Grace's Guide To British Industrial History

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Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 163,128 pages of information and 245,598 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 147,919 pages of information and 233,587 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

1948 Institution of Mechanical Engineers: Visits to Works

From Graces Guide

Note: This is a sub-section of 1948 Institution of Mechanical Engineers


Albion Motors

Albion Motors was founded in 1899 when the manufacture of private cars was begun. An early entry to the field of commercial vehicle operation was made in 1902, and the manufacture of private cars was abandoned in 1911 to permit concentration on the goods and passenger vehicle market.

The nucleus of the present site was acquired in 1902. Since that date, however, acquisitions have resulted in the present Scotstoun factory with a ground area of 121 acres and a covered floor area of 13 acres. Additional ground and factory accommodation were acquired in 1935 at Yoker next to the company's sports field.

During the 1914-18 war, production of vehicles was concentrated on the 3-ton, chain-drive military type, a model of which can be seen in the entrance hall. During the 1939-45 war the vehicle production facilities of the company were largely turned to the manufacture of specialized vehicles for army use. A wide range of types was covered, varying from ambulances to tank transporters, and including light and heavy gun tractors, machinery lorries and vehicles for the carriage of bridge, pontoon, and folding boat equipment. In addition the company managed, for the Ministry of Supply and the Admiralty, factories engaged in the production of revolvers and torpedo engines.

In 1941 the factory suffered severe damage during the Clydeside raids and lost most of its roof and glass, although the only direct hit was on the experimental department. A new experimental department is just being completed, but much remains to be done in the reinstatement of glass when supplies are available.

Complete chemical, metallurgical, and physical facilities are provided in the laboratory rear the all-electric heat-treatment department.

Neither forge nor foundry work is carried out within the factory, but an unusually large number of machining operations, employing much highly specialized and modern equipment, can be seen.

Both petrol and Diesel engines, to the company's own designs, are manufactured. The Diesel engines employ solid-injection, open-pot combustion chambers with swirl controlled by a specialized form of induction port.

At various points will be noticed engine-driven generating sets and air compressors installed to assist in reducing peak electricity demands.

The company has always placed emphasis on its export activities and has developed many special models peculiarly suited for arduous operating conditions overseas. Full use of the specialized knowledge involved in producing and selling such vehicles has enabled the export target to be achieved, although this has not been done without causing considerable inconvenience to home customers who were the main buyers pre-war.

Special interest may attach to a number of 10-ton six-wheelers fitted with 160 h.p. petrol engines, suitable for towing trailers and designed for use in South Africa. The design and equipment of these vehicles render them suitable for operation on unmade roads and under conditions of heat and gradient not experienced in this country.

The company lays stress on personnel relationships, and, in addition to full medical services, has in being a pension scheme covering essentially all employees who have completed two years' service.

In addition to factories at Scotstoun and Yoker (24 miles distant), there are Albion service stations throughout the British Isles and assembly plants in South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand.


Anderson, Boyes and Co

At the beginning of this century only about 1.5 per cent of the total output of coal mined in Great Britain was cut by machinery, while today the figure is nearly 75 per cent.

Anderson, Boyes and Company, Ltd., Motherwell, introduced their first coal-cutting machines in the year 1900. These were of the rail-disk type fitted with 30-h.p. electric motors and face plate starters, the gearing which was open, being of cast steel. In 1906 the first A.B. chain machine was produced. It was fitted with a single bevel-gear reduction from the motor to the cutting-chain driving sprocket, and with a worm-reduction and ratchet-gear drive to the haulage drum. The machine was mounted on skids, and adjusting screws were embodied to allow of variations in the height of cut.

In 1923 experiments were carried out with a Standard A.B. 17-inch Longwall Chain Coal-cutter mounted on a truck working on the Arcwall system, and in 1924 the first A.B. Arcwall machine was put to work. This machine was a modification of the Standard 17-inch Longwall machine. The gearhead was strengthened in view of the high stresses on this part when arcing with a long jib, and redesigned to meet the need for the jib to swing through an arc of about 230 deg., while the machine was cutting.

The Arcwall machine was limited in its application by the fact that it was suitable for making a horizontal cut only, and generally at a fixed height above floor level, depending on the conditions in the seam. Any adjustments required on such machines were made by inserting packing between the machine body and the truck, by change of gearhead, or by adjusting jacks. To overcome such difficulties, a machine capable of a wide range of cutting positions was required, and in 1930 the company put on the market the A.B. Universal Arc Shearer which made an immediate appeal due largely to its versatility. This machine can cut at floor level or at any intermediate height above floor level up to about 5 feet. It can also shear in any position within the same limits. In addition it can cut at any angle desired. All variations in the jib positions are carried out by power from the motor. The earlier types of this machine were built to cut rooms up to 15 feet wide, but a heavier machine with a 50-h.p. motor and strengthened to take the longer jibs was supplied in 1938. Other Longwall types of machine were developed, including the A.B. Fifteen which is the standard type today.

With all makes of undercutting chain coal-cutters it is found that the cuttings accumulating at the rear of the cutting chain are liable to be returned by the picks to the cut. To minimize this, and to leave the undercut below the coal reasonably clean, a Jud Cleaner was put on the market in the year 1934: this was the earliest application, on a commercial basis, of a gummer on a Longwall Chain Machine. Many were supplied but a tendency for the paddles to create dust, especially in dry holings, led to the development of the Propeller Gummer in 1939; this has eliminated the dust trouble and proved to be most effective in cleaning the cut and in effecting a general improvement in the cutting efficiency of coal-cutting machines.

The best results in working a seam are usually obtained by holing at floor level, but in many instances it is advantageous to hole in a higher position, generally for the purpose of cutting out a dirt band or in order to separate two different qualities of coal. A.B. coal-cutters have always been available for overcutting at the various heights required, and A.B. Elevating Overcutters have been widely adopted for cutting in the top of the seam to form the roof of the working face, in cases where the roof parting is poorly defined.

In the year 1941, Anderson, Boyes and Company, Ltd., started a close collaboration with the Mining Engineering Company, Ltd., in the development of the A.B. Meco-Moore Cutter Loader. The machine, originally designed for alternate cutting and loading on Longwall faces, had been tried out on various occasions since about the year 1934. During the 1939-45 war, however, the necessity arose of increasing output from the mines, faced with a gradually shrinking labour force, and the two companies, in conjunction with the Bolsover Colliery Company, Ltd., got together as members of the Power Loading Committee of the Mines Department of the Board of Trade, to see what could be done to increase the efficiency of the machine. A most apt description has been given in the following terms: "As the machine travels along the face the coal disintegrates before it and disappears along the face-conveyor". The total horse-power of the unit is 100, and the minimum height of seam to which it is applicable is roughly 4 feet. A design suitable for a 3-foot seam is being tried out.

The suppression of coal dust at the cutting end of coal-cutters in dry and dusty seams has always presented a problem; a wet-cutting arrangement can be fitted on most of the company's standard machines.

The company has not lost sight of the related problems of conveying and loading. The "Allardice" and the "Thomson" types of coal-face conveyors were in operation about 1910-12, but not much interest was taken in conveyors in those days. In 1932, the A.B. Fifteen Shaker Conveyor was put on the market; of late this gear has been adapted for duckbill loading with singular success. A range of Gate-end Loaders of the scraper-chain type is also manufactured.

In connexion with ancillary switchgear required at the coal face for the control and protection of coal-cutters and conveyors, Anderson, Boyes and Company, Ltd., have, since the early days of machine mining, taken an active part in supplying gate-end switchgear designed and built for this arduous task.

The company's works, which cover a total of 18 acres (about half being covered by shops), are located on one central site at Motherwell, about 12 miles south of Glasgow. The works comprises machine shops, erecting shops, the electrical fitting and switchgear shop, and, in addition, winding, smith, pattern, welding, heat-treatment, marking-off, dressing and fettling shops. There is a foundry (non-ferrous), an inspection department, and a store organized on the bin-and-card system. From. 1,000 to 1,500 men are regularly employed and practically everything, with the exception of the raw material, is made in the shops. The factory is equipped with the latest machine tools, and is run on the most modern lines for the attainment of accuracy in design, materials, and workmanship. Every part is finished to limit gauges and the efficient use of jigs and fixtures is carried out on all types of machines manufactured. All buildings are spacious, airy, and light, and heating and ventilation of these is carried out by the plenum system. Canteens are provided for workmen and staff, the kitchen equipment being of the very latest type.

There are branches at Low Fell, Gateshead-on-Tyne; Westgate, Rotherham; and Taffs Well, Cardiff, where stocks of spare parts are held.

In times of industrial and economic tension, one cannot afford to relax. The company endeavours to keep in the forefront of the manufacture and production of coal-face machinery, and to serve the interests of the mining industry.


Babcock and Wilcox

The water-tube boiler was introduced into this country by Babcock and Wilcox in 1882 and manufacture commenced in a shop which they rented from the Singer Company, at Kilbowie.

In 1896, the business having outgrown the capacity of the Kilbowie plant, and boilers not being closely allied to sewing machines, an independent Works was started at the Porterfield Forge in Renfrew; the present Works covering 170 acres and employing more than 6,000 workmen have grown from these small beginnings.

In these Works at Renfrew are manufactured steam boilers of all types from the smallest, generating a few thousand pounds of steam per hour, to the monsters which supply steam in central power stations, and which evaporate up to 50 tons of water per hour at pressures of 1,500 lb. per sq. in. and temperatures up to nearly 1,000 deg. F. In addition to boilers, these Works produce all kinds of auxiliary equipment required for steam generation, such as mechanical stokers, pulverized-coal mills and burners; combustion equipment generally for all types of fuels; mechanical handling plant, such as cranes and conveyors, and pipe-work; and a wide range of pressure vessels for the oil and chemical industries.

The main Works at Renfrew and the tube mill at Dumbarton produce from the raw material of plate and billet the multifarious components required for this range of manufactures, from high-pressure steam drums weighing up to 100 tons to tiny oil-burner parts requiring precision machining to tolerances of less than one thousandth of an inch.

The Works comprise, apart from the tube mill, steel and iron foundries, forges (producing amongst other things the well-known sinuous headers), structural and plating shops, crane shop, pipe shop, and a large and ever-growing fusion-welding plant in which boiler drums and all types of pressure vessels are made. In these drum shops, steel plates up to 5 inches thick are bent to half-circle in an 8,000-ton press, and subsequently welded together, by automatically controlled welding machines, to form cylindrical shells to which hemispherical ends are then welded by the same process. Every inch of these welded seams is examined by X-ray photography in an X-ray plant which includes a 2,000,000-volt unit, to ensure that, after a final stress-relieving in a gas-fired furnace, the finished drum is as strong as the plates from which it is made.

Research. The development of the design of steam-generating plant entails continuous research in the field of combustion and heat transmission and in connexion with the development of manufacturing processes; the magnitude and diversity of this work, and the importance attached to it, is realized when one walks through the research laboratories at Renfrew. The chemistry and structure of metals is investigated by spectrographic and microscopic examination, and the physical properties are determined by mechanical tests.

Fuel technology is of prime importance today; the fundamental factors governing combustion are studied in the small-scale combustion chambers, and the results of such work checked against full-scale tests on the Works boilers. By this means, sound designs for combustion chambers for the type of large boiler we have described can be developed, the range of fuels extended, and the efficiency of burning improved. A gain of only 1 per cent in the efficiency of coal burning, in this country, for power generation and industrial steam raising would save over half a million tons per year.

The War Effort. During the 1939-45 war, in addition to the production of boilers for essential purposes, including some hundreds of boilers for battleships and naval auxiliary craft, the Works were heavily engaged in armament work.

A new shell factory was designed and erected, employing some 500 hands, for the output of 4,000 finished shells per week; this output was frequently exceeded by as much as 50 per cent, and during the period of its operation well over a million shells were turned out. In addition, 500 gun carriages for guns of from 5.5 to 12 inches in bore, were produced.

A large structural shop was converted to the welding of armour-plate tank hulls and a considerable contribution made in the fabrication of welded assemblies for naval landing craft.

The research department also collaborated with the Department of Petroleum Warfare in the development of the Fog Investigation Dispersal Operations equipment for fog dispersal at aerodromes, and the Works built a large part of the equipment installed and successfully operated at the aerodromes chosen for this experiment.

In common with the heavy engineering industry in general, Babcock and Wilcox, Ltd., are at present very heavily loaded and are striving to meet the demands associated with the building-up of power-station capacity in Great Britain, the important home industrial requirements, and the equally important demands in the export field; despite the interruption in foreign business during the war years, the volume of business very quickly built up again as soon as restrictions were removed, and today the volume is well up to the export target set by the Government.


Andrew Barclay, Sons and Co

This is a private limited liability company which has been in continuous operation since 1840. Its main activities are the production of industrial shunting-type locomotives, steam-driven colliery winding engines, and general engineering work in connexion with colliery requirements; the company is the only one in Scotland manufacturing industrial shunting locomotives as a main business activity.

In 1840, and for many years thereafter, there were no railway sidings in Kilmarnock and no railway lines connecting the Works with the main-line railway, so that all locomotives manufactured by the company had to be driven through the streets of the town under their own steam power to the nearest railway line, for despatch to customers, steering being carried out by teams of men pulling on guide ropes when it became necessary to turn corners.

Today the Works employ approximately 500 employees, and comprise all main departments necessary for the manufacture of their productions, including: machine shops, erecting shop, boiler shop, forge, brass foundry and iron foundry, paint shop, pattern shop, brass-finishing shop, tool room, stores, etc.

In addition to locomotives, the firm now manufactures forge hammers, steam or air driven, up to a capacity of 2 tons, and pneumatic compressor type up to a capacity of 7 cwt.; it manufactures also hydraulic pushers used mainly for the charging of foundry furnaces with scrap and ingredients necessary for the charging of the furnaces.

During the 1939-45 war, many additional products were manufactured, including a large quantity of parts for tanks, balloon winches, 6-inch howitzer repairs, and other incidental items, as a contribution to the war effort; the company's locomotives went to many of the war fronts.

In addition to steam-driven locomotives for collieries, steel works, and other industrial works' requirements, Messrs. Andrew Barclay, Sons and Company were pioneers in this country in the manufacture of fireless locomotives and have, in fact, built the largest of this type of locomotive ever produced in the British Isles, two being supplied for South Africa during the war, of the 0-8-0 type, weighing approximately 45 tons each. Many similar but smaller types have been built for electric power stations and other concerns where there is established a sufficiently large boiler plant for the charging of the locomotives.

Another branch in the same line of activity is the manufacture of Diesel mechanical locomotives. These have been, and are being, manufactured covering a range from 80 h.p. to 300 h.p., and the firm has also designed and built a prototype locomotive of 400 h.p. having a Diesel-electric transmission power unit recently put on the market by Messrs. Crompton Parkinson of Chelmsford.

