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1910 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

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1910. Visits to Works.
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Note: This is a sub-section of 1910 Institution of Mechanical Engineers

Visits to Works (Excursions) in the Birmingham area

James Archdale and Co

James Archdale and Co

This business was founded in 1868 and converted into a company in 1902. The works are situated in Ledsam Street, close to Monument Lane Station, on the London and North Western Railway, and one mile and a half from New Street Station, Birmingham.

The business and drawing offices are situated in the main building, also the stock-rooms and stores. The main workshops are in three blocks equipped with the most modern types of machines necessary to produce accurate work, whilst the foundry and main pattern stores are situated conveniently near. The total floor area of the various shops is over 80,000 square feet, and there are about 600 workmen when fully employed.

For several years a speciality has been made of radial drilling- machines of an improved type, and now that the use of high-speed steel drills is almost universal, the machines have been recently re-designed to enable the utmost duty to be obtained. The sizes range from light belt-driven combined sensitive and radial drills, with 2 ft. 6 in. radius of spindle, to heavy gear-driven machines with spindle radius of 7 feet, including machines with additional spindle for tapping, and of more than forty different designs and arrangements. Several hundreds of these drilling-machines have been supplied to the various government workshops, to the chief railway companies, and to the leading engineering works at home and abroad. They are manufactured in groups, so that there are always numbers of machines either completed or in progress.

In addition, the firm manufacture a number of lathes specially designed for high-speed cutting, with all the latest improvements for rapidity and ease of movement, commemorate with great power, and built for producing accurate work. Specialities are made of capstan lathes and vertical and horizontal milling-machines, also machines for the production of munitions of war, namely, arms, ammunition, projectiles, rifles, revolvers, fuzes, and other details. An interesting type of machine is that for thread-milling, in which V threads of any pitch, lengths and diameter of work within certain limits, are cut with great accuracy and completed during one revolution of the article operated upon.

Aston Manor Electricity Works

Aston Manor Electricity Works

These works are situated in Chester Street, Aston, with frontages to Chester Street and Rocky Lane, the rear of the works abutting on the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. In 1898 the Corporation obtained a Provisional Order for the supply of electricity, the first portion of the generating station being completed, and supply commenced for lighting and power purposes, in September 1903, and for traction, in January 1904. In 1906, extensions were made to the generating station and plant; whilst in 1908 the inclusion of the Urban District of Erdington in the area for traction and general supply rendered further large extensions necessary; the engine and boiler-house buildings were completed, and the system of generation changed from low-tension continuous current to extra high-tension 3-phase alternating current at 50 periods.

The engine-home measures 135 feet by 44 feet by 69 feet high, and contains the following plant:- One Belliss steam-turbine of the impulse type, coupled to an alternator by the General Electric Co., this alternator being of 2.500 k.v.a. capacity, generating 3-phase current at 6,000 to 6,600 volts at 50 cycles per second, when running at a speed of 1,500 revs. per minute, the exciter being mounted on an extension of the main shaft.

One vertical cross-compound Corliss engine by Yates and Thom, of 1,100 b.h.p., with General Electric Co. 750 kw. multipolar direct- current generator, 460 to 550 volts; speed 95 revs. per minute.

Two Ferranti vertical cross-compound medium-speed engines of 730 b.h.p. each; with Dick Kerr 500 kw. multipolar direct- current generators, 460 to 550 volts; speed 180 revs. per minute.

One Ferranti vertical cross-compound medium-speed engine of 300 b.h.p., with Westinghouse 200 kw. direct-current generator, 460 to 550 volts; speed 200 revs. per minute.

One Belliss compound high-speed engine 325 b.h.p. with General Electric Co. direct-current generator, 460 to 550 volts, 215 kw.; speed 365 revs. per minute.

All the direct-current machines are arranged to run shunt- wound on lighting and general supply, and compound-wound on traction supply.

The condensing plant is mainly situated in the basement, and consists of one Belliss surface-condenser, capable of condensing 40,000 lb. of exhaust-steam per hour, the circulating pump being of the Roturbo type, driven by a 75-b.h.p. General Electric Co. electric motor; the air-pump is of the vertical 3-throw single-acting Edwards pattern, and driven through gearing by a 20-b.h.p. General Electric Co. motor; two smaller surface-condensers, one by the Worthington Pump Co., and one by the Mirrlees Watson Co., and two Korting ejector condensers complete this portion of the plant. The circulating water for the condensers is obtained from the canal, and for cooling it there are employed two wooden natural-draught cooling-towers, each 40 feet by 25 feet by 65 feet highs, capable of dealing with 125,000 gallons of water each per hour.

In an annexe of the engine-room are fixed two 600-kw. rotary converters, and one 400-kw. motor generator. On the west wall of this room is the gallery containing the switchgear. Arrangements are being made for the installation of a second 2,500-kw. turbo- alternator, a duplicate of the one already running.

The boiler-house measures 126 feet by 39 feet by 34 feet high, and contains nine water-tube boilers of Messrs. Babcock and Wilcox's manufacture, fitted with this firm's integral superheater; all the boilers have mechanical stokers, six being of the Babcock and Wilcox chain-grate type. The three largest boilers have each 5,436 square feet of heating surface, and an evaporative capacity of 18,000 lb. of water per hour.

The coal bunkers are of steel, designed to hold 1,000 tons of coal, and are built on the roof of the boiler-house above the firing floor, the hoppers of the stokers being fed by means of shoots equipped with automatic weighing apparatus. The conveyor is of the " Hunt " gravity bucket pattern, driven by electric-motor, and loaded from a filler pit alongside the canal, all coal being received by boat; the buckets on their return journey pass under the firing floor of the boilers, and are utilized for the conveyance of ashes to the ash-bunker.

The gases from the boiler-flues pass over a 2-by-96-tube Green's economiser to a chimney-stack 150 feet highs. Between the boiler- house and chimney-stack is the feed-pump room, containing two Worthington duplex steam-pumps, of the outside plunger packed pattern, capable of delivering 6,000 and 8,000 gallons per hour respectively, and two Hayward-Tyler three-throw variable-stroke pumps, driven by electric motor geared to the crankshaft. In addition to the buildings already enumerated, the ground floor is completed by the usual fitters' and repairing shops, stores, etc., the floor immediately above these being occupied by the engineer's, drawing and general offices, and a test-room for testing consumers' meters, etc.

The outside distribution is carried out in the older portion of the area on the 3-wire continuous-current system, the pressure being 460 volts for power and 230 volts for lighting; the cables are paper insulated, sheathed with lead (or vulcanized bitumen) and laid underground, chiefly in earthenware troughs filled in solid with bitumen. The current for supplying Erdington and the contiguous district of Witton, as well as the Lozells district of Aston, is transmitted at 6,000 volts 3-phase 50 periods, to ten sub-stations, where it is transformed down to the required pressure for distribution. The area of the district supplied by the Corporation is 5,490 acres, with an estimated population of 115,000, and the total connections to the system were at 31st March 1910 equivalent to 161,765 30-watt lamps, and included 4,713 h.p. of motors, ranging in size from 500 h.p. downwards.

Birmingham Electric Supply Co

Birmingham Electric Supply Co

In 1882 a Provisional Order was granted to the Incandescent Electric Lighting Co., the engineers for this company being Mr. (now Colonel) R. E. Crompton and Mr. Henry Lea. A small plant was installed in the neighbourhood of Paradise Street, from which the Town Hall and a few adjoining shops were lighted.

In 1886, owing to the company not having fulfilled the obligations required by the Provisional Order, the Order was cancelled by the Board of Trade.

In 1889 Messrs. Chamberlain and Hookham obtained another Provisional Order, and eventually disposed of this to Messrs. Holmes and Vaudrey, of Liverpool.

In December 1889 the Birmingham Electric Supply Company, Ltd., was formed to take up this Order. A site was acquired in Dale End, where a generating station and offices were erected.

The supply was originally given at a pressure of 110 volts direct current on the two-wire system, but was gradually changed to three-wire, the supply being given at 220 volts across the outers. About the year 1899 the pressure was increased from 220 to 440 volts across the outers, and consumers' lamps were supplied at 220 volts, which is the pressure of supply at the present time. In 1896 a second generating station and a sub-station were built; the latter was supplied with direct current at a pressure of 1,200 volts, the current being stepped up and reduced by motor transformers.

In 1900 the Corporation of the City of Birmingham purchased the undertaking, and has since carried on the supply. In 1903 the Corporation decided to municipalize and electrify the tramways in the city, and subsequently an extended tramway scheme was decided upon, in effect doubling the existing lines that served the city. To supply current for running the tramways, the Electric Supply Committee put up a large generating station in Summer Lane, adjoining the Birmingham and Fazeley canal. The station is designed to deal with extensions in the supply for private lighting and power purposes, as well as for electric tramways, and, in order to reach the outlying parts of the city, sub-stations are installed to which an extra high-pressure three-phase supply of 5,000 volts is given from the Summer Lane generating station. In the sub-stations storage batteries are installed to save running the machinery at night time.

The network of distributing cables for lighting purposes was originally a combination of bare copper-strip, laid on insulators in culverts, and vulcanized bitumen cables laid in cast-iron troughing. The bare copper-strip was eventually discarded, and at the present time the whole of the network consists of vulcanized bitumen cables laid solid in cast-iron or earthenware troughing. The extra-high tension cables consist of three-core paper-insulated and lead-covered and armoured cables laid solid in earthenware troughing.

Water Street Generating Station. — The generating plant installed at this station consists of five Belliss and Morcom compound engines, coupled to two Crompton and three Electric Construction Company's 208 kw. direct-current generators; four Willans and Robinson compound engines, coupled to four Mather and Platt 500 kw. direct-current generators; two surface condensers and two Barnard fan-driven cooling towers, supplied by the Wheeler Condenser and Engineering Co., for dealing with the exhaust steam from the four large Willans engines; fourteen Lancashire boilers, fitted with automatic stokers and superheaters; and two Green's economisers.

Summer Lane Generating Station. — The building consists of an engine room, a boiler house, and an economiser house. A separate building accommodates the centrifugal pumps and engines for supplying circulating water to the surface condensers. The direct- current sets consist of six Belliss and Morcom medium-speed enclosed engines, coupled to generators built by Dick, Kerr and Co., each having a full-load capacity of 1,500 kw. and an overload capacity of 25 per cent. in excess of this. The engines are of the triple-expansion double-acting type, fitted with forced lubrication, surface condensers and Edwards' type air-pumps. The generators are compound wound direct-current machines, and can be used as compound machines for tramway supply and as simple shunt machines for lighting supply. Two Parsons' steam turbo-generators, each having a capacity of 500 kw. at full load, have also been installed, fitted with a surface condenser and Edwards' type air-pump.

The alternating-current sets consist of four Belliss and Morcom triple-expansion medium-speed engines, similar in every respect to those used for the direct-current supply, each being of 1,500 kw. capacity, and three similar type engines of 500 kw. capacity each, the latter being equipped with one surface condenser and set of air- pumps. The alternating-current generators are by the British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Co., and have rotating fields and fixed armatures. Each of these sets has an overload capacity of 25 per cent. in excess of the normal full load. The current for energizing the fields is supplied by two 100 kw. direct-current generators, built by the General Electric Co., coupled to compound Belliss and Morcom steam-engines, fitted with surface condenser.

Balancers and motor-driven boosters for the lighting supply; a motor-generator for giving a supply to the tramway system off the lighting bus-bars during light load at night time after traffic has ceased; and rotary converters to enable the extra high-tension alternating-current supply to be coupled to the loon-tension direct- current supply to avoid running steam plant at times of light load, are also provided. An overhead electrically-driven 4-motor crane is installed in the engine house, capable of lifting 40 tons weight on one lift and 10 tons weight on a second lift.

The switchboards for controlling the generators and the outgoing feeder cables are installed on galleries at one end of the engine room. The direct-current board has three sets of bus-bars; the feeders for the local lighting and power supply are connected to one set; the trunk feeders for giving a bulk supply to the Water Street Station and to the Dale End sub-station are coupled to another set; and the feeders for supplying the tramways in the centre of the city are coupled to the third set. Any generator can be coupled to any of these three sets of bus-bars. The alternating- current board is fitted with one set of main bus-bars which can be divided, and to which all the alternating-current generators are coupled. Subsidiary bus-bars are installed which are fed from the main generator bus-bars and to which the high-tension outgoing feeders are coupled. These feeders are used for the high-tension trunk supply to the various sub-stations, and also for a high-tension supply to large private consumers. Oil-break switches are used for controlling the connections to the bus-bars, those of the generators being installed in the basement and controlled electrically from the switchboard-gallery.

The boilers, by Babcock and Wilcox, are each capable of evaporating 24,000 lb. of water per hour from and at 212° F. They are fitted with three-drum superheaters, capable of imparting 150° of superheat to the steam, and chain grate and underfeed stokers. The boiler flues are underground, each half of the boiler house being connected to a brick-built chimney 230 feet high and 15 feet internal diameter, one of these chimneys only being in use at the present time, and the other being in course of erection. The feed-pumps are so coupled to the boilers that the water can be pumped through economisers or direct to the boilers as required. Overhead feed-tanks are provided for accommodating a cold-water supply off the town mains and a hot-water supply from the air- pump hot-well discharge; this hot-water supply is treated by means of a Paterson purifying plant for the purpose of removing the grease that passes through the condensers.

The boiler house is equipped with overhead coal-bunkers, capable of containing 2,000 tons of coal from which the coal passes by gravity into the hoppers of the mechanical stokers. Two gravity bucket chain-conveyors are used for feeding the overhead bunkers; the return chain, which passes underneath the boiler house floor and along the ash tunnel in the basement, is utilized for removing the ashes from the boiler ash-pits. These conveyors are fed by a third (belt) conveyor, which runs at right angles to them along the bank of the private canal basin. The water for condensing purposes is drawn from the canal by steam and motor driven centrifugal pumps, and is returned to the canal through a 30-inch pipe laid under the roadway at a point about a third of a mile distant from the station; four steel cooling-towers built by the Worthington Pump Co., have recently been erected to work in conjunction with this system.

The following supplies are given from this station:-

A 5,000-volt three-phase a.c. supply to sub-stations where the current is transformed to 440 volts and 220 volts d.c. for power and lighting purposes and 550 volts d.c. for the tramway traction purposes; a 5,000-volt three-phase a.c. supply to large power consumers; a 440-volt and 220-volt three-wire d.c. supply to local power and lighting consumers; a 440-volt d.c. trunk main supply to the Water Street generating station and Dale End sub-station; and a 550-volt d.c. supply for tramway traction purposes.

Sub-stations. — The department has six sub-stations situated in Dale End; Parker Street, off Monument Road, Edgbaston; Camden Street; Upper Trinity Street, Bordesley; Scholefield Street, Saltley; and Court Road, Balsall Heath. These sub-stations are fed from the Summer Lane generating station, through trunk mains, with three-phase alternating-current, having a periodicity of 25 cycles per second, at a pressure of 5,000 volts which is transformed by means of transformers and rotary converters, and is supplied to consumers at pressures of 440 volts and 220 volts (direct-current) through three-wire distributing networks. Four of these substations also give a 550-volt direct-current supply to the tramway routes in their district. The mains for the 5,000-volt extra high- tension alternating-current supply to large power consumers are fed through the sub-stations, as well as from the Summer Lane generating station.

The following Table shows the progress of the undertaking during the last few years:—

[See table on attached image]

Birmingham Gas Works

Birmingham Gas Works

The Gas Undertaking of the City of Birmingham was purchased by the Corporation in 1875 from the Birmingham Gas Company and the Birmingham and Staffordshire Gas Company. The area of supply of the Corporation comprises about 120 square miles with a population of about one million. Nearly 600,000 tons of coal and 3 million gallons of oil are used to produce the 7,500,000,000 cubic feet of gas required annually, and 780 miles of mains are laid throughout the area.

Gas is manufactured at five stations, namely, Adderley Street, Nechells, Saltley, and Windsor Street in the City of Birmingham, and Swan Village in the Borough of West Bromwich. The Saltley and Nechells Works form the largest manufacturing station of the Department, having a maximum daily capacity of 18 million cubic feet of coal-gas and 6 million cubic feet of carburetted water-gas, requiring approximately 350,000 tons of coal and 2 million gallons of oil per annum for their manufacture. The total storage capacity of the gasholders is 18i million cubic feet.

[See plan of works on attached image]

These works were commenced in the year 1850. They have been much extended and enlarged and the older portions entirely modernized from time to time. The sidings connect to the Midland Railway, and canal traffic is dealt with in two basins branching from the Birmingham and Warwick Canal. The manufacturing plant is in two sections, each of approximately 6 million cubic feet per diem, and so arranged that each may be operated separately or in conjunction.

Nos. 1 and 2 Retort Houses were built in 1901-2 and contain 416 inclined retorts, set at an angle of 32', arranged in beds of eights with regenerative furnaces. The coal is delivered by self- discharging hoppered wagons into receiving hoppers below the rails, crushed, elevated, and conveyed to continuous storage-hoppers above the benches. There are two plants for this work, driven by 44 b.h.p. engines, which, together with the crushers and elevators, are in duplicate. Measuring chambers are fixed underneath the storage-hoppers and, by means of a travelling shoot, a known weight of coal is charged into each retort by gravitation.

