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I THE STORY — BO WwW Eee 3 ORT
_ BY DESMOND DONNELLY I
David Brown, Chairman of the Company, 1960
DAVID BROWN’S The Story of a
COLLINS St James’s Place, London 1960
J am indebted to many persons within the David Brown organisation for the help and guidance that they have given me in the preparation of this story of a fascinating and important industrial unit. In particular, 1 am indebted to my friends, David Brown, senior, and David Brown, junior, who have given so freely of their time. Others who deserve mention are Allan Avison, James Whitehead, Gordon Hancock, Allen Walker, Fred Marsh, Arthur Blackwell, Arthur Sykes, Alan Dakers, Alan Worton, F. J. Everest, J. T. Riley and Kenneth Oliver. I owe an especial debt of grati- tude to “ Bob” Gardner who is now in retirement. Although Tam a member of the David Brown organisation, I wish to make clear that I accept responsibility for my own account. Any errors and shortcomings are due to me and are not the fault of those with whom I have discussed the work. I add a personal word as an individual who lives part of his life in national affairs and journalism, outside the sound of roaring wheels and the chatter of machine shops. This is the story of something that is real. The cold stone of the great factories and the gleaming precision of the long lines of machine tools are the congealed product of the struggles of many men who are now dead. These are their memorials, as indeed is the firm of David Brown. Yorkshire purpose,
endeavour—and at times obstinacy—have built these factories which form part of the industrial furniture of modern Britain. And the story may only be beginning.
DESMOND DONNELLY Roch, Pembrokeshire, 1960
1 The Man who Runs it a The Company’s Beginnings m Growth
Iv Swimming against the Tide of Depression
v Tractors before Tanks vi Sinews of War vu Tools for the Job vit Geese into Swans 1x The Overseas Companies x 100 Not Out
page 11 23 41
49 63 75 87 97 III 119
List of Illustrations
David Brown, Chairman of the Company _frontispiece
The deputy Managing Directors and
General Managers facing page 16 David Brown Jnr. 17 David Brown, the Founder 36 Frank Brown, son of the founder 37 Percy Brown, son of the founder 37 Park Works, Huddersfield, 1900 and 1950 44 Involute tooth gears 4S Worm and wheel gears 45 Foundries Division, fettling a casting §2 Foundries Division, oil pipeline valves 53 An aerial view of the Penistone Foundries 60 Meltham Mills, Yorks., an aerial view 61 A 1960 David Brown tractor and a pre-war Brown-built Ferguson tractor between pages 72-73 A David Brown crawler tractor in the Antarctic 72-73 A 50-TD crawler stockpiling coal 72-73 A preview of a new flail harvester 72-73
A high speed marine propulsion unit facing page 84 One of the world’s largest hobbing machines 85
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Testing heavy gears facing page 92 P.60.S pinion hobbing and shaving machine 93 A 1912 Valveless motor car 100 Mr. David Brown in the car he built in 1921 100 An Aston-Martin wins the 24-hour race at Spa, 1948 101 The victorious Aston-Martin of 1959 108
Winners of the World Sports Car Championship, 1959 109
The Man who Runs it
avo BROWN, the present Chairman and Managing Director of the David Brown Corporation, is the son of Frank Brown and grandson of the founder of the family business that bears his name. When David Brown entered the firm, in 1921, it had a growing national reputation in gear manufacture. Its plant was situated at Park Works, Huddersfield, and it employed just over a thousand men. To-day, the Corporation’s fourteen factories, employing nearly ten thousand workers, are in different parts of Britain, although it remains a predominantly North Country organis- ation. It controls several overseas companies and it has a substantial interest in Foote Brothers of Chicago, one of the leading gear manufacturers in the United States of America and also in the Whitney Chain Company of Hartford, Con- necticut. There are those who have started their big business organis- ations from scratch—from a cycle repair shop in a back street or a blacksmith’s in a village—and who, by their own efforts, have created an industrial empire. There are those who have been brought into an already flourishing business from outside, —possibly at managerial or directorial level—and who have enhanced that organisation beyond all recognition. But it is rare for the son of an already prosperous business to succeed to a fortune and a comfortable industrial operation and to build thereon a structure as considerable as that which David
Brown built upon the inheritance to which he succeeded from his family. He himself had a firm foundation in the business—and he is the man largely responsible for the growth to which it has risen to-day. What sort of man is he? What is his background? Sitting in his spacious office in Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park, David Brown does not appear to be typical of the business tycoon—nor is he. Instead of strident and bustling, he is quiet, almost diffident in manner, and relaxed. At fifty-six years of age (he was born in 1904) David Brown might pass for eight or ten years younger. What driving force took him from his comfortable business inheritance in Huddersfield and made him the head of a large international concern with many and varied interests? This is the really interesting question about any successful or prom- inent man, in any walk of life. Let us begin with his story. Brown started in the business very young. He was born in Park Cottage, which stood on the present site of the Park Works at Huddersfield. According to David Brown himself, a wiseacre is said to have remarked when he was born that the new David Brown baby had “oval arms and involute teeth.” At a very early age he used to be marched into the Park Works by his father, Frank Brown, every Sunday morning—‘‘to soak him in the business.” Frank Brown would then take all the post from the letter box, and opening each letter, he would comment on its contents to young David. During his school holidays, young David used to have to go through this process of hearing about the business every day, either when his father was opening the mail in the morning, _or when he was signing his letters in the evening. To Frank Brown, this mail was all important. He always insisted on
THE MAN WHO RUNS IT
seeing all the outgoing correspondence for many years—until the organisation got too big for him to do it. David Brown’s schooling was first at King James’s School, Almondbury (now known as Almondbury Grammar School), and then at Rossall, a typical enough public school for the boys of successful North Country industrialists. From the very first his favourite subject was Art, and he soon found he could draw and paint, with ability that was above the average. He did not like Rossall, which he considered “too tough.” He still complains bitterly about “the fresh air fiends who in- sisted that the dormitory windows were always open, no matter what the weather.” He says he passed the usual examin- ations, did not distinguish himself particularly and. went straight into the family business in 1921 as an engineering apprentice. Up to now, there was nothing to mark him out as different from scores of other young scions of prosperous in- dustrial families in the North of England. At work, he discovered more than ever that his father was an extremely tough, driving character. Young David had to be on the job at 7.30 a.m. He was given a motor cycle to ensure him getting there on time. On any morning, if he had not left the house by 7 o’clock—it was six miles from the works—his father would come and chase him out of bed. He even ordered his son to check in the time he got to work and he cross-examined David regularly as to what he was doing and learning on the job. To young David Brown, therefore, his work inevitably became the most important part of his life, and he regarded it very seriously. It was a significant training. David Brown’s first day on the payroll of the family business Was spent in the Estimating Department. The idea that he should start there was suggested by Arthur Sykes, of whom
more will be heard in this story. At the back of Sykes’s mind was the thought that the Estimating Department would give a newcomer real experience of the best cross-section of the business; from this point it was easy to lead on to the technical side. The young man was put under the care of an engineering tutor named Dyson, and sent to attend classes at Huddersfield Technical College. Frank Brown was going to leave nothing to chance if he could help it. At the very beginning of his apprenticeship, David Brown began to appreciate some of the problems of assimilating technical information. Because he had himself experienced the difficulties here, he felt the same problem must face many of the others—possibly older hands than he was—who could not have his opportunities to clarify their minds. So, when he felt himself ready, he sat down and wrote a short book which he called “Gearing for Beginners,” a sort of primer for men who must learn something about gears. Years later, Brown de- scribed the book as “Putting down on paper some of the things I had learned from the beginning. I felt that this would pave the way for apprentices who had to go through the same _ process.” It is this clarification of technical problems in simple English that distinguishes him to this day from nearly every other good engineer. It is a capacity for simplification which has stood him in good stead in every way. was early in his working life that David Brown had a chance to take a more practical interest in what was then (and still remains) his passion—motor cars. It had all begun years before in 1912, when, for a short while, Frank Brown and his brother, Percy, had decided to try their hand at car manufacture (see Chapter II). F. T. Burgess (who was the Company’s chief technician at that time and also chief tester) used to take young David on his test runs, perched on an orange box. David was
The Deputy Managing Directors and General Managers, 1960. Back Row, L. to R.: J. L. Wyer, Automobile Division; J. T. Riley, Automobile Gear Divisions; K. L. Oliver, Machine Tool & Tool Divisions; G. L. Hancock, Foundries Division. Front Row, L. to R.: F. J. Everest, Industrial Gear Divisions; J. Whitehead, Joint Deputy Managing Director; Allan Avison, Joint Deputy Managing Director; David Brown Jr., Joint Managing Director, Tractor Division
David Brown, Jnr., son of the Chairman and Joint Managing Director of David Brown Tractors Ltd., 1960
THE MAN WHO RUNS IT
thrilled, and F. T. Burgess became one of his best friends. "David has remained thrilled with fast cars ever since—though he has been able to dispense with the orange box. Thus it was that in 1921, David Brown, the apprentice, set out.to design his own car. “After all,” he argued “what was the good of becoming an engineer if you could not put it to practical use.” He had a drawing board in his bedroom. He would work quietly until about 2 o’clock in the morning; then sleep until 6.30 a.m.; then dash off to work. In this way, he designed a 14 litre straight eight twin camshaft engine and made patterns for it himself: In due course, following the plan laid down by his father, David went into the foundry which was then in the middle of Park Works (it is now the lower bay of the heavy machine shop). Working to his own private long-term plan, and un- known to his father, David cast the cylinder block for the car while working in the foundry. ‘When he went into the machine shops—which formed the next part of his training and where he stayed for about two years—he surreptitiously machined many of the parts for the engine. But Nemesis was at hand; Frank Brown discovered what his son was doing—and put a stop to it with a great roar of rage. That was the end of David Brown’s first attempt to make a car. But he stuck to his original belief that if he could make the engine “the rest would not prove too difficult” —a procedure that he followed many years later when making his first tractor. But not even tough Frank Brown could deter young David. The desire to make his own car was deep. He did not give up the project. Instead, he acquired a complete Sage engine, a Meadows gear box, and an axle and other parts. He assembled these on a chassis frame of his own construction and he had his
D.B. 17 B
car. What is more, the car ran. It travelled many thousands of miles without any mechanical trouble other than body rattles which inevitably develop in a home-made body. As this story illustrates, David Brown is a man of obstinate persistence and has always been completely absorbed in and preoccupied with motor cars. These traits were to emerge yet more clearly later; when he persevered with his tractors and then his Aston-Martin and Lagonda cars against the advice of many people. David Brown’s progress in the Company took him round the various facets of its business—as is normal in the case of “the boss’s son.” He was sent to South Africa and then to America. At an early age, and in an interesting way, he was suddenly confronted with executive responsibility. It is often said that the age at which a man gets responsibility is the operative factor in determining his final potential. In this respect, young David Brown was extremely fortunate. As background, he had had good grounding in the business. He also had his father, who although his health appeared un- certain, still had many years of working life ahead of him; and yet who was ready to give his son his head. It happened like this. The First World War had increased the size of the gear business from about two hundred em- ployees to over a thousand men. This expansion brought with it attendant management problems, which were new to Frank and Percy Brown, who ran the business at that time. Orders would be accepted by Frank Brown with little idea of how they would be fulfilled, for he had little idea of planning. Naturally there were difficulties. Various works managers were tried, nearly all gear technicians, but Frank Brown used to bully them into accepting delivery dates that
THE MAN WHO RUNS IT
were impossible. David, down the line, with his apprentice’s worm’s-eye view, used to see the problem at floor level. His father, too, was aware of it, and they often discussed it. Eventually, Frank Brown appointed a new General Manager, W. S. Roe. Roe was the first man to stand up to his boss. When he was called into Frank Brown’s office, he would be told, “Do this. This is an order for a friend of mine. Get it delivered to-morrow!” “I am sorry, sir,” Roe would reply. “That’s scheduled for three weeks on Friday. We can’t pos- sibly do anything about it. You can close the whole place if you like; but if you do that, you won't need me. I shall be off!” The line was effective. W. S. Roe remained. The organis- ation was brought under control. And W. S. Roe appointed David Brown as his personal assistant. He also gave him another job—managing the Keighley Gear Company. The Keighley Gear Company was a small company that Frank and Percy Brown had bought from a man named Sam Sunderland, mainly because Sunderland had certain designs and patterns for gear-cutting machinery that the Browns wanted for themselves. But the Keighley Gear Company was separated from the parent organisation and therefore it tended to be outside anybody’s particular responsibility. For a time it had lost money. Roe knew that this position could not con- tinue, and so, prompted by Frank Brown, he gave young David the job of running the Keighley Gear Company, offer- ing him ten per cent of the profits (if any). At that time, the Keighley Gear Company employed twelve men, each of them carrying out all the operations on every gear they made, a most wasteful process. David Brown immediately changed all this. “I then went out door-knocking to get additional work for the company,” he says. Tt was soon clear that David Brown would have to spend a
great deal of time out of the works. So he decided on having a works manager. Recalling a suitable man who had left some years before to work for a competitor, he enticed him back. The first year of David’s management was not good, on paper. The turnover went up—but so did the losses. But in the second year, he made a good profit—and the Keighley Gear Company has made a profit ever since. From then on, for some years, David Brown kept an eye on the little company and used to visit it about twice a week. This was his first lesson and success in delegating responsibility. It was to be the pattern for much that came later. As a result of the Keighley success, young David Brown was placed on the main board of David Brown’s in 1929. Two years later, his uncle, Percy Brown, died: as he had been joint managing director with David’s father, it was felt necessary to appoint another managing director. Frank Brown there- upon decided to continue only as Chairman. The result was that W. S. Roe and young David were appointed joint managing directors, Roe to be in charge of the works, David to deal with the commercial side. Two weeks later, W. S. Roe was taken ill. Six weeks later he died. At the age of twenty-nine, David Brown had to accept the responsibility for the day to day management of all the Company’s affairs. After his father’s death in April, 1941, he went on increasing his holding in the Company until he had complete control of the Equity Capital. To-day, the organisation over which he presides is unusual for two reasons. First, its rapid growth has been made possible because, with Brown being the owner of the Equity Capital, he is able to follow an enlightened investment policy. Secondly, Brown himself has developed a balance of delegation and control to a remarkable degree. “Get a good man and let
THE MAN WHO RUNS IT
him get on with it,” is his guiding principle. “If he is no good, get another man. But if he is good, support him.” There are a number of characteristics in David Brown that are not at first apparent. His diffident manner hides a remark- able degree of tenacity. Only in this way has he been able to succeed. By his facility for simplification he has been able to reduce complex problems to essentials. In short, because he can talk clearly, he can also think clearly—and vice-versa. Following his principle of granting a great deal of autonomy to his various general managers, Brown has created for him- self the necessary freedom from detail with its consequence— time to think ahead. In a philosophical sense, he is not a profound man. His reading is limited to practical papers or books with a con- temporary appeal. But he is a man who combines a practical forward vision with knowledge, experience and wisdom. He is now a very rich man, but he recognises that there is a limit to monetary needs. If one had to find a description of him in a sentence, it would be that he is shrewd and relaxed. But unlike most men of his age, David Brown does not think he has done all he wants to do. Deep down, he really believes that he is only beginning, and therein lies the main- spring of this inquiring, forward-thinking, expansionist- minded industrialist.