Many steam winding-engine units were supplied for cage winding in pits, both in this country and all over the world, but this activity has recently fallen off owing to the tendency of colliery companies to change over from steam winders to electric winders.

Another type of locomotive which the firm specializes in, and has patented, is the magnetic-type crane locomotive embodying self-contained, turbo-driven electric generating plant for the magnetization of the lifting magnet, and this type of crane locomotive is the only one built in the British Isles or, so far as is known, anywhere else in the world; its main feature is the reduction in labour required for the loading and unloading of pig iron, steel bars, scrap, and the like: the need for clingers, with the additional wages and loss of time where each individual item has to be slung separately for lifting, is avoided.


Blackwood, Morton and Sons

The company was incorporated in Scotland in 1908 to take over the business of carpet weaving from Robert Blackwood and Sons, who, in their turn, were the sole survivors of the many other manufacturers in the 150-year-old carpet industry of Kilmarnock.

The company carries on the business of woollen carpet yarn spinners and the manufacture of Wilton, and Chenille and Spool Axminster carpets and rugs. The company's wholly owned subsidiary, Cooke, Sons and Company, Ltd., Spen Valley Carpet Works, Liversedge, Yorkshire, the business of which was established in 1795, carries on similar activities and, in addition, manufactures coir mats and matting.

The centres of manufacture of the company and its subsidiary are Kilmarnock, Scotland; Liversedge, Yorkshire; Hadleigh, Suffolk; and Finaghy, near Belfast, Northern Ireland. The total factory floor space comprises approximately 900,000 square feet.

During the 1939-45 war, carpet manufacture came to a standstill. In the early years of the war, the company and its subsidiary manufactured 2,500,000 blankets for the Services, and from 1942 to the end of the war were engaged in light engineering and electrical work which included the manufacture of end mills, side and face cutters, miscellaneous small tools, 20-mm. ammunition Oerlikon shells, hub motors, radio interference suppressors, cooling fans for aircraft engines, cable groups for aircraft, broaches, ram coils, machined parts for Polsten gun, component parts for Lancaster gear box, step motors for the Admiralty, Magslip transmitters, shell hobs, taps, drills and cutters, reamers, etc.

In 1945, the Board of Trade permitted the resumption of carpet manufacture. The war-time engineering activities terminated quickly after the cessation of hostilities. Now the only evidence of engineering and electrical activities are those complementary to carpet yarn spinning and the manufacture of carpets and rugs. Extensive research and development are in progress in the engineering and electrical departments.

Production has not yet reached its pre-war figure owing to shortages of trained labour, raw materials, etc. - factors common to many industries.

The aim to provide work under ideal conditions is supplemented by personnel and welfare services which include medical supervision by a full-time lady doctor, medical departments fitted out on the most modern lines, with free sun-ray and infrared treatments, and fully qualified nurses. Modern canteens are provided and music-while-you-work is laid on.

The main weaving plant at Burnside Works, Kilmarnock, replaced plant which was scrapped in 1932, when a complete reorganization for the exclusive production of Chenille Axminster and Spool Axminster carpets and rugs was commenced. This involved the erection of the modern factory buildings now in use which were designed for the sole purpose of carpet manufacture on mass production lines and equipped with the most up-to-date plant and handling appliances including a complete conveyor system on which the carpets are passed from one step in production to another until finally packed for despatch. Before the 1939-45 war, 5,000 carpets, 12,000 rugs, and 21,000 yards of piece goods were produced from the Burnside Works plant weekly.

On the selling side, prior to the war, regional sales offices and warehouses in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow, and Leeds were linked to Kilmarnock by teleprinter. The London and Birmingham premises were destroyed by enemy action. New premises have been found in London and it is hoped suitable premises will be found soon in Birmingham. Direct contact is maintained with customers overseas.


British Polar Engines

The firm of British Polar Engines was founded in 1927 under the title of Fiat British Auxiliaries, Ltd. At this time engines were built under licence from Fiat, Turin, but in 1930 the Fiat design was abandoned, and a licence arranged with Aktiebolaget Atlas Diesel, Stockholm, for their well-known Polar type engine. The production of Polar engines increased, until, during the last financial year, nearly 36,000 b.h.p. were produced.

The Works cover an area of 182,000 sq. ft., with ground available for extension of 77,224 sq. ft. A new factory of 74,000 sq. ft., adjoining the present one, is under construction and approaching completion. This additional factory is laid out to produce engines of a smaller size and totalling up to 36,00040,000 h.p. annually.

Three sizes of Polar engines are built in the factory; these M, I, and E engines give approximately 200, 100, and 50 h.p. per cylinder, and thus cover a range of 100 b.h.p.-1,750 b.h.p. per engine.

The Licensor Company in Stockholm this year celebrates fifty years of Diesel work, and is therefore among the pioneer Diesel-engine companies.

The Works in Glasgow have recently been reorganized in accordance with the most modern practice: many new general and special-purpose machines have been installed and the whole layout now provides a very fine example of a planned and efficient arrangement for the continuous flow of engine components through their various stages of manufacture to the assembly bays.

The erecting shop and test beds, where finished engines are given a thorough test before despatch, comprise one complete bay. Careful records of performance are tabulated for customers' information.

A special department, fitted out with the most modern precision machines and testing facilities, is engaged in the manufacture of fuel-injection equipment; Polar engines are one of the few makes using their own design of fuel pumps and valves. The machine shops, pattern shop, copper shop, and heat-treatment department are well laid-out and well equipped, while extended storage facilities contribute to the increased output of the finished engine.

In the reorganization of the Works, special attention• was paid to the comfort of the workers and cloakrooms, a rest room and surgery have been installed, the latter being one of the finest in the country.


British Ropes

The Rutherglen Works of British Ropes, Ltd., date back to 1894 when the firm of Allan Whyte and Company, Ltd., now one of British Ropes unit companies, was formed. Extensions were built in 1896 and 1900 and an entirely new factory was constructed in 1905. This was found advisable after the river Clyde had burst its banks, resulting in serious flooding of the original premises. This new factory was itself extended in 1913 and again in 1945.

While the Rutherglen Works are occupied solely with the manufacture of stranded steel wire ropes, the products cover a very wide range of constructions and grades, and sizes run to 14 inches in circumference. The main outlets for the products are in coal mining, shipping, and engineering, and the factory is well equipped and situated to deal speedily with all requirements. The wire used is drawn in British Ropes' own mills in England and railed direct to the siding at the Works. On arrival, every coil is tested for tensile strength, and also for torsions and bends as a measure of ductility, to ensure that it is up to specification. After testing, the wire is run on to steel bobbins ready for placing in the stranding machines. The strands are similarly wound on to larger bobbins and finally closed round the central hemp core. These cores are made in British Ropes' hemp factory at Leith, and are treated with an acid-free lubricant before use. For the closing operation, one machine in this factory is capable of making 80 tons of wire rope in one continuous length, and is one of the largest in existence. In the days when the Glasgow Subway Railway was cable-operated this machine was employed to make the rope which was 7 miles in one continuous length, weighed 58 tons, and was the longest rope in the world. Among other interesting ropes made were those used to raise the sunken German naval vessels at Scapa Flow. More recent history is the case of the ill-fated submarine Thetis where ropes made at Rutherglen were turned out in record time and used to lift her into shoal water. These were twelve in number, each 120 fathoms long of 9 inches circumference, and tested to a breaking strain of 265 tons.

The factories products are in daily use on the Clyde, and the ropes which were used at the launching of the Queen Mary, Queen Elizabeth, H.M.S. Vanguard, and more recently the Caronia were all made here. During the 1939-45 war, Rutherglen Works was busily engaged on the production of special ropes for all branches of the Services; these included ropes for the Mulberry harbours and tank landing craft, and also life-saving and scramble nets.


John Brown and Co

The present extensive business of the firm had its origin in a small engineering works in Glasgow, founded in 1846 by the first owners of the establishment, Messrs. James and George Thomson, who also commenced shipbuilding in 1851 at a yard n Govan. Harbour extensions caused the transfer of the shipyard in 1871, to be followed by the removal of the engine works, in 1883, to the present site at Clydebank, about 7 miles down the River Clyde from the centre of Glasgow. The excellent foresight used in locating the shipyard opposite the mouth of a tributary stream has borne fruit in the subsequent ability to launch the world's largest liners in an apparently restricted channel. The berths are aligned to converge on the area of open water provided at the junction of the two rivers, and this affords the necessary space for such an exacting operation.

The Works, including the building berths, fitting-out basin, and engine shops, occupy an area of about 80 acres and have capacity for the employment of fully 10,000 workers. The maximum annual output has reached 100,000 tons of new construction and machinery totalling 450,000 s.h.p.

The shipyard is convenient for transport by road, rail, and water from Glasgow and by air via the adjacent airport of Renfrew. It is laid out in two sections—an east yard and a west yard—arranged on each side of a large fitting-out basin which serves both parts. In the east yard are the four large building berths, and the following selection of some of the vessels built on each indicates the variety and size of work which has been handled:—

No. 1 Berth-630 feet by 70 feet.

  • S.S. Montcalm . . Passenger liner 575 feet 16,400 tons
  • S.S. Princess Marguerite Canadian coastal vessel . 367 „ 5,900 „
  • H.M.A.S. Canberra . Australian cruiser 630 „ 10,000 „
  • S.S. Rangitata . . Passenger liner 522 „ 16,700 „
  • S.Y. Nahlin . . Steam yacht . 300 „ 1,400 „
  • H.M.S. Southampton . Cruiser . 592 „ 9,000 „

No. 2 Berth-675 feet by 80 feet.

  • S.S. Windsor Castle . Passenger liner 655 feet 19,000 tons
  • S.S. Duchess of Bedford . Passenger liner . 601 „ 20,100 „
  • S.S. Sussex . . . Refrigerated cargo 551 „ 11,000 „ liner . .
  • H.M.S. Hecla . . Depot ship . . 621 „ 12,000 „
  • L.C.8 . . . . Salvage lifting craft 180 „ 2,400 ,,
  • H.M.S. T.L.Cs. 13, 14, 27, and 28 . . Landing craft
  • S.S. Port Wellington . Refrigerated cargo 529 „ 11,000 „ liner . .

No. 3 Berth-900 feet by 80 feet.

  • H.M.S. Repulse . . Battle cruiser . 790 feet 32,000 tons
  • H.M.S. Hood . . Battle cruiser . 860 „ 42,100 „
  • S.S. Empress of Britain . Passenger liner . 760 „ 42,350 „
  • H.M.S. Duke of York . Battleship . . 745 „ 35,000 ,,
  • H.M.S. Vanguard . Battleship . . 813 „ 42,500 ,,

No. 4 Berth-1,100 feet by 135 feet.

  • S.S. Lusitania . . Passenger liner 785 feet 30,800 tons
  • S.S. Aquitania . . Passenger liner . 902 „ 44,800 ,,
  • S.S. Queen Mary . . Passenger liner . 15020 „ 81,250 ,,
  • S.S. Queen Elizabeth . Passenger liner . 1,032 „ 85,000 ,,
  • H.M.S. Indefatigable . Aircraft carrier . 760 „ 23,000 „
  • S.S. Norfolk . . Refrigerated cargo liner . . 551 „ 11,000 ,,

It is indicative of the progressive outlook of the company that the equipment of derrick cranes which served for the building of these large ships has now been replaced by a system of tower cranes of unusual size. The largest cranes are each capable of lifting 20 tons at the exceptional outreach of 140 feet, or a maximum of 40 tons at smaller outreach, thus affording scope for the modern technique of prefabricating large pieces of the structure before erection, and consequently reducing the time required for construction on the building berth.

In the west yard are three building berths - one berth suitable for the building of such ships as cargo liners, cargo ships, oil tankers, depot ships, and light cruisers, while the two small berths, which are covered, are suitable for cross-channel ships, destroyers, train ferries, and smaller size cargo ships.

Between the two sections of the yard lies the extensive fitting-out basin, which has proved adequate in length and depth of water for the largest vessels built. On one side is a hammerhead crane for lifts up to 200 tons, and on the other a 150-tons jib crane, so that the largest units of machinery or gun mountings can be readily lifted on board.

In both east and west yards are large platers' shops fitted with oil-fired furnaces and the latest types of machine tools, such as multiple punches, batteries of drilling machines and other facilities for the preparation of the steel material before erection. A recent addition is a shipyard welding shop in which large structural units can be assembled and electrically welded in ideal conditions under cover.

The variety of skilled crafts required in building a modern ship is indicated by some of the other shipyard departments. The mould loft interprets the plans from the drawing office in terms of scrieve boards and templates. A spacious and excellently equipped joiner's shop renders possible the high standard of woodwork and fittings in modern passenger accommodation. Plumbers and sheet ironworkers deal with the complicated piping and ventilating systems; carpenters, in addition to work in erecting, shoring, and launching the vessels, lay wood decks; riggers deal with cargo gear, mechanics with fittings ranging from steering gear to water-tight doors.

The continually extending use of electricity on board ship, well-illustrated by the war-time developments in fire control gear and wireless and Radar apparatus, has resulted in the electrical department being a key section of the firm's activities with a specialized knowledge and skill of its own.

The engine and boiler shops are situated along the north side of the yard; the fitting and erecting shops and boiler shops being at the head of the fitting-out basin, to which they are directly connected by railway. This ready access from the shops to the fitting-out basin enables large units of the machinery to be completely erected in the shops before being transported to the dock side for lifting on board the vessels.

The boiler department covers an area of about 100,000 sq. ft. of covered shops which are well equipped for the production of the largest marine boilers of all types, water-tube, both natural and forced circulation, cylindrical boilers, and their necessary air heaters, uptakes, and funnels. As part of the boiler department a new welding shop has been constructed for the fabrication of Diesel engine bedplates, columns, entablatures, etc., also low-pressure turbines and gear cases. In this shop is installed automatic welding plant for the welding of boiler drums, together with the necessary X-ray apparatus and laboratory for carrying out all the numerous tests required in the welding of pressure vessels.

The machine shops cover an area of about 70,000 sq. ft. They are fully equipped with all the latest types of machine tools necessary in modern engineering practice. The machines comprise all types and sizes required for the construction of the largest steam turbines, gearing, Diesel engines, water turbines, etc. A speciality is the cutting of the teeth of the large gear wheels and pinions for the high-powered turbine installations, with which all the firm's largest vessels have been fitted. A new feature is the construction of gas turbines.

The fitting and erecting shops cover a large area and are remarkable for their height, which allows of the construction of some of the largest Diesel engines, which have been a feature of the firm's output. These shops are notable for their six overhead electric cranes, four of which have a capacity of 80 tons each, and two of 60 tons each.

