apprentice readers will acknowledge a debt to Sir Arthur P. M. Fleming, who since the beginning of the century has guided and helped young men to success both within and without the Company, and to Kenneth R. Evans and his staff: on the college and school side T. Owen, who for nearly thirty years has countered inexperience with patience, and on the trade side F. Bateman, who is still assisted by G. H. Wilson and W. J. Wood. Lighter memories will recall with gratitude the capable hands of Miss W. M. Wellard and Miss C. M. Lofthouse from whom not only the shy or susceptible have derived encouragement.
A large number of apprentices stay with the Company. Three have become directors, and forty-four of the present seventy-five heads of departments began their careers with a college, school, or trade apprenticeship. Others have taken their abilities outside, often to quite different fields of engineering, and shown themselves capable of holding the highest executive positions. (This country alone can boast of ten ex-M-V professors.) Many have gone to leaven the lump of the non-industrial world: parliament, the churches, the civil service, the armed forces, the police, the B.B.C. and the press are among the institutions they adorn, and doctors and missionaries, coffee planters and graziers, schoolmasters and barristers are some by-products of the education department. An ex-apprentice register, of which the third edition will soon be available, contains 10,000 names representing sixty-seven nationalities of worldwide origin.
A notable engineering honour was conferred on K. Baumann in February 1949, when the Institution of Mechanical Engineers awarded him the James Clayton Prize 'for his contribution to the advancement of mechanical engineering science by way of invention, design, and investigation communicated, in part, in a lecture to the Institution in 1948 — a Hawksley lecture on "Heat Engines". During his long term of office as chief mechanical engineer, Baumann has made many inventions of fundamental importance to steam turbine practice, writing papers of the first rank and earning an international reputation. Recently M-V designers have done outstanding work on jet propulsion engines and gas turbines under his guidance.
In the following month R. W. Bailey was elected an F.R.S. Bailey, who is now the Company's consultant on mechanical research work, had been engaged for nearly twenty-five years on problems concerned with the strength and design of important parts of power plant. He gave particular attention to the behaviour and operation of metals at high temperatures and stresses, and important advances in the use of special steels for steam and gas turbines have resulted from his own work and from that of the research sections under his control.
The many distinguished engineers and scientists who have been mentioned in this book are indications in themselves of the high technical level of the Company's staff. Another criterion is afforded by the scale on which they and their colleagues have contributed to the leading scientific and technical publications. Four of the most famous — the Philosophical Magazine and the Journals of the Royal Society, the I.E.E., and the I.Mech. E. — have published during the last fourteen years no fewer than 142 papers and original contributions from M-V writers. The Company has always encouraged and facilitated the support of the scientific and engineering institutions. At the Trafford Park works alone there are nearly 240 corporate members of the Institution of Electrical Engineers. Many high offices in this and other premier institutions have been and are held by M-V men and women, and they figure in a long list of distinctions and awards.
Further evidence of technical pre-eminence is shown in the active part taken by the Company in engineering standardization, both by lending the services of its engineers to national drafting committees and also by carrying out tests. Principally as representatives of the technical and standardization committees of the British Electrical and Allied Manufacturers' Association, no fewer than 144 members of the Company's staff sit on 129 committees or sub-committees of the British Standards Institution, and the substance of M-V practice forms the basis on which many British Standards have been drawn up. In the Electrical Research Association some 80 members of our staff sit on 58 committees or sub-committees, and meetings of the International Electro-technical Commission are seldom held without the attendance of one or more M-V men as British representatives. Among the most prominent in this work is A. G. Ellis, who has been chief engineer of the transformer department since 1919 and has made notable contributions to transformer standardization through the B.E.A.M.A., the B.S.I, and the I.E.C. RESEARCH
THE research department, which during the war and before had concentrated its energies on problems of national importance, returned quickly to its normal industrial field in which new problems were already awaiting solution. Some long-term investigations and fundamental work suspended during, the war were restarted, but, as in all companies of the A.E.I. Group, the immediate needs of industry had the prior claim. To redress the balance, an A.E.I, research laboratory was set up in 1947 at Aldermaston Court near Reading; this was exclusively for long-term research, and T. E. Allibone of the high voltage laboratory at Trafford Park was chosen as its first manager.
In the field of nuclear physics opened up by Cockcroft and Walton's disintegration of the atom, there has been much experimental work with methods and apparatus for accelerating atomic particles, such as neutrons, positive ions, and electrons, to high velocities and therefore high energy levels. Cyclotrons—an early form of electron accelerator—were constructed by the Company in 1938, one in collaboration with Cockcroft for installation at the Cavendish laboratory and another at Liverpool for Sir James Chadwick, the discoverer of the neutron. After the war it became possible to organize a research team, which included F. R. Perry, P. P. Starling, and J. D. Craggs, to deal with nuclear physics work; a 700-kV neutron generator for the Imperial College of Science and Technology was installed early in 1946.
In the same year a new type of accelerator, the 'betatron', was designed and installed—for the first time in this country—in the high voltage laboratory; the energy of the output beam is twenty million electron-volts. Besides its original application to nuclear research work, the betatron promises to influence medical research and high intensity x-ray therapy and radiography. It may be used in the treatment of malignant tumours, to produce radioactive 'tracer' elements for circulating in living organisms such as the human body, and in industrial research to provide a quick method of radiography for material of considerable thickness.