The Company’s Beginnings
oo BROWN, grandfather of the present Chairman of the David Brown Corporation, started the firm in 1860, when he was only seventeen years old. Huddersfield at that time was a tough and narrow society. It was one of the growing centres of the woollen industry. Money was beginning to flow into the pockets of the York- shire mill owners. But the living conditions of the workers were grim. Wages were bad. Hours were long. Holidays were negligible. Slums were shocking. The Public Health Act of 1875, which remains one of the most important Statutes in British social history, was still fifteen years off. Water, disease, bad sanitation were very real problems. The great Royal Commission on Housing, over which the Prince of Wales was to preside, was in the future. It was the England of the Industrial Revolution—at its toughest and most ebullient. : Lord Palmerston presided over Cabinet meetings held in that long room in Downing Street and apocryphally despatched gunboats to different parts of the world at the drop of a hat. A hundred years ago can seem a long time. Although he was a Yorkshire man through and through, David Brown himself did not subscribe to the narrow non- conformist tradition of the region. He did not go to chapel, nor to church. He was not interested in politics—whether it be Liberal, as most of Huddersfield was of that period, or any other brand. His real interest and religion was his work. David Brown’s first premises were in Vulcan Street, Hud-
dersfield. They were part of the stables belonging to Thomas Broadbent's foundry. Brown’s first order was wooden patterns for his landlord’s foundry; to begin with, they worked in partnership as “Brown and Broadbent.” This is obviously how young Brown got a few pounds capital with which to make his start and to employ two men to work beside him. The pattern-making trade, then as now, was a skilled form of joinery. In Brown’s case, he made patterns for gear wheels. The wooden patterns were placed in boxes of sand. Then the sand was packed tightly enough to hold together but loose enough to allow the hot gases to escape. In that lies the skill of moulding. When the sand was firm, the wooden pattern was removed, leaving a mould, into which was poured the molten iron. In this way you got a cast iron gear wheel. Very soon the stables at Broadbent’s got too small for the business, and David Brown moved it to another building round the corner in Chapel Street. Shortly after, he extended his work to include the actual manufacture of gears. This was a vital step. An advertisement in the Huddersfield Directory and Year Book of 1873 states that he was not only a “General Pattern- Maker” but also “Manufacturer of all kinds of Spur, Skew, Bevel and Eccentric Gear.” Not only was he supplying patterns but he was now making gears of quite difficult tooth forma- tion as well as the more straightforward spur type. For this new development, Brown had to make use of foundries in the neighbourhood, as he had no foundry of his own. In about 1879, Brown took another important step and turned his firm into a private company, operating under the name of “David Brown and Company.” The registered office was his private house, 72 South Street, Huddersfield—an un- pretentious two-story building of Yorkshire stone which was
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
to remain the family home for another thirty years. With all this activity, Brown had to move the actual business again to slightly larger premises, still in Chapel Street. His next step was to develop his techniques yet further. In the early 1880s, he started to accept orders for cogging of mortise wheels. This was a process by which roughly hewn wooden cogs were inserted into mortised cast iron wheel rims and held firmly on the inside of the wheel by wedges. These mortise wheels required wood with no pronounced grain but yet of the utmost toughness. The two most satisfactory timbers were hornbeam and applewood. The wheels were usually meshed with cast iron pinions with cast teeth. When they were operated they made a rumbling noise, which caused little comment in those days but which would sound strange to-day. About this time various technical developments were taking place in gear cutting to meet the problems of growing indus- trialisation. One of the most important of the new develop- ments was the introduction of the involute teeth gear. The “involute” is the name given to the curved shape of the engaging faces of the gear teeth (see opposite page 45). It enables consistent motion to be transmitted between any two gears, using the same basic involute proportions. Thus it formed the basis of an interchangeable system, which made standard- isation of tooth proportions possible and opened the field for applying production methods to gear manufacture. In years to come the introduction of involute tooth gears was to revolutionise gear manufacture. And, so far as David Brown’s is concerned, it was the key which unlocked the door between the small business and the very substantial engineering works, But at first the progress was still slow. By 1890, the number of employees had risen to ten and included David Brown’s
two eldest sons. An authentic account of the period is given by Luther Lum, who worked for the firm for 53 years and died recently. Before he died he dictated this note. “TI joined the firm as an apprentice 53 years ago in 1890. At this date David Brown and his two elder sons, Ernest and Frank, with a staff of three men and four boys occupied one room in Chapel Street, rented from Thomas Broadbent & Sons. Mr. Percy Brown, the youngest son, was then attending Spring Grove School and used to bring down his father’s and two brothers’ breakfast at 8.30 a.m. before leaving for school. The father and both sons were usually at the works at 6.15 a.m. to open the door, as no workman was allowed to have a key. On the rare occasions when they overslept, I, the youngest lad, had to run up to South Street, the home of the Browns, and knock them up, when the father would drop the keys from his bedroom window and tell me to run as fast as I could to get the shop door open. “The staff did not like being locked out and very little work was done until one of the Browns arrived. I had to keep watch up the street and whistle when the Browns were coming, and the father, who was a shrewd man, had a good idea what had been going on and was in a bad temper for the rest of the day. “In those days an apprentice at 13 got 2/6 a week wages rising each year until at 20, the last year of his apprenticeship, the wage was 12/6 per week. Normal working was $3 hours per week with ten hours extra as overtime and in those days overtime was routine. At the age of 21 a man was paid what the boss thought he was worth, usually about 22/- per week, and the top wage of 28/-.was reached at 24 years of age and often a young man had to threaten to leave before he got a rise. “When overtime was worked, the hours were 6.30 a.m.
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
to 8.15 p.m., with one hour for dinner and quarter of an hour for tea, whilst a doctor’s note was necessary to get a night off and we had to wait for a funeral to get half a day off. “Apprentices were bound to serve the whole of their apprenticeship with one master, a properly drawn-up inden- ture being prepared by the firm’s solicitor and signed by the boy, his father and the employer. The lad had to work the first month for nothing. Then, if he showed promise, the bonds were sealed and he usually stayed for at least eight years. “David Brown was a hard and stern master, but when a man had learnt his trade under him he could get and keep a job anywhere. There is no doubt that we had to work very hard in those days. “About 1895, the Works were destroyed by fire; this was started at dinner time and was, I am sure, caused by a work- man putting a box of matches in his bench drawer and closing it in a hurry. Then the box jammed and set the matches alight. In the meantime the man was hurrying downstairs unaware of his crime. “It took a long time to get the business going again and then another room was taken and the business extended. “About this time Mr. David Brown had a serious accident. He used to cut all the wood for patterns himself, on a machine with a vertical spindle with a fly cutter which ran at a ve high speed and took a long time to stop, even after the belt had been put over on to the loose pulley. Mr. David, always in a hurry, used to brake the machine by gripping the running spindle above the cutter. On this particular morning, at about 7 a.m., his attention was diverted elsewhere and he put his hand on the running fly cutter, severing his thumb and damaging the hand, He would be in his late fifties at that time
and he was never the same man again, which was a sad day for us all. “The fire broke the happy relations with Thomas Broadbent & Sons and shortly afterwards Browns built the three-storied building in East Parade. The business prospered and 150 pat- tern-makers were employed. Mr. Percy (the third son) came to work about this time and eventually took charge of the wooden gear cutting section whilst Mr. Ernest (the eldest son) took the heavy patterns and Mr. Frank (the second son) looked after the finances, at which he was an expert. “You can imagine there was little larking going on with a master and three sons always on the premises and setting the pace by working hard themselves. Yes, everybody had to earn his wages, but it must be said that David Brown and his sons worked hard, and many times have I stayed until the early hours of the morning with Ernest to finish a pattern that was badly wanted. He seemed in those days to have only one interest in life—work. “There were two outstanding customers in my boyhood days who used to come regularly to see their patterns in progress. Both were 6 feet 3 inches tall. I refer to the late Mr. Edward Hollingsworth of Dobcross Loom Works, and Mr. Craven of Craven Brothers, Manchester. We used to smile to see Mr. David Brown, 5 feet 3 inches, escorting these giants up the shop as cocky as could be and frequently accompanied by Frank and Ernest, who brought up the rear, little but important. “Both Mr. Hollingsworth and Mr. Craven were sticklers for curves and design. Mr. Craven always insisted on having his fillets made up of long flat curves finishing up with small radii; a plain quarter circle would not satisfy. “In later life I met Mr. Hollingsworth at his office. I was
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
then a shareholder and reminded him of his visits to East Parade. Most of our customers of 50 years ago are still in existence and, no doubt, are even now customers of Park Works. “David Brown, Senr., designed and manufactured a push bell for public-house tables. These were let into the tops of the tables and had to be banged to call the waiter, and I actually saw one of these still in use at a country pub a short while ago. There was a big demand for these bells, and as a lad it was my job to pack and despatch them. “Then the three sons began to expand the business; patterns alone were not enough for three young men and they saw great possibilities in the future of machine-cut gears. Messrs. Hutchinson and Hollingsworth, of Dobcross, had a good sized plant for cutting gears, and my father, who was a traveller for them, took Mr. Ernest and Mr. Frank Brown to see this plant. This confirmed them in their opinion of the great future for this kind of work and they were all set for buying machinery for cutting gears. “Once a start was made things moved quickly, and the first gear cutter arrived from Brown & Sharpe’s of America in about 1897 or 1898 before we were ready for it. War between Spain and America was in the air, and Brown & Sharpe thought it was wise to despatch the machine before hostilities began. This machine was not unpacked for months. “At last this machine and about 30 more, spur and bevel cutters, were fixed at one end of the pattern shop and worked there until Park Works was built. “Tt was not all plain sailing and very different from the making of wooden wheel patterns where we could glue on a new tooth if one was spoilt. Many wheels were scrapped in those early days, and I well remember a customer’s turned and
bored spur blank about 9 feet diameter and 12 inches face being spoilt. The blank had moved in cutting and where a last space should have been cut there was a tooth. A big loss to David Brown & Sons, as they had to pay for a replacement blank, as well as to cut over again. “ Two men stand out in my mind as pioneers at East Parade in those early gear cutting days—Arthur Mitchell and Charlie Fletcher. These two worked night and day to make a success of this venture, and a later acquisition was Fred Sylvester, a worm-wheel expert and a real glutton for work. “An American manager was first engaged, then a German, and a few German specialists came over briefly to instruct our men in cutting bevel gears and the business prospered in spite of mishaps. “A difficulty in these early days was holes in the roots of teeth in cast iron; hundreds of wheels were bored and turned and almost finished cutting when a bad patch was struck, when the wheel had to be scrapped and a fresh start made. In fact, this became almost a nightmare to the foreman moulder and to me who had the castings to order. “At that time I used to book the orders from the office, draw out the wheels and use either a stock pattern or make a new one, then order the castings and see that they. were delivered near the lathes. “The business grew to such an extent that new premises had to be sought and the Browns began to look for a suitable site to build a new up-to-date factory near a railway and with plenty of room to expand. A suitable site was found alongside the main line railway in the fields at Paddock, which seemed a good site, as on the other side of the railway opposite to Gledhold sidings there was a road entrance from Branch Street, Paddock, and a direct access to the L. & N.W. Railway
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
on the Leeds/Manchester main line. The company was approached, but insisted that if the site was used, David Brown & Sons would have to provide and pay for a man with a red flag all day long. This the firm could not see their way to do. “Tater the site at Lockwood was decided on, but as I remained at East Parade with Ernest to carry on the wood pattern business, I must leave others to continue the story.”