Subsidiary but essential departments include a pattern shop, foundry, copper shop, turbine-blade shop, brass-finishing shop, tinsmith's shop, shafting shop, galvanizing shop, etc.

It is significant of the outlook which has inspired the firm throughout its history that it was one of the first private establishments in the country to install an experimental tank or model basin. No vessel of any consequence is built today unless the form has been tested in such a tank for maximum efficiency and best propulsive characteristics. Although this experimental tank dates from 1903, all parts of the equipment for measuring such qualities as ship resistance, effect of waves, and performance of screw propellers have been maintained in a fully up-to-date condition.

The record of the Clydebank establishment during the 193945 war period, including vessels completing at the beginning of the war and those under construction at the end of hostilities, totalled 58 ships of approximately one-third of a million tons displacement, fitted with machinery (built in the works) of about two million horse-power.


Clyde Alloy Steel Co

The company was founded in 1919 by Dr. (now Sir) Andrew McCance, F.R.S., to manufacture high-grade alloy steel of all types. The Works have grown to be one of the principal units in the country engaged in alloy steel manufacture.

The activities of the company fall into two broad divisions: a steel-castings section and a wrought-steel section. During the 1939-45 war the entire output of the Works was for armaments purposes. There are two extensive and well-equipped foundries, capable of producing steel castings from a few pounds up to 10 tons in finished weight. The larger foundry is supplied by two electric-arc furnaces, each of 10 tons nominal capacity, and the smaller foundry is supplied from two high-frequency induction furnaces. All the castings are thus produced from electrically melted steel—the first and major step towards the manufacture of a high-quality product. The provision and control of the various types of moulding sand used, representative of the best modern practice, enabled the foundries to function when supplies of imported sand were cut off in 1940. All the sands now used are of local origin, blended to give the desired properties, and controlled by frequent laboratory tests. Sand reclamation is extensively practised and a comparatively small intake is sufficient to replace unavoidable loss.

The foundries employ jolting machines, for consolidating sand round a pattern, and sand slingers, which throw the sand at high velocity into any portion of a large mould. These devices greatly increase the speed of moulding and enable a higher tonnage of castings to be produced per unit area of moulding shop floor. Extensive fettling facilities, employing oxy-acetylene burning plant, pneumatic hammers, shot-blasting, and buffing equipment are available, together with large annealing and heat-treatment furnaces. The inspection of foundry products for important service is carried out by X-rays, gamma-rays, or magnetic crack detection. The foundry laboratory is equipped with a 200-kV. X-ray set and, for heavier sections, gamma-rays from a 250 millicurie radium source are employed. Magnetic examination is used in conjunction with these, and as a control on the removal of surface defects. The products of the foundries find their place in all branches of engineering, such as shipbuilding, power generation, locomotive construction, and heavy plant generally. Included in the output of castings are many turbine casings for land and marine use, all types of hydraulic prime movers, such as Pelton wheels, Francis turbine, and Caplan blades, and many components for marine Diesel engines, such as cylinder jackets, pistons, and cylinder covers. A considerable number of ships' propellers in carbon, alloy, and stainless steel are also made, and in the light foundry a wide range of valve castings, coal cutter bodies, and stoker components are produced.

During the war this foundry, and an associated plant at Mossend works, turned out very large quantities of cast armour parts for tanks; it was one of the first foundries to produce cast bodies for the 7and 10-ton "Tallboy" and "Grand Slam" bombs of the Royal Air Force.

The wrought-steel production is distributed among three rolling mills and a small forge. Billets cogged from large ingots in the parent works of Colvilles, Ltd., either from the Clyde Alloy Steel Company's own electrically melted steel or from open hearth steel, are the raw materials. In the mills the billets are rolled down to bars of inch to 4 inches in diameter, and square, flat, and hexagon shapes are also produced. The two smaller units are an 18-inch two-high, non-reversing mill, and an 8-inch three-high mill, both electrically driven through reduction gearing. The mill heating furnaces are of the pusher type and are automatically fired. The smaller of the two is fitted with automatic temperature controls and pressure regulation.

The remaining mill is of recent construction, and is one of the most modern units in the country. The heating furnace is producer-gas fired with a suspended roof and pusher feed. The mill consists of eleven two-high stands in all, divided into seven roughing stands in tandem and two pairs of two stands in "cross-country" layout. Manipulation of the hot steel is aided mechanically, by roller racks, pull-across gear, and mechanical hot-bar looping guides.

The mill is so arranged that roller bars can be taken off at three points, depending on the finished size. Of these the output of Stand 11 is fed by rollers to an automatically operated mechanical cooling bank, where the steel is allowed to cool uniformly before transference to another roller rack for feeding to the shears. This mill in full operation is a most impressive sight.

The forge is of small capacity and is chiefly used in hammer or press cogging of small ingots of special steel for further processing by rolling, but it produces also some simple forgings.

Many of the company's bar products are supplied in the heat-treated condition, and there is a spacious and well-equipped heat-treating department with town-gas and electric furnaces, all automatically controlled in temperature, and the latter fitted with forced-convection fans. Furnace charging and discharging are done by mobile electric chargers which also deliver the hot steel to the appropriate oil or water quenching tanks. There are extensive facilities for hardness checking and bar straightening.

The Works also includes a centreless grinding shop for the production of bright ground bar. This shop contains five grinding machines with associated plant for reeling and cutting to length. The general engineering shop contains a good range of machine tools employed in works maintenance and machining castings.

Technical control of all works' operations is centred in the laboratory which comprises the test house, metallurgical laboratory, chemical laboratory, and sand-testing laboratory. There is a large quartz spectrograph for the analysis of steel, and a full range of instruments for testing and examining steels of all types. The laboratory is responsible for the maintenance of the requisite standard of quality in all products and a considerable volume of samples passes through the various departments for checking and inspection.


J. and P. Coats

The business of J. and P. Coats was founded in Paisley by James Coats (1774-1857). Following first his father's trade as a weaver, he became interested in what was then a new process: the manufacture of sewing thread from cotton. In 1826 he built a small factory, now incorporated in the Ferguslie Thread Works, Paisley. He retired in 1830, handing over the thread business to his sons James and Peter, the firm of J. and P. Coats then being formally constituted.

Trade developed rapidly, as did competition. J. and P. Coats, and Clark and Company—both situated in Paisley and established about the same time—were keen rivals, but in 1889, along with Jonas Brook and Brothers, a Yorkshire firm, they formed a company to sell the goods of all three firms under a joint arrangement whereby great economies were effected. In 1896 these three manufacturers and a Lancashire firm named James Chadwick and Brothers, amalgamated and were incorporated under the name of J. and P. Coats, Ltd.

The company, now employing some 50,000 men and women, owns or has interests in factories in almost every important country in the world, and a selling organization for its products which covers every quarter of the globe. It makes threads of every kind for sewing, embroidery, crochet, knitting, darning, and mending. Its headquarters are at 155 St. Vincent Street, Glasgow.

The principal factories in this country are in Paisley, the Ferguslie Thread Works employing some 5,000 men and women and Anchor Mills about 4,000. The mills were built mainly during the latter half of the last century, and with their spacious lay-out, canteens and "half-time" school were considered in advance of the time.

Improvements on a large scale are now planned, involving the rebuilding and re-equipping of much of the Works, the provision of better medical and canteen services, and laying-out of the grounds. This work will be carried out during the next ten years.



Clyde Iron Works and Clydebridge Steel Works. Clyde Iron Works and Clydebridge Steel Works, an integrated plant, is located on the east and west banks of the River Clyde, in an area well situated for receipt of raw materials and despatch of products.

The Iron Works, which dates back to the Napoleonic wars, has always been in the forefront of progressive endeavour; for example, in 1828, the hot-blast process invented by a Glasgow engineer, James Beaumont Neilson, was first applied. Taken over by Colvilles, Ltd., in 1931, the plant has been completely modernized, and is one of the most efficient and up-to-date of its type.

The Steel Works, opened in 1888 by The Clydebridge Steel Company, Ltd., taken over by Colvilles, Ltd., in 1915, has attained a wide reputation for high quality products, and has been developed into a most efficient plate-producing plant.

The integrated Works consist of coke ovens and a by-product recovery plant, blast furnaces, open-hearth furnaces, slabbing mill, plate mill, fabricating shop, and, in addition to the producing departments, a complete set of maintenance service shops, including machine, roll, electric, boiler, blacksmiths, locomotive, wagon, joiners, and many other miscellaneous buildings.

Clyde Iron Works produces hot metal for use in the open-hearth furnaces of the adjacent steelworks, machine-cast pig iron, coke, tar, benzole, toluol, sulphate of ammonia, xylol, naphthalene, granulated slag for cement manufacture, foam slag for house-building, crushed hard slag for tarmacadam, road metal, and ballast.

Clydebridge Steel Works produces steel plates which serve the major industries engaged in the production of ships, bridges, boilers, tanks, tubes, and general engineering, and, in addition, the fabricating shop is equipped for the production of welded structures, mainly composed of plates and slabs, stern frames and rudders for ships, large bore tubing, etc. A special shop has been designed for the production of all types of electric motor casings.

The materials for the manufacture of 12,000 tons of pig iron per week, comprising quantities of the order of 43,000 tons of coal, iron ore, and limestone, are handled by a railway system in which the wagons are fed by gravity sidings to tippling plant.

Coal is carried by conveyor belt to a series of blending bunkers and crushing plant, and, in the case of the iron ore, limestone, etc., a tippling plant feeds the materials to a crusher, after which they are transported by a conveyor belt to the screening and sintering plant, located near the blast furnaces. The products of the screening and sintering plant are subsequently handled in a large stockyard serviced by an ore-bridge crane.

The carbonizing plant consists of Becker compound regenerative ovens, each coking a charge of approximately 16 tons of wet coal, the normal carbonizing time being a little over 18 hours. The coke, which is of low sulphur content and good physical characteristics, is screened over 14-inch mesh and transported to the blast furnaces by conveyor belt.

A semi-direct by-product plant recovers, from the coke oven gas, benzole, toluol, xylol, and sulphate of ammonia, naphthalene and crude tar.

The blast furnace plant comprises three mechanically charged furnaces, two of hearth diameter 18 ft. 3 in. and one of 20 feet, having a total rated capacity of approximately 1,700 tons of pig iron per day. A system of bins and weigh-cars, in conjunction with the stockyard already mentioned, enables accurate and rapid charging of the materials to be carried out. Each furnace is equipped with a turbo-blower rated at 4,500 h.p., capable of delivering 50,000 cu. ft. of air per minute at 20 lb. gauge pressure.

Pig iron surplus to the steelworks' hot-metal requirements is handled on either of two double-strand casting machines, each capable of handling 9,000 tons or more of metal per week. The blast-furnace gas is washed to a cleanliness resulting in a dust content of less than 0.02 gramme per cubic metre before use in the hot blast stoves, boilers, or for supply to the steelworks. Surplus coke-oven gas is also utilized at the steelworks.

Buffering of these fuel gas supplies is carried out by means. of a 3 million cu. ft. gas holder for blast furnace gas and a 1 million cu. ft. gas holder for coke-oven gas.

Steel is made by the basic process in open-hearth steel plants equipped with furnaces ranging in capacity from 60 to 300 tons.

A 600-ton hot-metal mixer is provided for the purpose of utilizing liquid iron from the blast furnaces of Clyde Iron Works, and serves as a storage container until the liquid iron is required for charging into the furnaces. Excepting three 60-ton furnaces which are oil-fired, the furnaces are fired with a mixture of coke-oven and blast-furnace gas. The furnaces are charged by means of electrically-driven overhead ladle cranes in the case of hot-metal charging, and by electrically-driven charging machines in the case of cold-metal charging. Molten metal is tapped into the ladles carried by overhead ladle cranes which serve to place the ladle over the ingot moulds for teeming. Waste-heat boilers are installed at the furnaces so that the available heat in the waste gases may be recovered.

The slabbing mill is of the reversing high-lift type, the rolls being driven through high-efficiency transmission elements by means of an electric motor capable of developing a peak power of 9,500 h.p.

The mill, producing a full range of slabs for subsequent use at the plate mill and for outside sale, deals with ingots of from 3 to 7 tons in weight which, after being rolled, are cut into the required slab sizes by a hydraulically operated hot-slab shear capable of cutting sections up to 40 inches wide by 10 inches thick.

Passage of the ingot from the heating pits to the mill is effected by powerful motor-operated roller feed tables, similar equipment being also provided for delivering the rolled products from the mill to the hot shear and finally to the point of dispersal. The feed tables at the back and front of the rolls are equipped with mechanically operated manipulators which serve to turn over the piece, place it on edge, or guide it into any desired pass of the rolls.

The plate mill, which is of the three-high type, is equipped with top and bottom rolls, 36 inches in diameter and 9 feet long, and a middle roll 24 inches in diameter and 9 feet long. The top and bottom rolls are driven through high-efficiency transmission elements by means of an electric motor capable of delivering a peak power of 13,000 h.p. This mill was the first of its type in this country to be operated by a direct-connected reversing-type mill motor, the primary object of this being to retain the advantages incidental to speed adjustments on reversing mills. The mill produces plates from 1/6 inch to 14 inches thick up to 8 ft. 2 in. wide and 65 feet in length, the maximum finished plate weight being 44 tons. In a mechanical sense, the mill embodies every feature of advanced design essential to continuity of operation, all transmission being totally enclosed and arranged for automatic lubrication. On leaving the mill, the plates pass through a leveller, then over the cooling floor to the shearing department, where both ends and the two sides of the plates are trimmed to size as the plate moves continuously forward over conveyinc, rollers on its way to the loading bay. Facilities are also provided for the heat treatment, flattening, and cutting to shape of plates for special requirements. This mill has produced 7,090 tons of finished plates in one week.

A rotary shearing plant has been installed for cutting plates parallel and accurately to size. Plates can be cut from 14 inches wide to 43 inches wide, to a tolerance of .,16inch on thicknesses not exceeding 4 inch.

An unfailing water supply is of paramount importance in iron and steel works production, and to meet such requirements water is drawn from the River Clyde. The annual quantity of water used is in the region of 10,000,000,000 gal. excluding domestic water.

The normal annual consumption of electrical units is in the region of 71,000,000, of which approximately 85 per cent is generated in the Works' power station, the remainder being 3-phase, 50-cycle supply by the British Electricity Authority, at 11,000 volts; part of this is utilized at reduced voltages, the remainder being converted to D.C. current for normal Works' supply.

Hydraulic power is used extensively throughout the steel works for operation of plant, etc., requirements being met by provision of a pumping capacity of approximately 500 gal. per min., the major portion of which is utilized at a pressure of 1,500 lb. per sq. in., the remainder being utilized at 800 lb. per sq. in.