The coke is automatically discharged on to conveyors of the De Brouwer type, which take it to storage-hoppers outside the retort houses. From these the coke is fed on to jigger screens for loading the material into trucks. A hydraulic crane with 75 feet jib is employed for stacking coke when required, and for hoisting the material from the jigger to subsidiary screens when further grading is required.

No. 3 Retort House contains 470 horizontal through retorts, in beds of eights, with regenerative furnaces. The coal is unloaded at four crushers, whence it is elevated and conveyed to central storage-hoppers situated above the retort-benches. The retorts are charged and drawn by compressed-air machinery. The coke is removed from the retort house by conveyors of the pan type, which take the coke to a hoppered pit outside. A hydraulic crane with 75 feet jib transfers the coke direct into the trucks or boats, or to the screening plants or stock heaps, as required.

The condensing and purification plant consists of:—Two horizontal combined air and water condensers formed of 9-inch diameter pipes; one vertical annular, and one battery condenser; one Livesey washer; two " P. and A." tar extractors; three rectangular washers, each 16 feet by 18 feet by 32 feet high, fitted with wooden grids; one Walker's purifying machine; four tower- scrubbers 75 feet high by 15 feet diameter, and one 75 feet high by 20 feet diameter; also one rotary washer scrubber of 3i million cubic feet per diem capacity. For the extraction of naphthalene the gas is passed through a Livesey washer filled with a light solvent oil.

There are twenty-eight purifiers, varying from 24 feet square to 40 feet by 35 feet, all with hydraulic seal. The covers are lifted either by travelling hydraulic-cranes, or by hydraulic cylinders fitted inside the boxes. They are housed in open brick or steel structures of two storeys, the upper floor being used for revivifying the oxide, lifted thereto by hydraulic cranes. The three exhausters are of the vertical reciprocating type, each capable of passing 250,000 cubic feet per hour. The amount of gas made is registered by five meters of 100,000 cubic feet per hour capacity.

Steam for power purposes is obtained from:—Three Babcock and Wilcox, four Lancashire, and two Cornish boilers. All are fitted with forced draught, and some are arranged for burning coke dust as fuel.

In order to utilize to the best advantage any coke dust resulting from screening operations, a 20-ton per diem briquette-making plant has been laid down. The briquettes produced are in two sizes, and have a calorific value only slightly less than that of best coke.

Cyanide Plant.—This is a plant for the extraction of cyanogen compounds from the gas, and the production of crystallized yellow prussiate of soda. A solution of copperas and lime is treated in a mixer, and pumped to the top of a Feld washer. The solution in descending the washer is thrown in the form of fine spray into the gas passages, and the HCN compounds are absorbed from the gas. The solution is then filter-pressed, and the liquor which contains calcium ferro-cyanide in solution is precipitated in a refining plant with soda ash solution. A vacuum evaporator is used for bringing down the liquor to a suitable strength for crystallization, after which it is run to settling vats, where the sodium ferro-cyanide crystallizes out on to pieces of twine suspended in the liquor.

Test-Plant.—For the purpose of obtaining exact information relative to the coal to be purchased, and being delivered under contract, and for research work in carbonizing, a complete test- plant has been laid down at a cost of £13,000. It is capable of carbonizing 25 tons per diem, and consists of a retort house containing 24 horizontal retorts set in 4 beds of sixes, heated by regenerative furnaces. For condensing and purification there are air and water condensers, Livesey washer, Holmes rotary scrubber-washer, and 4 boxes of luteless purifiers. The exhausters, and the gas-engines for driving them, and the other plant, are in duplicate. Station-meter, governor, and a two-lift spiral-guided gas-holder in a steel tank, with a capacity of 237,000 cubic feet, are also provided, thus making the plant entirely independent.

The Coal-gas plant has been designed for a daily production of 12 million cubic feet in two sections, the first of which was completed in 1900, the building of the second retort house and the duplicating of the remainder of the condensing and purifying plant being completed in 1905. Connections have been made with the London and North Western Railway by means of a tunnel under the Nechells Park Road, and a cutting; with the Midland Railway by a girder bridge over the River Rea; and with the Birmingham and Warwick Canal by a basin 225 feet long by 25 feet wide.

No. 1 Retort House contains 416 inclined retorts arranged in beds of eights, with regenerative furnaces. The No. 2 House has not yet been equipped with settings. The coal falls from hopper- wagons and is crushed, elevated, and conveyed to eight large storage-hoppers placed above the retort-benches, and capable of holding 40 tons each. There are two duplicate plants for this work driven by four 48 b.h.p. Tangye gas-engines. From the hoppers the coal falls into measuring chambers on the charging machine, and from thence is delivered by gravity into the retorts. The Retort House is equipped with two longitudinal coke- conveyors of the De Brouwer type, which, by means of a cross-house conveyor, delivers the coke to the skip pit in connection with a hydraulic crane of 75 feet jib, by which it is raised and delivered to the screening plants for loading into boats and wagons.

The condensing and purification plant for coal-gas consist of:Four air-condensers, four water-condensers, two " P. and A." tar- extractors, two Livesey washers, four Kirkham rotary washers, and twenty-four purifiers each 40 feet by 35 feet with hydraulic seals, the covers being raised by hydraulic rams fitted inside the boxes. The purifiers are housed in an open steel structure of two storeys, the upper floor being used for revivifying the oxide and slaking the lime, which is raised thereto by means of two hydraulic wagon-hoists. Naphthalene removal is effected in a Livesey washer as at Saltley. The four exhausters are of the rotary type, and are each capable of passing 300,000 cubic feet of gas per hour. The amount of gas made is registered by three meters of 250,000 cubic feet per hour capacity. Steam power is obtained from five Lancashire boilers fitted with forced-draught apparatus and economisers.

Carburetted Water-Gas Plant.—The first section was laid down in 1896, and the whole plant is now capable of producing 6 million cubic feet per diem. The plant is of the combined carburettor-superheater type, and consists of six machines with oil-pumps, meters, washers, scrubbers, and condensers. The engine-room contains three high-speed Sturtevant fans driven by high-speed vertical steam-engines, four exhausters, water-circulating pumps, and oil-pumps. The steam is supplied from five Lancashire boilers.

There are eleven purifiers each 40 feet by 35 feet, similar to those employed for coal-gas, also a tar-separating plant consisting of three steel circulating-separators, two large twin cooling-tanks for the separated water, and tar-loading tanks, and a relief-holder without framing on the spiral-guided principle. For storing the oil, four tanks with a total capacity of 1,760,000 gallons are provided.

Storage.—In conjunction with the Saltley Works there are six gas-holders. The largest is 264 feet diameter by 170 feet high in 4 lifts, with a capacity of 81 million cubic feet.

The other Nechells holder is 1971 feet diameter, 4 lifts, with a capacity of 4 million cubic feet. In both, the top lift rises clear of the guide-framing. The other four holders are at Saltley and are subsidiary ones. Their capacity in cubic feet is: No. 1 holder 1 million, Nos. 2 and 3 holders 21- million each, and No. 4 holder 1), million. All the holders are in brick tanks made water-tight with puddle backing, except the large one which is cement-rendered on the internal wall. For regulating the pressure of the gas on the district there are six governors connected with 48-inch, 36-inch, and 30-inch distribution mains. Attached to the coal test-plant is a large and well-equipped laboratory for making the necessary chemical tests on the gas and residuals.

A large hall on the Devon Street side of the works, 70 feet wide by 87 feet long, has been built and fitted for the use of the workmen for recreation purposes. It is also the headquarters of the Athletic Clubs which are run in connection with the works. There are about 1,000 members on the books.

Birmingham Tramways

Birmingham Corporation Tramways

In 1905 the Corporation agreed to purchase from the City of Birmingham Tramways Co. the leasehold land and buildings forming the Works for the repair and maintenance of their steam- engines and tramcars. Operations were commenced in June 1906 to erect new shedding and to reconstruct and adapt the old buildings for the requirements of the department.

The car-repairing sheds cover an area of 3,500 square yards, and are capable of dealing with 42 cars at one time. An electrically-propelled traverser is used for taking the cars in and out of the works. Portions of the sheds are specially designed for car-lifting and repairs to trucks. The jacks used for lifting are operated by hydraulic pressure; and a 5-ton electrically-operated overhead travelling-crane has been provided for handling the frames, motors, wheels, and axles, etc.

The machine shops are situated at the back of the repair sheds, and are on the same ground-level as the pits. The main shop measures 90 feet by 80 feet, and in addition the following have been equipped: electrical armature, wheeling, tinsmiths' and motor shops; there are also the smithy and stores. The power required to drive the Works aggregates 150 h.p., and is obtained from the electric supply department.

The brakes used on the cars are the ordinary hand-brake and the Westinghouse magnetic brake. Fifty of the cars are now being fitted up with the Maley electro-mechanical rail brake, which may be operated by two electrical methods. By this means the large increase of braking force due to magnets is obtained, and the balance of weight left on the wheels is employed for braking purposes in generating current for the magnets. The whole weight of the car is usefully used fo braking purposes without physical strain on the driver. The employment of magnets gives an additional retardation to that obtained by the weight of the car only, thus raising the critical speed to more than 30 miles per hour on 1 in 8.4 gradient, greasy rail, without sand. The dead lift obtained by taking the car weight on four shoes does away with any objectionable forward dip when snaking sharp service or emergency stops.

Birmingham Small Arms Co (BSA)


The Birmingham Small Arms Co.'s Works at Small Heath, Birmingham, were established in 1861 for the manufacture of muzzle-loading military rifles at the rate of about 500 per week, the greater part of the operations being then performed by hand-labour with skilled artisans. Progress both in methods of production and output has been continuous from the start, and workshops formerly occupied by benches and vices are now almost exclusively filled by machinery.

In 1893 the Company added the manufacture of finished cycle components to its other manufactures, and extensive additions to buildings and plant were made, so that the works now occupy about sixteen acres covered with buildings; having a workshop floor-space of over 520,000 square feet, and employ in normal times about 4,500 workpeople. The output of military rifles has been increased from time to time, and the Company can now deliver 1,500 to 2,000 breech-loading magazine rifles per week without overtime, and in the year 1900, during the South African War, delivered 100,000 such rifles to the British Government.

The Cycle Component Department is able to produce 150,000 complete sets of fittings per annum, besides many thousands of specialities connected with the cycle trade, such as coaster-hubs, speed-gears, etc. In the various shops of the Gun and Cycle Department there are three and a half miles of main shafting, and twenty-six miles of belting, driving a total of 6,300 machine tools, representing almost every type of construction of both English and foreign make suitable for the operations, a large percentage being fully automatic, and most of the remainder semi-automatic.

The motive-power for the whole of the machine shops of the Gun Department, and part of the Cycle Department, is supplied from a central power-house, containing six sets of gas-engines coupled direct to electric generators, supplying a total of 1,100 kw. of d.c. current at 500 volts, or very nearly 1500 h.p. The remainder of the power is obtained from thirteen gas- engines of various powers conveniently placed in the cycle machine shops, equal to about 600 h.p. in all, and a few high-speed steam-engines for lighting, plating, polishing, etc., equal to about 600 h.p.

The gas for all the engines, as well as for the heating furnaces for hardening purposes, is made on the premises on the Dowson system, and in quantity about equivalent to 3,250 h.p. It is made in eleven Dowson generators from anthracite small coal about the size of beans, and makes a minimum of ash. A battery of eight Galloway boilers, each of about 200 h.p., supplies the steam required for the stamping and drop hammers.

The limit-gauge system of inspection is used throughout the works. For coarser dimensions an allowance of + 0.001 inch is generally permitted, but for all finer measurements ± 0.0005 inch and + 0.00025 inch are the usual allowances, though in many cases this allowance is further reduced to ± 0.0001 inch. All the components of a British military rifle are submitted to a rigid inspection by a staff of Government inspectors, and after acceptance no adjustment or fitting is required or permitted in assembling the rifles. All parts are therefore strictly interchangeable. The same conditions are imposed in the inspection of the cycle fittings by the Company's own inspection staff, any component found beyond the allowances of the limit- gauges, or faulty in any other respect, being promptly destroyed.

The smithy plant includes 28 steam stamping-hammers, 36 drop forging-hammers. and 11 Ryder forging-hammers, and produces the forged parts for both gun and cycle departments.

Due to the development of modern methods of manufacture by machinery, and the smallness of variations in dimensions tolerated, the tool department has become one of the most important sections of the works. In this section all the jigs, machine fixings, cutting tools and limit and other gauges are produced and repaired or re-adjusted for wear, and on the accuracy and reliability of the tools and gauges supplied the whole of the productive machines are dependent, for the highest standard of accuracy is needed in the tools themselves in order to secure a high standard of workmanship in the articles to be manufactured. The tool department is fully equipped with modern tools of precision, and, in addition to gas- furnaces for heating tools for hardening operations, is also provided with an electric hardening furnace for the same purpose.

The method adopted for the production of rifle barrels has been designed by the Company's own engineers, and is only in use at these works and those of its licensees. The greatest care is exercised to prevent all internal strains of the molecules of the material arising from any cause throughout the whole of the operations through which the barrel passes. Not a single hammer- blow is allowed to be used on the barrel, or is needed, after it has been issued from the forge. After turning the outside of the barrel the interior is completed in two operations, the first consisting of piercing the solid blank from end to end, and the second in fine boring up to the final diameter of bore in one cut. Due to the absence of internal strains in the material, and of hammer- blows on the surface, there is no bending of the barrels in passing through the operations, and no change of figure or alignment due to the shock, or the heating due to firing, and such barrels are noted for the reliability and constancy of their shooting.

The machines for testing the straightness of the bore have also been designed at the works, and the Company is no longer dependent on the judgment of skilled barrel setters, for by the use of the testing-machines any person can pronounce on the accuracy of the bore after a few minutes' explanation.

The polishing and plating department is one of the largest in the country, many special appliances being in use which are the inventions of the Company's staff. The Company has its own printing department, where the whole of its catalogues and other printing is produced.

The Company, has, in addition, two important factories at Sparkbrook and Redditch. The one is situated in Montgomery Street, Sparkbrook, about half a mile from the Small Heath Works, and is devoted to the manufacture of motor-cars, and to engineer's small tools, cutters, twist-drills, &c. The two sections of the Sparkbrook Works are well equipped with modern and special machinery and appliances.

The Redditch Works, formerly known as The Eadie Manufacturing Co., were acquired in 1907 by amalgamation, and are occupied in the production of the various coaster-hubs, gears, and free-wheels. The works occupy 61 acres, employ about 1,000 hands, and produce 10,000 coaster-hubs and speed-gears weekly, and from 7,000 to 8,000 clutches in addition to those supplied by the Small Heath Works. This factory is equipped with machinery of the latest up-to-date, automatic, labour-saving type, for producing accurate work on the interchangeable principle.

Birmingham Drainage Works

Birmingham Drainage Works

This Drainage Board was formed in 1877, and is composed of the following constituent Authorities: the Councils of the City of Birmingham and Boroughs of Aston Manor, Smethwick and Sutton Coldfield, and the Urban District Councils of King's Norton, Handsworth, Erdington, and Perry Barr, and the Rural District Council of Castle Bromwich.

The drainage area is nearly 100 square miles, and the population of the constituent districts is nearly one million persons. The lands and works of the Board cover an area of about 2,800 acres, and extend eastward from Aston Church Road, Nechells, in the City of Birmingham, to Sweetmore Bridge over the River Tame, a distance in a straight line of about 7 miles.

There are at least two other joint Boards charged with duties of a similar character, namely the Emscher Genossenschaft in Northern Germany, and the Passaic Valley Board in the United States of America.

The average dry-weather flow of sewage is 27,000,000 gallons per day, and contains a large volume of trades waste, there being within the district some 354 works discharging spent and waste acid liquors into the sewers. Until recently the methods of purification consisted of preliminary treatment in tanks and filtration through areas of land in the valley of the Tame.

Now the method of purification may be broadly described as removal of road grit, liquefaction of organic matter in septic tanks, settlement of humus in specially-constructed silt-tanks, spraying the resultant liquor over biological filters or bacteria beds, and removal of suspended matter by passing the purified sewage through upward-flow tanks before it is finally discharged into the river. There are upwards of 52 acres of bacteria beds in use, 34 acres of which are exclusively used for the treatment of the dry-weather flow, and this number is increased year by year to meet the increase of population; the remainder (18) form an instalment of 30 acres at present under construction which will be used for excess flow sewage in time of storm. When the volume exceeds three times the dry-weather flow, it is impounded temporarily in it storm-water tank capable of holding 13,000,000 imperial gallons. The object of the tank is to provide sufficient settlement to eliminate the major part of the suspended solids before the storm-water or diluted sewage is allowed to pass into the river.

Tangye's direct-acting steam-pumps are employed to pump the sludge, which settles in all the tanks, to a depot four miles hoover down the valley, where it is dried and finally disposed of by being employed to raise the level of the low-lying land. The great bulk of sewage is dealt with by gravitation, but it is necessary to pump the storm-water.