The move to East Parade after the fire described by Luther Lum was made possible by using the insurance money to build the firm’s own premises. It was very uphill work and Lum is right in stressing the importance of the Hollingsworth influence, which decided the firm to buy machinery for gear cutting. However, David Brown was most uncertain about it. His sons used to say that they had great difficulty in per- suading the “Old Man” to part with £500 to buy the first machine from Germany. Lum isalso right to point out the limitations of the pattern- making business—had David Brown’s become the largest pattern-makers in Britain, they would still not have employed more than about 200 men. The new gear side proved very profitable from the be- ginning. The second machine was bought with the profits earned by the first and. so it went on. Taxation was much lower in those days. Then came the move referred to by Lum. The Brown now quite well-to-do—bought a house with some _ 15 acres of land about a mile and a half outside Huddersfield. In the far corner of this little estate they built a small factory and Frank Brown went to live in a house called Park Cottage
at the other end of the field.
D.B. 33 c
This was where the present Chairman, David Brown (son of Frank Brown), was born in 1904 and spent most of his boyhood, an indication, as he says, that his life was to be in- timately connected with engineering generally and gears in particular. By now, in the early 1900s, Huddersfield was an extremely rich city. There were a number of families to whom everybody looked up and thought that they were very wealthy magnates. There was a good deal of forelock touching. A lot of them lived very ostentatiously. They drove large Rolls-Royces. They ate and drank a good deal. And during their earlier years, most of these local magnates had worked hard. Yet it was this textile element, for all its faults, that gave the impetus to the development of the local engineering industry in Yorkshire. And for Huddersfield, one of the attractions of the engineering industry was that it employed largely male labour, in contrast to the textile mills where women were in the vast majority. Another word in defence of the wool magnates; generally speaking, they have done a great deal better than their opposite numbers in the cotton industry across the Pennines, where the cotton magnates have done even less to keep up with industrial progress. In 1903 David Brown died aged 60. He had been a hard man, but a most competent one. After his astonishingly precocious start, he might have been expected to conquer the heights, as so many other early starters have done in industry. But he never did. This was largely because he limited his field of operations and was quite content with it. But it must be emphasised that he never over-reached himself, and he laid very solid foundations for later expansion. In 1902, the gear cutting machinery was moved from the basement of the pattern works in East Parade to the new “Park Works” as
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
it was now known. At the same time, a new and separate company was started for the manufacture of gears, quite apart from the pattern-making business. Under David Brown’s will the assets were divided so that the eldest son, Ernest, received the pattern-making business and the new gear business was owned in equal partnership by each of the three brothers, Ernest, Frank, and Percy. The new gear business at Park Works prospered: so much so, that over the years manufacturing buildings have spread over the whole of the site area of Park Works. Eventually, during the Second World War, expansion was such that it even became necessary to pull down Frank Brown’s home, Park Cottage. Quite early in the history of the gear company, Ernest, the eldest brother, ceased to take much interest in the business.
Therefore the two other brothers, Frank and Percy, became >
joint managing directors until Percy’s death in 1931. Much of the prosperity of the Company since this major change of 1902 was bound up with the development of worm gears, (see opposite page 45) something which had a very
chequered career up to then and where progress had been
slow and intermittent over many centuries, with long periods of stagnation. Probably the origin of the worm gear was the Archimedean screw, first conceived in the third century B.C. as a means of lifting water for irrigation purposes—although one may doubt the authenticity of the sketches showing Archimedes using a worm to empty his bath water. The interesting thing is that the propulsion of water has the same basic principles as the propulsion of a worm wheel tooth by the tangential advancing of the worm thread which is geometrically the same as the Archimedean spiral.
Although worm gears had been used for many generations prior to the entry of the Browns into business, they were for a long time regarded as an evil to be avoided, wherever pos- sible, on account of the extraordinary loss of efficiency with this form of drive, as then produced. The new principle deserves some explanation. The axial motion of the screw (the worm) on a rotating shaft is con- verted to rotary motion on a toothed wheel whose axis is at right angles to it. Where the screw is straight sided, much of the power is lost due to rubbing of the worm and the wheel teeth. By modifying the worm tooth shape, from a straight side to a suitable involute curve, the rubbing action was re- duced and a rolling action substituted. This increased the efficiency and once again formed the basis for modern pro- duction methods. There are still some examples of the original early com- mercial use of the principle in old warehouses in the form of floor-to-floor hand-operated hoists, where the operator expends twice the energy really necessary. In these early days, the cast iron worm wheels had moulded teeth and the worms were made of brass. The only means of lubrication was a handful of fat slapped on while the operator was getting his breath. This selection of materials meant that the smaller member—the worm—was the one that wore out and it could be quickly replaced by the works engineer who could chase out a new brass worm on his lathe. With gears of this type, aggravated by plain bearings and plain thrust rings, it was as well that labour was cheap and that time and motion study were unheard of. There was no serious attempt made to develop this field until the turn of the century, by which time the machine cutting
of gears was becoming recognised as a commercial fact.
David Brown, grandfather of the present Chairman, who founded the firm in 1860 at the age of seventeen
Frank Brown, son of the founder and father of the present Chairman
Percy Brown, son of the founder, who died in 1931
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
And this is how David Brown’s became pone of the new technique. Frank and Percy Brown got the idea of Cee self- contained worm gear units complete with bearings and shafts. It was obvious that there was a pressing need for such units for line shaft drives and hoists in the woollen and cotton in- dustries of the North, and the commercial prospects acted as an incentive. The Brown firm’s designers were remarkably successful. But success did not mean that the ultimate had been achieved. With electrification coming to the mills and with the higher speeds, involving the need for ball bearings, design took another leap forward. By a fortunate coincidence all the development ran parallel to the commercialisation and application of the internal com- bustion engine to road vehicles, which, in turn, led to the use of motor-driven buses in large towns like London. The earlier models, with chain drives from the gear boxes to the rear axles, had been an unending source of trouble and the building of worm gear axles for these vehicles was probably a turning point in the evolution of motor transport. This was another important step forward for David Brown’s. ‘Now there was another problem. With the continual shocks due to frequent starting and stopping, the need was for a sturdier wheel tooth than that being used industrially. Finally all worms for vehicle rear axles were made 30° pressure angle on the straight sided linear section, a standard which was maintained for many years. _ Perhaps the biggest stride of all came with the outstanding success of the involute helicoidal thread which was originally known as the David Brown Patent Thread and which started yet another new era.
Worm gears and units now entered into a much larger field of application. In the meantime, the metallurgists had not been idle. Modern methods of material selection and heat treatment were introduced. This was a time of immense hard work for Frank and Percy Brown. Frank Brown never had any real recreations. He was a man of amazing gusto and lived for his work. He did at one time take up golf, but he soon became bored with it, swearing at the ball ferociously. Neither of the other brothers had any hobbies either, and this applied to most of their generation. The plain fact is that whilst they were young they worked too hard to take up anything outside their business, and when ~ they had the leisure and the money to do so, they could not use them because by that time they had become too old. Yet Frank and Percy have left behind a memory of im- mense vitality amongst those who knew them, particularly so Frank Brown. Frank was really the driving force. Stocky and bull-like, he was a hard man in some ways, difficult to please. Yet he was also regarded as just. People tended to be frightened of him at first. But he had a reputation for always being kind to anyone who was ill. I was told a story recently of five or six men of about seventy years of age who had been paid off. When Frank Brown heard of this he immediately offered them their old jobs saying, “These are the people who have built up this business and there will be work for them as long as they can walk to it.” Frank’s real hobby was his work—nothing else. He liked drinking and smoking big cigars. He also collected ivories. At another time he tried pig-keeping and it was quite a success. “Frank was a helluva lad” is the sort of thing people still say, and whilst he was a hard worker, he also enjoyed a drink
THE COMPANY’S BEGINNINGS
and a game of cards. They still talk about him in Huddersfield business circles admiringly, yet laughing at the memory of many friendly evenings. Yet for all his over-brash toughness there was also a strange sentimentality about him—as witness a presentation made to him by the workers years later, in 1939, when Frank Brown had completed fifty years with the company. Arthur Sykes had made a simple little speech to which Frank Brown found himself quite unable to reply. The words just would not come. So he wrote a letter instead, thanking his employees for their tribute. By contrast Percy was much quieter and less outspoken than Frank. But deep down he was just as tough in matters of business. Half a head taller, Percy was the restraining influence. His favourite phrase was “Let’s sleep on it.” Together they made a very good team and they made a great deal of money. But when they had made it, they were too old to learn how to enjoy it—like so many of their type. In 1912 the brothers turned the firm into a public company. They did this because they wanted extra capital for expansion, which they got by issuing preference shares; and they brought in J. D. Crowther—one of the family of the Crowthers of Bankdam—who was a Huddersfield textile manufacturer. Ernest still ran the original pattern-making business, but he also held some of the ordinary shares of the gear manufacturing busiriess. At about the same time, the Brown brothers decided to venture further afield than gears. It was the age of the develop- ing automobile. So they purchased the manufacturing rights of two types of car, the Dobson and the Valveless. The Dobson had an orthodox engine, but the Valveless was a two-stroke and used to make a loud chug-chug sound.
A few of these two types of car were made, slowly and laboriously, but without any great success. The new venture was uphill work and it would be difficult to forecast what would have been the outcome had not the gathering clouds of 1914 begun to cast their shadows before. Soon Britain was to be at war. The Valveless and the Dobson were put on one side. David Brown’s, like every other gineering firm of substance, was turned over to war work. Five long years of industrial effort to support a gigantic military struggle lay ahead. By the end of it David Brown & Sons had become a very different concern.
OL war years were the first period of major expansion for David Brown & Sons. They ended it with more than a thous- and men making the daily journey, by train, car, bicycle, and on foot, to that corner of Huddersfield where Park Works stood. In a sudden five-fold expansion, in four years, David Brown’s experience was typical of large sectors of the engin- eering industry. For the First World War was the greatest stimulant to engineering production up to that point in history. Vehicles of all kinds were the great demand of the day. Anybody who could make gears for those vehicles was a very important firm. Even more important than vehicles were ships; and as fast as these were sunk, more ships had to be built. When Lloyd George went to the Ministry of Munitions the production drive began in earnest. David Brown’s showed. themselves capable of making the heavy gears needed in ships. This was not surprising because they had already played a pioneer part in developing turbine gears. As the naval work increased, the Admiralty moved into Park Works. Long hours, seven days a week became the order of the day. Jobs in David Brown’s meant exemption from military service, although this did not meet with the approval of the more adventurous spirits who were always signing on, under the Kitchener and Derby schemes, drawing the King’s shilling and then being sent back to Park Works on discovery.