To meet the very exacting internal traffic requirements, sixteen locomotives are in use.

Mechanical handling of materials is extensively applied, there being upwards of sixty electrically operated cranes and charging machines in continual use throughout the Works.

Dalzell Steel Works. The Dalzell Steel Works is located at Motherwell, an area well situated for receipt of raw materials and despatch of products, and was founded by Mr. David Colville, in the year 1871, as the Dalzell Iron Works. The concern progressed, andthe ouen-hearth process was introduced here in 1880. Dalzell steel soon established a wide reputation for high quality and, prior to the first world war, the Dalzell Works had grown to be the largest individual steelworks in Britain: ingot production has exceeded 475,000 tons per year.

The Works is unique in the wide range of its products—ingots, billets and blooms, slabs, plates, and sections of very varied sizes —which serve the major industries engaged in the production of ships, boilers, locomotives, tubes, and all classes of general engineering. During the 1939-45 war a very high tonnage of ships' armour-plate, tank plate, and shell steel was also produced.

Dalzell Steel Works consists of open-hearth furnaces, slabbing mill, heavy plate mill, large bar mill, semi-continuous bar and rod mill, medium merchant mill, small jobbing mill, and, in addition to the producing departments, engineering shops, including machine, roll, electrical repair, boiler, blacksmith, wagon-repair, joiners and pattern shops, brass foundry, and many other miscellaneous buildings.

Excepting only certain mills devoted to the production of armour plate, the slabbing mill and plate mill, when considered in relation to weight and size of product, constitute the most powerful British examples of their respective types, and the plate mill is the only unit available in Britain for producing specially wide plates required for certain industries.

A large proportion of the equipment has been designed and built by the company, which is in the unique position of possessing its own fully developed centralized metallurgical research and engineering organization.

Steel is made by both acid and basic processes in open-hearth steel plants equipped with furnaces ranging in capacity from 65 to 100 tons, fired with producer gas or oil fuel. The furnaces are charged by means of electrically driven charging machines, the molten metal from the furnaces being tapped into ladles which are then placed over the ingot moulds for teeming. To cover the wide range of ingot size and type, special casting facilities are also provided. Waste-heat boilers are installed at the furnaces.

The blooming and slabbing mill, which is of the reversing two-high type equipped with rolls 44 inches in diameter and 10 feet long, deals with ingots of from 7 to 35 tons in weight and, in addition to producing a full range of slabs for subsequent use at the plate mill, also provides large blooms for outside sale or rerolling into other products. As an indication of the flexibility of this mill, it might be stated that the slab sizes regularly rolled vary between 18 inches x 3 inches and 62 inches x 24 inches up to 24 tons in weight, and blooms between 8 inches square and 36 inches square up to 15 tons in weight. The hot shear at this mill, which is considered to be the most powerful unit of its type in existence, is capable of cutting sections 66 inches wide x 18 inches thick and 48 inches wide x 24 inches thick. Passage of the ingot from the heating pits to the mill is effected by powerful motor-operated roller feed tables, similar equipment being also provided for delivering the rolled products from the mill to the hot shear and finally to the point of dispersal. The feed tables at the back and front of the rolls are equipped with mechanically operated manipulators which serve to turn over the piece, place it on edge, or guide it into any desired pass of the rolls.

The mill rolls are driven through high-efficiency transmission elements by means of what is, perhaps, one of the largest single-shaft mill motors in the world. It is capable of developing a peak power of 25,000 h.p. and will operate at all speeds from zero to 100 r.p.m. in either direction. The total weight of the motor is 420 tons of which the rotating parts comprise 220 tons. For supplying direct current to the mill motor, a motor generator set, to which is coupled a large flywheel, is provided. This consists of a 3-phase, 50-cycle driving motor with an output of 3,850 h.p., designed for working on a 3,300 volt, 50-cycle supply and running at a speed of 428 r.p.m. This drives three D.C. generators which are connected in series and supply power to the mill motor. Mounted between generators is a built-up steel flywheel weighing 68 tons complete with its shaft, and having a speed range of between 428 and 340 r.p.m., the stored energy of the flywheel at top speed being 193,000 h.p.-seconds. The function of the flywheel is to provide the excess power called for by the mill motor above that of the 3-phase driving motor, so that the demand from the supply mains does not exceed, say, 4,000 h.p. even if the mill demand should run to 25,000 h.p.

The power required to drive the slabbing mill is taken from the British Electricity Authority at 11,000 volts and is converted in transformers down to 3,300 volts, at which pressure the motor of the flywheel set is fed.

The heavy plate mill is of the reversing two-high type and comprises two stands of rolls, 14 feet and 9 ft. 3 in. long respectively, all rolls being 44 inches in diameter. The rolls are driven through high-efficiency transmission elements by means of a twin tandem-compound, condensing-type steam engine. This engine is capable of developing a peak power of 10,000 h.p. at the crankshaft, the turning effort being still further increased by a reduction gear interposed between engine and mill shafts.

It is the practice to pass all slabs through the wide rolls, and to finish down to the desired plate thickness if too wide for the adjacent rolls. All plates which will pass through the latter, however, are finished there, after being roughed down in the wider rolls. Normally the mill produces plates from 1 inch to 2 inches thick and up to 13 ft. 6 in. wide, but slab plates of considerably greater thickness or slightly greater widths can be rolled; the maximum finished-plate weight is 20 tons.

In a mechanical sense, the mill embodies every feature of advanced design essential to continuity of operation, all transmission being totally enclosed and arranged for automatic lubrication. On leaving the mill, the plates pass through a leveller, then over the cooling floor to the shearing department, where both ends and the two sides of the plates are trimmed to size as the plate moves continuously forward over conveying rollers on its way to the loading bay. Facilities are also provided for the heat treatment, flattening, and cutting to shape of plates for special requirements.

The large bar mill comprises an independently-driven blooming stand with rolls 36 inches in diameter and separately-driven intermediate and finishing stands, having 32-inch diameter rolls. Ingots up to 41 tons in weight are rolled, products comprising various qualities of special steel, principally in square or round form, the latter up to 13 inches in diameter to meet general engineering requirements. The mill is fully mechanized at all stands of rolls and is provided with all essential auxiliary equipment for cutting to length, controlled cooling, and final inspection of rolled products.

A special feature of this mill plant is the hot de-seaming machine which, for certain high-grade products, removes the entire surface of the bloom at an intermediate stage of rolling, without interruption of normal mill operation.

The merchant bar and rod mill is the first mill in Scotland to incorporate the continuous system of rolling; it is one of the most efficient mills of its type in Europe. To ensure maximum flexibility of operation, the mill is laid out so that the rolled product may be finished at different stands, depending upon the size of bar required.

As in the larger mills mechanical and electrical details have received special consideration and many novel features are incorporated. All bearings and gears are automatically lubricated and the higher speed rolls are equipped with fabric bearings using water only as lubricant. Being required to work under conditions of great flexibility, the main roll drives have been sub-divided to allow wide variations in relative speed between the different groups of roll stands.

The mill takes its power either from the Works generating station or from the British Electricity Authority, the incoming supply at 11,000 volts, 3-phase and at 50 cycles, being converted to 500 volts D.C. in a rotary converter station equipped with three 750 kW. sets. The nineteen roll stands are driven by motors totalling 3,325 h.p.

Small sizes, when rolled for straight lengths, are much longer than could be reasonably accommodated on a cooling bed, and an automatic shear is therefore installed between mill and cooling bed to cut the bar into suitable lengths during its passage through. The operations of shearing, conveying on to the cooling bed, and transfer across the latter are entirely automatic, the mechanism being set in motion by the front end of the rolled bar making contact with a master switch of the flag type.

The medium merchant mill is of motor-driven reversing type and comprises two stands of rolls 18 inches in diameter. Products cover a wide range of small sections, medium size round and square bars, flats, etc.

The small jobbing mill consists of a motor-driven train of four stands, with rolls 11 inches in diameter. The products to some extent overlap those of the merchant mill, a similar class being produced (in small lots) down to still smaller sizes.

The annual quantity of water drawn from the Clyde, or the alternative emergency supply, is in the region of 700,000,000 gal., excluding domestic water.

The normal annual consumption of electrical units is in the region of 50,000,000, of which approximately half is generated in the Works power station, the remainder being 3-phase, 50cycle supply by the British Electricity Authority at 11,000 volts; part of this is utilized at reduced voltages, the remainder being converted to the normal Works supply of 240 volts D.C.

Hydraulic power is used extensively throughout the Works for operation of plant, etc., requirements being met by provision of a pumping capacity of approximately 2,000 gal. per minute at a pressure of 800 lb. per sq. in.

To meet the very exacting internal traffic requirements, eleven locomotives of steam and Diesel types are in use.

There are upwards of 120 electrically operated cranes and charging machines in continual use throughout the Works.


Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Co

The Fairfield Shipbuilding and Engineering Company, Ltd., is one of the largest shipbuilding and engineering establishments in the United Kingdom and includes shipyard, engine and boiler works, fitting-out basin and the many shops necessary for the construction or repair of all classes of naval and mercantile vessels.

Situated in Govan, three miles westwards from the centre of Glasgow, on the south bank of the Clyde, the Works cover an area of about 80 acres with a frontage to the river of about 3,000 feet. The wet dock has an area of 51 acres.

There are six large shipbuilding berths taking vessels up to 1,000 feet in length. Crane equipment includes numerous tower and gantry cranes, also a hammer-head crane situated on the East Wharf capable of lifting 250 tons.

The engine works are equipped for the production of marine machinery of the steam reciprocating, turbine, and Diesel type, the firm being licencees of both Sulzer and Doxford. A speciality is made of crankshafts and the production of those of the Doxford type averages about one per month.

The establishment is equipped for the production of all kinds of boilers and a speciality is made of water-tube boilers of the Johnson type, for which the firm hold the exclusive licence.

Of particular appeal to those who have an interest in high-accuracy production is the gear-cutting department, in which is located four hobbing machines of very high precision, each being housed in a separate temperature controlled compartment. There are also two shaving machines capable of dealing with gears of all sizes normally employed in naval and mercantile work, and adjustable meshing frames where the perfection of the bearing of the teeth at the design centres may be checked before despatch of the gears.


Fleming, Reid and Co

The first spinning mill of Fleming, Reid and Company, Ltd., was opened in Greenock more than a hundred years ago. It produced worsted carpet yarns for the Glasgow and Bradford manufacturers and the Continent, until it was destroyed by fire in 1880.

The company's hand knitting wool trade and the Scotch Wool and Hosiery Stores retail organization began with the new spinning mill which was built on the site of the original building. The period was one of expansion in the textile industry, and the firm's first machine-knitting factory was built soon after. This was later replaced by a more modern factory, and a branch factory at Dalry, Ayrshire, was added.

The raw wool is bought at public auction sales in Australia, in London, and throughout the United Kingdom. Much of the wool is Australian, though whether colonial or home wools are purchased depends on the firm's production programme. Generally speaking, colonial wools are used for producing fine yarns, and home wools for yarns of coarser qualities.

Both the yarns used by the knitting factory, and the hand knitting wools sold in the Scotch Wool and Hosiery Stores are manufactured in the firm's spinning mill.

Water turbines produce much of the power required for driving the machinery, the water supply being drawn from the lochs in the hills behind Greenock. There are nearly 4,000 employees on the firm's pay roll at the present time, and the Scotch Wool and Hosiery Stores branches number 350 - many more are to be opened in the near future.


Glenfield and Kennedy

The company originated in 1852 as The Kennedy Patent Water Meter Syndicate, which in 1865 was converted to a limited liability company. In the latter year the Glenfield Company, Ltd., was founded by the directors of the Meter Company, and in 1899 amalgamation brought the present company into existence.

The syndicate was formed to exploit the manufacture and sale of the water meter patented by Thomas Kennedy, and early success attended their efforts through the selection of this meter by the Belgian Government for extensive application in the City of Brussels. The business rapidly expanded, and as all iron castings were supplied by the adjoining Glenfield Company, amalgamation was natural. The meters were mostly applied to the measurement of domestic and industrial water supplies, and, as the supplies of pipes and fittings for waterworks installations were inadequate at that time for the rapid developments which were in progress, the company undertook the manufacture of valves of all types, fire hydrants, pipes, special castings and similar fittings to supplement the meter business.

Later steam-driven pumping engines were manufactured in large numbers for waterworks all over the world, and the design and manufacture of hydraulic machinery was extensively developed. As electricity gradually replaced the use of hydraulic power for the type of plant in which the company had specialized (such as dock cranes, coal hoists, elevators, and capstans), and the centrifugal pump replaced the reciprocating type for waterworks applications, these fields were almost entirely abandoned, only certain highly specialized sections being retained. The place of these manufactures was taken by developments in the irrigation and hydro-electric fields, the company having decided about thirty years ago to specialize in the control and measurement of water and other liquids.

Today Glenfield and Kennedy, Ltd., is the largest company in the Empire specializing in the design and manufacture of sluice gates and valves for hydro-electric, irrigation-flood, river-control, waterworks, oilfield and refinery, power-station, and industrial applications.

The workshops cover an area of 30 acres, comprising iron and brass foundries, heavy and light engineering shops, instrument department, smithy, brass finishing, and rubber shops. A subsidiary company located on the North-East coast produces steel castings.

The number of workers employed at the Kilmarnock Works is 2,100, and the work at present under construction includes many examples of control valves, sluice gates, and Kaplan hydraulic turbines for the hydro-electric schemes being constructed in Great Britain and in many countries overseas, and also hydraulic machinery for the operation of dock gates, high-pressure three-throw ram pumps and hydraulic accumulators. These products of a special character are additional to the company's wide range of valves for waterworks, steam power stations, oil refineries, and industrial purposes.

During the 1939-45 war the company was largely engaged on the manufacture of equipment allied to its standard production, including: large valves for naval dry docks in South Africa, Australia, and Ceylon; hydraulically operated cordite-extrusion presses and shell forging plants; triple-expansion main propulsion engines for cargo ships, frigates, and corvettes; valves for such well-known schemes as the Mulberry harbours and Pluto pipeline; as well as special work which included production of breech-block mechanisms for 6-pounder guns, the machining of the Tallboy 12,000 lb. bombs, components for the Merlin aeroengine, and over 800 sets of steering gear for Landing Craft Tanks.

One of the company's associates - The British Pitometer Company, Ltd. - specializing in Venturi, Orifive, Weir, Flume, and Pitot meters, developed the Pitometer as a means of measuring and recording the speed of ships and this equipment was fitted to every capital ship, cruiser, and aircraft carrier in the Navy during the war. A very large number of similar equipments was made for small craft.