Attention was next turned to equipment of even greater output, and experimental work in cooperation with Professor P. I. Dee of Glasgow University and with the Telecommunication Research Establishment led to the design of a 'synchrotron'. This machine will be installed at Glasgow for work on subatomic physics. It will produce electrons or gamma radiation at an energy level of 300 MeV and, with an electromagnet weighing 125 tons, will be the most powerful electron accelerator of its type in the country. A recording equipment for high speed particles has been built and installed in the research department for use with the betatron. It consists of ionization tubes known as Geiger counters, which produce a minute electrical impulse every time a subatomic particle passes through them; the number of impulses is accurately recorded no matter how often they occur, which may vary from once a week to several times in a millisecond. The equipment can deal with any high speed particles, whether alpha, beta, gamma, or cosmic radiation, encountered in nuclear physics.
Early in 1944 the Company was asked by the Ministry of Supply to make mass spectrometers, an instrument invented for the precise measurement of the abundance ratios of isotopes in the naturally occurring elements. A recording spectrometer suitable for general purposes was developed under R. W. Sillars and J. Blears, and the first has just been installed in the physical chemistry laboratory at Oxford; it can measure ions whose mass and electron charge are in any ratio from 1 to 200. Subsequently a much smaller machine was designed, covering ratios from 1 to 20.
The mass spectrometer has some essential and many useful applications in atomic energy work, biology, medicine and engineering. It is indispensable for studying the success of the process of separating the 235 and 238 isotopes of uranium in the manufacture of fissile material. It can trace the movement of stable isotopes of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and so on in living organisms, giving a valuable method of studying the mechanism of plant and animal life, and can be used to study gas reactions (as in arc welding), the fuel present in exhaust gases, the thermal stability of organic fluids, and the characteristics of insulating gases.
High voltage equipments have been made and installed at industrial and university laboratories. They include impulse generators, high voltage transformers, Schering bridges, conditioning ovens, cathode ray oscillographs, and measuring apparatus. Work on the standardization of impulse testing^ undertaken in cooperation with the B.S.I, and now generally adopted, has been an important activity of the Company's high voltage laboratory, which is probably the most extensive and complete in the country.
The development of the electron microscope and associated apparatus was resumed under F. R. Perry before the end of the war, and an improved type was soon made available. This was a two-stage 50-kV instrument and gave direct magnifications from 10,000 to 20,000. The high tension supply set was a 50-c/s half-wave rectifier unit, and the microscope controls and stabilizing amplifiers were mounted in a separate cubicle.
In 1947 an entirely new design was brought out, a 100-kV model. The higher intensity of the electron gun enabled the maximum direct magnification to be raised to 100,000, and by means of the double projector lens the magnification can be varied continuously and widely without altering the focal length of the objective. Transmission diffraction patterns can also be taken for small areas that have been selected microscopically. The magnetic lenses have been redesigned with the windings in air so that only the central core of the lens has to be evacuated. In this case the high tension supply is provided by a rectifier unit driven from a high frequency oscillator, which enables voltage stabilization to be obtained more easily than with a 50-c/s set. The electron microscope opens up fields of investigation far beyond the reach of the most powerful optical instrument. It has already become a valuable tool for the routine examination of industrial pigments, emulsions, powders, fibres and the like and for the study of viruses, bacteria, diatoms and other biological specimens.
A complementary instrument, the electron diffraction camera, was also developed. It enables the surface conditions in metallic or non-metallic materials to be examined by means of diffraction patterns produced by an electron beam, which is either reflected at glancing incidence from the surface or transmitted through thin films of the material. This method, which is analogous to the use of x-ray diffraction for examining internal structure, is of value in studying catalysis and corrosion. A 100-kV camera is now in production.
The range of oil diffusion pumps, on which the feasibility of continuously evacuated apparatus depends, has been much extended in recent years, and pumps are now available in sizes up to 32 inches diameter and pumping speeds of 6000 litres per second at a pressure of 10-4 mm of mercury. The smaller sizes are used for high vacuum induction furnaces and large aluminizing plants, and the larger on atomic energy projects.
Much work has been done on the behaviour of materials at high temperatures. A full knowledge of strains and stresses is essential for the design of modern turbines, particularly gas plant, and new testing methods and equipment have been developed for the investigation of creep, fatigue, yield and allied phenomena.
Equipment was developed in 1945 to give a continuous indication and record of shaft eccentricity and differential expansion between the rotor and the casing of steam turbines; when using very high temperatures,' any unequal heating may give rise to serious damage. Another device will detect vibration in bearing pedestals, thus making an additional contribution to reliability in generating plant.
Experiments on the basic mechanism of metal cutting, directed by R. N. Arnold, have led to important improvements in the design of cutting tools and the choice of speeds, feeds and other factors in machining. For instance, cutters of unconventional design have been developed for the extremely severe conditions of machining the Nimonic heat-resisting alloys; these may involve cutting stresses five or six times as great as those of steel. On one operation the new cutter enabled double the number of pieces to be machined for each tool regrind. An improvement of only a few per cent in a widely used operation can, of course, bring a considerable increase in production and saving in cost.