One of the main jobs thrust upon the firm was making the gear units for the propulsion of “Standard” ships, otherwise known as “wooden” vessels. The two primary reductions from the High pressure and Low pressure turbines were each housed in separate units; which were, in turn, coupled to a final reduction unit consisting of two pinions and one wheel, which transmitted the drive direct to the thrust bearing and the propeller shaft. These “Standard” ships were very useful in the U-boat struggle. After the war many of them were sold to Italy. From occasional orders for spares, that still arrive at Park Works, the assumption is that some are still in service. Another big order was placed by the Canadian Maritime Board. It was for the gearing units for the propulsion of the “Concrete” ships—another example of the various attempts to overcome the shortage of steel. These were not as successful as the “wooden” ships, as concrete did not lend itself so readily to the problem of constructing ships’ hulls. But still, they floated—and were widely in service. Gears for all sorts of other ships were ordered. The order books at the time mention such famous names as J. P. Thorney- croft, John Samuel White and others. Tankers and oilers, destroyers, flotilla leaders and patrol boats—they were all equipped with David Brown propulsion units, and Park Works went on expanding. These were years of very hard work at Park Works. And always it was work that counted with Frank Brown, a lesson which was brought home to his son David as I have already explained. So dedicated was he to work that he now acquired the reputation of dismissing anyone on sight whom he thought was slacking. On one occasion he is reported to have dis- missed a man he saw standing around in Park Works only to
PARK WORKS, HUDDERSFIELD. Above, the site in about 1900.
Below, the same bend of the road 50 years later
Worm and wheel, an example of the involute helicoidal thread
A pair of single helical gears, an example of the involute tooth principle
discover that the man in question did not belong to David Brown’s at all but had been brought into the building to do a job for a building contractor. The early post-war years were still years of boom. For the David Brown organisation, the problem throughout this time was largely one of production, for Frank Brown’s restless energy saw to it that the order book was overfull. It was during this period that works managers, who were all tech- nical men, came and went; until W. S. Roe arrived. The real trouble was that the men who had built the Company, Frank and Percy Brown, knew little or nothing about large-scale organisation. They had around them extremely competent technical men—but they were not organisers. It took much trial and error before W. S. Roe was appointed. came from Armstrong-Whitworth in Manchester. This company had been merged with the Vickers group in an arrangement in which Vickers was the dominant organis- ation managerially. Roe felt unhappy about the new situation and left to go to David Brown’s. He was a thin man of about 5 feet 7 inches. His most notice- able characteristics were a hook nose and penetrating eyes. And his greatest asset was that he was the first man at Park Works for a long time who was not afraid of Frank Brown. Roe made a great deal of difference to the smooth running of Park Works, although unfortunately his health began to fail after a short time. By now, David Brown, the son of Frank Brown, and the present Chairman of the Corporation, had become Roe’s personal assistant. As a result of Roe’s poor health more work and responsibility gradually devolved on to young David, who had been finding his feet with the job of controlling the Keighley Gear Company—the specific task
set him by Roe. David Brown’s first big job under Roe was a difficult one, salvaging what he could on behalf of the Com- pany from an unfortunate venture in France. Roe had entered into an agreement to set up a gear factory in Paris. It was on the site of a former umbrella factory and David Brown’s interest was a fifty per cent holding, with some money, plant, and the technical knowledge coming from Huddersfield. Their partners in this Paris project were French, one of them, the managing director, supplying the building. Brown’s entered into a long lease and immediately spent more money extending the factory so as to create more facili- ties for making the bronze castings that were necessary for worm gears. Roe was persuaded that the son of the managing director was the ideal works manager and actually signed a ten-year contract with this young man. After a year, the French company was shown to be losing faster and faster and the Brown family in Huddersfield became alarmed. But they were faced with the additional difficulty that by now Roe was ill—yet, as he had handled these compli- cated Paris negotiations almost exclusively, it was not easy to transfer control. After some cogitation, the Board dis- missed the French managing director and sent young David Brown to Paris with instructions to re-organise the new factory. David's first policy was to establish standards of quality and speed—and to do this, he decided to import some of his own men from Huddersfield. But there was considerable delay because the French officials refused to provide labour permits for the workers from England. By the time these difficulties were overcome the resources of the French company were nearly exhausted. Their position had become untenable.
But that did not presuppose a victory for David Brown’s. Reluctantly young David Brown decided that he had no choice but to pay out the Frenchman and his son with his ten- year contract or to go into liquidation. It was a hard choice. Finally, he decided to cut his company’s losses and to recom- mend liquidation; a decision that was accepted by his father and uncle back in Huddersfield. The French venture had been a major set-back. Had Roe not been too ill to cope with the intricacies, he might have been able to save it. As it was, the difficult and painful episode was a sobering experience for young David Brown, by now a newly appointed director of the Huddersfield Company. Checked in one attempt at expansion abroad, the Brown family had already been trying elsewhere, nearer home. They had acquired the business of one of their rivals, P. R. Jackson Ltd., of Salford, Lancashire, in 1930. Jackson’s possessed a steel foundry that also made both machine moulded and machine cut gears. They had been formidable competitors in the heavier work because by using the foundry they were able to offer quick delivery of gears that required steel castings. The Jackson purchase was made at a cost of 30,000 ordinary David Brown shares, plus cash. Two seats on the David Brown board were also allotted to Jackson’s nominees. Shortly afterwards, Percy Brown died. The death of this shrewd, quiet man, heavier and bigger than his short, bulldog- like brother, was a severe loss. His quick and sound councils Were very much missed. ___ Percy Brown had been joint managing director with Frank. After Percy’s death, Frank decided that he did not wish to carry the dual burden of being sole managing director and
chairman. So there was a new appointment. W. S. Roe and young David Brown became joint managing directors. But so far as Roe was concerned, it was too late. By now he was a very sick man—he died shortly afterwards, without ever having come into the office in his new capacity. David Brown was now left on his own.
Swimming against the Tide
5 ‘ F Sk fc ts an , ‘ hy ?
OD x newly acquired P. R. Jackson plant at Salford had a long history, going back to 1840—twenty years before the first David Brown had started his pattern-making business in Huddersfield. Peter Rothwell Jackson himself was a talented and versatile engineer and a founder member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. There are patents in his name relating to hydraulic presses, pumps and steam valves, the mangling, calendering, glazing and finishing of cotton and linen, im- provements in rolling tyres and hoops, pattern-making machinery and gearing. His original idea was to associate his business with the rapidly developing railway system of the early Victorian era. Therefore he sited his works near the new Manchester to Liverpool railway, calling it the Salford Rolling Mills. Its purpose was to manufacture railway tyres, iron castings and moulded gear wheels. Jackson was associated with John George Bodmer, the inventor of the first tyre rolling mill to be rolled in circular form to exact dimensions. Bodmer was undoubtedly a man of mechanical genius. His work was commemorated many years after his death by an exhibition at Bolton. His inventions telated mainly to spinning and weaving machinery. Bodmer also designed and cut spiral bevel gears in association with Jackson, and between them these two men designed and built two machines for producing machined tooth ve for use with moulding machines.
But although Bodmer was a great engineer he lacked the capital to exploit his ideas. It was at this point that P. R. Jackson came in, for apparently he was able to raise enough to make the start. The business slowly began to expand and some of the present buildings were erected between 1870 and 1875. P. R. Jackson himself retired in 1891, although there are no records at Salford to say what happened to the ingenious Bodmer. P. R. Jackson’s successor was his son, Robert Newton Jackson, who carried on the expansion until he turned the firm into a limited liability company with a share capital of £,120,000—quite a large sum in those days. Robert Newton Jackson added a new range to the Salford products when he decided to go in for the manufacture of electrical generators, motors, switchgear and arc lamps. Slater Lewis, a new works manager of some fame, and the author of several books on works management, took over the actual plant management. Jackson, as Chairman and Managing Director, concentrated on policy. The First World War led to even greater expansion; but after Robert Newton Jackson’s death in 1918, the company had a difficult period. In 1922, the capital was reduced to £60,000. This was the company acquired by David Brown & Sons in 1930 for the supplementation of the Huddersfield gear business. In short, P. R. Jackson’s was a company of dis- tinguished record, with a solid history of scientific and indus- trial initiative to its credit. From a purely commercial point of view, and, as a corollary, from a production point of view, it had fallen on unfortunate days. It was therefore ripe for acquirement and development. The gear business of David Brown’s, now controlled by
Foundries Division, Penistone.
Fettling an excavator car-body casting
Foundries Division, Penistone.
Oil pipeline valves in production
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF DEPRESSION
- young David—not yet thirty—was a very substantial under- _ taking. It was the early 1930s—no easy time, perhaps, to start as managing director. Brown recalls that his first problem was the swollen over- head costs of the two main plants. “When W. S. Roe came to us, he was fit and healthy. In later years, as he became ill, his grip slackened. I began by going through the entire payroll personally,” says David Brown, explaining that cuts had to be made to remain viable in those difficult days. “I interviewed all sorts of men to see just where we could make these cuts. I told various foremen that where they had eight or ten men, they now had to make do with five or six.” It was certainly a time for retirement and reform. This situation in the business called for a psychological and humanitarian approach as well as a commercial one. Young David Brown for the first time found he had to deal with people as well as machines and finance. He set to work to plot out his own scheme of compensation, based on the length of time that a man had been with the Company. At that time this was something new. “I did this,” says Brown, some years later, “because I considered that in many cases it was better to give a man a lump sum so that he could start a small business, rather than a long period of notice in which his money was frittered away on just living. And it cost the Company no more.” One man, according to Brown, used his compensation money to start a newsagent’s business outside Park Works. “Nearly all our men bought their papers there when they came out in the evening. I certainly did myself.” David Brown’s second innovation was to appoint a sales Manager—surprising as it may seem, up to that point the firm had never had a man with this formal title. Frank Brown had
been the real sales manager, but as the years had gone by he had been doing less and less. Brown looked around for the right sort of person for the job and he decided to give it to a round, bespectacled ebullient man, Allan Avison, who had joined the company as a boy at five shillings a week, and risen by the aid of classes at the technical college as well. When David Brown was an appren- tice, Avison had been a foreman in one of the machine shops. It was a very important appointment, both for the firm and for Avison. Allan Avison already had some experience of what was required. When W. S. Roe was works manager he had become dissatisfied with the arrangements at the firm’s London Office and on David’s recommendation he had sent Avison to London as Manager of the London Office. David Brown now brought him back north. He remained in his new capacity throughout the 1930s, selling products successfully and steadily against the whole trend of business all through that difficult time. Let me add a word more about Avison, as he has played a very large part in the subsequent growth of David Brown’s. He continued as sales manager until the organisation became too big to run as a single unit and it had to be split into three. When this reorganisation took place, Allan Avison became General Manager of the Gear Division based on Park Works, Huddersfield, and later joined the Board of the Corporation. Yet later, in 1956, he became Deputy Managing Director in charge of all the manufacturing operations of the David Brown companies. “T liked Avison from the first,” is David Brown’s own
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF DEPRESSION
description of him. “He had more energy than almost anyone else I have known. He bubbles over with ideas and he became a first class negotiator in his senior job.” So far, young David Brown had concentrated on the two obvious points—reducing costs and increasing sales. He now set up a publicity department to assist Avison in his work. Again it gives some idea of the rapid development of British industry since those days that a publicity department in the early nineteen thirties was considered an innovation. A third immediate problem that confronted David Brown at the beginning of his managing directorship was the share holdings, and who was going to control the Company. As mentioned in the previous chapter, David’s Uncle Percy had just died and this brought matters to a head. At this point it is necessary to interpolate a word about the background to this problem. Prior to 1930, the Equity Shares of David Brown and Sons were owned in rough proportions of one-third each by the three sons of the first David Brown, Frank, Percy, and Ernest. There were also a very few shares. belonging to a J. D. Crowther. When P. R. Jackson’s was bought 30,000 Ordinary shares were issued to the Jackson shareholders in part payment for the Jackson business. The young David Brown felt this to be a very weak position for the Brown family. He therefore pressed his father to negotiate with his dead uncle’s executors for the purchase of his shares. If the joint father-and-son proposal were accepted it would just give them control of the Company at last. At first, Frank Brown said he was not interested for his own sake. But he agreed to help because of his son, provided that young David would buy some of the shares himself. This raised a further problem, for David had no money. His bank, however, agreed to an overdraft to enable him to buy the
shares. And paying off that overdraft kept David poor for years. But it was the beginning of his personal holding in the Company. Later, he was to acquire all the equity capital, but this development is described in a later chapter. To return to the business. The acquisition of Jackson’s, where there was a foundry, had made the Company self- supporting as far as castings for steel gears were concerned and had made it possible for Brown’s to determine the priori- ties according to the requirements of their customers. There was also an iron and bronze foundry at Park Works, but Park Works was by now chock-a-block. There was no room for further expansion. Indeed, it was questionable policy by this time whether it was a good thing to continue with a foundry situated at the heart of a large plant composed largely of precision machinery. There was only one alternative and that was to look for another site to which the foundry might be transferred. After many abortive explorations, in late 1934 David Brown found a very good site of 29 acres of land, with 100,000 square feet of buildings, and some railway sidings, in the Yorkshire market town of Penistone—miles away from Huddersfield. It was the site of the old Cammell Laird Tyre Rolling Mill but it was now derelict. The old plant had been dismantled when the firm had been reorganised. The workers had all been dismissed and some fortunate ones had found jobs in the neighbouring towns of Stocksbridge, Barnsley, and Sheffield. But Penistone itself had been scheduled as a “distressed area” and was in a shocking way. It was so bad that the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) visited it on one of his tours to the areas of worst unemploy- ment. David Brown negotiated with the current owners of the
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF DEPRESSION
site, T. W. Ward Ltd., of Sheffield, who had acquired it when the plant was being dismantled. After some hard bargaining, he got Ward’s to agree to a price of £17,500—which he considered reasonable. But this was only his first hurdle. He now had to get the agreement of the Huddersfield Board who were against this extension. Even his father was against him in private. Some of the other directors were not satisfied either. In particular, the two former P. R. Jackson directors, W. J. Davey and J. W. J.