Another associated company - Hydrautomat (1931), Ltd. - whose products include hydraulically operated booster pumps and chemical injection units, supplied large numbers of standard pumps for chlorine injection for emergency water supplies and military purposes.

At the present time reconstruction schemes are in progress for the complete mechanization of the repetition iron foundry and all the engineering shops in which standard products are manufactured. The work is involving the demolition of about 8 acres of shops, the construction of modern buildings on the same site, and the installation of the most modern types of machine tools with manufacture on the line-production system. About half the reconstruction of the engineering shops has been completed and the balance should be in operation by the end of 1949.


Harland and Wolff

The Finnieston Works of Harland and Wolff, Ltd., are an integral part of the company's organization in the Glasgow area. The nucleus was acquired in 1917 from the Burmeister and Wain (Diesel system) Oil Engine Company, formed in 1912 by Viscount Pirrie to build Diesel engines on the Burmeister and Wain system, for which he had acquired the patent rights for the British Empire. The growth of the Works in both size and importance was rapid, and today the establishment constitutes a fine example of an industrial organization specially designed and equipped for the competitive manufacture of Diesel engines for marine and industrial purposes.

The establishment works in close co-operation with the company's shipyard at Govan, for which it produces marine main and auxiliary machinery, and with the foundry at Govan, from which it obtains supplies of iron castings for engines of all types and sizes. It has played an important part in the development of Harland B. and W. Diesel engines, which have attained a reputation for excellence of performance and manufacture.

The Works are laid out on most modern lines. There are five main blocks, as follows:—

(1) Specializing in erection and testing of engines.

(2) Diesel machine shop, heat-treatment shop, inspection department, subsidiary master gauge room, etc.

(3) General machine shop for ship fittings, crankshafts, copper shop, pipe fittings, brass foundry, main tool-room, compressors, equipped with forges (large and small), tube mechanical bending plants, suitable machines to deal with copper and steel pipes, master inspection room.

(4) Outside engineering department, which takes full charge of installing of all machinery, and ship's trials.

(5) Smithy, sheet-iron shop, flanges and roughing of all work preparatory to being completed in Block 2 or 3.

All shops are suitably equipped with their own compressed air supplies, overhead cranage, and a large number of jib cranes and modern labour saving devices. The potential annual output of the Works is 100,000 i.h.p.


John Hastie and Co

The firm of John Hastie and Company was founded by John Hastie in 1845. About 1850 the original right- and left-hand screw steering gear for ships was produced. Later, the firm concentrated on the manufacture of steam steering gear. With the advent of the motorship during the early part of this century, this firm invented a suitable steering-gear system, now universally used for the steering of all classes and all sizes of vessels, known as the electric-hydraulic type. Sets of this equipment have been supplied by the firm to practically every navy and merchant company in the world, steering gears being fitted, for example, in H.M.S. Vanguard, Indomitable, and Formidable, innumerable cruisers, destroyers, and submarines, etc., the Royal Mail vessel Andes, and the Dutch Mail vessel Nieuw Amsterdam.

In addition to the manufacture of steering gear the firm specializes in the production of the Hele-Shaw variable-delivery pump, also used very extensively in press work and other hydraulic applications.

Since 1937, extensive alterations and additions have been made to the plant and equipment, and the factory has been completely modernized. The main works in Princes Street, Greenock, employs approximately 400 men. The associated Caledonian Foundry, Ltd., Trafalgar Street, Greenock, employs 120 men, and Messrs. Barr and Company (Brassfounders), Ltd., at Cartsburn Copper and Brass Works, Greenock, employs approximately fifty men.

The firm is the largest manufacturer of steering gear in the country, and a test of a steering gear is carried out practically every day.



The Hoover Company originated in America and found its way into the English market when, in the spring of 1919, Mr. C. B. Colston, C.B.E., M.C., D.C.M., the present chairman and managing director of the company, thought that an opportunity presented itself. A new company was just being formed to market an electrical appliance which had already made a name for itself in the United States. He examined the new machine, visualized its future prospects, and, deeply impressed, became associated with The Hoover.

In 1931 the capacious offices at Perivale were completed as a step towards the light, clean, efficient "Works" which have grown since that time.

When the war began in September 1939, the activity of the company spread to cover the many demands which were being called for by government departments. During the war the company had seventeen factories producing a large variety of items for the forces such as propellers, accumulator cut-outs, oxygen regulators, bomb racks, junction boxes, breeze wiring, ceiling fans, dynamina, and bomb release mechanism. Since the war, however, the company has reverted to the production of Hoover cleaners and this is being carried out at the Perivale factory with an annex at High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

Two subsidiary companies have been formed; Hoover (Washing Machines), Ltd., has been established in South Wales for the purpose of manufacturing electric washing machines; the other subsidiary company is Hoover (Electric Motors), Ltd., Cambuslang, Scotland, which has been set up in the Scottish development area to produce fractional-horse-power motors. This factory is equipped with the most modern plant and is regarded as one of the most efficient of its kind in Europe. The fractional-horse-power motors are not being used in the cleaner, but are used for driving light machinery, bench lathes, washing machines, refrigerators, machine tools, and agricultural machinery. The factory was officially opened in May 1946 and is already the largest manufacturing unit of these motors in the country. At present the exports are limited by the Government to 10 per cent of the total production, because the balance is urgently required by manufacturers for installation in equipment, a greater part of which is destined for the export market directly and indirectly the bulk of the production of fractional-horse-power motors may be regarded as a contribution to the export drive.


James Howden and Co

The founder of the company - the late James Howden - began his professional career as a consulting engineer in 1857, when he opened his office in Robertson Street, Glasgow. Several years earlier Letters Patent had been granted to him, one of the first of which, dated 1854, can be seen in the entrance hall of the head offices in Scotland Street.

In 1862, James Howden moved his office to 128 West Regent Street, and took over works at 4 Scotland Street in order to manufacture his own products. The success of this venture and his progressive work in marine engineering was consonant with the growth of engineering in the Clyde area. He designed the machinery and was responsible for the construction of the first twin-screw vessel to cross the Atlantic.

The rapid advances made in engineering practice, together with the increasing size of ships and machinery, made the expansion of the Howden Works necessary. In 1871, James Howden purchased a site at 8 Scotland Street where offices, pattern shop, engineering workshops, and boiler-shops were erected—covering about 31 acres. Marine main engines and boilers were then the principal products.

It was at 8 Scotland Street that the Howden hot-air, forced-draught system for ships was developed and patented in 1882, the first fans being bought from the United States. The first Howden fans were made in Scotland Street in 1884 and, by 1891, James Howden decided to stop constructing main machinery and boilers, in order to devote all his energy to the supply and perfecting of forced-draught systems embodying air preheating equipment.

This decision entailed the scrapping of the Works and heavy equipment at 8 Scotland Street, and constructing entirely new premises with more appropriate and lighter equipment. The site at 195 Scotland Street was acquired in 1897, and the present Works and offices were completed in 1898.

Additions were made in 1900 and, in 1907, a private limited company was formed. Further additions to the Works were made in 1911.

During the 1914-18 war, the company undertook the manufacture of vast quantities of high-explosive shells. At the same time all ships built for the Government were fitted with the Howden forced-draught system; an average increase of 2 knots was made possible by its use in emergencies.

Shortly after the war, the company extended considerably the supply of mechanical draught equipment and air preheaters for land installations, and developed the range and scope of their products to increase the efficiency of combustion of fuels. Today, Howden equipment holds an unrivalled reputation in that field and is installed in most of the modern power stations throughout the country and in numerous industrial plants. Among the more important of the company's products are heavy duty forced- and induced-draught fans, secondary-air fans, sintering fans, auxiliary steam-engines and turbines, air preheaters, dust collecting equipment, gas-washing plant and compressors.

The resources of the staff and Works were placed at the disposal of the Government during the 1939-45 war when, in addition to the normal products, mine cases and sinkers, antiaircraft guns, and aircraft fuselage parts were made. The fuselage parts were constructed in the company's recently extended Works in McLellan Street, where 85,000 sq. ft. of buildings with modem plant and equipment are now used for the production of high-grade metal furniture.

Another recent extension is 116,000 sq. ft. of factory buildings in Cardonald, Glasgow, which is now being equipped for the production of standard components of several different products, including those for the Centicell dust extractor and certain ranges of fans for industrial application.

The recent additions together with further ground acquired at Scotland Street give a total area of 640,000 sq. ft., practically all of which is utilized in the construction of fuel saving, smoke abatement, and dust collecting plant, so essential for the saving of fuel and labour, the preservation of buildings, and maintenance of health.


John G. Kincaid and Co

This firm of marine engineers and boilermakers was established in 1868, under the name of Hastie, Kincaid and Donald, but after Mr. John Hastie and Mr. Robert Donald retired, the business was carried on by Mr. John G. Kincaid, and in 1906 was incorporated as a limited liability company.

At the outset, the firm was engaged mainly on plant for land installations, and when marine engineering in the Clyde Foundry was eventually started it made, principally, single-cylinder noncondensing engines for driving steam lighters. At that time the compound engine was just being spoken about and the old system of two-cylinder engines was in vogue, while surface condensers were just being introduced.

For a good many years the firm made engines of moderate size, and specialized in the construction of machinery and boilers for light-draught vessels, such as screw and paddle steamers, and stern-wheelers for trading in the shallow rivers of Africa, India, and South America.

Recognizing that ship-owners wanted much larger vessels and heavier machinery, and desiring to keep abreast of the times, Messrs. Kincaid decided in 1912 to build an erecting shop of large dimensions at the west end of their buildings and at right-angles to them, in order to co-ordinate the handling of materials by crane from the existing buildings to the new shop. This shop 200 feet long and 62 feet in span has an average height of 42 ft. 6 in. to the crane rail, giving ample headroom for building the largest engines. Adequate cranes were provided, including a 60-ton high-speed travelling crane, tested to 50 per cent over this weight, to ensure speedy handling of the heavier parts of engines under construction. The whole floor is of solid concrete, 15 inches thick; it forms a level base for the setting of soleplates, and machine tools can be laid down on the floor without any other foundation. This building was completed in 1913, and the firm was in an excellent position to tackle the early war work in the autumn of 1914.

Within six months of the commencement of hostilities in 1914, they put in hand the construction of new shops with a total floor area of 30,000 sq. ft. These included a funnel shop, 200 feet long and 50 feet in span, with a height to crane rail of 30 feet. The carrying capacity of the cranes and crane beams in this shop is 30 tons. Two machine-shop bays were added parallel to the erecting shop, one 172 feet long and 42 feet in span, and the other 130 feet by 42 feet. These shops have adequate travelling-crane facilities and are equipped with galleries which have a floor area of 6,500 sq. ft. The smithy department was also enlarged, and machines specially adapted for the manufacture of geared turbines were installed in the machine shop.

An addition of 120 feet was made to the erecting shop, making its total length 320 feet, and the railway siding was brought under the overhead crane. This extension was a huge undertaking as it necessitated the excavation of over 6,000 cubic yards of boulder clay from the railway embankment and the construction of a retaining wall 30 feet high, but the facilities for handling raw and manufactured materials from the railway were thereby improved to an almost unbelievable extent, and the firm have now one of the finest erecting shops on the Clyde.

Early in 1916 it was decided to carry out very drastic excavation of ground and the building of heavy retaining walls in order to put into effect a plan of further expansion. To carry out the scheme some 25,000 cubic yards of boulder clay had to be removed before the site was ready for the erection of the buildings. One boiler shop 300 feet long and 72 feet in span with a height of 36 ft. 6 in. and another 230 feet long and 49 feet high at the crane rail were erected. A pattern shop was completed, and a reinforced-concrete pattern store of two storeys was added later. A coppersmiths' and plumbers' shop was also built, having a floor area of 9,000 sq. ft., and a brass foundry of 6,000 sq. ft. Two canteens for the use of employees have been provided recently.

The East Hamilton Street Engine Works are situated in close proximity to the James Watt Dock (wet) and the Garvel Dock (dry), the former having a 150-ton crane very useful for fitting out vessels. In the early days of the company's history, the works covered about 1 acre, but now their premises occupy altogether about 11 acres.

One of the most interesting developments in the history of 19 Kincaid's was the acquisition in 1919 of the engine and boiler works formerly known as Caird's Engine Works, in Arthur Street, Greenock. These Works have been enlarged, had considerable new plant installed, and are now used by Messrs. Kincaid principally for the construction of steam engines and boilers, the East Hamilton Street establishment being practically confined to the manufacture of the Burmeister and Wain— Harland and Wolff type Diesel engine. The firm converted their boiler-shop premises in the east-end works to machine shops and erecting shops to facilitate the manufacture of Diesel machinery, the boiler-making plant being removed to the Arthur Street establishment. Messrs. Kincaid constructed their first Diesel engine in 1924 and since then have built over 200 sets. The company's highest output of machinery, in 1929, amounted to 137,550 i.h.p.

In 1946 Kincaid's output of machinery was the highest by a purely marine engineering firm in Scotland, namely 57,000 h.p. In 1947 it was again the highest, namely 64,000 i.h.p.


Lanarkshire Steel Co

The Lanarkshire Steel Company, Ltd., is located at Motherwell, in an area well situated for the receipt of raw materials and despatch of products, and was founded in 1889 by Mr. John Strain, Civil Engineer. Reconstruction of the company in 1897 resulted in an ingot production of 50,000 tons being attained in that year. Subsequently the concern made steady progress and, on becoming associated with Colvilles, Ltd., in 1936, extensive plant reconstruction was commenced. This policy was continued through the following years and by 1947 annual ingot production had risen to 250,000 tons.

A wide range of products serves the requirements of industries engaged in shipbuilding, general engineering, and structural steelwork, and in addition a fabricating department is equipped for the production of all classes of structural steelwork, including solid columns with slab bases. A special plant provides for the supply of colliery arches and props.

The following productions give some indication of the scope of activities at these works:—

  • Ingots - 3 to 11 tons.
  • Billets and blooms - 2.5 inches to 18 inches square.
  • Slabs - Up to 28 inches wide.
  • Rounds - 4 inches to 10.5 inches diameter.
  • Joists - 3 inches x 3 inches to 24 inches x 7.5 inches.
  • Channels – 3.5 inches x 2 inches to 17 inches x 4 inches.
  • Angles – 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches to 12 inches x 12 inches.
  • Bulb angles – 3.5 inches x 2.25 inches to 12 inches x 3.5 inches.
  • Tees - 3 inches x 3 inches to 5 inches x 5 inches.
  • Zeds - 3 inches x 1.625 inches x 1.625 inches to 8 inches x 3.5 inches x 3.5 inches.
  • Bridge rails - 26 lb. per yard to 70 lb. per yard.