The large Pumping Station near Erdington Hall is designed to lift 100,000,000 gallons of settled sewage from the storm-water tank per day, and for this purpose a supply of electrical power is obtained from the mains of the Aston Manor Corporation, and is used for actuating motor-driven centrifugal pumps, by means of which the water is raised to the necessary level, and sufficient pressure is obtained to give about 8 feet of head on the spray jets, the total lift being 20 feet. The current is three-phase alternating at a pressure of 6,000 volts, and with a periodicity of 50 cycles per second, and it is transmitted to the pumping station partly by underground cable and partly by overhead line. The pumping equipment comprises three large and two small units, each consisting of three-phase squirrel-cage induction motors, coupled direct to centrifugal pumps, the large units being worked direct on the supply voltage and the two smaller at a voltage of 2,000 corresponding with that of the Board's power-transmission scheme.

The pumps draw from a well outside the building, and are charged by means of ejectors worked by compressed air. They deliver direct into the mains feeding the distribution pipes, and each section of the filters is controlled by means of electrically-operated sluice-valves, which are worked from the operating gallery of the pumping station. As at Minworth the supply maim are connected to the washout pipes, so that the whole of the distribution system can be flushed out at will by merely opening or closing the appropriate sluice-valves.

In addition to the electric power obtained from the Aston Manor Corporation, the Board entered into an arrangement with the City of Birmingham Corporation, by which joint buildings were erected on the south-west boundary of the Board's lands to generate electric power from steam raised by burning house and shop refuse, which is conveyed to the tipping floor of the refuse destructor by means of carts. The refuse is dropped into hoppers having circular openings communicating direct with each furnace. No other fuel is employed, and it is found that the calorific value of the refuse is about one-sixth of ordinary furnace coal.

When the eight furnaces are at work under ordinary conditions the plant burns refuse at the rate of 8,000 lb. per hour, and with that consumption 9,000 lb. of water is evaporated. The furnaces are of a type known as the Heenan top-feed, and each grate has an area of 25 square feet. Between the two sets of furnaces there are two engines with enclosed fans for forcing air into them, but the air first passes through two air-heating appliances, each of which provides about 1,500 square feet of heating surface. In this way the cold air is raised to a temperature of from 300° to 550° F.

The boiler-house contains three boilers and one economiser. The boilers are 30 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, constructed for a working pressure of 160 lb. per square inch; two of the boilers are gas-fired, and the other is adapted for coal-firing, to be used as a stand-by. The economiser consists of 128 tubes 9 feet long, and 4,96 inches diameter, fixed vertically.

The generating plant is placed in the engine-room and consists of two British Thomson-Houston 115 kw. alternating current generators, each of which is coupled to a high-speed Belliss and Morcom engine. The electric generators are designed to give their output at 2,250 volts, with a periodicity of 50 cycles per second. The current is transmitted to near Water Orton, five miles lower down the valley, on overhead wires, excepting where the wire crosses public roads, when it is passed through a special form of steel terminal pole, on the top of which is fitted a dividing box, into which the high tension overhead wires are laid, and they are connected to a three-core high-tension cable laid under the roadway. The line is tapped at a great many points for a large number of purposes, including sewage pumping, driving farmyard machinery, workshop plant, screening rakes, dredging apparatus, and sewage distributors, lighting, etc., and in one case it is used to drive a pneumatic machine for milking cows.

Docker Brothers

Docker Brothers

These works are situated on the old Birmingham Canal, now a branch of the Birmingham Canal Navigations, near the Monument Lane Station of the London and North Western Railway, and cover an extensive area of several acres. The works are compact and equipped with the most modern machinery for the manufacture of every description of varnishes, japans, paints, enamels, fine colours, lacquers, etc. The Company's goods are used in great variety by many widely differing trades, and the method of production varies in accordance with the nature of the materials and the customer's requirements. The power used is steam and electricity, and the works are lighted throughout with electric light. The extensive tank storage, which is a feature of these works, is necessary for the proper maturing of the varnishes, the quantity in tank being not less than 250,000 gallons at any time.

Elkington and Co

Elkington and Co

The manufactory of this firm is situated in Newhall Street, Birmingham, just on the fringe of the district known as the Jewellers' quarter. It was established in 1830, and its progress has been continuous. The show room is probably the largest in the country devoted to the display of silver and electro-plate. Silver goods from thimbles to centrepieces weighing thousands of ounces are on view. Plate for all purposes, and jewellery, clocks, and bronzes are arranged in the many cases of this modern treasure house. Leaving the show room, the visitor is conducted to the artists' room, where designers are seen at work with pencil and modelling clay creating the designs and models which are soon to take form in metal.

From the artists' room the tour of the workshops is made. The silver room is large, airy, well-lighted, and arranged according to the best known principle of silversmiths' practice. Here, sheet silver crude castings and wire strips are handed to the workmen, who deftly work these materials into the required shapes, and then hand them on to the chasers, embossers, and engravers, who decorate them.

In the plating and gilding department an excellent view of the processes is obtained from the galleries arranged round the walls of this room. A special engine drives the dynamos used exclusively in generating the electric current needed to supply the vats for depositing the silver, and to drive the lathes bearing the wire brushes which remove from the newly-plated articles the " frost" or " bloom " with which they are covered, when they are taken from the vats. Nearly one hundred women are employed in burnishing or hardening the silver coated surfaces of electro - plated articles, and the final process is a polishing with soft revolving mops.

Casting and stamping are other processes carried on within the manufactory.

By the introduction of electro-plating, the firm benefited the country by founding a new industry, and, by its constant encouragement of all that is best in art, it has stimulated the artistic growth of the nation. The firm have large establishments in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and Glasgow. They are also represented by agents in various parts of the world.

Joseph Gillott and Sons

Joseph Gillott and Sons

These works were founded about 1820 by the first Mr. Joseph Gillott, who may be termed the practical "father of the steel-pen trade." Having for several years worked with the brothers John and William Mitchell, he was convinced that, if once improved machinery could be applied, the new steel pen could be so improved as rapidly to supersede the quill. At the time he commenced operations, much of the machinery in use had yet to be invented, and was afterwards invented and perfected by himself.

The process of manufacture to be seen at these works is as follows: The metal appears as sheet steel, which is shred into long strips of sufficient breadth to allow two pens being cut out of it end to end, the points slightly overlapping each other. The cutters, who are women or girls, sit before a small press, in which is fixed a die having a hole cut through it the exact shape of the pen. A punch, exactly fitting this hole, descends and cuts out the pen blank. Power presses are also used for this purpose.

The blanks are next taken to the piercing room where the small ornamental holes are cut out, and then the annealing process follows, after which they are taken back to the marking room, where the name of the maker or the distinctive appellation of the pattern is stamped.

The next stage is the "raising," or bending the pen into the shape required, after which the hardening and subsequent scouring are performed. The next process of tempering requires delicate handling. In tempering, the dark blue stage of heat in the metal is the one which gives the necessary degree of elasticity to the steel pen.

After the pens are scoured and polished, they are glazed and slit, which latter process is performed by a machine consisting of two blades with sharp corners. This process completes the series, though some pens are browned to improve their appearance; others are coloured blue, and some are plated with copper and gilt.

Another department in the factory is that where the cardboard boxes for the pens are made. Girls work here in sets, passing from one operation to another with considerable rapidity. In the wood penholder-making department, all the dust from the wood is extracted by powerful blowers.

Rosewood is used for the best holders, cedar for the majority of holders, and birch for common sorts. Varnishing or French-polishing completes the process of manufacture.

The number of workpeople employed is over 400.

Harris and Sheldon

Harris and Sheldon

This factory, situated in Stafford Street, Birmingham, was started in 1885, and turns out arrangements and fittings of all descriptions for drapery establishments and other classes of shops, which range from a shop front to a small sash-socket. One may see in passing through the show rooms, mahogany counters, telescopic racks and millinery stands, brass and ebony door-handles, parasol, umbrella, and stick stands, hat stands, facias, outside signs, blouse and robe stands, &c., &c., all of which are produced at this factory. In the bust and wax-figure modelling department the art of the sculptor is practised, and there is infinite opportunity for the display of discrimination. The wax-head modelling rooms form one of the most interesting sections of the business, where may be seen the fixing of hair on heads and the imparting of eyebrows in order to give the figure a inure life-like appearance.

The timber department is an important branch, and is divided into further sections, comprising those of woods ready for use and woods maturing. From the yards one visits the rooms where the various stages are seen through which the timber has to pass before it leaves the premises as a finished article, and a good idea of the extent of a drapery business is thereby obtained. Huge and handsome show-cases, with plate-glass appendages, shop windows in various kinds of frames, counters, fixtures, &c., are included in this department. Opportunity is afforded to the designer of brass fittings to show his ability in turning out new and artistic designs, and the theoretical side of the business is well provided for, namely by the draughtsmen who work out ground plans and elevations of schemes to be carried out in the other departments.

The number of workpeople employed is about 400.

Lanchester Motor Co

Lanchester Motor Co

One of the first English engineers to recognize the possibilities of the petrol engine for light locomotion was Mr. F. W. Lanchester, and a syndicate was formed early in 1895 for the purpose of building cars under his designs; in 1896 the first Lanchester car took the road. This was originally a five-seat tiller-steered phaeton, fitted with a 5-h.p. air-cooled engine and was chain- driven; it had epicyclic change-speed gears, wire wheels with pneumatic tyres and a wick carburettor, and was the first four-wheel petrol-driven car built entirely in the British Isles.

The original car was so far successful that in 1897 a two-seat phaeton was constructed, fitted with an 8-h.p. vibration-less two-cylinder air-cooled engine, live axle, worm drive, wire wheels, tiller steering, wick carburettor and epicyclic gear.

The first time the Lanchester car entered into public trials was at the A.C.G.B. and I. Exhibition of motor cars held at Richmond in 1899, when the two-seat phaeton won the Club's Gold Medal for excellence in design and workmanship. The car subsequently competed in the reliability trial organized by the same club in 1900, when it completed the 1,000 miles run with only two slight mechanical troubles, which were remedied without assistance from the makers' works.

About this period the original Lanchester phaeton was fitted with an 8-h.p. two-cylinder engine similar to that designed for the two-seat phaeton; live axle and worm drive were substituted for the chain drive, and wheel steering was fitted in place of the tiller. The body also underwent a slight change, being converted into a six-seat phaeton having two tiers of seats each to accommodate three abreast.

A four-seat car, modelled on the lines of the successful two-seat phaeton, was also constructed, and a launch was fitted with an 8-h.p. two-cylinder engine in all respects similar to those fitted to the cars, excepting that the cylinders were water-cooled. This we believe was the first British-built launch with a British engine.

In December 1900 the Lanchester Engine Co. was founded and a factory was equipped for the manufacture of the new 10-h.p. air-cooled design. In this car was embodied all the best features of the experimental cars, and the now well-known Lanchester suspension was introduced. An interesting fact is that practically all the cars manufactured at this date are still giving satisfaction to their users, many of them being in constant use in South Africa, India, and other colonies.

From this time - 1900 — the advancement of the industry was extremely rapid, and in 1903 it was found necessary to separate the body-building from the mechanical works; a body-building works was therefore started at Alpha Works, Liverpool Street, Birmingham, the repair department being also transferred to a portion of these new works. In spite of these alterations it was found impossible to cope with the increase of trade, and later in the year the main works were increased by the addition of an adjacent factory.

A 12-h.p. water-cooled car appeared in 1904, and in that year the Company was reconstructed as the Lanchester Motor Co. This change heralded the appearance of a 20-h.p. 4-cylinder model which was manufactured in large numbers in 1905. This car and the 28-h.p. 6-cylinder car designed in 1906 are the forerunners of the present-day 4- and 6-cylinder Lanchester cars, and differ only in details of design from the firm's most modern productions.

During 1908 and 1909 the Lanchester Co. adopted wheel-steering and foot-control as alternative to the tiller and hand-control. So popular did the new control become that it was also adapted to the 20-h.p. 4-cylinder model, on which it again has proved a marked success.

Worm Drive.—Since its introduction in 1897, and in spite of heavy adverse criticism, worm drive has steadily gained in public favour until at the present time most of the principal makes of car are worm-driven. The ordinary type of worm, however, is much less efficient than the Lanchester type, as in the former the teeth are cut from a cylindrical blank, but in the latter the teeth are cut from a blank which is of smaller diameter at its centre than at the ends; thus, whereas in the ordinary worm- gears the teeth on the worm-wheel only conform to those on the worm, in the Lanchester the teeth on the worm conform to those on the wheel also, giving much larger bearing surfaces than are possible with other worm-gears.

Lubrication.—The 4-cylinder and 6-cylinder cars are alike in regard to their lubrication system, namely, by pressure feed. A gear-pump is mounted beneath the crankshaft, and is driven by a phosphor-bronze toothed ring mounted on the crankshaft. The pump gear-wheel and the rotor pinions are hardened, ensuring a negligible amount of wear and consequently minimising oil-leakage. The crankcase is provided with a well, which serves as a reservoir, and also as a sump from which the pump sucks oil through a gauze strainer.

The oil is forced direct into the main crankshaft bearings, and from thence to the connecting-rod head bearings; it then flows up the centre of the connecting-rods (which are tubular) to the piston gudgeon-pins. The oil which escapes from the ends of the bearings finds its way back to the base chamber, and that which passes to gudgeon-pin flows out of the ends and lubricates the cylinders. The oil returning to the base chamber is filtered through a fine gauze sieve, which covers the whole area of the base chamber excepting that occupied by the oil-pump. In the most recent designs the countershaft has its own self-contained oil service. The oil-pump is located at the rear end of the countershaft and driven off the arbor shaft.

To enable the driver to keep "in touch" with the oil service, "tell-tales" or pressure indicators are provided. These are situated in the control plate by the driver's left hand. The tell-tale is coupled to the delivery-pipe of the pump, and consists of a cylinder with piston or plunger, the stem of which protrudes through the control plate and terminates with a thumb-press button.

The forward button indicates the engine oil-pressure and the rear one shows the oil- pressure of the countershaft service. The countershaft press-button being controlled by the transmission shaft will not indicate pressure except when the car is in motion. Should the " tell-tales " fail to rise or only rise intermittently when the car and engine are in motion, it will be evident that the engine (or countershaft) is short of oil or that the pump is not performing its duty.

Suspension.—In the Lanchester suspension the springs are semi-elliptic and are of the cantilever type, their duty being confined to the legitimate function of a spring, that is, the support of the load. The location of the body with respect to the underframes is effected independently by means of parallel motion link-work.

Vaporizer.- The vaporizer employed in the Lanchester car is a carburettor, in which the principle of wick feed is used, and is the only surface carburettor in which fractionation of the oil is avoided. In the Lanchester carburettor, advantage is taken of the fact that the wick will suck up oils of different density without discrimination, and volatilization takes place from the upper portions of the wick, a portion of warmed air being drawn through the wick chamber on its way to the motor cylinder without being allowed to come in contact with the body of the oil at all. In this way the oil is forced to volatilize in just the same proportion as it exists in the tank and rises in the wick, and the mixture is more constant than with the best spray-carburettor, and is not liable to accidental disturbance or stoppage of any fine apertures. The tank from which the wicks suck is of about one gallon capacity, and is situated immediately above the supply-tank.

The wick tank is fed automatically by exhaust- pressure, the level being regulated by float and valve. This system is identical with that commonly used in spray carburettors known as "pressure float feed." The main tank, which has a capacity of 17 gallons, is filled through a large diameter inlet under the driver's seat cushion. When fully charged it holds sufficient for about 300 miles running. The carburettor is not rigidly attached to the engine, consequently, the needle-valve is unaffected by engine vibrations. The level gauge is an open float attached to the lower end of the stem which projects through a guide in the top of the tank. When not in use, this float is depressed and sinks to the bottom of the tank. When it is desired to test the level, the float is lifted and spun between the finger and thumb (this ejects the contents by centrifugal force), and then allowed to rest on the surface of the spirit. The float-stem is graduated to show the quantity of petrol in gallons.

Linde British Refrigeration Co

Linde British Refrigeration Co

Digbeth Ice Factory and Cold Stores.—This was erected in the year 1901. The actual output of ice is 55 tons per day, of which 20 tons is made on the " Cell " system and 35 tons in cans, whil the capacity of the cold stores is about 125,000 cubic feet. The building is of brick and was specially designed and erected for the purpose. The machinery is driven by steam-power, steam being supplied at a pressure of 150 lb. per square inch from three " economic " boilers of Messrs. Davey, Paxman and Co.'s make.

There are two horizontal Corliss condensing steam-engines, the larger drives two double-acting ammonia compressors on the Linde system, and the smaller one double-acting ammonia compressor on the Linde system. The steam and ammonia condensers are of the surface evaporative type, placed over tanks over the boiler house, water being obtained from a well on the premises by means of an air-lift pump.

An independent cross-compound steam-engine drives duplex air-pumps and water circulating pumps for the steam condenser, while the water for the surface evaporative ammonia condenser is circulated by means of a belt-driven centrifugal pump, a second pump being provided for spare. The Cell ice is made in blocks 12 inches thick, each weighing about 6 cwt.

The Cell tanks are on the ground floor, in a room alongside the engine room, the brine refrigerators being at the end. Belt-driven rotary pumps are provided for circulating both the cold brine and the loot brine for thawing off. There are two can-tanks, one on the ground and one on the first floor, and in both cases the water during freezing is agitated, so as to render the block clear to within about 5 per cent. of its total volume.