Walker were very perturbed by the idea of starting up’a
foundry at Penistone which, so they maintained, would clash with the former Jackson plant at Salford. Their specific con- tention was that the money should be spent at Salford rather than at Penistone. David Brown pressed on with his proposal, however, and his father supported him loyally in the Boardroom, despite his own private reservations. The Jackson directors, however, refused to support him and decided to resign in protest. They offered their shares to the Brown father and son at valuation, to be carried out by independent accountants. The shares were now bought by the two Browns, David again borrowing money from the bank to do so. His interest in the Company was increased thereby. So far as young David Brown was concerned, he was now heavily committed personally. A great deal, of course, now depended on Penistone. But it was not going to be easy. For although, with its heavy unemployment, Penistone was a town where there would be abundant labour, the old skills had largely gone and had not been replaced. In particular there were very few foundrymen. Thus young David had the problem of getting the right type of labour. David now had a stroke of luck. One of his metallurgical
staff overheard a conversation at a dinner in Sheffield. It was about a remarkably simplified process of moulding that had been invented at Marseilles, called the Randupson system. Apparently it was being used in a steel foundry at Ugine in the French Alps. When this was reported to David he felt it might be a solution of his problem. For if the process lived up to its promise they could make castings at Penistone without any skilled labour. They would also avoid spending very large sums of money on moulding boxes as used in other foundry processes. The process is simple to explain. It consisted of using a very diluted mixture of concrete in place of the usual sand mould for the casting of steel and iron. In the normal method, using green sand, great skill is required on the part of the moulder. He must ram the same sufficiently hard for it to hold together when the pattern is removed and withstand the flow of hot metal when the casting is poured, yet it must not be rammed so hard as to prevent. the escape of hot gas which emanates from the molten metal, otherwise the casting will be porous and full of cavities. In the Randupson process, this fundamental difficulty is overcome by the simple expedient of using a very coarse grained sand, which would not hold together on its own, mixed with cement until it is a very dilute concrete which will hold together and yet remain sufficiently porous to allow the gas to get away. Moulds made in this way are actually so strong that it is possible to dispense with the moulding boxes which are normally used to hold the moulds together. The Randupson process was invented as a result of an accident, like the apple which hit Newton on the head and inspired him to study the law of gravity. A Frenchman, who had operated a small works making compressors
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF DEPRESSION
in Marseilles, also made his own castings. One day his factory ran out of sand and his foreman found some which had been left in the yard by builders. The foreman decided that he would use this sand for making his moulds but was not aware that the sand was the remainder of some which had been used for concrete-making and actually contained some cement. The moulds were duly made from this sand and a few hours later, when hot metal was poured there was an explosion. At first no one realised why it had happened, but the shock caused the Marseilles engineer to think and the thought sud- denly struck him that he had been trying to make a casting in a concrete mould. He decided that if the concrete mixture _ were made a little weaker it might be possible for the gas to escape and so avoid any explosion. “Here,” he thought, “there were distinct possibilities.” _ After some experimenting with different mixtures he arrived at the most satisfactory formula and thus the process was established. David Brown realised that there was a long period of development ahead at Penistone. The buildings were in a very dilapidated condition and there were some immense machine foundations which had to be removed and new plant installed, all taking time and money. It was in the next year, 1935, that production started at last, and the first casting was a commemoratory plaque, now hanging in the office of the General Manager of the Foundry Group. At that early date, the plant consisted of two cupolas, one of which had been transferred from the foundry in Park Works, sand mixing plant, core drying stoves, roller con- veyors and a pattern shop.
The main foundry building was high. David took advantage of this to avoid the difficulty he had seen in so many foundries where progress is impeded by the overhead crane being held for a considerable length of time whilst core setting and other lengthy operations were taking place. In the new plant, the solution was to have cranes working at two levels, so that the upper crane (the high flyer) could pass over the heavier crane below. Not surprisingly, this has paid handsome dividends in the years since. As time went on and rumblings of another war were heard in Abyssinia and elsewhere David Brown realised that the steel age was upon him. If war were to break out, it must be a “steel war.” He therefore started to manufacture the higher grades of steel at Penistone. This meant spending more money on plant with the installation of three high frequency furnaces of 30 cwt., 10 cwt., and 5 cwt. capacities together with annealing furnaces and a better equipped metallurgical laboratory. It was also an opportunity to turn the centrifugal process on to steel castings, taking advantage of the successful efforts with bronze. His success in this field can well be judged by the fact that in due course Brown’s had greatly to increase their melting capacity by the installation of a ten ton arc furnace. The electrical installation in connection with all this work was a very substantial investment alone as they employed electricity for all melting and heat treatment processes. Then there was special apparatus to be installed for sand mixing and the reclamation of sand from the used moulds. That cost more money. All this time a major building programme was also in pro- gress calling for extensions co the pattern shop, pattern stores,
An aerial view of the Penistone Works,
Yorkshire, acquired by David in 1934
Meltham Mills, Yorks., acquired for the production of tractors in 1939. It was the only factory producing Spitfire gearboxes during the Battle of Britain
SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE OF DEPRESSION
canteens, and the building of an entirely new laboratory, which was necessary to take advantage of modern metallurgical developments such as inspections by X-ray and gamma-ray. Penistone was in the process of transformation. A good example of the Penistone metallurgical work was the study by means of elaborate apparatus of “creep” in steel castings. This is the progressive permanent growth, due to repeated expansion and contraction of metals, sub- jected to the high temperatures that obtain with modern turbine cases.
On the production side Brown’s now kept to the forefront in the manufacture of small and intricate steel castings by the lost wax investment process, by which components are cast to high limits of accuracy, frequently in metals of such hard- ness that they are not readily machinable. Historically, this is probably the oldest principle in casting, as records indicate that the bronze castings of animals in ancient times were often made by fixing the limbs, head and body in the required position, before rigor mortis set in. The carcass was then dried out thoroughly. The whole was heated until the carcass inside the clay was burnt to ashes and cleared out. After that the metal was poured into the mould—and the casting made. Centuries later the same basic principle was applied to the of filigree jewellery when the original could not be drawn out of a mould because of its complicated shape. Incidentally, this is also the process that has made possible the dental plate, where the preliminary plate of wax is placed in _ the mouth and the teeth set in position to give the required “bite.” This was the method they now used in producing castings
in a variety of alloys at Penistone, later with special application to the ever-growing British aircraft industry. But that was when war came and we have not yet reached that point in our
story. At this stage it is necessary to go back a few years to tell of another development,
In 1933 the Gear Company received an inquiry from a man called Harry Ferguson, the Austin car distributor in Belfast. He wanted David Brown’s to manufacture the trans- mission, rear axle, and steering for a new tractor he had designed. A firm order was received and executed. In time the prototype tractor was finished. Harry Ferguson thereupon invited David Brown to the demonstration of this new machine and the two men met for the first time. Ferguson was shortish and rather slenderly built. He was clean shaven, with his hair brushed straight back. He gave David Brown the impression of great earnestness and he had an almost fanatical enthusiasm for his tractor. David Brown admits to the fact that he was captivated by Ferguson’s charm and he felt that he was in the presence of one of the most persuasive men he had ever met. Then came the demonstration. Brown was impressed by this also. The outstanding feature of the tractor was that the implements, instead of being towed behind the machine, were mounted on the tractor; and they could be raised or lowered by hydraulic mechanism, thereby making all the difference to the work of the tractor driver. In the course of conversation with Ferguson at the demon- stration, Brown learnt that prior to this venture Harry Fer- guson—who had a prosperous motor distributorship of Austin —had designed and produced mounted implements for super- imposing on the rear axles of Fordson tractors in America, but that these had been dependent on hand lifting and lower- ing. But this had established the principle of the implement
D.B. 65 B
and tractor becoming one coupled with a very ingenious linkage which controls depth of ploughing through draft. Also when the implement struck an obstruction, traction was removed from one of the rear wheels which spun. Thus the tractor would come to a standstill without damage to the ploughshare or implement—another very important step forward. ‘ This same principle now being applied by Ferguson to the new tractor greatly improved the manoeuvrability of the complete tractor and implement unit and it showed con- siderable advantages in ease of work and reduction of head- lands. As a very telling demonstration, Ferguson operated the tractor right up to the edges of a roped-in enclosure, leaving no wheel tracks. After the demonstration, Harry Ferguson frequently called on David Brown in Huddersfield. In the course of one con- versation, Brown learned that Ferguson had entered into a manufacturing arrangement with Craven Wagon Company, a subsidiary of Thomas Firth & John Brown Ltd., and that he was not very happy about it. Some weeks later David Brown called on an old friend, Charles F. Spencer, who was at that time a director of Thomas Firth & John Brown. He took the opportunity of asking Spencer about the Ferguson venture. To Brown’s surprise, Spencer said that the Craven Wagon Company was also not very happy about their agreement and that if he, Brown, wanted to take it off their hands they would not stand in the Following this and a further discussion with Ferguson, the three parties agreéd that Ferguson’s arrangement with Thomas
Firth & John Brown should be cancelled and that he would 66
TRACTORS BEFORE TANKS
now enter into a new agreement with David Brown Tractors, a new company being formed for this purpose. David Brown Tractors would manufacture the tractor and another company, Harry Ferguson Ltd., was to be formed to do the selling. However, there was still another hurdle to be overcome. Frank Brown strongly disapproved of the Ferguson adventure. Indeed, he said the Huddersfield Gear Company would have nothing whatsoever to do with it except, of course, that they would be pleased to supply the gears if they received the orders! At the back of Frank Brown’s mind were his experiences with the motor cars before 1914. He used to state bluntly that he had always been against making things that run on four wheels. He added gloomily that in his opinion twenty tractors a week would soon saturate the British market. In short, Frank Brown was against it all and he told his son very forcibly that he would be very foolish to go on with it. “You have only to run the gear business as it is,” he went on, “and it will bring in the company £200,000 a year with no worries.” But young David was even more obstinate. He was deter- mined to pursue his new project and nothing would deflect him from his aim. Eventually, after considerable negotiation with his father, it was reluctantly agreed that the parent company, David Brown & Sons, would take an interest in the new undertaking but that it would have only Preference shares, so as to limit its liability. David Brown now scraped up the rest of the money as best he could by borrowing. He rented an unused building at Park Works to start oper- ations. Production began and slowly, very slowly, it reached an output of about ten tractors a week.
Difficulties now arose. David Brown and Ferguson disagreed about future policy. Upon this Ferguson said that the partnership must be dissolved. Thereupon Ferguson took his idea to Henry Ford and that was that. Brown now decided to go ahead with plans for his own tractor. It was to be built to an entirely new specification, based on the information gathered from the farmers by market research. He began by going back to the basic principle that he had adopted when he designed and built his own car in the early days at Park Works. The heart of the tractor, he insisted, must be a satisfactory engine. The original Ferguson machine had a Coventry Climax engine based on an American design; some of these engines had been made by David Brown Tractors. This background of experience gave him a start. He was also convinced that the new machine should have a completely new engine with overhead valves and wet sleeves. He was lucky to meet Alex Taub of the General Motors Cor- poration at that time: Taub gave Brown the benefit of some advice and much encouragement and so he got under way. A designer, Albert Kersey, was found and he started work in an isolated drawing office at Park Works. Eventually he produced his engine design.