Lanarkshire Steelworks consists of open-hearth furnaces, blooming and slabbing mill, heavy, medium, and light section mills, fabricating department, and, in addition to the producing departments, a complete set of maintenance service shops, including machine, roll, electric, boiler, blacksmiths, locomotive, wagon and joiners shops, a steel foundry, and many other miscellaneous buildings.

Steel is made by the basic process in an open-hearth steel plant equipped with fully modern furnaces, ranging in capacity from 90 to 140 tons and fired with producer gas. The furnaces are charged by electrically driven charging machines, the molten metal from the furnaces being tapped into ladles, which are then placed over the ingot moulds for teeming. Waste-heat boilers are installed at the furnaces, available heat in the waste gases being recovered in the ,team generated.

The furnaces, of 140 tons rated capacity, are amongst the largest fixed-type, open-hearth furnaces in Britain, and incorporate all known features of advanced design and construction. One of these large furnaces has in a first campaign produced close on 40,000 tons of ingots.

The blooming and slabbing mill, of the reversing two-high type equipped with rolls 40 inches in diameter by 9 ft. 64 in. long, deals with ingots of from 3 to 9 tons in weight and, in addition to a full range of blooms for subsequent use at the section mills, produces blooms and slabs for outside sale. Passage of the ingot from the heating pits to the mill is effected by powerful motor-operated roller feed tables, similar equipment being also provided for delivering the rolled products from the mill to the modem down- and up-cutting hot shear, and finally to the heavy and medium section mills. For the dispersal of rolled products to the 18-inch merchant mill and for outside sale, a transfer bank with piling equipment is provided.

The feed tables at the back and front of the rolls are equipped with powerful mechanically-operated manipulators which serve to turn over, place on edge, or guide the piece into any desired pass of the rolls.

The 36-inch section mill comprises three stands of rolls - roughing, intermediate, and finishing - and is one of the few mills in Britain producing joists up to 24 inches deep. Large die channels up to 17 inches x 4 inches are also rolled.

The 27-inch section mill comprising two stands of rolls— roughing and finishing—serves to extend the range of products from medium to smaller sizes.

The above mills are fully mechanized at each stand of rolls, and are provided with all essential auxiliary equipment for cutting to length, controlled cooling, cold straightening, and final inspection of rolled products.

As the wide range of products demanded from the mills necessitates a large stock of rolls with frequent changes, the mills are arranged in line, with a common main drive suitably coupled to allow of either mill being readily disconnected, normal practice being to operate the one mill whilst rolls in the other are being changed.

The 18-inch merchant mill is motor-driven, with two stands of three-high rolls, and produces miscellaneous sections of small size.

An unfailing water supply is of paramount importance in iron and steel works production, and to meet such requirements, water is drawn from the River Clyde. The quantity of water used is in the region of 500,000,000 gal. per annum, excluding domestic water.

The normal annual consumption of electrical units is in the region of 13,500,000, of which approximately half is generated in the works power station, the remainder being supplied by the British Electricity Authority.

Hydraulic power is used extensively throughout the Works for operation of plant, etc., requirements being met by provision of a pumping capacity of approximately 800 gal. per min. at a pressure of 800 lb. per sq. in.

To meet the very exacting internal traffic requirements, six locomotives are in use.

Mechanical handling of materials is extensively applied, there being fifty-eight electrically operated cranes and charging machines in continual use throughout the Works.

Adequate canteen facilities are available for all workers, and well-equipped first-aid services are provided.


John Lang and Sons

This firm was founded in 1874 for the manufacture of machine tools and its activities have been, since 1882, concentrated on the manufacture of lathes of various types and sizes.

In the early days the business was a private partnership between the founder and his sons, but in 1916 a private limited company was formed.

In the year 1918 the firm became a member of Associated British Machine Tool Makers, a selling group formed by a number of well-known machine tool companies.

The Works occupy a land area of 16 acres with a coverage of 71 acres, incorporating modern engineering, pattern shop, and foundry departments.

At present a staff of approximately 1,000 is engaged in the manufacture of centre lathes, surfacing and boring lathes, precision tool-room lathes, and five-spindle automatics, the latter being manufactured for Messrs. A. C. Wickman, Ltd., Coventry.

The engineering department is composed of machine shop, fitting, assembly, and final-inspection departments. The plant is modern and is constantly being replaced and added to. Recent additions are thread-grinding machines, gear-shaving machines, and a lead-screw rectifying machine operating in a controlled atmosphere.

Facilities are available for both hand and machine moulding, depending on the size and quantity of castings required. Sand slingers and mechanical handling are utilized, and one of the latest additions to the plant is a hydro-blast for the cleaning of castings by high-pressure water.

Laboratory control is an important part of the foundry technique.


Mirrlees Watson Co

Glasgow is the chief centre in the United Kingdom for the manufacture of sugar machinery. The Mirrlees Watson Company, Ltd., are the successors of P. and W. McOnie founded in 1840, and have been engaged since that time on sugar machinery manufacture-particularly cane-sugar machinery. Mirrlees have carried out much development work in sugar machinery, and built the first centrifugal machines under the Weston patents. This work was transferred in 1883 to the newly-formed firm of Watson, Laidlaw and Company. Among other patented machines developed by the company are the Stirling boiler, the Yaryan evaporator, the Delas condenser, and the Diesel engine for which Mirrlees were the sole licensees in Great Britain for a number of years. When extension of capacity was necessary to cope with Diesel engine orders, this work was transferred to Stockport, and a new company-Mirrlees Bickerton and Day, Ltd.-formed for the manufacture of engines. A subsidiary company, Mirrlees (Engineers), Ltd., was recently formed to build the Mirrlees-Imo screw pump at Hillington.

The work now carried on at the Scotland Street Works is the manufacture of sugar machinery (including conveyor chains, revolving cane knives, cane shredders and cane mills, heaters, evaporators, and vacuum pans). In addition, condensing plant, feed-water de-aerators, centrifugal and axial-flow pumps, steame-jector air pumps, small steam turbines, evaporators for trade liquors, and combustioneer automatic coal and coke stokers, are also built. A large variety of all these classes of machinery is at present in course of construction.

A heat-treatment department is operated, in which nitrogen-hardening of steel parts is carried on to serve general engineering in Scotland.

Another interesting feature is the chemical laboratory which operates in conjunction with the iron foundry. Special classes of iron castings are manufactured for sugar mill rollers which call for a hard open-grained material to give a rough wearing surface, also hard wear-resisting castings for roller scrapers and trasht-urners. In the iron foundry squeeze and jolt moulding machines are operated, as well as a portable sand slinger. The core and mould stoves are fired by coal with an automatic stoker controlled by thermostat.

In the power house are four Mirrlees-Diesel engines, supplementing the central power supply to the Works.


North British Locomotive Co

In 1883 a locomotive was built in Manchester and named "Experiment". The builders were Sharpe Roberts and Company, one of the three firms which were in later years to become North British Locomotive Company. "Experiment" was their first engine and the first of the 27,000 locomotives which have been built by this company.

"Experiment" was placed on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway and was followed by "Hibernia" and Sharpe Roberts' 3 and 4 for the Dublin and Kingstown Railway. In 1862, Atlas Works was built in Springburn, Glasgow, to house the expanding company. This same works remains in operation today.

Within four years of the building of "Experiment", a firm known as Nelson and Company was founded in Glasgow for the construction of marine and stationary steam engines, but a new works was designed for locomotive production and built at Springburn in 1862. This works, Hydepark, is one of the three works of the present company.

Queen's Park Works was inherited from Dubs and Company, founded in 1863 by Henry Dubs, an employee of Neilson and Company. Henry Dubs bought the ground for his works, made his own bricks from the excavated clay, built the works, and steamed his first engine within a year.

In 1903, the three companies Sharpe Stewart, the successors to Sharpe Roberts, Neilson Reid, successors to Neilson, and Dubs amalgamated to form North British Locomotive Company with the works Atlas and Hydepark at Springburn and Queen's Park at Polmadie.

The sites of the original works remain unchanged, but the works have been improved and expanded: the total area of covered floor space is now more than 60 acres, and there are about 5,000 employees.

All forge, smithy, and iron foundry work is now carried out at Queen's Park, while the Springburn Works produce the nonferrous castings, flanged plates, and patterns. Old machines have been constantly replaced by the most modern machines and research and testing equipment has been introduced.

Hydepark Works comprises packing, pattern, joiners', tank, and cab shops, in addition to heat-treatment departments, boiler shops, copper shop, brass foundry, machine turning, fitting, erecting, and frame shops.

Atlas Works has a cylinder shop undertaking the machining, fitting, and final assembly of cylinders and slide bars; a wheel shop machining, pressing-on, and assembling sets of wheels, the machines capable of being adjusted from 1 metre to 5 ft. 6 in. gauge; and a flanging shop supplying all the flanged plates used for locomotive construction, with the exception of special flanged copper plates, and catering for Queen's Park and Hydepark Works. The large flanging press is of 800 tons capacity.

Queen's Park Works supplies forgings for both Works, nine steam hammers being served by furnaces operated by producer gas, and all forgings being normalized and heat treated to specification. There are a smithy, the fires of which are fitted with down-draught apparatus, boiler shops, welding, wheel, frame, fitting, machining, cylinder, axle-box, heat-treatment and tank shops, a foundry, and a splendid erecting shop equipped for the erection of seven or eight large locomotives per week.


David Rowan and Co

The firm was established in 1866 by Mr. David Rowan, and -from its inception has taken, and maintained, a foremost place in the ranks of marine engineers and boilermakers in this country.

Throughout its history, the most modern tools and methods of production have been introduced, not only increasing the capacity, but also improving the high standard of workmanship which has always been associated with the name of the firm.

The Works are close to the fitting-out berth on the River Clyde, where there are two cranes belonging to the Clyde Navigation Trust which are used for lifting machinery and boilers on board.

In its early days, the firm was noted for its output of paddle engines—notable examples of which were P.Ss. Mercury and Neptune the well-known Clyde steamers—as well as for reciprocating engines, compound and triple expansion.

The advent of geared turbine machinery was welcomed by the firm, and the necessary plants for turbine manufacture and gear hobbing were introduced about 1912.

David Rowan and Company were the makers of the first geared-turbine machinery made on the Clyde for a merchant ship (T.S.S. Cumberland which was sunk during the 1914-18 war). Since then they have constructed over fifty sets of geared-turbine machinery, and a large number of sets are on order at present.

The output of the firm is about 70,000-80,000 i.h.p. per year, with an employment roll of about 1,300-1,400 men, when working to capacity.

Reciprocating steam-engines, geared-turbine machinery of single and double reduction, Rowan-Doxford oil engines, and cylindrical boilers up to 18 feet in diameter, and water-tube boilers of the Rowan-Foster-Wheeler type are manufactured.

Prior to the 1939-45 war, the company manufactured about thirty sets of Rowan-Gotaverken turbo-compressors, this exhaust turbine system being easily applicable to reciprocating steam engines.

The firm has its own brass foundry and copper shop, and iron foundry, and is able to manufacture all its machinery with the exception of the supply of steel plates and of large forgings, and the very largest and heaviest castings.

The capacity of the Works has been gradually increased since about 1898 when the present boiler shop was built: the Works were again enlarged in 1906, 1912, and 1921. In 1936 the oil-engine shop was erected, and 1945 saw the completion of a large extension comprising a new turbine shop with its power house, service building, and canteen.


Royal Technical College, Glasgow

The Royal Technical College, which is the largest technical college in the British Isles, is a University College, as its engineering, chemistry, pharmacy, mining, architecture, and metallurgy day classes qualify for the B.Sc. degree of Glasgow University. There are also schools of navigation, naval architecture, and weaving.

The laboratory equipment is very complete and up to date, and a great amount of research work of a highly important character is carried on in addition to the usual teaching.

A fairly complete history of its foundation and activities is included in the programme of the conversazione which is to be given by the Scottish Branch on Thursday, 17th June. This function is to take place in the College and demonstrations will be given in the various laboratories.


Saxone Shoe Co

Saxone shoes were first made in 1901 and the company was formed in 1908 by the amalgamation of F. and G. Abbott, Ltd., and the firm of Clark and Company, who had a large foreign trade and had been manufacturing shoes in Kilmarnock since 1820. Today the Saxone output is distributed between the home market—through the company's own branches—and export, which is a rapidly expanding side of the business. Thus Kilmarnock-made shoes are to be found in most of the civilized places of the world, where they furnish testimony to the soundness of design and manufacture of Scottish goods.

The success of the firm was based largely on the development of the idea that footwear should be made in a sufficiently wide range of fittings—not merely sizes—and on lasts to fit the normal • vagaries of the human foot. The company manufactures shoes for both men and women, and a new development is the American shoe known by the brand name Styl-eez. This has become so popular that the company is now building a new factory in Kilmarnock for the manufacture of these shoes, employing a further 500 people in addition to the 1,000 already working at headquarters. A staff of 1,200 is also employed in the retail branches which are to be found in all large towns and cities throughout the country.

Throughout the 1939-45 war a high percentage of the factory production was devoted to Service contracts, which included regulation Army boots in addition to Officers' Service Footwear for the British and American forces.


Scotts Shipbuilding and Engineering Co

The history of the company goes back to 1711 when John Scott started building fishing and coastal vessels in-his yard at the mouth of the West Burn in Greenock. Since that year nearly every type of merchant ship has been built by the company, from the herring busses of the eighteenth century, and the clipper ship and early steamer, to the passenger and cargo liners of the present day. Warships of all kinds have been launched, from the sloop Prince of Wales of 1803 to the cruisers, destroyers, and submarine of the 1939-45 war.

Greenock Foundry was acquired in 1790 and marine-engine building commenced in 1825. Although the iron foundry has long since ceased to exist, the present engine works is generally called "The Foundry".

From the early side-lever steam engine of 1825 to the present day internal-combustion engine and high-pressure steam turbines, all types of marine propelling machinery and their simple or complicated ship installations (including many original and novel installations) have been designed and produced in the engine works for the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy.

The Shipyard has seven building berths, some capable of taking ships 600 feet long, and all served by tower cranes of 10-20 tons in capacity. There is a deep-water fitting-out basin served by a 120-ton crane and a 25-ton travelling crane, and a dry dock 352 feet long and 48 feet broad.

Within the establishment, in addition to the steel working departments are joiners, cabinet-makers, plumbers, blacksmiths, riggers, painters, and electrical departments; all departments are equipped with modem plant, including extensive welding apparatus and a shop which enables portions of structure up to 20 tons to be fabricated under cover. An Admiralty radiographic laboratory is being erected in the yard for the examination of welds.