The cranes for lifting the ice are electrically driven, the current being obtained from a steam- driven generating set in the engine room, which also provides current for lighting and for several motors throughout the factory.

The cold stores are on five floors. They are insulated in the usual way and are cooled by means of a circulation of pure cold dry air from a Linde disc-air cooler.

New Meat-Markets' Cold Stores.—These were erected in the year 1897, the capacity being about 150,000 cubic feet divided up into twenty-two rooms, of which five are intended for receiving chilled goods and seventeen for frozen meat.

The refrigerating machinery, which is driven by means of gas-engines. consists of three double-acting Linde compressors, each direct-driven by belt from its own gas-engine. There is also a fourth gas-engine which drives an electric generator to provide current for lighting and for the motors in connection with the air-coolers. The gas-engines are run with gas taken from the Corporation mains, as the Company are tenants of the Corporation, who require their own gas to be used instead of suction gas.

The air-coolers are four in number, and they provide air at the requisite temperature for cooling the various rooms, the air being distributed through delivery and suction ducts provided with the necessary adjustable openings. The ammonia condenser is on the surface evaporative principle and is placed in the open air, the water being circulated by means of a belt-driven centrifugal pump. There is also a surface evaporative arrangement for cooling the gas-engine water.

The chill rooms are provided with hanging rails and runners, and these rails are extended outside the rooms to the various lifts which communicate with the market above.

Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage and Wagon Co

Metropolitan Amalgamated Railway Carriage and Wagon Co

These works, which are situated about 2 miles from the centre of the city, were established by Mr. Joseph Wright in the year 1845, and up to the time of the amalgamation were the Metropolitan Carriage Co. The works cover about 43 acres of land, 20 acres of which are covered with buildings. They are served by both the Midland and London and North Western Railways, from Bristol and Derby line by the former, and the Aston and Stechford loop of the latter. The whole of the works are one-storey buildings, mainly brick and steel construction, with the exception of the head office of the amalgamated companies, which is also at Saltley, and is two storeys in height, fronting on to a private road, on the other side of which are some cottages tenanted by employees, and the Staff Club and Dining Hall.

At the entrance to the works is situated the workmen's mess-room capable of seating 2,000 men, fitted with fully-equipped kitchens, lavatories, etc. One of the latest additions is a well- equipped 25 yards rifle-range for the use of the men, fitted up with the latest service rifles, etc. The drill hall of the 1st Warwick Royal Garrison Artillery, which is officered and manned by the company, adjoins. With stores, offices, club-room, and riding school, it covers a space of 24,000 square feet. The administrative block, drawing office and general stores cover 18,500 square feet, and are also situated at the south end of the works.

The smithy, 375 feet by 200 feet, contains forty-two steam-hammers from 5 to 60 cwt., twenty-nine steam-lifters by Brett and Co., and five hydraulic presses. There are ten furnaces in the forge, each having a waste-heat Cornish boiler fixed over it. Adjoining the smithy is the die-sinkers' shop, 100 feet by 90 feet, and the hydraulic-press shop, 190 feet by 114 feet, which is served by a 5-ton electric traveller, contains five furnaces, two hammers, and thirteen hydraulic presses.

The smithy power-house is 100 feet by 100 feet, and contains blowing-engines made by Samuelson and Son, for supplying the smiths' hearths with blast at about pressure. The steam-raising plant consists, in addition to the forge boilers, of four Lancashire boilers, 30 feet by 8 feet, working at 80 lb. pressure. Two boilers are fitted with the Halpin system of thermal storage, and all are fitted with the Atlas balanced-draught gear, whereby air heated in the back flue to 400' F. is driven by a fan into the closed ash-pits, while another fan capable of dealing with 54,000 cubic feet of air per minute at 500' F. temperature is exhausting, forming a combination of forced and induced draught. The exhaust-steam from the forge-hammers is utilized for heating up the feed-water as it enters the Erith softener. All the feed-water for these boilers and the chief power-station is treated here, no water being used with a greater hardness than 5 degrees (Clarke's test).

The steel underframe shop, 500 feet by 200 feet, is served by five electric cranes, from 30 cwt. to 10 tons capacity, and contains twenty-three motors of 350 h.p. The machines include a beam- end milling-machine, capable of dealing with bars up to 70 feet in length, six 6-head beam drills 50 feet long, in addition to the usual straighteners, plate-working machinery, etc. It is fully equipped with hydraulic riveters and pneumatic riveters, chippers, and drills. All drilling is done through templates, the work turned out being absolutely interchangeable.

The machine-shop, 460 feet by 80 feet, is rather congested at present, and it is proposed to rebuild and extend it at an early date. Two 24-inch slotting machines, some triple-geared lathes for dealing with steel castings, specially designed buffer turning lathes, and Lincoln type millers specially arranged for high-speed cutters, are the more important machines. All driving is done by ten electric motors of 290 h.p. Nothing but high-speed steel is used in any department. The tool-room is situated in the centre of the shop, and is responsible for all jigs, etc., besides the usual tools.

The power-house, whirls is situated in the centre of the works, covers 17,000 square feet, where all the power for driving and lighting throughout the works is generated. There are four 250-kw. shunt-wound machines, made by the General Electric Co., direct- coupled to triple-expansion Belliss and Morcom engines running at 480 revolutions per minute. There is also a 60-kw. SilvertownBelliss set for week-end lighting loads. Last year the output exceeded million units.

The switchboard, made by the India Rubber, Gutta Percha and Telegraph Co., Insulated on a gallery at one end of the station, is of the usual panel type, with overload and no-load circuit-breakers on the generator panels and overload breaker on the main feeders, eight in number, which convey the current to the different departments. The condensing equipment is in duplicate, each of 26,000 lb. per hour capacity. One steam-driven vertical with Edwards air-pump by Allen and Sons, Bedford, and one horizontal direct-acting tandem type, made by the Worthington Pump Co. The water is pumped from an artesian well 300 feet deep, by a tandem compound Weir pump, with an output of 10,000 gallons per hour.

The steam-driven hydraulic pumping-engines in duplicate are also situated in the power-house, working against an accumulator pressure of 100 atmospheres per square inch, and automatically controlled from the accumulator. The power-house also contains the compressed-air plant, a two-stage compressor driven by a compound vertical engine by Petrie and Co. It is fitted with Scott's air-valves, and is capable of delivering 750 cubic feet of free air per minute compressed to 100 lb. per square inch. The stand-by plant consists of two " Sentinel " 2-stage compressors, 200 cubic feet•size, driven by a Thwaites compound engine.

The boiler-house contains three Lancashire boilers, 30 feet by 8 feet, and two Babcock and Wilcox boilers each with 2,000 feet heating surface. The two latter are specially constructed for burning the wood refuse, etc., from the sawmill, and have grates 11 feet long; the working steam-pressure is 160 lb. per square inch. The cooling tower and pond is situated at the north end of the works; the pond, which has a capacity of 800,000 gallons, also serves as a supply for fire purposes. The works are ringed up with fire mains, the pump being centrally situated in the power-house, and an efficient works brigade is maintained. The tower, supplied by the Midland Engineering Co., is of the Bylberlast type, 20 feet by 40 feet by 65 feet high, and will deal with 110,000 gallons of water per minute with a minimum reduction in temperature of 30' F.

The foundry, which adjoins the power-station, with the pattern-shop and stores, etc., covers an area of 18,000 square feet, and is capable of executing 10 tons of castings per day. It is equip with pneumatic and hand-moulding machines, capable of dealing with such castings as axle-boxes, etc. The packing-shop for spare ironwork, and the finishing-shop, each 400 feet by 50 feet span, are on the other side of the power-house; these shops, as well as the wood-working shops, are fully equipped with automatic sprinklers in case of fire. In the latter shop are some belt sand-papering machines.

Adjoining the finishing shop is the saw-mill, 400 feet long by 150 feet wide. It is served by two electric cranes, each of 5 tons capacity, and is fully equipped with the most modern woodworking machinery; the largest planer takes timber 16 inches by 7 inches, feeding upwards of 60 feet per minute. There is a Wadkin universal wood-worker, double-ended tenoning and crosscut machine, besides the usual saws, etc., all being driven by fifty- eight totally enclosed motors aggregating 1,051 h.p., fixed for the most part in the cellar together with the shafting and belts. At the north end of the mill is the log-mill, where is fixed a double horizontal board-cutter by Robinson and Son, for panel cutting and a horizontal log band-saw by Ransome and Co., capable of dealing with logs 80 feet long by 4 feet square. The saw is driven by a 50 h.p. motor at 550 revolutions mounted directly on the saw spindle.

The works here are crossed by a gantry of 50 feet span running the whole width of the works, having two 5-ton electric cranes running on it. The yard, north of the mill, is devoted to the storage and seasoning of timber, over 50,000 square feet being under cover. For speed, the timber is dried in a stove having three compartments, each capable of taking 4,000 cubic feet of timber, where it is dried by warm air being driven in, the moist air being exhausted at the same time. Timber can be perfectly dried here in from two to fourteen days according to the thickness of the timber treated.

The wagon-building shop is 800 feet long by 100 feet wide, two 5-ton cranes running the whole length. The car-body shop, 260 feet by 230 feet, and the paint-shop, 260 feet by 140 feet, are in one block, having departments for french polishing, trimming, etc. They are served by a 50-ton electric traverser 70 feet long, carrying three tracks, one 4 feet 8.5 inches, one 5 feet 3 inches, and one 3 feet 6 inches for the different gauge cars built by the company.

The whole of the works and offices are lighted by electricity generated on the works, over 550 arc-lamps alone being in use. There are a total of 156 motors of a rated horse-power of 2,362.

The number of men employed is about 3,000.

Mitchells and Butlers

Mitchells and Butlers

The business was founded by Mr. Henry Mitchell (the present Chairman of the Company) in 1862.

In 1866 the Crown Brewery, Smethwick, was erected, and in 1878 it was transferred from there to a new brewery erected on the present site, whirls is over fifty acres in extent.

In 1887 it was incorporated as a limited company, under the style of Henry Mitchell and Co., with a subscribed capital of £1,000,000, and in 1897 an amalgamation was arranged with Messrs. Butlers Crown Brewery, Limited, of Birmingham (founded by the late Mr. William Butler), when the title of the Company was changed to that of Mitchells and Butlers. The premises are connected with the London and North Western Railway by a private line, and extensive additions have been made to the original brewery from time to time to meet the demands of a continually extending trade, it having always been the aim of the directors to keep thoroughly up to date in plant, machinery and methods.

Near the entrance is a suite of lofty and well-lighted offices for the directors and staff, affording accommodation for some 200 workers. The usual methods of heating are dispensed with, the temperature and ventilation being controlled by a special system, under which " washed " or purified air is regulated to the desired temperature, and then admitted and circulated through the building. Close by is a large wines and spirits stores, some 500 feet in length, designed to enable this branch of the business to be worked in the most efficient and expeditious manner. The upper portion of this building is used as a storing place for barley and malt.

Malt—the principal material used in the production of beer is manufactured on the premises, and there are other extensive maltings in the city. First, the barley is elevated to special screening and grading machines, whence it leaves freed from small and damaged corns and all extraneous matter, and is removed on horizontal band-conveyers to conical self-emptying steeping tanks. It remains there from 50 to 70 hours (according to the type of grain which is being manufactured) to induce germination, when it is spread about a foot deep upon tiled floors, where the grain continues to germinate for about twelve days; then it is dried upon kilns which are fitted with a mechanical contrivance for turning it, and becomes transformed into biscuit-flavoured crisp malt. Elevators, band conveyors and Archimedean screws are made great use of in transporting the grain from place to place, and the weight is checked and recorded at several points by automatic machines.

In the mashing-room brewing proper begins. The malt, having previously been crushed, is run into mash-tuns simultaneously with hot water. A reaction is this set up within the malt itself whereby the diastase (a natural converting property of malt) changes the starch of the malt into malt sugars of definite compositions, which however can be varied, broadly speaking, according to the methods of malting adopted, temperature of the mashing water, etc. After being allowed to stand the requisite time, the malt extract, or " wort " as it is technically called, is drawn off and boiled in large copper vessels (each holding 4,000 gallons) and here hops are added. Cooling is then necessary, and this is effected by passing the wort over coolers and refrigerators.

In this process the wort is much exposed to the air, and arrangements are made to prevent any germs or impurities being taken up. This is accomplished by a specially designed cooling room and the use of a special apparatus which absolutely purifies the air as it is being admitted into the room.

Next, the wort passes to the fermenting rooms, and at this stage the Excise officials take particulars of the quantity and gravity, and charge duty accordingly. Yeast is added, and after fermenting for some days in copper-lined vessels (capacity 8,000 gallons each) the beer—which it has now become—is run into casks by a special apparatus which ensures absolute cleanliness and prevents any waste. It is then stored in the cellars, which extend more than a quarter of a mile. The bottling department is of considerable interest, the washing and filling of the bottles being done by machinery. Some of the beers are chilled in glass-lined tanks and filtered before being bottled, and consequently contain no sediment.

Electricity is largely used for power and lighting purposes, and there are numerous steam-engines and gas-engines. The water- supply is very abundant and pure. It is principally derived from deep artesian wells by the compressed-air method. The stable accommodation is necessarily extensive and is on hygienic lines. There is a very efficient volunteer fire brigade—winners of hundreds of prizes, including the chief trophy of the National Fire Brigades Union for Steamer Drill (won four times)—ready to deal with any fire on the premises or to render help outside; also an ambulance section, 40 strong, and a contingent of Territorials. The directors have provided for the recreation of the employees by laying down two Crown bowling greens, two cricket grounds and a football ground, as well as placing at their disposal large rooms for physical culture, ambulance practice, lectures, etc.

Muntz's Metal Co

Muntz's Metal Co

These works were established by the original patentee of Muntz's Metal, the late George Frederick Muntz, M.P., in the year 1832. Pant of the works was purchased from Messrs. James Watt and Co., and there is still in existence, and at work, one of the old beam-engines, designed and built by that celebrated engineering firm. This engine is a simple condensing engine, working with a steam-pressure of 10 10. per square inch and a vacuum of about 26 inches.

The works were originally established for the manufacture of Muntz's Patent Metal for ship's sheathing, of which some 200 or 300 tons was produced weekly. The passing away of wooden ships, however, necessitated the development of other branches, and though Muntz's Metal Sheathing is still rolled and used to a considerable extent for the sheathing of wharves and lighters and Chinese junks, yet many other branches have been grafted into the original business. Brazier sheets of Muntz's Metal for use in India form a considerable section of the business, and the "Neptune" brand of metal is very popular with the Indian artificers, who work up the plain sheets (4 feet by 4 feet) supplied into various utensils for native use, and also into Benares trays and tables which are seen throughout the world as samples of Indian hammered work. Another large section of the works is devoted to the manufacture of brass and co pper tubes, such as are used in marine condensers and locomotives on railways. All sorts of other kinds of brass and copper pipes are also made.

Another section is employed in turning out rods in Muntz's Metal, Naval Brass, manganese bronzes, aluminium bronzes, copper and various copper alloys. Part of the first products of this section are used in the works for the manufacture of nuts and bolts, studs, etc., of which a considerable quantity are turned out daily for engineering purposes.

An aluminium foundry has been added during the last few years, from which numerous castings are turned out for motor-cars and aeroplanes. Tubing of aluminium is also made, much being taken by the rubber-manufacturing companies for use as mandrels and moulds. Aluminium alloys are supplied in rod form for fuze- making for shells and torpedo-heads, etc.

There is an extensive laboratory, employed both in routine work controlling the quality of the company's manufactures, and also engaged in research work with a view to the improvement of existing methods and alloys and the development of new ones. Some remarkable results have thus been obtained. The machinery in the works is chiefly driven electrically, and the company has its own power-house both for electrical and hydraulic power purposes.

The works cover about 11 acres and comprise a good example of some old-fashioned methods and also the most modern practice as yet known in the several branches of manufacture.

The number of men employed is about 500.

National Telephone Co

National Telephone Co

The Birmingham telephone area extends to Sutton Coldfield on the north, Redditch on the south, Hampton-in-Arden and Coleshill on the east, and Halesowen on the west, covering an area of about 210 square miles. Twenty-six Exchanges serve this extensive district, the principal ones being the "Central" and "Midland."

The following Exchanges are the most interesting in the Birmingham district and were open for inspection:— "Central," 19 Newhall Street; "Midland," 60 Hill Street; and "Edgbaston," Bellis Street, Monument Road.

The "Central" Exchange, situated at the corner of Newhall and Edmund Streets, accommodates about 6,000 subscribers, of which 4,000 are served by multiple switchboards of the magneto type, and the remainder by a more modern switchboard on the Common-Battery principle, the main feature of which is that the signalling is done by lamps instead of indicators. The current for all the subscribers' instruments on the Central Battery system is supplied from the power-plant at the Exchange, instead of the local batteries and generators at each subscriber's instrument. Two new Exchanges on the Common-Battery principle are now in the course of erection to serve the Aston and Handsworth districts, making in all six Exchanges on this system in the area.