TECHNICAL progress in the Company's normal range of products was resumed soon after the end of the war, accelerated and broadened by wartime activities and their subsequent development.
With the possibilities of gas turbines in mind some years before war broke out, R. W. Bailey's research work on creep phenomena was extended to temperatures well beyond the range of steam plant. Though higher temperatures meant a shorter working life, this was no disadvantage in engines for military aircraft, and in 1937 discussions were started with the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. In the following year the Company received a contract from the Government for the development of gas turbines. This work under K. Baumann and D. M. Smith, who later became chief engineer of the new gas turbine department, had far-reaching results, which since the war have led to gas turbines being designed as prime movers, both for ship propulsion and for electricity generation in land power stations and in locomotives.
The original aircraft turbines were of the compound crossover type and were intended to drive propellers and also to give some thrust from an exhaust jet. Tests in 1940 on a simple arrangement of typical components provided experience of great value. However it had already been decided to adopt an in-line design giving a straight through flow, and a machine having a new type of combustion chamber was built in 1941.
Meanwhile the feasibility of jet propulsion alone had been accepted by the Ministry of Aircraft Production, and in July 1940 the Company was requested to undertake the development of an axial-flow jet engine. The outcome was the now famous F2 type in which the gases flowed straight through an axial flow compressor, an annular combustion chamber, a turbine and an exhaust cone. Bench tests began in December 1941, and a year later a modified engine had been passed for experimental flights, which were followed by trials in a Lancaster flying test bed. On November 13, 1943, a prototype Gloster Meteor fighter equipped with F2 engines made a flight from Farnborough. This was the first time that a jet propelled aircraft with axial-flow engines had been flown in this country.
Later developments included the 'ducted-fan thrust augmented, a compromise between simple jet propulsion and airscrew propulsion; this device, known as the F3, gave greater thrust for the same fuel consumption at take-off and up to flight speeds of about 400 m.p.h. Other changes were made — always retaining the straight-through design with its small frontal area, a valuable feature on aircraft engines — and these culminated in the F2/4, the prototype of the present Beryl engine. Two of the latter were installed in 1947 in the Saunders-Roe SR/A1, the first jet-propelled flying boat fighter in the world, and another pair installed in a Gloster Meteor in 1949 enabled it to climb 7 1/2 miles in 7 1/2 minutes, twice as fast as was possible with the engines normally fitted.
Behind these achievements lay an extensive programme of research, involving for instance the design of combustion chambers for various types of fuel and the study of airflow phenomena over turbines and compressor blades; for the latter work a high-speed wind tunnel was constructed at the Barton Dock factory.
The success of jet engines on aircraft and they compactness and low specific weight suggested that gas turbines could be used to provide a considerable reserve of speed on light naval vessels. Accordingly a gas turbine of 2,500 s.hp was designed for the Admiralty under the code name Gatric. In this, a gas generator, which was. basically an F2 engine, supplied its products of combustion to a power turbine, which was geared to the propeller. It was installed in 1947 in place of one of the existing engines in the motor gun-boat 2009, and this was the first gas-turbine vessel to put to sea. So successful were the trials that larger units have been put in hand.
The development of gas turbines for land power stations became possible after the war, and the 2,000-kW unit already mentioned was designed for the works power station. This is an open-cycle plant having a gas generator similar to that in Gas turbines/or m.g.b. 2009, tubular two-pass heat exchangers, and a power turbine running at power stations — 5,000 r.p.m. A 2,500-kW unit is in hand for power supply to a pumping station of the Metropolitan Water Board. In main power stations the prospects of the gas turbine depend chiefly on fuel costs. In most countries oil is more expensive than coal, but on the other hand a gas turbine costs less than the equivalent steam plant, takes up less space and requires less cooling water. For standby or peak load sets the gas turbine is usually more economical, and in existing stations or congested areas it has special advantages. To meet such conditions the C.E.B. ordered in 1947 a 15,000-kW gas turbo-generator set for Stretford, Lancashire.
For railway engines the high power-weight ratio of the gas turbine is an obvious advantage. A gas-turbine electric locomotive ordered by the Great Western Railway is intended for mixed traffic service including main line passenger trains at speeds up to 90 m.p.h. It will weigh 120 tons and will have an open-cycle gas turbine unit of 3,500 hp and six motor-driven axles giving 2,700 hp at the rails; the mechanical design includes the latest M-V swing link suspension. The locomotive will have a track performance at least equal to that of two Diesel-electric units totalling more than double its weight.
The large steam turbines at Brimsdown A and B stations, which work at the highest steam pressures in this country, were followed by two further high pressure machines for somewhat easier conditions. The first was a two-axis plant commissioned at Battersea B station in 1943 and having the exceptionally large output of 100,000 kW. It consists of a single cylinder 3,000-r.p.m. primary turbine of 16,000 kW and a two cylinder 1,500-r.p.m. condensing turbine of 84,000 kW; the first machine operates with steam at 1,350 p.s.i.g. 950°F and exhausts at 600 p.s.i.g. to the second unit without reheating. With this plant the station achieved a thermal efficiency of 31-5 per cent in the best week of 1946. A duplicate set is on order.