Within the Engine Works all the processes required for the production of marine installations can be carried out, except the production of castings.

Since the 1939-45 war, during which the output from the Works was confined to the machinery and equipment for war vessels of all classes, production has mainly been directed to the manufacture of internal-combustion engines for merchant ships.

The layout of the Engine Works suffers from its geographical position, but the plant and machine tools have been chosen and arranged to suit the varied types of machinery manufactured, which include high-speed submarine engines, turbines, boilers, slow-speed merchant internal-combustion engines, and the many smaller items, such as fittings, pipes, air reservoirs, etc., included in a marine machinery installation.

In addition to the workshops common to a marine engineering establishment, there are a physical and chemical laboratory for the testing and examination of the materials used, and planning, progress, and bonus offices. An apprentice training centre equipped with machine tools has recently been opened.

The company's premises were severely damaged by enemy bombing.


Shanks and Co

The original proprietors of the firm were Gilmour Anderson and Company; but it was their successors, J. and M. Craig who laid the foundations of the business that exists today. In 1884 they added to other activities a Sanitary Earthenware Factory for the production of wash-hand basins, water closets, etc., and this new project grew so much in importance that, eventually, it became the sole activity of the firm. In 1918, the present owners, Shanks and Company, Ltd., of Barrhead, acquired control of the business, and since then the record of the company has been one of continuous progress. Today it is equipped with modern workshops, the latest tunnel kilns, and new and ingenious mechanical equipment—and it can well claim not only to be one of the largest, but also the most up-to-date pottery firms of its kind in Great Britain.


Singer Manufacturing Co

The manufacture of sewing machines in Great Britain commenced in the year 1867 in a small factory rented in Love Loan, Glasgow. In 1869, a larger factory was leased in Bridgeton, Glasgow. At that time a weekly production of 600 machines was considered sufficient to meet current demands but within two years the Bridgeton factory had to be extended. With demands rising steeply, very much larger premises were required and ultimately a site at Kilbowie, Clydebank, was obtained. The first sod was cut on the 16th May 1882.

The Singer Factory has been added to from time to time and now covers an area of approximately 150 acres with a floor space VII 11....0 of 2,621,656 sq. ft. The actual ground covered by the factory buildings is 82 acres and these buildings are surmounted by a clock tower 200 feet high and 50 feet square. Each of the four faces of the clock is 26 feet in diameter. The factory has its own generating station with an aggregate output of 12,000 h.p., a complete network of roads and 91 miles of private railway tracks.

Welfare and Safety Precautions. In addition to the Central Ambulance Station there are twenty-eight auxiliary rooms placed in suitable positions throughout the factory and each room is divided into first-aid room and recovery room. These are in the charge of trained ambulance attendants.

Prior to the Clydebank blitz of March 1941, approximately twenty welfare activities were in operation. With the destruction of the large recreation hall all but the open-air activities had to be discontinued, but it is hoped soon to rebuild this welfare centre and re-establish the various activities so essential to the well-being of such a large industrial concern.

A fully qualified apprentice supervisor is employed to operate the Singer apprentice scheme which yields substantial benefits to successful apprentices in their various spheres. Attendance at evening classes is encouraged and fees are paid for all students who have the necessary attendances and requisite marks in examinations. Remuneration is also given by increasing the wages of successful students. Apprentices who have reached a given degree of efficiency may take day classes in a Glasgow college at the company's expense.

A very generous pension and life assurance scheme was launched recently, resulting in 97 per cent of eligible employees becoming members. The qualifying age for males and females is twenty-one and twenty-five years respectively. Each employee must have two years previous service. The retiring age (non-compulsory) is sixty-five years for males and sixty years for females. The life assurance is non-contributory as is "past service pension". "Future service pension" alone is contributory, the company paying a large proportion of the premium of the lower grade operators. "Life cover" is approximately one year's salary, according to salary grade.

At War. The sewing machine is now regarded as an almost essential part of every household, more especially in consequence of the scarcity of many articles. The housewife provides with the sewing machine furnishing and clothing which might otherwise be unobtainable.

Without the industrial sewing machine the war could not have been brought to a successful conclusion. The gas mask, civil defence, anti-gas clothing and special equipment used by the A.R.P. organization all required its assistance, as did the balloon barrage, the parachute, and the collapsible dinghy. Almost all munitions of war were dependent, in varying degrees, upon work carried out on industrial sewing machines.

Other War-time Activities. Most of the company's plant was turned over to the war effort. The following small list of articles will serve to give some idea of the variety of work undertaken:—

  • Complete manufacture of fuse-setting machines.
  • Complete manufacture of predictor units.
  • Supply of rifle parts in millions.
  • Manufacture, assembly, and test of the Sten carbine.
  • Manufacture of 1,250,000 No. 4 Mark I rifle bayonets.
  • Manufacture of 125,000,000 armour-piercing bullet cores.
  • Manufacture and assembly of over 2,000,000 complete fuses covering 75 mm. French fuse, 117 fuse, and 370 fuse.
  • Manufacture of mine shrapnel.
  • Manufacture of 10 lb. practice bomb.
  • Manufacture of 4 lb. Mark II incendiary bomb.
  • Manufacture of chemical container.

Some of these complete assemblies reached the astonishing total of 20,000,000. Several millions of tank-track links were manufactured, and many other stores too numerous to mention.

For the aircraft industry alone more than 130,000,000 component parts were made and delivered. Special plant was designed and made for the Rolls-Royce aero-engine camshaft brackets. This plant worked night and day until the cessation of hostilities. Electric motors, pumps, and many other items were manufactured in large numbers.


Alexander Stephen and Sons

The shipbuilding, engineering, and ship-repairing firm of Alexander Stephen and Sons, Ltd., Linthouse, is one of the oldest shipyards in the country, the business having been founded in 1750 by an ancestor of the present chairman and two other members of the Board, and having been directed continuously since that time by his descendants. Originally situated on the East Coast of Scotland, at Aberdeen, Arbroath, and Dundee, the firm first came to the Clyde in 1850 and was established in its present site at Linthouse in 1869. In addition to the six building berths, the largest of which are capable of accommodating ships up to 30,000 tons in size, the firm have their own engine works, in which the machinery for the ships is constructed. The machinery produced includes geared turbines, steam reciprocating engines, and Diesel engines of the Sulzer and Doxford types. Various types of boiler are constructed in the fully equipped boiler shop, including Foster-Wheeler, Babcock, and Yarrow types. Extensive use of welding is now made in the fabrication of component parts.

The firm has specialized for many years in the construction of high-class passenger liners and refrigerated and insulated cargo liners. Ships built include the turbo-electric Viceroy of India and the turbine vessels Canton, Carthage. and Corfu, for the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, and a long succession of refrigerated ships for The New Zealand Shipping Company, Ltd., and of insulated fruit ships for Elders and Fyffes, Ltd. The first ship to carry bananas to this country, the Port Morant, was built at Linthouse in 1901, and since that day the firm has been closely connected with the development of the banana trade. Many warships have also been built and engined by the firm, including an aircraft carrier, cruisers, fast minelayers, and destroyers; perhaps the most interesting vessel under construction at present is one of the new post-war destroyers with high-pressure, high-temperature boilers and all-welded hull.

The shipyard has recently been modernized and plant of the latest type has been installed. Welding is also being increasingly employed, and fabricated units are now put together in the welding bay and transported complete to the building berths. The layout of the platers shed and the equipment for handling large plates is of special interest. Throughout the shops a new scheme of decoration in light colours is being applied and the fresh and airy effect is much appreciated by the workers.

The firm was one of the first to adopt apprentice training schemes and full-time schools for apprentices are now run in both the shipyard and engine works. On entering the yard, boys receive, on certain days of the week, a pre-apprentice training in general subjects and in their own trade, and are posted for periods as messengers to the departments of the yard. This gives them a general grounding in the broad subject of shipbuilding before starting, at the age of sixteen, their apprenticeship to their chosen trade.

In addition to new construction, the firm also undertake repair and conversion work and have a large amount of this work in hand. The liners Carthage and Corfu are being reconverted after war-time service, the ex-German liner Potsdam (now named Empire Fowey) is being converted into a post-war trooper, and several other ships are undergoing repairs of a major kind. In addition there are a number of ships undergoing normal voyage repairs and periodical survey.


L. Sterne and Co

Thomson, Sterne and Company, later L. Sterne and Company, was formed in 1874 and took over The Crown Iron Works in North Woodside Road, Glasgow. The company originally made spiral springs and railway buffers. The manufacture of grinding wheels and grinding machines was started a few years later.

The manufacture of refrigerating machinery was started in 1886. At first the company manufactured the De La Vergne ammonia refrigerating machine under licence from the De La Vergne Company of New York, U.S.A. The production of refrigerating machinery has been steadily developed, and for the last forty years has been the chief activity of the company.

In 1920 a range of high-speed, vertical, enclosed ammonia compressors, radically departing from the accepted practice, was designed and introduced. Since then, designs have been kept very much up to date.

In 1935 a controlling interest was acquired in the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Company of Derby, which had been making refrigerating machinery since about 1884, and had been concerned with the early development of the cold-air machine and had specialized in refrigerating plant for marine purposes. However, in 1937 it was found necessary to close down the Haslam works in Derby and to concentrate manufacture in Glasgow.

Before 1935 nearly all the refrigerating machinery had been for installation on land; with the acquisition of the Haslam Foundry and Engineering Company, however, their old established marine connexion was developed, and over one third of the output from The Crown Iron Works is now installed on board ships and used for the carriage of refrigerated cargoes and for cooling ships' stores.

In 1931 the company began to develop a range of small automatically controlled refrigerating machines, using methyl chloride and later Freon 12 as the refrigerant and sold under the name of "Sternettes". During the 1939-45 war and afterwards, the manufacture of these small machines was developed until it now constitutes about two-thirds of the company's total business.

The original Crown Iron Works was largely rebuilt in 1908, and in 1925 adjacent ground was acquired and a new shop erected for the production of pipe coils and grids. During the war, additional space was needed to cope with the demand for refrigerating equipment for the Services, and a temporary factory "A" of 25,000 sq. ft. was erected for the company, by the Admiralty, on the Hillington Industrial Estate. With the end of the war the vast increase in the demand for refrigerating equipment, particularly for the small automatic type of plant, made further extension necessary, and at the beginning of 1946 the company took over, on the Hillington Estate, a building of 60,000 sq. ft. (factory "B"), previously occupied by Rolls-Royce. The new factory "C" of 50,000 sq. ft., with proper office accommodation, adjacent to the original temporary factory, was opened in March 1947.

The Crown Iron Works now manufactures the larger and heavier types of refrigerating machinery and plant. The Works, occupying a total area of about 2+ acres, include machine shops and assembly shops where ammonia and other compressors are built, and a grid and coil shop where pipe coils and grids are fabricated. In this shop also, pressure vessels are fabricated and other fabricated steel work is carried out.

The Hillington Works is entirely engaged in the production of the smaller commercial and domestic sizes of refrigerating machines, sold as "Sternettes".

In factory "C" at Hillington, there are machine shop and assembly lines for domestic and commercial condensing units, also various test beds and heated test house where refrigerators can be tested under tropical conditions.

Factory "A", the original temporary building, is now largely given over to stores and the repair department. It also contains a welding shop where cabinet frames are assembled and welded.

Factory "B" is laid out for the fabrication and assembly of domestic and other refrigerated cabinets, such as low temperature cabinets for the storage of quick-frozen foods. It includes a sheet-metal-working department, painting and stove-enamelling, vitreous-enamelling, and joiners' shops.


James Templeton and Co

The business was founded in 1839 by Mr. James Templeton, a shawl manufacturer in Paisley, who in that year opened a factory in Glasgow to develop the patent which he had taken out for the use of chenille in carpet manufacture. The business is now the largest carpet manufacturing company in the British Empire.

The company manufactures carpets, carpeting, and rugs in all grades and qualities of Axminster (spool, chenille, and gripper) and Wilton varieties, and also spins and dyes its own carpet yarns. It owns six carpet factories in the east end of Glasgow and two carpet-yarn spinning mills, one in Glasgow and one in Stirling. These eight factories cover an area of about 18 acres and have a total floor space of 1,110,000 sq. ft. In addition the company owns selling warehouses in England.

James Templeton and Company, Ltd., was a pioneer in the matter of welfare and similar schemes, and welfare departments are in operation in all the factories together with medical, chiropractic, and dental services. At the Templeton Street factory there is a large clubroom building with canteens and recreation hall. At Burnside 20 acres have been laid out as recreation grounds, comprising bowling green and hockey pitches. There are also mutual benefit societies, provident funds, superannuation schemes and a workers' savings bank. A large house has recently been purchased in Ayr, and is at present in course of reconstruction for use as a convalescent home for employees.

Many notable orders have been executed: the carpets used in the Coronations at Westminster Abbey in 1911 and 1937, and many carpets for the Cunard liners Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth were produced at the Glasgow factories. In recent years the company has been honoured by three Royal visits.



The activities of Thermotank, Ltd., date back to the beginning of the century, when the firm was pioneering in the application of ventilation and air heating to ships. Since then, the firm has been to the forefront in the development of air conditioning for ships, trains, and buildings, the processing of air for industrial plants, and the ventilation of mines.

The headquarters of the company are located in Glasgow, where they have three large factories with a covered area of 10 acres. Factories are operated in London, Liverpool, and Newcastle, while subsidiary companies and manufacturing facilities are located in South Africa, Canada, and India.

The organization is the largest in the world devoted to the construction of ventilating and air-conditioning equipment for ships, and the firm's record of achievement is quite impressive. A list of ships equipped would include nearly all the famous names from the old Mauretania and Lusitania to the Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth. Thermotank installations have been fitted in vessels of all types sailing under the flags of nearly all countries, from the largest liners and warships to the smallest pleasure yacht, amounting to a grand total of over 50,000,000 tons of shipping. At present the firm is engaged on the supply of equipment for a great variety of vessels, not only for the air conditioning of passengers' and crew's spaces, but for air circulation in refrigerated holds, and for preventing losses due to sweating of cargoes—of particular importance in these times.

The firm are engaged in the manufacture of fans for all duties up to the largest main ventilating fans for coal mines in the United Kingdom and gold mines abroad. These are of the high-efficiency torpedo type, designed on aerodynamic principles, and a large number are running in this country today. A unit of this type under construction is designed to move 1,500 tons of air per hour through the long airways of a British colliery, when powered by driving-motor equipment of nearly 1,000 h.p.

Many prominent buildings have been fitted with Thermotank equipment, including the Houses of Parliament, South Africa; the Sun Life Building, Montreal; the Savoy Hotel and the British Museum, London; Battle Headquarters, North African Campaign; and the War Cabinet Room, London.