The Midland Exchange, situated in Hill Street, is one of the latest and most up-to-date telephone exchanges in the country and is worked entirely on the Central Battery system. The building was specially designed for the purpose and contains all the latest developments in telephone equipment. When fully equipped the switchboard will accommodate 7,000 subscribers. It can, however, be extended to serve 10,000 subscribers' lines. At the present time there are about 1,600 working. On the ground floor is a spacious room devoted entirely to the stores required for the district, while adjoining is seen the mechanics' shop, where small repairs to apparatus are carried out. At the rear two shops are set apart for the carpenter and painters. The cable subway is entered from the yard and from this subway the cables containing the subscribers' lines, junction lines, and all other lines are carried into the building by means of vertical ducts to the apparatus-room. The offices of the Company for the Birmingham district are on the first floor.

The apparatus-room is in the main portion of the building on the second floor and contains the main frame on which all lines terminate; they are then carried by flexible cables to the distributing frame, which distributes the lines from the cables to the various subscribers' numbers on the switchboard. This room also contains the register racks on which the effective calls made by subscribers are registered, the repeating coil racks, fuse panels, test-clerks' desk, and power-plant. The power-plant consists of two motor generators, having an output of 400 amperes at 30 volts, for the purpose of keeping the accumulators fully charged. The accumulators, which can be seen in the small room adjoining, supply the current for speaking and signalling. The electrician's offices are situated in the wings on either side of the apparatus room.

The switch-room or operating-room occupies the top floor, with the traffic department adjoining. The switchboard consists of 12 sections with 35 operators' positions, to deal with the traffic originated by the Midland subscribers, while on the north side of the room are fitted 5 junction sections with 13 operators' positions, to carry the calls from all other Exchanges to the Midland Exchange. In the centre of the room are desks provided for the Exchange manager, clerk-in-charge, and monitors. The number of calls originated in the Exchange averages 17,000 per day; in addition some 14,000 incoming calls have to be dealt with.

The operators' quarters, consisting of dining-room, sitting-room, kitchen, etc., are on the third floor. On this floor is a room set apart for the training of new operators, it being necessary for a systematic course of instruction and practical teaching to be gone through before the learners are allowed to take places at the switchboard in the Exchange.

The new "Edgbaston" Exchange, situated in Bellis Street, off Monument Road, Edgbaston, is the latest and the largest of the sub-exchanges erected by the Company in the Birmingham district. The premises are built to suit the requirements and will accommodate about 2,300 subscribers' lines. Most of these are in the residential suburb of Edgbaston, there being very few business places in the area. The basement contains the heating chamber and cable subway.

The apparatus-room is on the ground floor, and contains, as in the case of the Midland Exchange, test-clerks' desk, distributing frames, register racks, repeating coil rack, fuse panel and power-plant. The charging plant consists of two 175-ampere motor driven machines. Two machines of 75-watt capacity for generating ringing current are also installed.

The switch-room occupies first floor, and three sections of switchboard are installed, having a present capacity of 1,000 lines. The sections are of the same type as at the Midland Exchange; in this Exchange has been introduced, however, the "keyless ringing" system for the incoming junctions. The principal feature of this is that the junction operator has no ringing buttons to press when completing a connection, the ringing being started automatically as soon as the junction-plug is inserted into the required subscriber's line, while the ringing is automatically cut off the instant the subscriber lifts his receiver from the hook to reply. At the rear of the building is situated the operators' quarters, consisting of dining-room, kitchen, and other offices.

F. and C. Osler

F. and C. Osler

These works afford a great contrast to the large factories of recent growth in the Midland district where the chief interest centres in the marvellous machinery. Their employees are still, as they were a century ago, craftsmen, and the work that comes out of their shops is the work of human hand and eye, and not of any machine; but the lapse of a century has seen very considerable changes in the scope and variety of their productions. When the business was originally founded in 1807 glass seals and similar small articles were the principal manufactures, followed in later years by glass chandelier drops, and subsequently the chandeliers themselves. Table glass also came in this period. The decline in fashion of the glass chandelier led the partners of that day to open out into the range of ornamental metal work.

Until about fifteen years ago only the metal parts necessary to the glass chandeliers were made at Broad Street, but nowadays the larger part of their trade is in high-class metal work, chiefly electric light fittings, though popular fashion is again trending towards a combination of glass and metal for lighting purposes. The glass furnace is situated about a mile away at their Freeth Street works. Their employees in England number over 300, and in India, where they do a large electrical contracting business, they employ a greater number, having offices in Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras.

William Sames

William Sames

This firm was established in 1855, and at a very early period of its existence it was compelled to build a large three-block building, specially designed and equipped for the production of high-class pianofortes, owing to the increasing demand for their instruments. The works are adjoining Camp Hill Station, and are said to be one of the finest in Europe. The motive-power is obtained by steam, the exhaust-steam being utilized for heating the shops; the heat from the boilers is also requisitioned for stoves and drying-rooms.

The latest and most up-to-date machinery is employed in the manufacture of the firm's pianos, which, while raising the standard of efficiency and accuracy in finish, effects a great saving in the cost of production. The scientific methods employed in making the scales result in the production of a pure liquid, full, mellow tone. Only the best and most reliable actions are used, and every care is taken in finely regulating them so as to secure a crisp responsive touch and perfect repetition. The iron frames are made of specially toughened iron to withstand the greatest tension, and are highly finished and bronzed.

The building up is carried out in a most systematic manner. The chief features of the pianos are their remarkable standing and lasting qualities, being made only of the finest materials thoroughly seasoned, and under the most careful supervision throughout.

Taylor and Challen

Taylor and Challen

The offices and show-rooms of this firm are situated in Constitution Hill, with machine shops and foundry in the rear, having frontages to three adjoining streets. The business was commenced in 1852 by the late Mr. Joseph Taylor, and removed from Broad Street Foundry to its present site in 1861.

The productions of the firm include machinery used in the manufacture of coins, cartridges, seamless hollow-ware, electric motors and appliances, and pressed wares of a great variety. The machinery for the Mints of Sydney, Melbourne, Ottawa, and many foreign mints, was constructed by this firm. When in full work about 400 men are employed.

H. W. Ward and Co

H. W. Ward and Co

The works of this firm are situated at Lionel Street, which is within two minutes' walk of the Council House and the Town Hall. The firm commenced business in the year 1890 in a small way, with the intention of building up a business on ordinary machine-tool lines, namely, making all kinds of machines for engineers and kindred mechanical industries. After a few years it was decided to abandon the original policy, and to specialize on capstan lathes of various types, milling-machines, grinding- machines, and drilling machines.

The shop area is now about 65,000 square feet, and the number of machine tools in use is about 250. The works are run on modern manufacturing lines, and most of the machines are manufactured for stock in considerable quantities. Each machine is thoroughly tested for accuracy and capability of production before being despatched, and a spacious show-room is allocated for the reception of the finished machines.

The products of the firm are sent to the most important Government Departments and leading engineers, in addition to which a considerable business is done in all continental countries.

The number of employees when in full work is about 500.

Webley and Scott

Webley and Scott

This firm was incorporated in 1896 for the purpose of amalgamating the two old-established businesses of P. Webley and Son of Weaman Street, and W. and C. Scott and Son, Premier Gun Works, Lancaster Street, the largest wholesale manufacturers of high-class sporting guns and rifles in the kingdom. The firm of P. Webley and Son, in addition to manufacturing sporting guns for the speciality of W. and C. Scott and Son, have always been builders of the highest-class of shot guns, for pigeon and game shooting.

The Premier Gun Works, the old factory of the Scott branch, has been rebuilt and extended, and is devoted solely to the manufacture of sporting goons and rifles; the Weaman Street and Slaney Street factories are reserved for the production of revolvers and automatic pistols, the latter being now made in five sizes:— .25, .32, 9 mm., .38 and .455 — the .25 being a waistcoat-pocket 6-shot pistol, weighing only 12 ounces, and the .455 a large military model.

Since the International Gun Trials held at New York in 1873, when Scott guns came first and second in all four classes, they have been continually to the front at all the principal trials and shooting matches, both at home and abroad.

Among the specialities of this firm may be mentioned the ejector, which is very simple, consisting of only two limbs, namely, the spring and hammer, which is situated in the forepart; the Webley top-screw grip fastening and the Scott square crossbolt, also the Scott improved block safety hammerless lock.

The number of men employed at both factories is about 700.



The works of the Wolseley Tool and Motor-Car Co., of which the proprietors are Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim, are situated at Adderley Park, about two miles from the centre of Birmingham.

They were opened for the manufacture of motor-cars and machine-tools in 1901, then employing about 400 hands. Since that date the works have been very considerably extended, and are now employing upwards of 3,000. The total area of the works is over 23 acres, of which about 17 acres are covered with buildings. The machine-tool business has been practically dropped, and the men are employed exclusively on the manufacture of motor-cars and petrol engines for marine, aeroplane, and various purposes.

This firm is one of the subsidiary Companies of Messrs. Vickers, Sons and Maxim, and comprises the largest works in this country entirely devoted to the manufacture of motor-cars. Everything for the motor-car, with the exception of tyres and magnetos, is made in the works, which are comprised in two sections with a road dividing them.

The West Works comprise the main machine shops, assembling and erecting shops, in addition to the office block.

The East Works, which are surrounded by a track which is used for testing, comprises test and running shops, carriage works, stores and stock-rooms.

The carriage works include sections devoted to the manufacture of bodies, painting, upholstering and finishing, both body and chassis.

The economic production of motor-cars in large quantities on the interchangeable system necessitates a very complete system of checking and gauging to attain the necessary interchangeability. The works are, therefore, very completely equipped with high-class machine-tools to this end.

Attached to the West Works is a foundry where the firm make all their own aluminium castings and special iron castings, including cylinders and other such-like intricate parts.

E. G. Wrigley and Co

E. G. Wrigley and Co

This business was started in July 1897 by Mr. E. G. Wrigley, at small premises in Aston Road, Birmingham, for the manufacture of milling cutters and reamers.

Further capital being required for development, it was converted into a joint stock company in April 1898. During the next three years the business steadily increased, and land was acquired in Foundry Lane, Smethwick, on which the erection of the present works was commenced and manufacturing was started in April 1902. The making of twist-drills was added to the small-tool department, and a gear-cutting section, with a number of the most recent types of machines, was also added to the business.

In 1904 the works were increased to approximately double the original capacity, and a further increase was made in 1906, in which year also freehold land of about 10,790 square yards was acquired to allow for later extensions.

The present works consist of a building with saw-tooth roof, having six bays 16 feet by 128 feet, and six bays 16 feet by 80 feet, the two bays nearest the road being used as offices and stores, and the remainder as a machine and fitting shop. The west side of this shop is devoted to turning, milling, gear-cutting, and fitting departments, and the east side to the manufacture of small tools.

[See the Plan of Works and Ground showing Extensions on attached image]

A separate small-tool shop with a floor space of about 10,000 square feet has been erected this year, in order that the whole of the main shop may be devoted to the continually increasing gear-cutting and engineering business. At the north end of the works are the steel stores and hardening departments, the latter being under the direction of a chemist, who is provided with a laboratory containing all the apparatus necessary for the analysis of materials. The works are driven electrically, current being taken from the local supply for the separate motors which drive each line-shaft.

A complete system of heating and ventilating on the Plenum principle is installed, and water screens are provided for cleaning and cooling the air in hot weather. Ample mess-room and lavatory accommodation are provided for the workpeople.

The number of employees is at present about 200.

University of Birmingham

University of Birmingham

The University is the successor to the College founded by the late Sir Josiah Mason in the year 1875, and was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1900. In the same year an Act of Parliament was obtained by which the College was merged in the University. The original buildings are situated in Edmund Street, near the Town Hall, with a separate frontage to Great Charles Street.

[[See plans of buildings in attached image]

The new buildings at Edgbaston are situated on a site of 25 acres presented to the University by Lord Calthorpe, and distant about 3 miles from the centre of Birmingham. In 1907 Lord Calthorpe gave an additional 19 acres, which has been laid out for college games.

There are, at present, seven departments in working order— Physics, Chemistry, Mechanical, Civil, and Electrical Engineering, Mining, and Metallurgy.

The scheme of the buildings is a long frontage to University Road including the departments of Physics and Chemistry with the Harding Memorial Library, and a series of radiating arms stretching out from a semicircular front. In this front are contained the lecture rooms, and the Secretary's offices and other administrative buildings, while in the T-shaped arms are the laboratories, workshops, and drawing offices. Each arm is 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, and at the end there is a transept 90 feet by 45 feet. The Chamberlain Tower, rising to a height of 325 feet, stands between the Library and the Great Hall.

At the south-west corner of the site, and about 200 yards from the main buildings, stands the Power Station, from which electricity both for power and light, steam for heating, and Mond gas, are supplied to the various departments. Near this there are a foundry, forge, and a building for large furnaces and experimental plant in connection with the department of Metallurgy. Under the ground, at the south-east corner of the site, is an experimental mine, which covers an area of about one acre.

The Power Station contains three high-pressure boilers of 150 h.p. each, and two large heating boilers which are fitted with mechanical stokers. The engine-room contains four samples of high-class modern practice in steam-engine work, each engine being of about 100 h.p., and driving dynamos. In addition, there are two large gas-engines, an oil-engine, and an ammonia plant. The cost of the buildings already erected, including the Great Hall, is about £530,000.

Mechanicalt Engineering Department.—In the basement is a large machine shop filled with modern tools, and also a pattern shop. On the first floor is the large drawing office capable of seating 120 students at one time. There is also a hall of machines, which will contain examples of those machines specially illustrating the industries of the locality. An excellent gas-engine laboratory is provided, in which Professor Burstall has carried out much valuable work in connection with the Gas-Engine Research Committee of the Institution.

Electrical and Civil Engineering Departments.—The Electrical Engineering Department contains a number of dynamos and motors of various types, and is equipped with complete arrangements for experimental work. Current is received from the Power Station, and is transformed into a great variety of currents, all the circuits being controlled from the main switchboard. The currents are distributed by mains throughout both laboratories, so that students can obtain exactly the kind of current required for any particular work. The present equipment is sufficient to enable twenty students in each laboratory to work simultaneously.

At the outer end is the Civil Engineering Department, in which will be found a complete hydraulic installation for experimental work on pumps, turbines, and the flow of water through pipes, this plant being capable of handling 600 gallons of water a minute. There are also a number of testing machines of different types, including a 50-ton Buckton machine, and an Avery machine of 300 tons capacity, capable of testing bars up to 25 feet long, and a 100-ton Riehle machine. On the first floor are the cement-testing rooms, drawing office, and standards room.

Mining and Metallurgical Departments.—In the lower floor there are a Coal Mining Laboratory, Draughting Room, together with a Metal Mining Laboratory for treating gold, silver, lead, and copper ores. On the first floor is the Metallurgical Department. For lecture purposes, and for the teaching of assaying and analysis, provision is made in a large laboratory, and there are the necessary rooms for dry assaying and for preparing and sampling metals and ores for testing, together with a balance room and store rooms. In addition there are separate rooms for the electro-deposition of metals, the microscopic examination of metals and alloys, and the measurement of high temperatures.

The other portion of the Metallurgical Department is in a separate building near to the Power Station. Here are the large furnaces and experimental plant. It is divided into two sections, one dealing with steel, and the other with gold, silver, copper, lead, and alloys. The apparatus, which is all on a practical working scale, includes a 2-ton Siemens steel furnace with electric hoist, crane, and boiler; a water-jacketed blast-furnace; roasting furnaces; a cyanide plant; a chlorination barrel; and an ore crusher.

The Great Hall.—In the centre of the block of buildings is the Great Hall, which has a total length of 150 feet, and a span of 75 feet, with a height of 60 feet. This is used for Degree Congregations, and other purposes which require a hall of large size. Beneath the floor are a Refectory and Common Rooms for use by the students, staff, and professors, and below these are kitchens and other offices.

Daimler Motor Co


The Daimler Motor Co. (1904), Ltd., are motor-car manufacturers with shops covering nearly fourteen acres on two separate estates, namely, Coventry and Radford, situated close together, having an area of thirty-five acres. They employ 4,000 men at the two works, and the present output is fifty cars per week. The sizes of cars are 15, 22, 33, 38, and 57 h.p., of which the 33 and 57 h.p. are 6-cylinder, the other sizes being 4-cylinder.

There are thirteen different trades brought into operation in these works, namely, machining, fitting, engine-testing, erecting, car-testing, coach-making, painting, trimming, finishing, smithing, copper-smithing, electro-plating, etc., and a foundry. Of these trades all except foundry work, erecting, and tin and copper-smithing, are carried on at the Coventry Works, and they occupy in shops alone eight and a half acres of floor space.

The Radford Works at present consist mainly of a building 1,340 feet long by 180 feet wide, with overhead electric cranes running from end to end, a little over a quarter of a mile. In this shop (all under one roof) the trades of erecting, tin and copper smithing, part of broaching, and foundry are carried on.

The shops are lighted mainly by electricity, the other kinds of lighting being high- and low-pressure incandescent gas. Warming is done partly by the Plenum system, and partly by direct steam- and hot-water heating. The buildings are protected from fire by a complete installation of sprinklers.