The second high pressure plant was put into operation at Willesden in the following year. It has a three cylinder single-axis turbine of 32,000 kW, running at 3000 r.p.m. and operating with initial steam conditions of 1300 p.s.i.g. 950°F.
Two 60,000-kW 3000-r.p.m. three cylinder turbines for Littlebrook, Kent, are designed for 1,235 p.s.i.g. 825°F with reheating to 825°F between the high and intermediate pressure cylinders, and six 45,000-kW 3,000-r.p.m. two cylinder machines for the new Cliff Quay station, Ipswich, are for 600 p.s.i.g. 825°F. All these have low pressure cylinders of the double flow type with a multi-exhaust in each flow. As well as all the turbo-generator sets for Cliff Quay, the Company has supplied the 132-kV and 33-kV switchgear at this station.
Four 25,000-kW pass-out sets for district heating service were shipped to Russia after the war. Two of them were two cylinder 3,000-r.p.m. machines, designed for inlet conditions of 398 p.s.i.g. 750°F and for passing out 300,000 lb of steam an hour at pressures from 85 to 114 p.s.i.g.
The supervisory equipment developed by the Company to show any shaft eccentricity arising from unbalanced rotor heating and differential expansion of rotor and stator when starting and stopping has become a standard product known as Turbovisory gear and is now provided on most large turbines.
The latest figure (1948) for the best thermal efficiency of the main steam stations in this country, omitting reheat stations, was 26-76 per cent; this compares with a maximum of 16.9 per cent in 1922. In no less than twenty of these twenty-seven years the top figure for thermal efficiency was obtained by stations wholly or mainly equipped with Metropolitan-Vickers generating plant. There is every chance of bettering this achievement. Not only has M-V supplied one in four of the existing generating sets in Great Britain, but forty-one turbo-generator sets of 30,000 to 60,000 kW capacity have been put in hand for new stations and extensions since the war. The total capacity of these orders adds up to more than two million kilowatts.
For overseas power stations generating sets of 20,000 kW or more, aggregating over three-quarters of a million kilowatts in capacity, are now on order. Of the many stations completely equipped by the Company, Klip in the Transvaal has created a remarkable record for reliability with twelve 33,000-kW units; figures published in 1947 showed that for the periods from six to ten years during which these machines and the associated engine room equipment had been in service the average machine load factor was 92.6 per cent and the average overall availability factor 94.8 per cent.
The Company is now planning for an annual output of a million kilowatts of generating plant, more than three times the average for the last twenty years.
The design of turbo-generators has made steady progress. Today the efficiency of the largest machines made by the Company is 98.5 per cent, and the weight per kVA 4.5 lb, compared with 93 per cent and 12.5 lb in 1914. The present year saw a great advance in British practice when a 75,000-kVA generator was put into service at Littlebrook. This was the first main generator to employ hydrogen cooling and the first 3,000-r.p.m. machine of its size in this country; its testing in the works at full kVA rating was one of the largest wattless load tests ever carried out. The stator, which weighed 128 tons, presented a difficult problem to the works traffic department as it had to be taken by road for a total distance of 280 miles. Six similar machines and one of 66,600 kVA, all hydrogen cooled, are now in hand.
Separately driven exciters, which are sometimes preferred, have been provided with flywheels to maintain full load excitation for a few seconds if the supply should fail; in some sets the motor is transferred automatically to another source of current, or the exciter has two motors, each connected to a different supply.
Waterwheel generators made for Karapiro (New Zealand) are the largest in output and those for Tainionkoski (Finland) are the largest in diameter of any built in Great Britain. The Karapiro machines, three of 33,333 kVA at 167 r.p.m., were installed in 1948. Each had a rotor weighing 180 tons complete, and the largest piece weighing 148 tons was the biggest lift ever taken by the works cranes; the Company also designed the thrust bearing, which is 7 feet in diameter and has to carry a load of 750 tons. At Tainionkoski three 18,000-kVA 75-r.p.m. generators will have been installed by the end of this year.
Other large electrical machines in hand include the twenty-first 20,000-kVA synchronous condenser for the Victoria Falls Company's system and a 40,000-kVA unit for Australia; six of 30,000 kVA are being supplied for Spain, and another has been sent to Russia. These are believed to be the only 1000-r.p.m. condensers of their size. A frequency changer of 31,250 kVA was recently supplied for the interconnection of the 40-c/s and 50-c/s systems in Western Australia.
In Diesel-electric ship propulsion a striking advance was the use of a single set of Diesel-generators to supply all the power requirements of the ship. This was done for the first time on three dredgers recently put into service on the Mersey; the equipment is based on a metadyne-controlled constant current circuit, into which each of the main motors and deck machinery motors can be inserted in series. Diesel-electric equipment is also in hand for two double-ended ferries operating between Hong Kong and the mainland and for a new ferryboat for Wallasey in Cheshire. The latter vessel will be unusually attractive in appearance, since it is designed to serve also for summer cruises off the coast, and its propulsion system will be unique for ferries in this country.