Messrs. Thermotank have been in the forefront of a great extension in the use of conditioned air in the industrial field, not only in rendering atmospheric conditions comfortable for the operatives, but in improving the efficiency of production and the quality of the product in many industries (e.g. proper humidity conditions are necessary for the cotton, paper making, and tobacco industries).

The firm constructs equipment for the conditioning of large spinning mills, and a very extensive programme for supplying air conditioning and conveying equipment is being undertaken for the brewery industry. The production of malt was formerly dependent very largely on the weather, and could only be carried out at certain times of the year, but with Thermotank air conditioning, production can now take place all the year round. Weather problems are of even greater importance abroad, and an example may be taken of a textile mill:in Iraq, where as much as 1,000 tons of air per hour will be conditioned in a new plant under construction.

During the 1939-45 war Messrs. Thermotank supplied a very large amount of equipment to the various services. Ventilating and air conditioning equipment was provided for 2,000 new vessels of the Admiralty and Merchant Navy, and for 750 vessels repaired. It is estimated that some 25,000 planes had Thermotank Punkah Louvres installed. Together with land work, this necessitated the installation of about one million Thermotank Punkah Louvres of all sizes and types, 400 miles of air ducts, and some 50,000 fans, during the war period alone.

Special features of Thermotank installations are the patent air terminals, such as the Punkah Louvre and the Air Distributor, so familiar on ships and trains. The large workshops given over to the production of these fittings in metal and plastic of all sizes and colours are turning out many thousands per month.

These workshops are equipped with a large number of presses of all types, among these being a battery of 350and 150-ton plastic presses. Practically all the dies used in these presses are made from special steels in the firm's own machine shops.

The research department is fully equipped for dealing with progressive development in the design of fans and air-conditioning plant. A notable feature of the equipment is a complete demonstration air-conditioning installation, in which can be reproduced the conditions required for comfort or for a particular industrial process, from an artificially created surrounding atmosphere corresponding to practically any climate to be met with in the world.

A comprehensive apprentice training scheme is in operation; this includes a course of lectures and demonstrations in all branches of fan engineering and air conditioning.


United Co-operative Baking Society

The United Co-operative Baking Society, Ltd., was formed in 1868. Its activities were first confined to bread production, and distribution generally to the Glasgow area. The Society is now the Co-operative Baking Federation for Scotland and the North of Ireland, and serves approximately 1+ million consumers with bread, cakes, and biscuits. In addition it provides catering and holiday facilities at its Roseland Holiday Home, Rothesay, and the Grand Hotel, Glasgow.

The biscuit factory at Clydebank was reconstructed in 1938, and is the most modern biscuit factory in Scotland. Throughout the war the factory was engaged in the production of biscuits for the forces. With the present shortage of fats and sugar, the factory is unable to utilize its full resources in plant and labour. The process from the flour and raw ingredients to the finished product is well co-ordinated, and denotes that the technicians responsible for the installation of the ovens and plant have reached a high level in this particular industry.


University of Glasgow

The University of Glasgow was established in 1451 by a Bull of Pope Nicholas V and its constitution was made the same as that of Bologna; this conferred on it all the liberties, immunities, and honours enjoyed by that already ancient body. It was first housed in the precincts of the Cathedral. The College of Arts situated in the High Street, was the first of its academic buildings and the University occupied this site for over 400 years. In 1867 the first stone of the new edifice at Gilmorehill, designed by Sir Gilbert Scott, was laid, and the University entered into occupation of it in 1870. Many additions have since been made to the buildings. Among them are the Bute and Randolph Halls, the James Watt Engineering Laboratories, the Natural Philosophy Institute, and the Institute of Chemistry.

There are six Faculties: Arts, Divinity, Law, Medicine, Science, and Engineering, in all of which classes are provided at Gilmorehill. The number of matriculated students for the session 1947-8 is over 6,000.

games Watt Engineering Laboratories. To the University of Glasgow belongs the distinction of being the first university in the United Kingdom to admit engineering as a subject of study.

In 1840 Queen Victoria, "considering that it would be of importance in the education of youth and for the public advantage", founded the Chair of Civil Engineering and Mechanics. Through the efforts of Macquorn Rankine, the second occupant of the chair, the degree of B.Sc. was established in 1872, embracing engineering subjects in the curriculum. A separate Faculty of Engineering was instituted in 1923. Throughout the whole history of the faculty the courses have been organized on the "sandwich" system, covering four winter sessions, the three intervening periods of approximately six months each being available for practical training, thus enabling students on graduation to lay claim not only to a sound basic training in engineering science, but also to a substantial part of the experience necessary for professional qualification.

The John Elder Chair of Naval Architecture was founded and endowed in 1882 and was the first Chair in this subject to be established in any country. The James Watt Chairs in the Theory and Practice of Heat Engines and in Electrical Engineering were instituted in 1921 from an endowment raised by the Institution of Engineers and Shipbuilders in Scotland. A bequest by the late Sir Henry Meehan has recently provided funds for the establishment of another Chair in the Faculty of Engineering, which it is intended to devote • to Aeronautics and Fluid Mechanics.

The James Watt Laboratories, opened in 1901 and extended in 1920, are housed in what was probably the first self-contained building to be planned specifically for teaching and research in general engineering. The activities of the department and the consequent demands for space have long outgrown the accommodation available in this building, and important sections of both teaching and research have had to be moved to temporary premises elsewhere both inside and outside the university precincts. A large scheme of extension has been planned, a substantial part of the cost of which has already been subscribed by generous benefactors, and will be carried out as soon as circumstances permit.

In the session 1947-8 the number of under-graduates in Engineering at the University was about 500.

The Physics Laboratories. In the University of Glasgow the term "Natural Philosophy" comprehends Physics. A professorship in this subject was founded in 1577 and perhaps the most eminent incumbent in its long history was Lord Kelvin, who was appointed in 1846 at the age of twenty-two and retained the professorship for over fifty years.

In 1920, Sir John Cargill provided funds for the setting up of a second Chair.

The present laboratories were built in 1907 and are now among the busiest of the laboratories in the University. During the session 1947-8 they have accommodated about 650 students in arts, pure science, medicine, and applied science. Of these about 200 are students of engineering taking a first-year course in physics and about 70 similar students taking a second session. About 200 are medical students taking a one-year course in physics. The Honours Physics class contains about 80 students.

Great difficulty is being experienced in providing adequate laboratory classes for such large numbers, and extensive additional buildings have been planned for the immediate future.

In 1945, an extensive scheme to develop a strong research school in nuclear physics was initiated, and already many researches in this field are bearing fruit. For such studies, the main tool planned for the department is a large synchrotron which will produce fast electrons and quanta with energies of 300 million electron volts. The design of this machine has been worked out in collaboration with Metropolitan-Vickers and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment, and manufacture is now proceeding. A special building, designed by Mr. Basil Spence to house this machine, will have many novel features to facilitate its maintenance and use and to provide the necessary protection from the very penetrating radiations which will be produced by it. Pending the installation of this large synchrotron, nuclear researches are proceeding with a one million volt generator and a 30 million volt synchrotron. There are at present about twenty graduate research workers engaged in these activities and it is anticipated that this number will be doubled within the next two or three years.

The University is indebted to Lord Nuffield for a large annual grant for the purchase of special items of equipment and for the support of a number of post-graduate students, and to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research for the heavy cost of the large synchrotron.


John Walker and Sons

The business was founded in 1820 by Mr. John Walker, a small farmer in Riccarton, near Kilmarnock, who opened a grocery store in King Street, Kilmarnock, from which the present firm has been developed. John Walker later introduced his son, Alexander, to assist him, and, thereafter, followed a process of growth and development to the present day. In 1886 a limited company was formed to purchase the business from Alexander Walker, who was appointed the first chairman. The family connexion was Maintained, and several members of the Walker family were connected with the firm through the years of development. Sir Alexander Walker, K.B.E., who retired from the chairmanship a few years ago, is a son of Alexander Walker and grandson of the original John Walker.

Following the formation of the original company, and as the business developed, a London office was opened in 1880, and bonded and duty-paid warehouses were established in that city to meet the distribution in the London area and throughout the south of England. Further branch offices and warehouses were in turn established in Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham, and Sydney, Australia, and agents were appointed all over the world to facilitate business.

Distilleries in Scotland were procured to maintain supplies of whisky; bottle works in Yorkshire were also taken over to safeguard bottle supplies; several smaller firms were bought over to meet the rapid developments of that period, and to ensure adequate warehousing accommodation for the firm's business. The development of the blend of Walker's whisky, and its worldwide distribution, grew with great rapidity, and its famous quality appealed to consumers of Scotch whisky in every market.

Whisky is a subject for the chemist rather than the engineer. The apparatus required by distillers for the production of whisky is comparatively simple, and machinery, as we understand it in this machine age, does not enter very seriously into its production. The pre-distilling operations indeed are more the employment and control of natural laws relating to the germination of barley, which gives conversion of starch to sugars, and, secondly, conversion by yeast of sugars in solution into alcohols, and, thereafter, the extraction of these alcohols by distillation in a pot still for malt whiskies, and a rectifying still for grain whiskies. When the whisky has been produced, distillers mature it in oak-wood casks over a number of years, during which the slow and natural process of the oxidation of these alcohols produce from the young whiskies an aged product of fine flavours and aroma. This is simple in theory, but in actual practice considerable experience and knowledge is required for the production of fine whisky. In Scotland there are pure water from the hills, even temperatures, and ideal conditions for the maturing process. These are the main reasons why the quality of Scotch Whisky is outstanding, and why only in Scotland can whisky of this quality be produced.

The art of blending whisky arises from the fact that each distillery in Scotland, although the same elements are used, produces a whisky of flavour and texture peculiarly identified with the distillery concerned, and which cannot be duplicated in any other distillery. Further, the blender, with these whiskies at his command, can select and build up from proportions of his selection what he knows from experience will produce the perfect blend. In producing a bottle of "Johnnie Walker", the utmost care is exercised from the production of the new whisky from the still, through its years of maturation, and the blending process until it is bottled.

In the bonded stores in Kilmarnock the process of blending is carried through, and in due course, the blend is bottled in Kilmarnock, Glasgow, London, and Sydney warehouses, by which means it is possible to supply world markets with a standard blend of high quality.

It may be of interest to note here that the adoption of the "Johnnie Walker" figure as an advertisement, has been quite outstanding in world advertising. This figure was drawn by Tom Brown, a famous artist, who incorporated in his sketch the features of the original John Walker from an old silhouette portrait in the possession of the firm.


G. and J. Weir

The firm of G. and J. Weir, Ltd., has occupied the present site of the works at Cathcart since 1886, but was founded some years earlier when the brothers George and James Weir went into partnership. The original business was based on James Weir's patents for direct-contact feed-water heaters, Simplex boiler feed pumps, and evaporators.

The business is now probably the largest of its kind in the world, and its products cover a wide range of auxiliary machinery for marine and land installations. These include pumping equipment for various duties, of which boiler feeding is the chief; heat-exchange apparatus, especially feed-water heaters, and evaporators, air compressors, refrigerating plants, etc. At present the firm is engaged almost exclusively on work for British shipbuilding, power stations, and exports. The Works cover 17 acres and employ 3,200 persons.

Since the war the various departments in the Works have been rearranged almost completely, to provide the most suitable layout for peace-time conditions. The visitor first enters the despatch, test, and assembly shops, and then the machine shops, where the system of grouping machine tools by type has been adopted. The tool-room is conveniently located in the centre of the machine shops. Other service and supply departments have similarly been arranged round the main machine and assembly shops. These include a separate repair department, pattern shops and stores, welding shop and smithy, heat-treatment department, millwrights' shop, etc. Manufacture of the Weir piston valve chest and small commercial refrigerating plants takes place in a separate building. New and well-planned works offices, cloakrooms, and lavatories have all been provided since 1945.

The works generates its own electricity, and steam is available not only for the turbo-alternators but for testing, processing, and heating purposes as well.

The firm has excellent foundry facilities. The older establishment at Cathcart undertakes large iron and non-ferrous castings. Lighter iron and non-ferrous castings are provided by the subsidiary Argus Foundry Company, Ltd.; that company's highly mechanized foundry was laid down in 1921.

The main office block provides accommodation for the management, drawing office and tracing department, estimating, costing, shipping, and secretarial services. There are also well equipped chemical and metallurgical laboratories, and a building equipped for special research work.

A social centre for the Works and staff was provided in 1938; there are canteens, libraries, smoking, and recreation rooms, a gymnasium and concert hall, and the Works school. In addition, a well-appointed sports ground has been provided within easy access of the Works.

Other subsidiaries of the company are: Drysdale and Company, Ltd., Yoker, manufacturers of centrifugal and rotary pumps, steam engines, etc.; Zwicky, Ltd., Slough, specialists in aircraft refuelling and fine filtration; and Weir Housing Corporation, Ltd., Coatbridge, producing permanent prefabricated steel houses.


Westburn Sugar Refineries

The original refinery was built about ninety years ago and underwent many modifications and additions before 1941, when a large portion was destroyed during an air raid. Between 1941 and 1945, the damaged part was replaced by a new building equipped almost entirely with new machinery. At the same time the damaged machinery in the remaining building was repaired or replaced and the entire process system reorganized.

The refinery, where the process is continuous from Sunday night until Saturday morning, is designed for an intake of 400 tons of raw cane sugar daily—the finished products being refined sugar, golden syrup, and molasses.

The raw sugar is transported from the docks by motor lorries, cleansed by washing in centrifugal machines, and melted in hot water—the solution being known as "brown" liquor. Suspended impurities are removed by mechanical filtration, and the colour by charcoal filtration—giving "fine" liquor. The "fine" liquor is concentrated in vacuum pans producing a mixture of crystals and liquor known as "massecuite". The mother liquor is spun off in centrifugals and the wet sugar passed to granulators for drying. It is then sifted, graded, bagged, and weighed ready for the warehouse. All stages of the process are under chemical control.

The steam which the process requires at almost every stage is supplied by the boiler house where, with appropriate instrumentation, there are three 30,000 lb. per hour Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers with chain-grate stokers and one 34,000 lb. per hour Yarrow water-tube boiler with an underfeed stoker and two Green's economizers. Only two of these boilers are under steam at one time. Steam leaves the boiler house in two lines. One, with a Ruths accumulator in use, leads directly to process at reduced pressure, the other to the power station where there are two 250-volt D.C., 500 kW. and one similar 700 kW. back-pressure geared turbo-generators exhausting to process. The power station supplies light and power for the refinery where all machinery is electrically driven.

Automatic weighing and filling machines are in use for 1-lb. and 2-lb. refined sugar packages and a considerable business is carried on in golden-syrup tinning.

See Also


Sources of Information