The machine shop, a four-storey building, is equipped with the most up-to-date machinery, jigs and tools, etc., and is driven throughout by electricity. In this shop alone there are about one hundred electro-motors, many driving individual machines, and others groups of machines. The total number of electromotors throughout the works is about 180. A part of the power required for the motors is generated by two Diesel oil-engines, each of 320 b.h.p.

The engine-testing department is fitted up with more than a hundred testing benches, and testing is done both by means of rope and electric brakes.

The smiths' shop has about fifty forges, power-hammers, and an exhaust system for removing the fumes from the fires.

All materials, raw and in course of manufacture, are tested in the laboratory, which has a staff of qualified chemists, who also supervise the heat treatment of parts to which special attention is paid.

The foundry is equipped throughout with the most up-to-date plant, comprising cupola, crucible furnaces, hydraulic and hand-moulding machines, pneumatic hoists, cranes, etc.

In connection with the carriage department, an interesting sloop is that in which metal panel-making is carried on, full advantage being taken of the oxy-acetylene method of scolding, for which work it is specially suitable.

In the erecting shop an interesting operation is that of frame-making, in which the rivets are located electrically in position and closed by a hydraulic riveter.

The whole of the work is done on the premium bonus system.

Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Co

Deasy Motor Car Manufacturing Co

These works were taken over by this company in 1906, for the purpose of manufacturing motor-cars under the management of Captain H. H. P. Deasy. The premises, which have a floor area of 9,000 square yards, consist of an imposing frontage of offices, and at the west side is situated the rough stores, adjoining which, and at the back of the offices, is the large machine shop, containing about 200 machines.

The works are so arranged that the articles under manufacture are always moving in the same direction, passing successively through the view room, component erecting benches, chassis erecting shop, and testing department. The cars are now known as the "J. D. S." type, and are manufactured under the supervision of Mr. J. D. Siddeley, the originator of the "Siddeley Autocar," the capacity of the works being ten first-class cars per week.

The works are run in sections by electric motors, drawing their current from the Corporation mains, so that when a few machines are working overtime their respective motors are the only ones in use. Among the machines in use may be seen the following: No. 16 Herbert's combination turret lathe, Burton Griffith's cylinder grinder, Reinecker Bilgram bevel-gear planer, and a Gleason 15-inch bevel-gear generating machine.

The number of men employed is about 300.

Alfred Herbert

Alfred Herbert

This firm was established in 1888 for the manufacture of machine tools, and at the present time gives employment to 1,500 men. The machines built are horizontal and vertical milling-machines, capstan lathes, automatic screw-machines, automatic turning-machines, light drilling-machines, and universal grinding-machines.

The head works are situated in the Butts, close to the railway station. The foundry is at Edgwick about three miles away, and the firm have there a branch works devoted to the manufacture of milling-machines. This branch works at Edgwick is entirely self- contained, and was built there because sufficient land could not be obtained at the head works for the necessary extensions. On going through the works it will be noticed that all the machines built are brought through in considerable numbers at a time, and that the fullest use is made of special jigs and tools. Piecework is employed throughout, and a separate price is given for each operation, the work being inspected after each operation.

In the machine shop the tools are grouped together, each particular type of machine being under the charge of a foreman. Particular note should be taken of the Turret Lathe Department, in which are included a battery of automatic screw-machines used for making bolts, screws, handles, etc., from the bar, and also a battery of automatic turning-machines which are used for dealing with chuck work made from castings or steel blanks.

The Office System is similar to that in the works, there being a separate office for each department, all on one side of a long corridor, from which several stairways lead down into the works. A large part of the firm's business consists of supplying machines complete with outfits of tools for producing work to sample, guarantees of production being given. These guarantees are carried out in the testing bay, where many different types of machines will be found in operation.

The motive power is electricity, generated in the works, each lineshaft being driven by a separate motor. There is also an auxiliary steam-engine being used at the present time pending further extensions to the electrical plant. The extensive use of cylindrical and surface grinding machines will be noticed, the high degree of interchangeability necessitating the finishing of a large portion of the work by grinding.



These works, covering an area of 135 acres, are situated within a mile and a half of the London and North Western Railway station at Coventry, while the Coventry tramways run within easy distance. The works have been erected for an annual output of 50,000 cycles and 4,000 motor-vehicles. They are built entirely of red brick, and have glass and slated roofs, northern light, and several shops have lantern roofs. The heating and ventilating is on the Plenum system, whereby an even temperature can be maintained throughout the year without draught or dust. The lighting is on the series system, nine lamps forming the one series. Each of these is about 1,500 c.p., and of the flame type, the line voltage being 460. The incandescent lamps are of 230 volts. Gas is provided as a stand-by.

Offices.-These are two storeys in height, and are entered by a main central hall. They are heated in some cases by open fires, but for the most part by lose-pressure hot-water radiators

Car-Examining and Despatch Department.—Leading from the main hall, one enters this department where the newly-finished cars wait to undergo their final examination.

Goods Department.—Situated close to the main machine and fitting shops is this department, whence a constant stream of parts is being distributed to the various parts of the works.

Rough Stores and Examining Shop.—From these stores is supplied to the machine shop all material (in rough) appertaining to a motorcar. Every article is subjected to a severe test and examination previous to being sent to the fitters of the various departments, the gauges used being of the most up-to-date pattern.

Machine Shop.—This shop employs 700 men, and contains over 1,000 machine-tools arranged in sections. In Section I are capstan and automatic machines; Section II contains vertical and horizontal boring and drilling machines, and Section III forms the turret-lathe department. Section IV comprises the milling department, Section V the lathe department, and Section VI contains machinery for the more delicate operations, such as brass-work, etc. Here can be seen the manufacture, on a Humber jig, of the connecting-rod bearings and all split bearings for use with the Humber engines. The work done in the machine shop comprises anything from a 1-inch screw to a heavy crank-case. The grinding department contains high-class machinery by Messrs. Brown and Sharpe, the Norton Emery Wheel Manufacturing Co., etc.

The Tool Department is elaborately fitted up and contains the latest productions of British and American tools.

Lubrication.—To every machine is fitted a special arrangement for supplying the lubrication necessary to keep the tools in good working order, and about 5,000 gallons of lubricant is used to supply the whole of the shops. This enormous quantity is stored in tanks at one end of the turnery, from which it gravitates through pipes over the whole of the six sections, and, after being used at the various machines, returns in pipes to a well where it is cleansed and then pumped into the distributing tank.

Engine, Back-axle, and Gear-box Fitting Shop.—This department, where the most important parts of the cars are made, employs about 300 men.

Engine Test Shop.—The period of test varies from ten to fifteen hours. All parts are thoroughly inspected, and the horsepower is measured by a water dynamometer.

The next shops to be seen are the chassis erecting shop, the car-frame erecting shop, and the car-brazing sloop.

The Riveting Shop contains compound air-compressors driven by a 36-h.p. motor, supplying both riveting hammers and pneumatic drills.

Then follow the polishing and plating shops. In the latter are installed 26 nickel-plating vats, supplied with current from four dynamos giving 4,500 amperes, driven by two motors of 25-h.p. each, to all of which vats Canning's agitators are fitted.

Coppersmith,' Shop—This shop employs about fifty men, bending and shaping copper-tubes, and fitting unions and flanges. Other articles are manufactured here, such as the exhaust-pipes and wire-carriers.

Tinsmiths' Slop (Radiator and Sheet Metal Department).—In the stores are seen over 200 tons of the finest charcoal tinned plates of various thicknesses and many tons of copper tubes, of which 100,000 feet are used up in the course of a month. In the finished stores are numerous radiators which have been previously tested and also submitted to intense vibration. In the press shop will be seen the manufacture of radiators, bonnets, petrol tanks, etc.

Other departments to be seen are the hardening shop, sand-blast shop, the running or tuning-up sloop, saw-mills, timber-seasoning stores, body-making sloop, paint shops, upholsterers' stores, varnishing shop, car-finishing shop, and car stock-room.

The Power Station and Gas-Producer House contain six gas-engines of 100 b.h.p., each running on suction producer-gas plants. The engines are driven through belt transmission, eight 70-kw. compound-wound generators by Messrs. Siemens Bros.

In close proximity to the power-station is the boiler-house containing four horizontal boilers, 30 feet by 8 feet, by Messrs. banks. These boilers are for supplying steam to the heating batteries in connection with the heating and ventilating fans.

The Smithy contains sixteen double hearths by Messrs. Alldays and Onions, a blast-forge, an electrically-driven 3-cwt. power pneumatic hammer, drop hammers, gas-heating furnaces, cold-water boshes, anvils, cranes, screw-presses, etc.

The Cycle Department comprises the frame-building sloop, tube and lug stores, wheel-makers' shop, tyre stores, repair shop, finished material stores, examining shop, cleaning shop, crate-making shop, etc.

On the south side of the factory is the Humber Athletic Club ground of 6 acres, for the use of the several clubs existing in connection with the works.

The firm have for some time given special attention to, the production of aeroplanes, and, in addition to their own monoplane and biplane, are prepared to construct aeroplanes to inventors' designs.

The total number employed at these works amounts to 2,500.

Pump and Power Co

Pump and Power Co

The site selected for the testing station, which is placed on ground belonging to the South Staffordshire Mond Gas Co., was chosen because a supply of Mond gas for working the pumps, compressed air for starting, and electric current for lighting the building and charging the accumulators, could all be conveniently obtained from the Mond Gas Co.

The building contains four Humphrey pumps of various types, the largest of which is a 4-cycle pump delivering 250,000 gallons per hour to a height of 35 feet. This pump has a drowned suction the level of which is kept approximately constant, and the water is delivered into a vertical tower, from which it passes into the measuring tank fitted with stilling screens and an accurately gauged orifice, and then returns to the supply tank to be used over again. Among the smaller pumps will be found a double-barrel two-cycle pump and a single-barrel pump with a suction lift.

There is also the 4-cycle pump which was tested by Dr. W. Cawthorne Unwin, F.R.S., and which was described in the Proceedings of the Institution in November 1909. The consumption of gas is measured in a specially constructed gasholder and apparatus for analysing the gas, and calorimeters for directly obtaining its heat value are included in the equipment.

The Humphrey pumps of all types have the distinguishing feature that the explosion takes place directly in contact with one end of a column of liquid, and the movement of this column of liquid entirely controls the pump. Beyond the water suction-valves and the small interlocking gear regulating the inlet- and exhaust-valves there are no moving parts or mechanism, and even the stuffing- boxes and glands found in ordinary pumps are entirely absent. The pumps will work with any gaseous fuel, and have been most successfully operated with petrol. They can also be worked with heavy oil such as is used in the Diesel oil-engine.

For lifts beyond 35 feet an "intensifier" is employed. This involves the placing of a non-return valve at the distant end of the discharge-pipe and the use of an air-vessel which stores the energy required to give the return flow of the column of liquid which compresses the fresh combustible charge. When such an intensifier is added to the pump, water can be delivered to high pressures and the delivery pressure is made independent of the mean effective pressure of the ignited gases in the combustion chamber. Dr. Unwin's official test showed that the fuel consumption in the trials, reckoned on the work done in lifting water, was less than in any pumping arrangement either by gas or steam hitherto recorded, and in a pump of only 16 h.p. the consumption of anthracite was 1.06 lb. per actual horse-power-hour in the water lifted. Later tests with a pump of 36 h.p. showed a coal consumption of 0.95 lb. per water h.p. hour. One of the largest Continental firms is engaged in preparing the plans for a gas-hydro-electric installation on the Humphrey system having a 1000-11.p. capacity. A double-barrel pump with intensifier will be used to force water through an ordinary water-turbine, which in turn will be coupled to an electric generator.

As the operation of the Humphrey pump gives a reciprocating column of liquid, it is only necessary to allow the other end of the liquid column to reciprocate in an air-vessel fitted with suitable valves, in order to convert the apparatus in an air-compressor from which the compressed air may be delivered in a relatively small quantity at high pressure or a relatively large quantity at low pressure as may be desired. The change in pressure may be made while the apparatus is at work, the total work done per stroke remaining the same. It is the intention of the Pump and Power Co. to develop this side of their business, as it offers special advantages in the cooling of the air during compression.

South Staffordshire Mond Gas (Power and Heating) Co

South Staffordshire Mond Gas (Power and Heating) Co

The South Staffordshire Mond Gas (Power and Heating) Co. was formed by special Act of Parliament in 1901 to make and distribute gas for power and heating purposes over the area extending from the City of Birmingham boundary on the one hand to the Wolverhampton Borough boundary, and from Pelsall to Stourbridge on the other — an area of about 123 square miles, having a population of very nearly three-quarters of a million, and comprising the Boroughs of Dudley, Smethwick, Walsall, Wednesbury, West Bromwich, and Wolverhampton; the Townships of Amblecote, Bilston, Brierley Hill, Coseley, Darlaston, Heath Town, Lye and Wollescote, Oldbury, Quarry Bank, Rowley Regis, Sedgley, Short-Heath, Stourbridge, Tipton, Wednesfield, and Willenhall; and the Districts of Halesowen, Kingswinford, and Walsall (including Bentley). It is what may very aptly be termed the industrial heart of England. The site at Dudley Port, Tipton, covers an area of about 40 acres.

The first section of the works was begun in 1902, and completed and gas made early in 1905. The plant comprises eight producers, each capable of gasifying 20 tons of fuel per day of 24 hours, and generating sufficient gas to drive gas-engines of 2,000 h.p. continuously. The total capacity of the present section is thus equal to 16,000 h.p. The fuel is brought by boat into the canal basin, or by rail on to the siding, both of which have been specially constructed, and is unloaded by hand into bunkers; the entrance to these from the boats is a little above water-level, and at the ground-level from the trucks.

From these bunkers the fuel is automatically fed into two "Hunt" conveyers, each having a capacity of 40 tons per hour, and which convey and distribute the fuel into the storage bunkers over each set of producers. The bunker over each producer will hold 40 tons. The conveyers are driven electrically, the motors being about 5 h.p.

[See plan of works in attached image]

The gas after leaving the producers—at about 550° C.—is thoroughly washed in mechanical washers, and after passing through the ammonia recovery and gas-cooling towers, is further purified by large centrifugal fans (two of which are running in series at 850 revolutions and are driven by motors of 45 h.p. each), and then passed through the scrubbers and the meters, before being compressed and sent through the mains for distribution.

The air-blast for working the producers is produced by Roots' blowers (made by Thwaites Brothers), of which there are three, each of 50 h.p. The Lee-Howl water-pumps can each pump 160 tons of water per hour. All the fans, washers, etc., are operated electrically, and the works, which are run constantly night and day, are also lighted by electricity, the current being generated by Westinghouse three-cylinder vertical gas-engines, each of 250 h.p.; the voltage is 220. There are two of these engines, one only running at a time, the other being kept as a stand-by.

The three compressors (made by Fraser and Chalmers) are used for forcing the gas through the mains. Each compressor is of 450 h.p., and will compress 500,000 cubic feet of gas per Lour. Large quantities of steam are required for working the plant, and this is provided by four Climax boilers each of 500 h.p., capable of evaporating 1,500 gallons of water per hour, at a working pressure of 160 lb. per square inch. Sulphate of ammonia is recovered by evaporation in specially constructed stills, the crystallized sulphate being afterwards dried in hydro-extractors. The gas is measured by being passed through rotary meters, each capable of passing 500,000 cubic feet per hour.

Rains varying in size from 36 inches in diameter at the works to 21 inches at the end of the circuitor of the trunk main have been laid, and are filled with gas through Toll End, to Ocker Hill, where the main bifurcates, one leg passing through Bilston into Wolverhampton, the other leg passing through Leabrook and Wednesbury into Walsall. Gas is at present being distributed under a pressure of 5 lb. per square inch. This pressure is reduced on consumers' premises by means of reducing valves, which have been specially designed for the purpose, to the pressure suitable for each individual case. The trunk-mains are of the Ferguson locking-bar type.

All other pipes (except specials) are made of wrought-iron, or steel, with screwed joints. The total length of trunk and branch-mains laid to end of 1909 was 251 miles. The gas is connected to over 100 works, and is used for all kinds of metallurgical and heating operations, as well as for generating power by means of gas-engines.

Birmingham Waterworks

Birmingham Waterworks

The Frankley Works of the Birmingham Corporation Waterworks are situated near Northfield, at a distance of about 7 miles south-west of the centre of the City. They form a portion of the Elan Supply Works, by which the City and district are supplied with water from 70 square miles of watershed of the River Elan in Radnorshire and Brecknockshire, Mid Wales.

[See plan of Frankley Filter beds in attached image]

The three impounding reservoirs at present constructed in the Elan Valley have a total content of about 11,320 million gallons. Immediately after it leaves the impounding reservoirs the water receives rough filtration, and then flows through the 731 miles of aqueduct (which has a present capacity of 26 million gallons a day) to Frankley. The works are designed to supply eventually 72 million gallons a day.

Frankley Service Reservoir.— On debouching from the aqueduct the water flows through a gauge-chamber, where a continuous record of the quantity is made. It then flows into one half of the service reservoir. This latter is open, constructed of concrete, lined with asphalte uncovered on the floor, but faced with blue brickwork on the walls. The content of each half is 100,000,000 gallons. The first half acts as a sedimenting tank, and the water is decanted from it, over a weir in the dividing wall, into the second half, whence it is drawn off into the mains leading to the filter beds. Provision has been made for passing the water direct from the gauge-chamber to the filters, instead of through the reservoir, should the necessity for that ever arise.