Transformer ratings and voltages continued to rise. For instance a 100,000-kVA 220/150/10-5-kV three-phase transformer group has been built for the Netherlands; the 150-kV windings, which have a fully insulated neutral, are fitted with an on-load tap changer having a range of ±13 per cent in eighteen steps. A 100,000-kVA 231/110/11-kV three-phase group is in hand for Poland, and 52,500-kVA transformers and 30,000-kVA groups are being built for 165-kV three-phase service in Portugal. Anticipating still higher transmission voltages, designs have been worked out for 300-kV and 400-kV systems, and a 750-kV testing transformer has been made and installed in the transformer shop.
For large transformers with supplementary air-blast cooling, the use of an individual self-contained fan-and-motor unit with each radiator is a great advance.
The shipping of big transformers still has its difficulties. When two 75,000-kVA 132/33-kV units for the B.E.A. had to go by road to Edinburgh (Portobello) this year, the Ministry of Transport limited the gross weight of the load to 150 tons and the height to 15 feet. A new method of shipment was therefore adopted: the transformer tanks were fitted with lugs at each end, and the road bogies attached by links and jacks, which enabled the load to be lowered at low over-bridges and raised on hump-backed ones. The Company has also been active in promoting the use of interchangeable rail and road bogies for direct attachment to the ends of large transformer tanks.
Two large booster transformers for controlling the power flow in 132-kV 90,000-kVA feeders are in hand for B.E.A. substations in South Scotland, one at Tongland and the other at Galashiels.
Among the many arc suppression coils supplied for voltages from 33 to 132 kV is one of 3710 kVA built in 1945 for Russia. Some years earlier the Grampian hydroelectric scheme had been supplied with three coils, two acting as ordinary suppression coils for the 132-kV and 33-kV systems respectively and the third arranged to compensate for the mutual capacitance between the two systems, which run near each other for a considerable distance.
Two three-phase shunt reactors, each rated at 15,000 kVA, were supplied in 1940 to neutralize the capacitance current on the 132-kV grid feeders in the London area; they were switched in at times of light load to prevent a rise of line voltage. In 1944 came the largest reactor plant ever made in this country, a three-phase bank designed to give an 18 per cent choke on a 90,000-kVA three-phase 132-kV feeder. Many 132-kV voltage transformers have been supplied for the grid, and recently 132-kV current transformers have been built. Voltage and current transformers for 165 and 220 kV are in hand, and experimental designs have been made for 300 kV.
Mining transformers and Transwitch equipments have been redesigned. Coal mines and oil plants have been supplied with flameproof transformers in ratings up to 300 kVA, which are believed to be the largest in the world.
Between the wars continental designers of high voltage switchgear had paid great attention to avoiding oil fires, a very real risk with their designs, and air-blast breakers in open cubicles had become the usual practice. British oil circuit-breakers were more robustly constructed and thoroughly type-tested and therefore had not been a source of danger. The national preference continues to be for metal-clad switchgear wherever it can be put indoors, and in this field the Company's SB switchgear is still taking the lion's share of the business, though others have now adopted the single break principle.
For the highest voltages where the apparatus is in the open, air-blast has advantages, and C. H. Flurscheim followed up an initial success, the oil impulse breaker, with a very effective and mechanically sound air-blast design. This is now in use at ratings up to 132 kV 3500 MVA and is being built for 220-kV service. Some users still prefer bulk-oil breakers at 132kV, and in these the oil-blast explosion pots have given place to multi-break cross-jet pots with the contacts shunted by non-linear voltage grading resistors.
For low voltage work the large currents that have become common make oil circuit-breakers both bulky and heavy to operate. The Company therefore introduced, just before the war, an air-break device having an even larger breaking capacity than was obtainable under oil. This has since been incorporated in a metal enclosure, the breaker itself being withdrawable, and the equipment is now widely used for the control of power station auxiliaries and other heavy duties.
Some very large motors and generators have been supplied for use on rolling mills and mine winders. Equipment being installed at a Scunthorpe steel plant includes a main d.c. motor of 5500 hp (16,500 hp peak) with an armature weighing 78 tons; the motor generator set is 54 feet long. Five steam driven mills in south Durham and Cleveland have been converted to electric drive, and the steel production costs considerably reduced: the main motors operate at peak ratings of 15,000 hp. Complete electrical equipment is being supplied for a new aluminium mill at Kitts Green. Metadyne tension control was employed on 1000-hp reel motors used in conjunction with a 2500-hp reversing cold roll mill motor at the Shotton steelworks. Overseas the Company has recently supplied outstandingly large motors for billet mills and reversing mills in Turkey and complete equipment for seamless tube mills in Australia and South Africa.
Among mine winding engines the deepest single-lift cage winder in the world was installed in 1941 at the Champion Reef gold mines in Mysore. It is a 2550/5100-hp equipment with bicylindroconical drum and is capable of raising 90 tons of ore an hour from a depth of 6556 ft; the maximum cage speed in mid-shaft is 3015 ft/min. A 2650/5300-hp Ward-Leonard equalized winder equipped with the M-V compound brake system was installed at the Rother Vale colliery in 1944. A skip winding equipment (as recommended by the Reid Report) is in hand for Mosley Common colliery, Lancashire, and will have a twin-motor Ward-Leonard drive rated at 4500/9000 hp 350 r.p.m.; later it will be doubled in capacity, and the rope speed will be 60 ft/sec. At its final rating of 9000/18,000 hp this will be the largest winder to be installed for winding coal, and it will far exceed the record held by a 5000/12,500-hp equipment supplied by the Company to a South African mine over twenty years back.