The first engine to the new design ran on the 13th December,
1938 and to everyone’s great relief it performed very success- fully. Brown was now in a position to proceed with the rest of the tractor design. He pushed on as hard as he could, driving everyone around him. In return, the men who were building the prototype responded with the greatest enthusiasm. At last the machine was nearly finished and on the scheduled date for completion
TRACTORS BEFORE TANKS
Brown stayed down at the works until about 7 p-m. He re- turned about 9 p.m. after dinner, but the machine was still not complete. At midnight, he told everybody to knock off for the day and he went home to bed. But at three o’clock in the morning he was awakened by the roaring of an engine outside his bedroom window. He peered out to see a group of grinning men around a tractor. In their enthusiasm they had stayed on and finished the job; and the first run had been up to David Brown’s house to wake him up. When he was told of the project Ferguson would have nothing to do with the new tractor. He had actually resigned from the Company before its inception, and as a result of this Brown had bought his shares and those of Ferguson’s friends, giving them pound for pound for what they had put in. The new David Brown tractor was first shown to the public in July, 1939 at the Royal Agricultural Society’s Show at Windsor where it had a great reception. Orders for over 3,000 tractors were taken. David Brown was now up against the problem of room for expansion. He did not have far to look, as for some time the managing director of the United Thread Mills at Meltham, near his home, had been trying to persuade him to take over their premises which consisted of 400,000 square feet of reason- ably good buildings. United Thread Mills had become a subsidiary of J. & P. Coats, who wished to close down the Meltham mills as being redundant but, very properly, they did not want to cause serious unemployment in the district. The Coats’s Company was therefore prepared to let Brown have the property on an extremely reasonable lease with option to purchase at a reasonable price, providing he could create employment for their people.
On the strength of the Royal Show orders, David Brown now entered into this lease and whilst he could not at that date foresee tractor production requiring the whole of the buildings, he did feel that there was a strong possibility of war—now looming large—when all buildings of that type would be necessary. The Tractor Company was transferred to Meltham and they were just getting bedded down to production when war was declared in September, 1939. I have told the story—a little later—of the Company’s wartime efforts in aircraft-towing tractors and aero gears, but it is interesting to recall that at one period during the war the Ministry of Supply actually ordered David Brown to cease tractor production and to concentrate on tank transmissions. After strong resistance by David Brown the Ministry amended this order. When the war was over David Brown was again free to resume tractor production, but for some time material supplies were difficult and he soon found it impossible to satisfy all the orders. For some years the Company had to resort to a quota system so as to give reasonable distribution, while building up a distributor and dealer organisation throughout the British Isles. The new David Brown tractor was primarily designed for carrying mounted hydraulically operated implements but with a depth control wheel as an additional patented device to give definite depth maintenance irrespective of the contour of the land and without any of the “lag’”’ which was the experience with implements that were hydraulically controlled as well as hydraulically operated. In these post-war circumstances the sale of tractors alone would have been inadequate to maintain a dealer organisation
TRACTORS BEFORE TANKS
and the Company had to build up a parallel organisation for the production of ploughs, ridgers and cultivators. It also built up an association with manufacturers of other allied equipment. The tractor business now developed very much on the lines that David Brown had anticipated. That it did so was due largely to the efforts of two men, James Whitehead and Fred Marsh. Let me say a word about both of them at this point. David Brown first met Whitehead during the war. He was then with a company called British Bedaux. The David Brown organisation was in the course of having some production studies made at the foundry at Penistone. And it had em- ployed Bedaux. Whitehead arrived as the man in charge of the job. Basically, he had been trained as an accountant and he had become an expert in time study. When the General Manager at Penistone, F. W. Rowe, left at short notice, David Brown himself had to act as General Manager for a time in order to get to the bottom of things at first hand. But he found that he could not be at Penistone every day, so he had to select someone who could act as his temporary personal assistant and keep things running when he was not there. With the consent of Bedaux, he asked Whitehead to take on this job—partly because he was im- pressed with him as being extremely capable, and partly because he liked Whitehead’s quiet manner. After a month or two David Brown appointed Gordon Hancock to be General Manager at Penistone and Whitehead went back to his job at British Bedaux. At a slightly later period, Brown’s had a rather similar — problem at the Tractor Division. For a time, David Brown again had to act as General Manager. He asked Whitehead
back to help. He had not been there long before David Brown decided that here was the man he ought to make General Manager. Brown went to see the Managing Director of Associated Industrial Consultants and told him that he would like to employ Whitehead. “Fleming, the Managing Director, was very decent about it,” said Brown and explained that it often happened in their business. So Whitehead came and helped to build up the tractor industry. David Brown’s opinion was that “He is an outstanding accountant and has a great capacity for inspiring the loyalty of his subordinates.” Subsequently Whitehead became Deputy Managing Direc- tor of the whole Corporation and responsible for finance, the job that he occupies at the time of writing. Fred Marsh joined Brown’s at a much earlier date. Originally he had been a salesman with the firm of Bostock and Bramley. Later, after he had been with Brown’s for some time, David Brown decided to put Marsh in charge of the heavy machine side of Park Works. With the outbreak of war Marsh went over to the tank gear box manufacture at Meltham and in this post he had the job of dealing with the various interested Ministries and their strange ways. To meet Fred Marsh is to be impressed by his great en- thusiasm. Not surprisingly Whitehead’s caution used to temper him when they joined forces in the tractor business, but Marsh also helped to stimulate Whitehead. “Together they made a first class team, Whitehead being the general administrator and Marsh in charge of sales and providing a good deal of drive,” is David Brown’s view. Later Fred Marsh took over the management of the over- seas companies, starting many of them himself. One of the first important steps in the post-war period was in the designing and developing of a Diesel version of the
Progress. A 1960 model David Brown tractor beside a pre-war Brown-built Ferguson tractor
FRUIT FARMING. Above, an early Hurricane harvester chopping
pineapple plants in Kenya. Below, a 2-D tractor spraying fruit
CRAWLERS. Above, a David Brown crawler tractor in the
Antarctic. Below, a 50-TD crawler stockpiling coal
The demonstration of a revolutionary
flail-harvester prior to production in 1960
TRACTORS BEFORE TANKS
tractor engine. Fortunately when the petrol-paraffin tractor engine was first designed David Brown had foreseen the possi- bility that a Diesel version may be required at a later date and had taken the original designs to Harry Ricardo, who was _ acknowledged to be the leading consultant on small and medium-size Diesel engines. Brown asked him what modifi- cations, if any, would be required to the basic design if it were eventually required to be “ Diesellized.” Ricardo had recommended the strengthening of the camshaft and the connecting rods, which was done. Thus much time and tooling cost was saved by David Brown’s foresight. The basic tractor as modified for aircraft towing had showed excellent results in the war and after. Many of these machines are now in operation with NATO forces and with the R.A.F. Others are used by the Air Forces of Canada, New Zealand, Pakistan, Denmark and Belgium. Parallel with the progress of the first tractors which were known as “Cropmasters” (and later superseded by the “goo” tractor), David Brown developed a 50 H.P. machine. Another new design, the “2D tractor,” which he developed was really a powered tool bar with a 14 H.P. engine. The implements are always in the direct view of the driver and in front of him and the engine is at the back. David Brown’s were soon under constant pressure from the distributors and dealers to extend their range of implements and harvesting equipment. With the growth of the amalgam- ations between various competitors and the practice of “closed- shop” agencies, this now became an urgent problem. One way of meeting it was to extend the comparatively small range of equipment they were already making. For one thing the manufacture of implements and tractors do not go well together. Implement design and manufacture is a
highly specialised business. It bears no relation to the auto- motive and the mechanical processes used in the manufacture of tractors. The alternative was to acquire an interest in some existing and established business. Of the possible companies Harrison, McGregor & Guest Ltd., at Leigh, in Lancashire, had, for many years, made a very extensive range of tillage imple- ments, harvest equipment and farm machinery under the trade name of “Albion.” This seemed a good prospect. Inquiries were made and Brown acquired control of this company early in 1955 after prolonged negotiations. “H.M.G.”—as it is known colloquially—is a very old establishment and well-known concern but, like many others in the implement industry, it had suffered severely from depressions. Brown’s found three things were necessary. First, they had to have a new range of products, which meant spending money on design and development. Secondly, a great deal of new plant was required and there had to be considerable renovation of buildings. Thirdly, and by no means least in importance, it was vital to inspire the personnel with fresh enthusiasm and a new sense of confidence. A final and important side of the tractor activities was the use of adaptations of both the 30 and 50 H.P. tractors for industrial purposes. David Brown’s have built up a series of industrial and earth-moving equipment now centralised in a separate company, David Brown Construction Equipment Ltd. By now the tractor division had become much bigger in turnover than any other side of the Company. I will say more about it later.
- shadows of the Second World War began to fall across the British engineering industry several months before the final crisis. Surprisingly enough the Chamberlain Govern- ment’s rearmament programme had little impact after the shadow factory scheme before Munich—and it was Munich which first awoke the mass of the nation to the peril in which we lived. Before Munich there was even loose talk of another slump like that of 1931. After Munich the situation was transformed. The digging of air-raid trenches in many of Britain’s big cities in September, 1938 was followed by extensive A.R.P. plans in the major industries. To this David Brown’s was no exception, but it was already ahead of most firms. The firm’s house magazine Contact of the period before Munich contains many long articles explaining the steps that should be taken if there were a war involving massed attacks from the air. For instance, in the issue of Contact, dated June, 1938, a detailed A.R.P. plan for Park Works was published. Ten shelters in basements were decided upon and every section of the works had its allotted shelter. Everybody was told where to go. A map was even published showing the layout of Park Works and the stations allotted to each group. Works’ Wardens and Fire Brigade Squads were appointed, along with Ambulance Squads as well. And every employee was enabled _ to attend special A.R.P. lectures at Park Works. This was not all. Another section of Contact was devoted
to showing how to make a room gas-proof; with a list of all the equipment required and also a graphic picture of how it was to be used. In short, David Brown decided nothing was to be left to chance, and seen in retrospect the preparations were extremely thorough. Next came the steadily increasing number of Government orders related to war production. At an early stage aircraft gears became an important factor. Steps were taken through the firm’s magazine, and by other means, to explain to the workers the relevance of what they were now being asked to do. To give another instance, one cover of Contact in those days showed a Fairey “Battle.” Inside was a detailed descrip- tion of the “Battle” and illustrations. As it happened, the Fairey “Battle,” a cumbersome and slothful bomber of early World War II, did not survive the test of combat for long after 1939 but this is beside the point. The significance of the story is that David Brown had also decided on the techniques for securing united co-operation from his workers which were later to be deployed on a national scale as the war got under way. This basic idea of a common purpose to carry on the war effort was carried yet a stage further in an article by David Brown himself in Contact soon after war broke out. “Orders are pouring in just now but it is difficult to obtain extra plant. Nor is it easy to obtain additional labour,” he warned. He then went on to stress that after the war was over work could again become scarcer. “In such times only those concerns who can supply the highest quality goods at the most economic selling price will still succeed. We are planning now for that time so that we may keep our products in the field.” Brown went on to explain how the firm’s income was used. Out of every £1 earned he explained that wages and
SINEWS OF WAR
salaries absorbed eight shillings, and materials seven shillings and sixpence. Electricity, pensions, group insurance took one shilling and eightpence. Depreciation was responsible for ten- pence. This left a profit of two shillings, of which only sixpence was paid out in dividends, the rest being set aside to meet taxes and the cost of new plant. In this way David Brown was personally responsible for an important policy which in those days was comparatively rare in British industry. In 1939 (as already described in Chapter V) the tractor production plant was transferred from Park Works to Mel- tham and it was followed in the early months of 1940 by the expanding aero gear division. The story behind the aero gear division is interesting. In the days of the shadow factory scheme before the war David Brown was approached by Rolls-Royce with an inquiry for aero gears for the Merlin engine. Together with Allan Avison, Brown went to Rolls-Royce to discuss the project. He was met by E. S. Hives (later Lord Hives of Duffield) and Hives decided to drive over to Huddersfield to estimate the capacity of David Brown’s. At the end of a long discussion Hives said very quietly: “So far as I can see, you have got no buildings, no plant, and no money.” At this the David Brown side of the conference was very depressed. However, after a pause, Hives went on, “ But you have enthusiasm. So I am going to give you the job.” In this way the aero gear division was started at Park Works and its transfer to Meltham came later as it expanded. With the aero division went some sixty men; and quickly they were added to by the employment of women. As war intensified and 1940 drew on aero gears be- came yet more important. Various types of aircraft were supplied, particularly the “Spitfire.” For a period, in the Battle of Britain, and due to the bombing of other sources