Filter Beds.— These are eighteen in number, varying in size from 150 feet square to 220 feet square, with a total area of about 14 acres. The flow on to each is regulated and gauged. The filtering medium is fine sand superimposed on gravel. Filtration is effected at a normal rate of about 3 inches vertically per hour. The filter outlets are so arranged that it is impossible to draw off filtered water below the top level of the sand, and the possible filtering head on each filter is limited. The average quantity of water filtered daily at present is nearly 20 million gallons.

Filter Sand Washing.— The washing of dirty filtering sand is effected mechanically at two stages. The sand is first passed through an ejector which lifts it to a Greenway washer, after passing through which it is stored on a concrete stage until required again for the filters.

Pure-Water Reservoirs.— From the filters the water flows to two pure-water reservoirs; both are covered, the larger, with a content of 71 million gallons, is all of concrete (that of the roof and its supports being reinforced), the smaller with 1 million gallons content being of concrete lined with brickwork.

Pumping Station.— The altitude of the Frankley Works is not sufficient to supply the whole district by gravitation. It is necessary therefore, to pump a small portion of the supply to two high-level service reservoirs, one at Warley, the other at Northfield. The plant laid down for this purpose consists of three vertical triple-expansion engines and three-throw pumps — two of about 80 h.p. each and one of 60 h.p. — and a horizontal compound engine and double plunger pump (converted from one of the older stations) of about 160 h.p.

The boilers are three in number, Babcock and Wilcox boilers working at a pressure of 150 lb. Each boiler has a superheater and mechanical stoker, and all are connected to a Green's economiser. Auxiliary machinery consists of a three-throw hydraulic pump and engine with an accumulator for supplying hydraulic power at 700 lb. pressure for working the large valves on the reservoirs and mains, a high-speed engine and dynamo for electric lighting purposes, and electric motors for driving the machinery in the fitters' shop.

Mains and Meters.— There are two 43-inch diameter and one 42-inch diameter gravitation mains and two 18-inch diameter rising mains (from the pumps), for supply from the station. On each of these is a Venturi meter, with recording apparatus.

Walter Somers and Co

Walter Somers and Co

These works are within three minutes' walk of Halesowen Station. They were founded about forty-five years ago by Mr. Walter Somers, and in 1895 the business was converted into a private company with Mr. Walter Somers as chairman and managing director. In order to deal with increasing trade, they have been considerably enlarged during the last few years, and now cover an area of about 10 acres. The Birmingham Canal and a branch line of the Great Western Railway run through them, which greatly facilitates the handling of heavy ingots and forgings.

The works comprise the following departments:— Hydraulic-pressing plant, forge with steam-hammers, smiths' sloop, machine shop, power-station and testing department. In connection with the hydraulic-pressing plant are two steam-hydraulic forging presses; the one has a maximum pressure of 3,600 tons and is served by one 60-ton and one 30-ton electric travellers. The other is of 600 tons power and is served by a 15-ton hydraulic crane. There are gas-fired reheating furnaces for heating the ingots for the large press, and the waste heat from the same is utilized by passing it through vertical-tube boilers.

The forge contains steam-hammers varying from 10 cwt. to 12 tons in size, with steam and hydraulic cranes to serve them. There is also a complete plant for making buffers.

The smiths' shop is capable of dealing with large stern-frames, rudder-frames, propeller-brackets, etc.

The machine shop is 278 feet long by 55 feet wide, and contains three electric travellers of 30 tons, 15 tons, and 5 tons lifting capacity respectively. Most of the machine tools are electrically driven, and amongst those of special interest may be mentioned the planing machine converted to electric reversing-drive, shaft- boring lathe, 12-foot boring mill, and numerous high-speed all-gear headstock lathes. Adjoining this shop is the tool department, where the tools for the machines are made and ground.

The power-house contains one Belliss and Morcom dynamo engine of 120 kw. and two of 80 kw. capacity each respectively. In both the press shop and forge are large annealing furnaces, and the testing department contains a 30-ton electrically-driven Tang,ye tensile testing-machine. In the grounds adjoining the works is an open-air swimming-bath with dressing-rooms, for the use of the workmen. The number of men employed is about 350.

South Staffordshire Watwerworks Co

South Staffordshire Watwerworks

The area of the district supplied by the Company is nearly 300 square miles and extends for 40 miles in one direction. Several large towns are served, and the total population supplied is 694,000. There are 16 pumping stations and 15 reservoirs, and 800 miles of mains. The capital expended on works is £1,500,000.

The water from this station is pumped into Barr Beacon Reservoir (741 feet 0.D.) about 9.5 miles away. The main is 18 inches diameter for about 3 miles (where it connects up to another pumping station) and afterwards 24 inches. The level of the engine-house floor is 367.66 feet O.D. The Works comprise an engine-house large enough for two engines, but at present containing one horizontal engine complete with borehole and force pumps; a boiler-house with three 30 feet by 8 feet Lancashire boilers and a chimney 110 feet high, a small workshop and stores, and a cottage for the foreman in charge.

There are two boreholes 30 inches diameter in the clear, each of whirls is 310 feet deep. From the bottom of each of them 20-inch boreholes have been sunk to a total depth from the engine-house floor of 556 and 516 feet respectively. The boreholes are sunk in the Keuper and Bunter of the new red sandstone formation and terminate in Permian Marl. For the first 180 feet they pass for the most part through red loamy sandstone, below this there is 140 feet of hoard red sandstone, then there are two thick beds of conglomerate (about 125 feet) separated by 16 feet of red sandstone with marl, and below this come red marl measures with a little sandstone.

The engine is of the compound, horizontal, tandem, Corliss, surface-condensing, rotative type, and was constructed by Messrs. Hathorn, Davey and Co., of Leeds. The double-acting force pump is situated behind the low-pressure cylinder, the low-pressure cylinder behind the high-pressure cylinder, the crankshaft carrying the fly-wheel between the borehole pumps and high-pressure cylinder, and the two single-acting borehole pumps are worked by means of rocking compensating levers actuated through a connecting-rod by the engine crankshaft.

The engine is capable of pumping a net quantity of 2,000,000 gallons per twenty-four hours from a depth of 300 feet and delivering it against a head of 433 feet at a speed of 180 feet per minute. The stroke of the engine is 5 feet and that of the borehole pumps 5 feet 6 inches. The diameters of the steam cylinders are 32 inches and 62 inches, the force-pump barrel 151 inches, and the borehole pump barrels 15 inches. The working steam-pressure is 110 lb. per square inch. The pump horse-power of the engine is 323. The total cost of the station, including land, buildings, and machinery, was £21,120.

Austin Motor Co


The works are situated about 7 miles from Birmingham on the main road to Bristol, to which they have a frontage of about 450 feet with a depth of about 700 feet. The land enclosed for the works has an area of 8 acres, of which about 6 acres are already occupied with shops, to which others are being added from time to time to meet the requirements of the steadily increasing business. Northfield, on the Midland Railway, is the nearest station, distant about 1 miles from the works.

The Company commenced business in 1905 with Mr. Herbert Austin as governing director. Formerly he had been manager of the Wolseley Co., when he designed and built one of the first motor vehicles with an internal-combustion engine produced in England.

In March, 1906, the first Austin motor with a four-cylinder engine of the 25 to 30-h.p. type was ready for the road, and its success was immediate and complete. It was soon followed by a smaller model of 18 to 24 h.p. with four cylinders, and the design (minor details excepted) has remained unaltered to this day. The 25 to 30 h.p. engine was soon afterwards increased to 40 h.p. and a six-cylinder model of 60 h.p. was added.

In 1908 a 15-h.p. four-cylinder model was introduced in two forms. One has the engine in front, as in ordinary practice, and with a narrowed frame is used for taxi-cab work, whilst the other has the engine under the driver's seat. This chassis is used for town Landaulet or Coupe carriages, or light delivery vans to carry loads up to 15 cwt.

Following these in 1909 were added a 7-h.p. single-cylinder, and a 50-h.p. six-cylinder, and an 18 to 24-b.p. four- cylinder of a special light type fitted with detachable wire wheels; these completing the range of models at present manufactured by the Company.

The shops are all on the ground floor and are equipped with the latest machines used in motor engineering.

Machine Shops.—The main machine-shops cover an area of upwards of 47,000 square feet, and are situated in the centre of the works. The machines include a Muir crank-miller for machining cranks from the blank or from stampings; a Lapointe drifting machine; Warner and Swasey small turret-lathes; larger turret-lathes, consisting of Gisholt, Jones and Lamson, Davis, Bardon and Oliver types; Lucas boring-machines; Fosdick radial drill; Archdale 4-spindle drilling-machines; Prentice Barnes and Hofer, and other drills; Ludw. Loewe Lincoln type-miller; Garvin vertical profilers and duplex millers; camshaft miller, etc. The automatic section includes Herbert's automatic chucking and Grinley bar machines. The tool section consists of general standard tools, including a Milwaukee latest pattern all-geared-head miller, Whitcomb Blaisdell lathe all-geared-head, Reinecker backing off, and Pratt and Whitney precision lathes, etc.

All finished parts are checked, both for accuracy and interchangeability, in the adjacent View Room.

Grinding Section.—Includes Landis cam and crank grinding machines; Pratt and Whitney vertical surface grinders; universal grinders by Birch, and Brown and Sharpe; also special gear-wheel and cylinder grinding machines.

Hardening Shop.—This occupies an area of about 1,200 square feet. The apparatus here consists of two muffles, which burn oil-fuel, and one coal-fired furnace. The heat of the furnaces is checked by Pauls and Thery pyrometers. Three American gas-furnaces and a furnace for high-speed steel and a Brayshaw salt-bath furnace for the hardening of gears, etc., are also working.

Power House (adjoining the Grinding Section).—This contains two vertical compound steam-engines for motive power for the shops. One a 150-h.p. Anderson and the other a 286-h.p. Brush. For lighting purposes a 75-11.p. single-cylinder vertical engine is used, coupled to a Crompton dynamo. A 30-h.p. gas-engine drives an electric generator for motors used in the wood mill, pattern shop, wheel-building shop, etc.

The adjacent boiler-house holds three Lancashire boilers, two to generate steam for engines and one for the heating apparatus. The heating of part of the shops is carried out by radiators and pipes, using a hot-water system with injector circulation. Other shops are ventilated and warmed on the Plenum system.

Engine Test-House.—This is on the same side of the building. Here the petrol engines undergo their testing. The Prony brake principle is employed for the rough test and the dynamometer for the final.

The Plating and Polishing Sections adjoin and cover an area of about 800 square feet. All outside parts, such as steering columns, brake levers, etc., are " close "-plated. In a shop close at hand two enamelling stoves are in operation for exhaust-boxes and other parts. A temperature of about 600° F. is mostly used.

The Erecting Shop, which runs parallel to the machine shops, covers an area of about 17,000 square feet. In the chassis section accommodation is provided for twenty-four chassis to be erected at the same time. Overhead travelling tackle is used for handling heavy parts. The frame section adjoining covers about 5,000 square feet, and is fitted with radial and electric drills.

The Copper and Tinsmiths' Shop covers upwards of 500 square feet, and gives steady employment to a regular staff of between thirty and forty. An acetylene welder of the latest type is installed here.

The Chassis Test-House occupies a space of about 3,600 square feet. All chassis undergo their road test for hill-climbing and speed here.

The Wheel Building Section covers an area of 2,600 feet, and is fitted with the latest machinery for wheel-building, including a spoke-turning lathe, wheel "ender," wheel-builder, etc.

The Pattern Makers' Shop is 52 feet by 30 feet, and contains a plant of wood-working tools driven by an electric motor. Valuable stocks of timber in the seasoning occupy the adjoining sheds, and consist principally of ash and mahogany.

The Carriage Building Shop covers an area of 31,700 square feet, and consists of:—(1),Wood mill, which contains the latest English and American wood-working machinery; (2) the chassis and body- painting sections; (3) polishing; and (4) varnishing bays; (5) trimming and (6) coach-building sections; and is one of the largest shops of its kind in the kingdom.

The Finishing Shop covers upwards of 4,000 square feet. All cars or chassis are here finished, and have their final test before being passed out for delivery.

The whole of the shops are well ventilated. The number of employees is about 1,500, working in day and night shifts. A system of sprinklers, to the number of about 1,200, is installed throughout the works. Water is supplied to these from a tank of 8,000 gallons capacity situate in the tower, and it is fed to the tank by pressure from the Birmingham Corporation's supply. The staff and employees are catered for in the large mess-room, a building specially erected for the purpose, which has a length of 150 feet and a depth of 50 feet. It consists of a large dining-hall for the men and smaller ones for the staff and principals, with the usual kitchens and serving-rooms. The larger hall is frequently used for dances and concerts, and underneath the rooms is accommodation for over 300 cycles.



The British Thomson-Houston Co., of Rugby, electrical engineers, are manufacturers of high-quality electrical apparatus for traction, lighting and power purposes, including railway and tramway equipments, incandescent and arc lamps, "Curtis" steam-turbines, generators, alternators, rotary converters, electric motors, electrical measuring instruments, high and low-tension switchgear and switchgear apparatus, and electrical heating and cooking devices.

In selecting a desirable site for the erection of the Rugby works, it was realized that various conditions had to be taken into consideration, such as proximity to the centre of England, and the handling of raw material to be procured, and the finished product to be shipped to and from various parts of the kingdom, at a minimum cost for transportation. The railway facilities and the proximity of large industrial centres from the standpoint of an available labour market were also considered, and, after a thorough investigation, the present site was selected at Rugby.

This site comprises some 25i acres, of which about 124 acres are at present covered by roads and buildings, leaving ample room for further extensions.

Ground was broken for the erection of the Rugby works on 11th January 1900, and the actual erection of the buildings began some six months thereafter. The total ground space at present covered by buildings is 314,245 square feet, and the total floor space in the works is now 429,826 square feet. The works as a whole consist of 56 buildings, the majority being built of steel stanchions with brick filling, the stanchions serving to support the roofs and crane-ways.

Taking into consideration the variety of apparatus to be manufactured, the works were arranged to minimize, as far as possible, internal handling and carrying of material between the buildings in which the different manufacturing operations are performed. The raw material, after being received in the stores, is transported direct to the first point in the evolution of the finished product, then passing from tool to tool in one general direction, submitting it to the various processes of machining, until the finished article finally reaches the section of the works where it will be assembled, tested and despatched.

Sidings have been built connecting the works with the London and North Western Railway and the Midland Railway, so that all heavy materials entering or leaving the works can be transported with the least handling. Standard-gauge lines are laid to the various buildings, where apparatus is finished or stored, to facilitate this object. In addition, a comprehensive narrow-gauge railway system connects all buildings in such a manner as to facilitate the handling of finished parts between the different operations in the works.

Cranes are provided in almost all buildings, either of the fixed or the travelling type, the majority of which are electrically operated; their capacity ranging from a 40-ton travelling crane of 66 feet span downwards.

The fire-extinguishing equipment of the works, as a whole, has been carefully thought out as as to eliminate, as far as possible, the possibility of a fire gaining headway. All manufacturing buildings are fully equipped with the overhead sprinkler system, all buildings being connected to high-pressure water-mains, which are served by steam-driven pumps located in the power-house which draw water from the River Avon.

As a further protection, the Company has organized an efficient volunteer fire-brigade among the members of its staff. This brigade is encouraged to enter and compete in various competitions, is allowed to spend one week of each year at the National Fire Brigade encampment, and has competed for and won a number of important prizes at fire-brigade competitions. In addition to the above, hydrants with fire-hose and nozzle attached are carefully distributed throughout all buildings and grounds, and their position prominently indicated by painting the attachments a uniform red colour.

The heating for the majority of the buildings has been planned on the hot-air blower system, the air being drawn in from the outside, passed over steam-heated coils and then carried by ducts and air-pipes to the points of distribution.

Two sets of drains have been laid, one leading to the River Avon to take care of all surface and rain-water drainage, and the other leading to the Rugby sewage farm, providing for all foul water and sewage.

The tool equipment is thoroughly modern and up to date. The tools consist largely of English and some American and Continental makes, and are entirely electrically driven, except the pneumatic and hydraulic machines. A large portion are operated by individual direct-current motors, and the small tools have been carefully grouped and are operated by short lines of shafting. The major portion of the machine work done at Rugby is by the use of jigs and tools, thereby ensuring accurate duplication and interchangeability of all machine parts. Great care is exercised in the design and construction of such tools, and, wherever possible, parts are machined in this way.

The variety of the work carried out in the Rugby works requires a large number of special tools to suit the lines of apparatus to be manufactured, and the Company's tool-room is carefully equipped for the manufacture of the tools and jigs necessary, the aim of the Company's designers being to perfect simple and effective devices for accurately duplicating the piece or part to be made.

The testing and inspection of apparatus, both when finished and in various stages of manufacture, is an item to which great care and attention have been given. The inspection department is responsible for inspecting all parts of apparatus after each operation has been performed, thereby reducing any inaccurate or defective work to a minimum. A very elaborate and complete equipment has been provided for the testing of all finished apparatus, which the Company make.