Every Koepe winder ordered in this country is being made by M-V. Those in hand are Ward-Leonard equipments, three of 1890 hp for the new Rothes colliery in Fife, two of 1860 hp for Bradford colliery, Manchester, and two of 1550 hp 36-5 r.p.m. for Clipstone colliery in Nottinghamshire. The only Koepe winders previously installed in Great Britain, a medium-sized coal hoist at Murton colliery and two men-and-materials hoists at Oldmoor and Newmoor in Northumberland, were supplied by M-V many years ago.
On all three of the Koepe winder contracts the Company is coordinating the engineering for the whole of the surface plant, working in collaboration with the civil, mechanical and constructional contractors. This is the outcome of a new engineering service that was made available in 1947. British collieries had long found that their limited technical staffs and the large number of contractors involved (sometimes as many as twenty) put difficulties in the way of reorganizing their mines or starting new ones, and successful collaboration with Walker Brothers of Wigan in supplying a complete winding installation for the Bickershaw collieries suggested that on large schemes the work of all the contractors could well be coordinated by the Company's mining engineers.
There has been rapid progress in the manufacture of winding engines ever since 1908, when the first large electric winder was installed in South Wales. By 1913 the aggregate horsepower of M-V hoists was 100,000, and at the time of writing it has reached the imposing figure of 744,000 hp, over 600 winders having been supplied. Today the Company can claim to have made the great majority of the electric winding equipments in operation—in coalfields at home, in the gold mines of South Africa and the Gold Coast, in the copper mines of Rhodesia, and in the coal and metalliferous mines of Australia, India and Russia.
Progress in the smaller industrial motors during the last thirty years has been most striking perhaps in the use of scientific cooling methods. These have resulted in a greatly increased output from a given amount of material: the horsepower has been increased, for instance, from 300 to 1500 without any increase in core diameter, and for a given rating there has been a marked reduction in frame size. Another change has been the much larger number of industries for which individual designs are provided. Wire drawing plant and rubber mills may be mentioned as two of the many types of equipment for which special motors and control gear have been made recently. On the marine side hundreds of specially silent motors have been supplied for the ventilating systems of the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth and other liners, and motors for the winches on the Queen Mary and for large numbers of other auxiliary drives.
Control gear also has made great progress. A new star-delta starter for squirrel cage motors in sizes up to 25 hp was introduced as the result of pre-war investigations into the use of die castings and mouldings. Since the war a new range of starters has been introduced for marine service, and redesigning has begun on oil-break manual starting gear.
The problems of automatic contactor gear for ensuring reliable operation of machines have become more and more intricate. In 1940 a push-button control equipment, perhaps the largest in the country, was produced for a 35-ft boring mill; rotary and reciprocating motions can be used so that the machine can also function as a planer. Extensive control equipments are now being designed for the various British collieries undergoing reorganization, for example Mosley Common where the coal preparation plant will be equipped with 150 motors totalling 3500 hp and controlled by automatic contactor gear from fifteen pushbutton and indicator stations.
For use with winder motors in ratings up to 2400 hp 6.6 kV a new design of air-break contactor reverser was produced in 1940. Eleven large liquid controllers, designed to control twin motors of 3000 hp, are now on order for winders for South Africa. Control gear is also being made for Koepe winders.
For the gate-end boxes used underground an intrinsically safe l.v. remote control circuit was developed in 1939. A recent innovation for haulage control is a flameproof resistance consisting essentially of steel tubes containing wound porcelain units and quartz sand filling; the design ensures a high thermal capacity and the maximum surface area for a given bulk. When American mining machinery began to be used in this country in 1943, flameproof battery-charging equipments were developed for shuttle cars, the m.g. set being mounted on one bogie and the control gear on another, and remote controlled 'room' switches—a light and mobile type of gate-end box—were produced for the American system of room-and-pillar mining. These room switches were later adapted for use in oil refineries, for which a 3-3-kV oil-break contactor starter incorporating a standard flameproof contactor unit is also being developed.
A loading resistance was made recently for use in the testing and adjustment of governor settings on a 50,000-kVA water turbine generator in Portugal. A non-linear neutral earthing resistance to handle 1920 A at 15,000 V consisted of forty-seven 400-W glass-enclosed iron wire barretters, which were designed to give enough current to operate an alarm relay on small faults but to limit the operating current considerably on the higher fault current values.
A far-reaching development was the application of the metadyne to industrial processes requiring accurate control of position and movement with high sensitivity and quick response. During the war the metadyne generator was used extensively in various forms and under different names ('amplidyne' is well known) in servomechanisms, where it was employed to amplify the output of electronic circuits, photoelectric cells and so on. These amplifying features have now been applied to many automatic and semi-automatic control schemes in industry. Examples are the control of main drives, reel motors and auxiliaries on rolling mills and of electrode motors on arc furnaces. It is actually twenty years since the Company first used metadyne control in a steelworks: a metadyne transformer equipment on a steel-ladle crane. The first use of metadynes for the control of strip tensioning reels was in a 100-hp equipment installed at Newport, Monmouth, in 1945. Metadynes are also used to control marine propulsion equipment on a constant current system.