of supply Meltham was the only plant making vital “Spitfire” gears; and had David Brown’s works there been bombed it would have grounded the most important part of Fighter Command. Then Lord Beaverbrook, the new Minister of Aircraft Pro- duction, suddenly decided to take a hand to make sure that all was well. One Saturday afternoon he rang up David Brown at the works; and Brown himself thought it was a practical joke when he was told that Beaverbrook was on the line. “Mr. Brown,” said the rasping voice, “you are making gears for Merlin engines. I want to know how many of these gears you can make and when we are going to get them. I want to see you and hear from you what difficulties you have. You come to London and be in my office on Monday morning at to clock.” When David Brown reached Beaverbrook’s office he was shown in at once. In the Minister’s room there were three other people and Beaverbrook was conducting three different conversations on different topics simultaneously. Beaverbrook broke off and talked to Brown for a couple of minutes. Sud- denly he rang for an assistant and told him to see that David Brown’s had all the steel they needed, which he duly did. The conversation was terminated by Beaverbrook telling Brown to get into touch with him at any hour of the day or night if he needed anything. From then on Beaverbrook used to telephone David Brown at the oddest hours to inquire how the production was progressing, and he used to follow up these calls by telegrams of congratulations if there had been a particularly good performance. Famous aircraft names appeared in David Brown’s books, the super-charger gearing for Rolls-Royce Merlin engines was followed by engine gears and auxiliary gearboxes for the
SINEWS OF WAR
Hercules engines of the Bristol Aeroplane Company and later for Sabre engines. Following on removal of the aero gear division to Meltham came the establishment of a new tank gear box division situ- ated partly in Meltham Mills and partly at nearby Scarr Bottom. The main production of this part of the organisation was transmission gear boxes for Churchill and Cromwell tanks and also the adaptation and reconditioning of certain gear boxes. The Company’s records show that the gear boxes for 10,000 tanks emerged from Meltham and a further 6,000 were adapted and reconditioned. When the plant at Meltham Mills and Scarr Bottom reached it speak war-time production there were about 2,500 people working there, of which about 1,000 were women and girls. As at Meltham, so it was at Penistone. There the advance of the war had an immediate impact. As I have explained in an early chapter, the Penistone plant under David Brown’s began first as an iron foundry. Then gradually the iron castings were replaced by steel. A great deal of the early demand was for armour plating for tanks, gun shields and gun turrets. Thousands were turned out. And then came the order which was known as “Tallboy.” “Tallboy” was attended by a great deal of secrecy. At first nobody appeared to have a clear idea as to what it was. And then it emerged that it was the steel casing for the 12,000 |b. “blockbuster” high-explosive bomb. It was so large that a special hole had to be dug for the casting in the floor of the foundry. A major job in pattern-making had to be undertaken. The pattern-makers’ shop at Penistone worked hundreds of hours overtime to do the job in time. Finally the mould had been made, all was ready, and just as the molten metal was
D.B. 81 P
due to be poured, a man was discovered sitting in the hole taking a rest. “Tallboy” had to be taken to another works to be machined and it was supposed to be transported at night with the greatest secrecy. Unfortunately one of the lorries carrying a bomb casing was involved in an accident and the bomb casing rolled across the open road and a large crowd gathered to inspect the strange object. It was the time of the midget submarine and the spectators immediately decided that this was one—so everyone felt satisfied. * Other war work poured out of Penistone, bronze castings for the system of protection of ships against magnetic mines, : cupolas for tanks, and yet more and more armour plating. Finally, towards the end of the war, there was the major job on cables for the great “Pluto” oil pipeline system for the Normandy landing. Side by side with the general engineering work at Penistone was the development of the aircraft foundry. This was a special foundry of very high quality castings for aero engines. And it came about in an interesting way. Before the war David Brown had been approached by the firm’s German agent, who said that he knew of a German firm that was anxious to sell the technique of an advanced process for making aircraft steel castings—which would do away with the then costly and laborious process of forging. The reason for the offer was that the German government was short of foreign exchange. Brown visited the plant in Germany and was impressed. Accordingly he approached the British Government for financial support for this expensive venture which he considered to be in the national interest. However, the British Government would not agree to the proposal. But Brown was undeterred. He set up a small team at
SINEWS OF WAR
Penistone to see if the process could be developed indepen- dently. Considerable progress was made with the centrifugal process which increased the density of metal in castings. And then one day, after war had broken out, Brown got a telephone call from Frank Rowe, the General Manager at Penistone. Rowe said that he had been sent “a very inter- esting casting” by the Ministry of Aircraft Production, which had been taken from a German aircraft. Brown drove over and recognised it at once as the product of the firm that he had visited in Germany and whose technique he had attempted to buy. He was able to remind the Government of his previous proposal. Needless to say he now received the support that had been refused previously. This was the start, and David Brown’s did not only as well but better, and a new section of the business grew up as a result. This is the foundation of the high quality and intricate aircraft castings for jet engines that is part of the Penistone plant to-day. Finally there was Park Works, the heart of the David Brown business and a very important factor in war time for gears of all kinds. The story of Park Works in war was the expansion of its important peace-time activities into an all-out drive for pro- duction. It is impossible to do justice to it because it was so efficient and so few incidents—as in all efficient organisations —occurred. Gears of every kind were needed, not only for vehicles but for other factories, for mines, for machines, for ships, who in their turn contributed to the war effort. All night and all day Park Works roared on for six years. On the heavier side the main Park Works at Huddersfield and the Salford Company were in constant production of heavy
gear units for such onerous duties as cordite and steel-rolling mills. The manufacture of bomb casings also called for no mean effort, and at Salford, with the assistance of a newly installed Tropenas converter, they produced the steel cases for 300 250 lb. bombs each week. Brown’s were also involved in the submarine warfare and designed and built special machines for cutting timing gears for submarine Diesels. Without taking up space for a detailed description, other prominent applications for their products included: gear units for catapults for aircraft carriers, worm gear units for am- munition hoists, retractable undercarriage mechanism for aircraft, flap operating pumps, blower test rigs for aircraft testing apparatus, winches for barrage balloons, searchlight rings and components, and transmissions for scout cars and armoured vehicles. There were also products of other applications where they had no details of the actual use, being merely concerned with production. On the precision side tool-making facilities were used to a considerable extent for gun elevating and training apparatus, computers, and other devices for radar equipment, range finders, etc. The war began by taking some of the young men for military service, but it was very soon a reserved job from which there was no question of leaving for the forces. There was also a very substantial intake of women and girls. Most of the cranes had women drivers, even the big cranes and “high flyers” whose track is a long way from the ground. The jobs were many and varied from draughtsmen to canteen workers. To this day the David Brown staff speak admiringly
For the Admiralty: a marine propulsion unit designed and built by David Brown’s for high speed naval craft
Cutting a gear on one of the largest hobbing machines in the world at Jackson Division, Salford.
It can produce gears up to 32 feet in diameter
ae a a De ee CT
SINEWS OF WAR
of the contribution to the war effort by women working in engineering. When the war was over they left quickly to establish their homes, but during the period that it was on they responded remarkably. The contribution of David Brown’s to the war effort was typical of the best type of British engineering firm, which meant that it was considerable. By the time the war was all over a great deal in engineering had changed; and the firm had played its part in bringing about the change, and contri- buting significantly to the sinews of war.
Tools for the Job
I. 1944, David Brown’s bought the Muir Machine Tool Company of Manchester. At the back of David Brown’s own mind, in taking this step, was the memory of his father’s experiences many years before, when Frank Brown had been a leading advocate of the worm gear. At that time, David Brown & Sons had been faced with the problem that there was no machinery then in existence to produce accurate and efficient worm gears at a reasonable cost. Therefore, the Company had designed and made their own machine tools for this particular purpose and it had also made the hobs and cutters for cutting the gears. The machine tools were made at Park Works and the section making them had grown over the years into a depart- ment of some size. By 1944 David Brown really wanted the space that was being taken up by the machine tool department for other purposes and therefore he was at once interested when he heard that the Muir business was for sale. He also felt it desirable that the machine tool side should be a separate entity from gear production. The Muir Company was a very old-established business and its machine tools were known all over the world. It was one of the earliest makers of gear hobbing machines for large turbine gears. William Muir, the founder of the firm, had been born in 1806 in a small village in Ayrshire and had be- come apprenticed to the village blacksmith. It was then that he had begun his notable career of inventions. His first effort while still with the blacksmith was to invent a lathe for turning
ovals. After various jobs, in one of which he was associated with James Nasmyth, of steam hammer fame, William Muir decided to found his own business in Manchester. It grew into a substantial business but in the years immediately before David Brown acquired it the Muir Company had been starved of capital and had begun to decline. Brown, however, saw in Muir’s the opportunity for resolving his expansion problem at Park Works and also the acquisition of an established machine tool business to facilitate the sales of machine tools and attain the ideal of separating machine tools from gear manufacture. The machine tool section was thereupon moved over to Manchester and placed under the direction of Kenneth Oliver, who had been in charge of Muir’s. David Brown himself now says that Oliver, a slim, alert man, was one of the chief assets of Muir’s and that the fact that he had been re-assured that Oliver would remain had influenced him in buying the company. He felt that given adequate support, Oliver could make a success of the enterprise. For the first two years of the new régime a considerable amount of modification of buildings, purchase of new land and reorganisation were all required. The changes involved substantial capital investment as in so many of David Brown’s other acquisitions. As a result the business was faced with a substantial overdraft but Oliver quickly justified the new capital expenditure. In a very short space of time, with David Brown’s backing, he had built. up an extremely profitable concern, which it has remained ever since. The machine tool industry in Britain is a highly specialised industry and the kind of tools that are made at the David Brown works at Manchester cannot be mass produced in the normal manner. Many of the orders received are particular
TOOLS FOR THE JOB
to the specific requirement of the customer. As a result, the skills and attention required to each job often involve a different type of approach as compared with the techniques of production engineering. Under Oliver’s management the David Brown machine ‘tool section soon established after the war a new international reputation for good work. Many interesting and significant orders came to Manchester as a result. Oliver himself some- times had to travel to see the customers and sometimes the customers came to Manchester. It is an interesting example of enterprise allied to attention to detail. The purchase of Muir Machine Tools Ltd. by David Brown was not only an important step for the Company, but of significant importance to the country in-so-far as most Precision Gear-cutting Machine Tools of the type manu- factured by Muir Machine Tools Ltd. had to be imported from abroad, with Germany and America supplying the bulk of this type of equipment to British users. The successful development, therefore, of the Company, to produce Gear-cutting and Gear Finishing Machines in this country, and follow through with energetic export selling, had considerable strategic and economic advantages. Steps were taken, therefore, after reorganisation of the factory and plant into a modern unit, to embark upon a far-reaching design and development project. The results of this development are obvious throughout the engineering world to-day by the introduction of so many new designs of Gear-cutting and Gear Finishing Machine Tools which have been made at the Manchester factory over years. It is true to record that users of Gear-cutting Machine Tools throughout the world have benefited by the tremendous developments that have been undertaken in the production
of extremely accurate Gear-cutting Machine Tools, High Production Gear-cutting Machine Tools, and Universal Gear- cutting Machine Tools, which have been despatched not only to customers in Great Britain but throughout the world. Shortly ‘after the acquisition of Muir Machine Tools Ltd., the requirements of industry throughout the world for more accurate gears were becoming of more vital importance, and with the new plant and facilities at their disposal existing designs of Gear-cutting Machine Tools were manufactured to a higher degree of accuracy than hitherto was possible, and an ever-increasing volume of sales resulted. The policy of the company was to design and develop Gear-cutting Machine Tools of the highest accuracy possible and with the latest aids to higher production, and within the space of a few years a complete new range of Gear-cutting Machines was on offer. The export market began to overtake the home market—a recognition of the quality and design of the products. Year by year this has continued, and over the last three years over 70°, of the production of the factory has been going abroad. To meet its competitors and world requirements, a highly efficient design and development staff was built up, their terms of reference being to look really ahead and not just around the corner, and it is true to say that ‘ to-morrow’s’ machines were offered.‘ to-day ’ in many cases, from such development and far-seeing research. A few years ago, the Gear-cutting industry, particularly the high production section, such as the automobile industry, acclaimed the HYDRAX High Production Gear-cutting Machine as the fastest production Gear Hobbing Machine in the world, a reputation which it still enjoys to-day by the various Marques which have since been introduced leading
Checking heavy gears manufactured by David
Machine tools: Removing a test gear from a
David Brown P.60.S pinion hobbing and shaving machine
FOOLS. FOR THE JOB