Every piece of apparatus built in the works is tested before shipment, and practically all apparatus is subjected to tests representing full load service conditions, measurements being taken of the power input and output and temperature rises of parts, to enable the designers to satisfy themselves that the performance of the apparatus as a whole is in accordance with the requirements of the original design, and is satisfactory from a customer's standpoint. Complete records of tests of all apparatus shipped are preserved and filed, together with the details of the original manufacturing instructions, thus enabling the firm to duplicate or provide spare parts for any piece of apparatus shipped from the works since their inception.

Among the more noteworthy installations carried out by the Company may be mentioned the electrification of the North Eastern Railway near Newcastle, the Central London Railway, the supply of all electrical rolling stock to the Underground Electric Railway Co. of London, and innumerable tramways throughout the world.

The total capacity of railway motors supplied by the Company at present in operation on the various electric railways throughout the United Kingdom aggregates over 278,000 h.p., in addition to which there are some 7,500 B.T.H. tramway motors in operation on the various tramways throughout the kingdom.

The total capacity in "Curtis" steam-turbines manufactured by the Company at present in operation, including orders in hand, aggregates over 100,000 kw., the most notable installations of these being in the stations of the Liverpool Corporation, the County of London Electric Supply Co., the Yorkshire Power Co., the Lancashire Power Co., and many other installations, including those in steel works, collieries, textile mills, and various industrial establishments.

The number of men employed is about 2,100. The names, dimensions, and floor spaces of the various main buildings are as follows:—

[See table in attached image]

Willans and Robinson

Willans and Robinson

The Victoria Works, Rugby, are situated upon a piece of land containing about 23 acres, lying upon the south side of the London and North Western Railway, about half-a-mile to the north-west of Rugby Station. A siding from the railway runs into the erecting shop and the loading shed, and gives access for railway trucks to the foundry.

The entrance to the works is by a private approach road from the Newbold Road, with entrance gates and lodge, and leads to an open space, upon which are the general offices, the testing department and mess room. The works proper are entered by gates between the general offices and the testing department, the time office at these gates serving for both the works and the testing department. From the open space there is also access to the building yard and workshops. The Company carries out all ordinary building repair work by its own staff.

Refreshments can be obtained in the early morning, as well as breakfast and dinner, in the mess-room. It is in the hands of a refreshment contractor, who, in return for the use of the room and its appliances, together with a small wage and other advantages, is bound to cook and serve, without charge, provisions which are brought in by the men themselves. The hall is able to seat about 240 men; the basement contains bath rooms and lavatories for the use of the workmen.

The general offices face the open space referred to. On the ground floor is a large drawing office, and on the opposite side of the entrance hall are the accountant's offices. Upstairs are the board-room, directors' rooms, and the secretary's and commercial offices.

The Works Buildings.—On passing the time office, the general arrangement of the works will be readily seen. A road runs across the entire site, nearly parallel with the railway, and the principal buildings front on to this road, and therefore face north or to the railway. The space between the buildings and the railway contains the "lodges" or reservoirs for condensing water, supplied by rain-water from the roofs and from a well. There are also a few small detached buildings, such as the weigh-house, the latrines, and an oil and waste store. T

he principal buildings stand side by side, separated by alleys, some of which are utilized for outdoor storage, etc. All the buildings are constructed in bays running north and south and are incapable of extension sideways, but they can be readily extended backwards, that is, into the Company's " hinterland" to the south, at present used as allotment gardens for the workmen. On this portion of the Company's land an athletic ground has been laid out for the use of employees, containing a levelled cricket and football ground, and surrounded by a quarter-mile banked track for cycling.

The following are the buildings in order:—

  • (1) The pattern shop;
  • (2) the packing and forwarding shop;
  • (3) the machine and erecting shops, in which the smiths' forges are also included. Beyond the machine shop is an alley about 50 feet wide, used as a castings store-yard, commanded by an electric traveller. The prolongation of this alley southwards forms a fettling shop:
  • (4) The foundry;
  • (5) the pattern store.

The whole of the various bays (including those in the testing department) are commanded by the electrical travelling-cranes. Great care has been taken, throughout the works, to minimize the danger from fire, and the stores are kept in steel bins and racks, in order to lessen the amount of wood fittings. In the larger buildings, with contents generally non-inflammable, the use of wood has been restricted to the wood-block floors, and to a small amount of wood lining in the roofs. In the packing shop, pattern shop, and pattern stores, where the contents are necessarily inflammable, the danger of loss is sought to be reduced by isolating the buildings.

The Testing Department.—This department lies outside the gates of the " works " proper, but is connected by a 3-ft. gauge tramway with the erecting shop, from which engines, turbines, and pumps, etc., may be brought for testing. A part of the building forms the boiler-house, in which are four Niclausse boilers of 250 h.p. each. The east bay of the building is devoted to the Company's own lighting and power-station, from which are run the electric cranes and various motors. An accumulator house, resistance house, coal store, etc., will be found in the annexes to the north of the building.

The business was commenced at Thames Ditton in the year 1881, for the construction of small steam-yachts and launches, and of small marine engines. The central-valve engine was a later development, and its great success led to the reconstruction of the firm in 1888 as a private Company.

By a later reconstruction, in 1893, the present public Company was constituted. It will be recollected that Mr. Willans, the Chairman of the first Company, unhappily died in 1892, after having, by his experiments and investigations, conferred the greatest benefits upon the science of strain-engineering, but without seeing the results which were to flow from his brilliant invention.

The principal products of the works now are steam-turbines, steam and oil-engines, condensing plants, pumps, etc. The output of turbine electric generating plant since the steam-turbine was taken up in 1903 leas been 204,880 kw.

The number of men employed is about 1,000.

Nelson, Dale and Co

George Nelson, Dale and Co

This firm was established in 1837 at Rock Mills, Leamington, for the manufacture of gelatine. The business having increased very rapidly, it was found necessary, in 1842, to remove to larger premises, and the late Mr. George Nelson acquired the Emscote Mills, near Warwick.

From time to time the premises have been considerably extended, so that now the area of the firm's property comprises upwards of thirty acres, of which nearly five acres are covered with buildings, together forming a cluster of ten factories. There are five entrances to the works, the principal one being the North Gateway, situated to the left of the general offices, in which, sunk in the centre of the roadway, is a weighing-machine.

Water plays an important part in the operations of gelatine manufacture, and it must be of the purest quality. At these mills are six wells varying in depth from 60 to 75 feet, whence the water is drawn from the Warwick sandstone, and, by means of powerful pumps, delivered to a tank, subsequently gravitating to all parts of the premises.

The raw material consists chiefly of hides, mostly shipped from Singapore to London, whence they are brought by canal to the factory. There they are cut into strips and rolled away on trolleys to the cleansing houses, two adjoining buildings, each 80 feet in length, where, on either side of a broad pathway, are large open pits into which the skins are thrown; the latter are kept in a brine of alkali for many weeks, according to the state of the weather and the condition of the material.

On being removed from the vats, the strips are taken to a sorting house; the inferior strips are thrown out to be made into gelatine for manufacturing purposes, and the perfect portions are reserved for domestic use. After the skins have been shredded in the skin-cutting room, they are sent to the fleshing room, where the long strips are finally cleaned, every atom of flesh and fat being removed. The slices, as the pieces are now called, are then removed to the wash-houses, where they are put into circular vats, fitted with revolving machinery, to be finally cleansed.

The slices are next taken from the vats in water-barrows to the ground floor of the melting house, where they are drained and delivered to the first floor (by a lift), there to be finally treated. The room contains a number of large melting pans; in these the slices are boiled and quickly become liquid gelatine, when it is drawn off into evaporating pans. The hot liquid jelly resulting from the action of the evaporators is taken away in vehicles, designated "hearses" and "drums," to the cooling houses.

The cooling chambers are called slabbing houses, owing to the fact that the liquid gelatine is cooled by being poured in thin layers on plate-glass slabs. It is then peeled off and cut into sheets and strips with bone knives, after which it is removed on nets to the drying rooms. These rooms are heated by steam-pipes, over which are erected racks to contain the nets (or wire trays) containing the gelatine. When quite dry and hard, the sheet gelatine is conveyed to the stock warehouses, whence it is sent to the various departments to be cut up and packed for domestic use.

The cutting room contains twelve machines for cutting and shredding the sheets of gelatine into a variety of shapes and forms, and there are two machines for stamping out gelatine lozenges. "Opaque" gelatine, for which this firm is noted, is frequently manufactured to the extent of 18 miles of sheets of 1 inch width per day, which is again subdivided into shreds.

Photographic gelatines are made a particular speciality, the greatest care being taken to render them suitable for the different photographic processes required. "Brilliant" gelatine is made in somewhat thinner sheets than the "Opaque," and is cut into very fine shreds, so that it is quickly soaked, and dissolves in about five minutes on being put into water. Amber and flake gelatine are used for culinary purposes, and tablet and granulated jellies of various flavours and many other specialities are in great demand for their cheapness and excellent qualities. On another floor may be seen the manufacture of gelatine and liquorice lozenges, of which millions are made per annum. Another department forms the soup kitchen and extract of meat factory. Every variety of soup is manufactured, the basis of all of them being beef and mutton.

There are as many as ten trades carried on at the company's workshops, of which there are engineers', fitters', cabinet-makers', joiners', painters', plumbers', and carpenters' shops, also saw-mills, lathes, and hydraulic presses. Until the year 1901 the various machinery in the ten factories was driven by 38 steam-engines varying in size from 1 to 30 h.p.

In the year 1902, in order to bring the mills absolutely up to date, the Company decided to introduce electric light and power. The generating station situated in the centre of the mills contains two 150 h.p. quick-revolution engines of self-lubricating type direct coupled to 100-kw. generators, main switchboard, surface condenser and overhead travelling-crane.

The boiler house contains two 30-ft. Dank's boilers and all necessary pumping arrangements. The power is distributed to some sixty electric motors varying in size from 1 to 50 h.p. in the several factories, which are also fully installed with electric light. The steam for evaporating, drying, heating and many other purposes is obtained from four Galloway boilers each 30 feet long.

The general offices, board-room, etc., are situated in the centre of the long range of factories that face the roadway. A new laboratory has also been built, in which scientific work is continually being carried on, and where all the necessary testing is done of all the products manufactured by the Company.

On leaving the office building one comes to the adjacent " Nelson Village," built on the slope of a bill running down to the banks of the canal, through which runs Charles Street, bounded on either side by semi-detached villas for the work-people. Near to the works is the "Nelson Workmen's Club," the cost of which was defrayed by the firm.

The number of workpeople employed is about 500.

Worcester Royal Porcelain Co

Worcester Royal Porcelain Co

These works were established in 1751 at Warmstry House by Dr. Wall. Worcester had neither coals nor clay, nor skilled hands, but this talented physician by his scientific skill was successful in producing one of the most beautiful soft porcelains in Europe. As at that period Oriental china was much valued, and was the only porcelain generally obtainable in England, it will be found that in the early Worcester specimens the Oriental styles were copied almost exactly.

Dr. Wall died in 1776, but the business was carried on by his partners until 1783, when the whole establishment was sold to their London agent, Mr. Flight, by whose two sons it was continued until 1792. In the succeeding years various partnerships and amalgamations were effected, until, in 1862, the present company was formed. Since then, the manufactory has been largely extended, and Worcester china has enjoyed an ever-increasing reputation.

The raw materials consist of china clay, china stone, felspar, fireclay, flint, calcined bones, &c. The following varieties are embraced in the manufactures of these works: fine porcelain, ivory porcelain, semi-porcelain, vitreous stone-ware, Parian, &c.

Mill. —On the ground floor are placed the washing pans which receive the material from the upper storeys, and the arks where the ground substances are stored. On the upper floors are large pans for grinding the flint, &c., also pans for grinding the glazes, and a series of smaller ones for grinding colours. When the materials to be ground are thrown into the pans, which are about ten feet in diameter and three feet deep, water is supplied to the depth of several inches, and, on the mill being put in motion, the Particles are abraded against each other and between the runners and payers until they are reduced to the consistency of thick cream. The time necessary for grinding the different materials varies from twelve hours to ten days, after which they are passed through silk lawn consisting of about 4,000 meshes to the square inch. Electricity is now employed as the motive power in this department.

Clay Sheds.—These contain various clays which do not require grinding, but which are sufficiently pulverized in the state in which they are received. In these sheds are vats containing blungers, which work the materials into a uniform mass like thick cream, called slip, and this is allowed to run into reservoirs prepared for it in the mixing-room or slip-house.

Slip-House.—Underneath the floor of this building are large arks which act as reservoirs for the substances from the mill and clay house, and here are the mixing-pots into which the ground materials are thrown by pumps. In the mixing-pot is a shaft from which radiate arms having arranged on them rows of magnets, which work through the materials so as to remove any particles of iron that may, by accident or abrasion, have got into them. From the mixing-vat the material passes through a series of sieves worked by machinery. It is then pumped into the clay- press; this is a machine where the slip is received into a number of chambers lined with linen bags, and where (by hydraulic pressure) the water is expressed until the mass assumes the consistency of paste. The clay from the press, being in a state of paste or dough, is taken to the vault where it is beaten and kneaded to make it tough, when it is then ready for the workman. The usual methods of manufacture are "throwing," "pressing" and "casting," the two former with the clay in a state of paste, the latter when in slip.

Prior to the potter commencing operations, he has to be provided with the forms and requisite moulds. The latter are made by the designers in modelling clay sufficiently large to allow for shrinkage in the firing. The model is then cut up into such parts as are necessary to enable them to be released from the moulds, and these are taken to the moulding department, where plaster moulds are made from each piece. From the plaster moulds the original models are reproduced in the china clays, and are placed together by the potters or figure makers. Many separate moulds are required to produce the more elaborate forms.

Potter's Wheel.—The man who works at the potter's wheel is called the thrower. He receives from his assistant a ball of clay, which he throws upon the head of the wheel or horizontal lathe, and presses it with both hands; the rotary movement causes the clay to rise in the form of a stalk or cone, which he then depresses and again allows to rise. When the clay is thus made ready, be inserts his thumb into the mass, moulding the outsides with the other hand. In this way cups and bowls are formed. The article is next detached from the wheel, and is ready for the turner.

Turner mad Handler.—The turner fixes the ware upon his lathe, and treats it much the same as he would a piece of wood or metal. He finishes the edge and foot, and, if necessary, the outside surface. Having completed the form of the cup, it is passed to the handler. Handles are pressed in moulds and undergo the process of trimming and fitting; the handler proceeds to fix the handle on the cup with a little liquid clay called slip. The clay acts as a cement, and, being of the same material, unites the two parts when burnt in the oven. The manufacture of plates and dishes is called flat pressing. For plates the clay is weighed into balls, which are beaten out into flat circles like pancakes. The manufacture of soup tureens, basins, etc., is called hollow-ware pressing, and these objects are all made in moulds.

Biscuit Oven.—The manufactured objects being now ready for baking are taken to the placing house of the biscuit oven. Here they are placed in strong fireclay seggars, shaped to suit the different wares, and are by them protected during the firing. Flat objects are bedded in exact forms prepared for them in ground calcined flint, a substance which does not melt or stick to the china. Hollow pieces, as cups, bowls, etc., are placed, numbers of them together in oval seggars, and are ranged on china rings to keep them straight. The seggars, when full, are fitted most carefully, one over the other, in the oven. A china oven is built of fire-bricks, and is generally about 14 feet in diameter inside, and has usually eight fire-places. Firing occupies about forty hours and cooling about forty-eight hours. Having been burnt, the porcelain is now in a state called biscuit, and is sent into the dipping room.

Glazing or Dipping.—The dipping-room contains large tubs of various glazes (which have been ground on the mill for about ten days) to suit different wares. Here the ware is dipped in the glaze, and is then taken to the stove to dry. Then it is examined so that superfluous glaze may be removed before it goes to the glost oven placing house, where it is fired for sixteen hours and cooled for thirty-six hours. It is then sent to the white-ware rooms until required by the printers, painters or gilders.

Decorating.—The processes of printing, painting, gilding, etc., are carried on in various workrooms. In the printing department a staff of artists is employed, who engrave on copper plates the patterns supplied by the designers. Painted work and gold are fired in special kilns, which occupy about eighteen hours to heat and to cool. The final process is burnishing, after which the finished articles go to the warehouse.

The number of workpeople employed is about 600.

The Times

The Times

The Times Offices at Printing House Square and 162 Queen Victoria Street occupy the position of the Office from which the paper was first issued in 1785. On a part of the site the Blackfriars Monastery and the Globe Theatre once stood. The present buildings, finished about 30 years ago, were built over the roofs of the set of buildings they superseded.

The Times Proprietors, always alert to the necessity of improved methods of printing, were the first to use Herr Bauer's " Quick Press" (500 copies per hour) in 1814. The Walter Press built at The Times Office in 1863 was the first press to use paper from the roll, and the Kastenbein type-setting machine was perfected and built here in 1870.

The Times and all its subsidiary publications are now set up on the Monotype casting machine, stereotyped by autoplates and printed on two high-speed octuple presses built to print a 32-page Times at a speed of 32,000 copies per hour.

See Also


Sources of Information