While the metadyne was being developed as a power amplifier, other problems were being solved by the use of electronic control. Since 1945 a range of standardized electronic equipment has been developed for the speed control of industrial motors, and precise and rapid control of speed and position has been made available in many industries. In paper-making and linoleum mills and on machine tools, rubber calenders and cable-making machinery, electronic control is giving increased output and improved quality, and it is being provided for the screwdown gear on a rolling mill. Continuous strip mills have been equipped with mercury arc rectifiers.
An automatic contouring equipment introduced in 1947 for repetition machining is unique in British practice. It enables irregular shapes to be reproduced automatically by means of an electromagnetic tracer head, which hugs the profile of a template and controls the driving motors through an electronic amplifier; the motion of the cutting tool is thus controlled in two directions at right angles, causing it to follow the profile, even re-entrant portions, with great accuracy.
Traction motors have been improved since the war by using new varnishes and insulating materials, including glass, to permit operation at higher temperatures. Roller suspension bearings have been introduced for railway and tramway motors (with rubber-resilient suspension for trams), and new designs of trolleybus motors have been brought out. For trolleybuses the auxiliary motor generator sets also have been redesigned, and a new self-contained control unit for the driver's cab has been welcomed by the operators.
The decision of the L.N.E.R. to embark upon the first British 1,500-V main line electrification — from Manchester to Sheffield — brought orders for seventy four-axle mixed traffic locomotives in 1938. The contract was suspended early in the war, but one locomotive was completed and, after trials in this country, was lent to the Dutch railways to relieve the locomotive shortage; it has run many thousands of miles in Holland. These locomotives were to haul both freight and passenger trains and also to handle coal traffic from the collecting yards at Wathon-Dearne colliery, but it has now been decided to reduce their number to fifty-eight and to build in addition twenty-seven six-axle locomotives suitable for much higher speeds.
Recent orders for the South African Railways cover ten four-axle and twenty London eight six-axle locomotives and the electrical equipments for fifty-four motor Underground coaches. Many motors and control equipments are in hand for the London Underground where today M-V-equipped rolling stock amounts to well over 300 motor coaches and twenty locomotives, aggregating 250,000 hp. Diesel-electric locomotives are being made for the Irish Railways (Coras lompair Eireann) in collaboration with the engine builders, and two 800-hp freight locos are now being completed. Both hydraulic and electrical apparatus have been developed for the control of output on Diesel engines and have been applied successfully to freight and shunting locomotives.
M-V-GRS railway signalling equipment installed in 1939 at Johannesburg employed the latest form of electrical control known as 'NX interlocking'. In this system electric levers are replaced by knobs at the signal locations on the panel, and the signalman simply turns the appropriate knob at the starting point of the train and presses a button at the exit point. The first large installation in this country is now in hand for the Stratford-Mile End area of British Railways (Eastern Region).
Marshalling yards have been supplied with apparatus for extensive mechanization schemes. Since 1939 the Toton and Whitemoor yards in England and, more/ recently, the Bologna hump yard in Italy have been equipped, and for the first two further work is in hand.
Welding equipment has made rapid progress, particularly in the design of special equipment developed in collaboration with the user. Examples are automatic arc welding machines for heavy components such as fabricated girders and all-steel railway wagon bodies, and resistance welding machines for the high speed welding of sheet metal, for instance in making refrigerators and milk churns.
Radio-frequency valve generators have been produced for induction heating applications where rapid heating of limited areas is required as well as accurate control of the temperature; examples are the brazing of small parts and the heat treatment of small tools. Induction heating equipment operating at the normal (50-c/s) supply frequency has been supplied for processes such as the shrinking of steel tyres on to wagon wheels, the heating of moulds for die casting, and the annealing of joints in situ to release welding stresses.
Heavy current transformers with three-phase ratings up to 6000 kVA 20,000 A have been made for arc furnaces used for the production of special steels. The tappings are controlled by a motor-operated off-circuit tap changer on the high voltage side.
Heating with infra-red lamps has been applied successfully to a wide range of processes in various industries, notably the boot and shoe trade.
Tubular-sheathed heating elements are made in lengths up to 8 ft and can be equipped with various heat-resisting sheaths, including one to withstand temperatures up to 800°C. They have been developed for many industrial heating applications, among the most successful being the electrical heating of large stereo-metal pots in newspaper foundries; the first of these equipments was supplied to a Manchester newspaper in 1939. The latest application of tubular-sheathed elements is for infra-red heating: compared with infra-red lamps they give a longer wavelength and greater intensities, which are an advantage in some processes. A range of sheathed element infra-red heaters with reflectors has been developed.
The design of lighting fittings made a good start in 1938 with the Trafford street lighting lantern, designed to house a 400-watt mercury discharge lamp burning horizontally. The Trafford was the first British-made lantern with an enclosed refractor bowl, and its daylight appearance, the importance of which is sometimes overlooked, has received the blessing of the Royal Fine Art Commission; it is now recognized as a standard type in its field. A complete range of industrial fittings was developed to match the 80-watt fluorescent tubular lamp put on the market in 1940, and these have been installed by factories all over the country. Other fittings were produced to correspond with the new lengths of lamp introduced after the war, and the series has been extended to the more decorative types for nonindustrial use.
In 1948 the research staff and lighting engineers produced the 'SO Fifty' street lighting lantern, which breaks away from conventional design, being made almost entirely of Perspex. The SO Fifty is believed to be the first all-enclosed lantern of the bowl refractor type for sodium lamps, and, like the Trafford, it has been passed by the Royal Fine Art Commission.
The Company's engineers have collaborated in the design of many large lighting installations, both industrial and decorative. Outstanding among them are the pioneer fluorescent lighting in the public rooms of the liners Orion and Orcades and the lighting of Wembley Pool and Stadium, where special fittings were developed for the different sporting events. Train lighting equipment has made many advances. Fluorescent schemes have been developed for both electrical and steam hauled stock, electric lighting equipment has been produced for steam locomotives, and modern train lighting sets have been designed for steam-hauled coaches.
In mercury arc rectifiers progress is illustrated by the latest pumpless steel-tank air cooled type, the first British design in which the complete unit is mounted on wheels and is withdrawable from its cubicle.
The applications of high vacua have been considerably extended, and diffusion pumps for commercial use are now made in diameters up to 32 inches, together with associated equipment such as vacuum valves and gauges. Many vacuum evaporation plants have been made: a recent application is the deposition of a metal reflecting surface on a synthetic resin backing, thus producing a plastic-based mirror of the shape required in television apparatus. A new 300-kV x-ray equipment has been designed to provide deep therapy in the treatment of cancer; the x-ray tube is fed by a 1,000-c/s resonant transformer, giving a self-contained unit that is easy to handle.
Marine navigational radar is an important outcome of wartime developments, embodying the experience gained in the Company's extensive work on radar for the services. Many types of wartime equipment had been found useful as navigational aids in fog, rain and darkness, and some of them were fitted on the larger merchant vessels on war service. While not the ideal form of navigational radar, these sets provided data for a provisional specification issued by the Ministry of War Transport in 1945. Within a few months the Company had demonstrated the first production model, and M-V sets, known as Seascan, were subsequently chosen for installation in the first merchant ships to be fitted with British-made commercial radar.
In the latest Seascan model the relative position of the ship and other objects in range is shown on a 9-inch cathode ray tube, and the set has four ranges up to 1, 3, 9, and 30 miles respectively; on the shortest range it is effective down to 50 yards, and ranges can be measured to within 1 per cent of the range scale in use. The bearing of the object can be read directly with a maximum error of 1 degree.
Seascan radar is intended to be used in conjunction with other navigational equipment in order to lessen the risk of accident in bad visibility. By increasing the master's confidence in his judgment of the ship's position it enables him to steer a more direct course and often to dock safely when vessels without radar have to wait for better weather. It has been fitted to some 130 ships ranging from liners like the Caronia and Willem Ruys to Norwegian whaling factory ships, from small coastal craft to the Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.
Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Export Company Ltd.
Metropolitan-Vickers South Africa (Proprietary) Limited
Newton Victor Limited
DIRECTORS AND SENIOR OFFICIALS, TRAFFORD PARK WORKS, JULY 1949 BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Front (left to right): J. G. Lowe (secretary), W. A. Coates, E. W. Steele, D. MacArthur, I.R.Cox (managing director). Sir George E. Bailey (chairman), K. Baumann, Sir Arthur P. M. Fleming, C. Dannatt, W. Symes SENIOR
OFFICIALS Second row: K. G. Maxwell, W. L. Beeby, G. T. King, N. Eice, H. Lawson-Jones, A. C. Main, F.R. Mason, D. Thomson, H. Pearce, B. G. Churcher, K. R. Evans, L. S. Robson, W. Eccles
Third row: H. Clayton, W. Wilkinson, D. M. Smith, E. Salmon, E. V. Winstanley, G. W. G. Canter, W. A. Bull, R. Clough, A. K. Nuttall, A. Walmsley, L. H. J. Phillips, C. C. Hay, R. J. Cochran, Dr. M. W. Robinson
Fourth row: R. H. Knott, H. Annis, T. Dooley, A. Phillips, C. H. de Nordwall, A. Paterson, A. G. Williamson, H. Boyd Brown, A. J. Leslie, F. Gurney, K. Miller, J. Collinson, J. W. Buckley
Fifth row: R. H. S. Turner (behind), T. Yates, T. R. Porter, C. F. Saunders, W. T. Gray, F. Whyman, R. R. Whyte, A. C. Annis, G. L. Newman, J. P. A. Meldrum, T. W. Ross, F. J. B. Barry, L. H. A. Carr, C. H. Flurscheim, A. W. Clarke, A. Stubbs (behind)
Back: E. M. Johnson, A. E. Grimsdale, J. T. Thornhill, A. G. Ellis, H. West, A. Mycoe