a _ up to the No. 1o HYDRAX which is described as fantastic _ by many of its users. This all followed from a decision by _ David Brown to develop a gear-producing machine for the _ automobile industry. Automation, which has come to the fore within recent years, _ was fully appreciated at the outset of the design of the _ HYDRAX, and many of this type of Machine Tools including David Brown Gear Shavers. The range of David Brown Gear Shaving Machines, _ developed parallel with the HYDRAX Machines, placed on the market for the first time a British-made Machine Tool of this type. _ Fantastic increases in production have been achieved with ~HYDRAX Machines, which has helped considerably to _ cheapen the cost of production both in the Tractor and Automobile Industries. The principle employed is unique, and was an ambitious step forward by the company in this field. Perhaps one of the most significant developments has been the success gained in the manufacture and supply of large _ David Brown Turbine Gear-cutting Machines. Prior to the acquisition of the Muir Company, the main suppliers of this type of machine were German and American, these countries having enjoyed, for some years, practically the total world _ markets for these machines, which were supplied by them to a high order of accuracy. The company set its sights on this market, and developed, through careful design study and skill, the David Brown Turbine Machines which are offered to-day. In this field, David Brown are now the world’s leading manufacturer, supplying more of this type of machine than all its world competitors. The largest of these machines weigh over 100 tons, and are, without doubt, the most accurate Machine Tools of their size built to-day. Recognition
of the accuracies achieved is evidenced by the large number of orders placed with David Brown in preference to com- petitive makes. The continuous development of the David Brown Turbine Gear Hobbing Machines has resulted in the introduction, this year, of the David Brown/N.E.L. Electronic Accuracy Controlled Gear Hobbing Machine, and the David Brown/ EMISYN Electronic Accuracy Controlled Gear Hobbing Machine. Both these developments have achieved results of precision thought impossible a year or two back, and David Brown research and development engineers have worked closely with. the National Engineering Laboratory and leading Electronic Companies in order to perfect these fantastically accurate machines. No other company in the world is offering such equipment, which illustrates the strength of David Brown development in this field. The supplying of Turbine Gear Hobbing Machines does not start and finish with the order for a machine; rather does it include technical advice and assistance, and equipping the factory in which the machines are to be eventually in- stalled, whether they be in this country or as far afield as China. Full technical assistance is provided in the design of foundations, temperature control, and other site conditions, as well as the supplying of high-precision Measuring Equip- ment which is manufactured by the David Brown Tool Division at Huddersfield, which is allied to the David Brown Machine Tool Division at Manchester. In the Tool Division, like the Machine Tool Division, continuous development of Gear-cutting Tools and Measuring Equipment is undertaken, and the fact that both Divisions enjoy the same Management has quite considerable advan- tages, as by close liaison development in both Divisions is
. Ei ere
TOOLS FOR THE JOB
maintained in order to provide the highest quality production tools for the Gear-cutting Machines. Gear Measuring Instru- ments of advanced design are developed, and with the unique opportunity presented by other Divisions in manufacturing gears, the widest possible coverage of gear-cutting problems is made. An important introduction for increasing the production of Turbine Gears which are to be shaved was made by David Brown a few years ago. This was the introduction of the Combined Hobbing and Shaving Machine. Such machines performed the whole operation of hobbing and shaving in place of two separate machines as required hitherto, with considerable saving in factory space and production time— another David Brown ‘first.’ The achievement of the high precision of gears cut from David Brown Turbine Gear Hobbing Machines has been due to the fact that David Brown Machine Tools have the world’s largest Master Worm Wheel Generator, which has been designed and manufactured by their own staff. This machine is capable of cutting worm wheels up to 172’” diameter with the highest degree of accuracy. David Brown have also developed special Machine Tools for the manufacture of other high precision components for the Turbine Gear Hobbing Machine, and here again, mention should be made of the Machines Screwcutting Lathe which can produce screws more accurate than any other type of lathe known. Many visits are made by leading Gear Engineers throughout the world to the Manchester works, where they can see all details of the special plant and equipment, as well as the building of machines in course of construction, and it is a result of many of these visits that the engineer gains the
impression resulting in an eventual order being placed with the company. Apart from supplying this type of Machine Tool to all leading countries outside the Communist Bloc, David Brown Machine Tools were also one of the pioneers of trade with the Communist Bloc and a number of orders have been executed at different times for Russia, China, Poland, and ‘Czechoslovakia, a number of repeat orders having resulted. One of the largest orders for Machine Tools placed by China was gained by the Machine Tool Division, and after being successfully completed a further order, in 1960, has resulted. The company has always believed in aggressive export sales policy, and most careful approach is made to all possible users of equipment. High production Gear Hobbing Machines and Gear Finishing Machines, also Turbine Gear Hobbing Machines and Gear Finishing Machines, whilst forming an important part of the production of the Manchester factory, are supplemented by a range of Universal Gear Hobbing Machines which the company manufactures and sells throughout the world. The Universal Machines cover the widest range of this type of machine by any one Company in the world, and gives the Machine Tool Division a programme of Gear-cutting Machine Tools unmatched elsewhere.
Geese into Swans
Fe David Brown connection with the magical names Aston-Martin and Lagonda is now world famous. Yet on the surface the association of a solid Yorkshire gear and foundry business with fast or luxurious motor cars seems incongruous —until one appreciates the range of the technical and engineer- ing skills that lies behind David Brown’s great victory in the World Sports Car Championship in 1959. The story really begins in the period when the David Brown Company made its abortive attempts immediately before World War I to develop the manufacture of automo- biles, whilst the industry was still in its infancy. As readers will recollect, it was at this time that the present Chairman of the Company first became thrilled and fascinated by motor cars. Furthermore, only someone who had remained fascinated by motor cars would have gone to the lengths of labour and per- sistence, as David Brown did in his attempts to make his own motor car against his father’s wishes. The truth was that Brown always retained the subconscious desire to design and build really good cars. And for a variety of reasons the oppor- tunity did not come his way so to do until after World War II. One day, in 1947, Brown read a small advertisement in The Times. It offered an unidentified car manufacturing business for sale, and it excited David Brown’s interest. So he made inquiries and discovered that it was the Aston-Martin Company, which had a long record of making sports cars but which had never achieved financial prosperity. Some of its designers had been quite outstanding, going right back to
Lionel Martin himself in 1914. There had been also some very good models, in particular the famous “Bunny,” “Ulster,” and the Mk. 2 models of 1934-6 period. The Aston-Martin Company at the time of the advertisement in The Times was in the process of developing a very advanced 2 litre design, but with insufficient financial resources. After going into the matter very thoroughly, David Brown decided to acquire a controlling interest in the Aston-Martin Company. Two of the previous directors, Gordon Sutherland and Claud Hill agreed to remain in order to ensure continuity; and David Brown brought with him to the board at the time James Whitehead and Fred Marsh from David Brown Tractors. By the end of 1947 considerable progress had been made in developing the new model and David Brown also managed to secure the services of St. John Horsfall, known as “Jock,” as chief test driver and assistant to the designer, Claud Hill. This proved a very good combination and by early 1948 the car was well ahead of schedule. Brown thereupon took plunge and entered it for the Spa 24-hour Sport Car Race, in Belgium. There were 39 starters on that historic race, including a number of privately entered Aston-Martins of slightly earlier vintage. In the early stages of the race the works Ferrari took the lead. The works Aston Martin, driven by Jock Horsfall and Leslie Johnson, gradually moved up; and by Sunday morning, after 16 hours’ racing, Horsfall and Johnson were well out in front followed by a privately entered Aston. By midday, however, all the old Astons had dropped out and only the works car remained. At 3.30 p.m., with half an hour to go to the end of the 24-hour race, the Aston was three laps ahead of a Simca-Gordini and the decision was taken for
1912. Mrs. Frank Brown in one of the Valveless models manufactured by David Brown’s
1921. Mr. David Brown in the car he built during his apprenticeship
1948. An Aston-Martin wins the 24-hour race at Spa, Belgium, shortly after David Brown’s had taken over the company
GEESE INTO SWANS
Leslie Johnson to drive steadily as the Simca-Gordini could not catch up in the time available. A few minutes before the end Leslie Johnson roared past the pits for his 192nd and final lap and he won the race with nearly two laps to spare, the car having covered 1,729 miles at an average speed of 72.07 miles per hour. Thus within eighteen months of taking over the company David Brown had produced the winner of a major race, and people started to talk about the revival of the Aston- Martin. About a year after his original decision to acquire Aston- Martin Ltd., David Brown was approached by a man called Tony Scatcherd who was connected with the Lagonda dis- tributors in Bradford. Scatcherd told Brown that he had been at a meeting of Lagonda distributors at which they had been told that the Lagonda was in financial difficulties. At the time, Lagonda’s had just embarked upon the manu- facture of a 24 litre, 6 cylinder engine car which had been designed by the great W. O. Bentley and which it was in- tended to put on the market as price competitor to cars such as Rover and Jaguar. Then it had been found that the car could not be manufactured at the price that had been envisaged; the situation was even worse because the Lagonda Company had expended its relatively slender resources on the manufacture of five prototypes and the designing and some of the tooling of the new car. Scatcherd pleaded with David Brown to buy the business. Brown was hesitant because he felt that the project was beyond his scope in a private capacity. This was partly because he still owned the Aston-Martin shares privately, for it was not yet part of the wider David Brown organisation. However, curiosity overcame him and, as the head of Lagonda’s was
already an acquaintance of his, David Brown got into touch with him and went to see the Lagonda Company. Brown was met by W. O. Bentley and others. He was given a demonstration of the new car’s capabilities and he was very impressed by it. However, in discussing the financial matters, he quickly realised that the price that was being asked “was beyond my scope,” as Brown put it. “Furthermore, there were already three offers in the field in the region of the expected price. So I returned and put the whole thing out of my mind.” Some months later Mr. Greenwood, the head of Lagonda, telephoned David Brown to ask if they could meet again as he felt that there might be a possibility of doing a deal over Lagonda. Brown again protested that the project was too big for him but was told that circumstances had changed since the previous meeting. These changed circumstances, so Greenwood said, were due to the virtual withdrawal of all the other bidders “because of the gloomy speeches of Sir Stafford Cripps on economic affairs.” Therefore David Brown’s original offer was now considered to be more inter- esting to Greenwood and his shareholders—and a deal was done that very afternoon. One condition of the deal was that all the Lagonda plant at Staines would be moved within six wecks because the site had been sold. Brown had to leave the country next morning on an important mission which he could not postpone, so all he could do was to telephone to Whitehead and tell him what he had done, asking him to get new premises near enough to Staines to keep together the Lagonda labour force. This Whitehead did, finding premises at Hanworth Park where the company is to-day. The immediate advantage of the new arrangement was that the larger 2.6 litre Lagonda engine, designed by Bentley,
GEESE INTO SWANS
could be placed in the Aston-Martin chassis which was, at the time, very much under-powered. This car was to form the basis for the earlier production Aston-Martins right down to the D.B.3; although the D.B.4 is a completely new model, of course. The manufacture of motor cars did not prove a difficult operation for David Brown’s with their long engineering background but the new organisation soon ran into difficulties over making the car bodies. It started off by building its own bodies at Hanworth, having taken over the body designers of the original Lagonda Company. But without proper tools and presses this soon proved to be too expensive. Thus steps were taken to make arrangements with the well-known car body builders, Mulliner’s of Birmingham, for the manufacture of the Aston-Martin bodies. Unfortunately this arrangement was short-lived because the Standard Motor Company offered to take the whole output of Mulliner’s and, as a result, Aston-Martin-Lagonda were informed that no more car bodies could be supplied from this source. David Brown was now in a difficult situation. In look- ing around for a solution, he concluded that the only remaining body builder of any size was the Tickford Company of Newport Pagnell. Thereupon he approached Ian Boswell who owned Tickford’s and persuaded him to sell the company to David Brown’s. Since then there also have been further concen- trations of activity at Newport Pagnell, including the removal to the site of the chassis and engine manufacture, all involving very considerable capital investment. But let us return to the racing activities, which were so much the lifeblood of any developing sports car firm in that period 1947-50. For I should say a few words at this point on the value of motor racing, which is sometimes questioned.
There were in fact two main reasons why David Brown decided to race his Aston-Martins. First, and most important, it was intended to prove the new product and in the course of it to derive a wealth of technical information. Secondly, Aston- Martin, under its new management, would gain enormously from the prestige and publicity that would result from winning races. The question arises as to whether it is not possible to prove the product as successfully by constant road testing or on the various test circuits that exist. David Brown’s own answer is, “There’s nothing that stresses all the parts of a motor car as much as an actual race.” In support of this view it is un- doubtedly true to say that there are numerous examples of cars that have been designed and built for races and which have been tested for thousands of miles without developing any troubles. Yet when it came to the actual race they have been found deficient and had to retire comparatively early on. This happens because it is only in actual competition between one design and another—and one driver and another —that cars are actually pushed hardest. It is David Brown’s opinion, too, that it is always desirable for these reasons that the conditions governing motor racing should stipulate that the racing cars should be as close as possible to those that are supplied to the public; and the recent trends away from this principle are to be regretted. To support the general thesis of the value of motor racing there is the long list of the types of technical advance that were first developed under racing stresses. They include four- wheel brakes and now disc brakes, overhead valves and overhead camshafts, fuel injection, vastly improved road holding and steering. All these began with racing cars. And cars which can be handled with safety at high speeds are
GEESE INTO SWANS
obviously safer at normal speeds than those cars which are not safe at high speeds. After the 1948 victory at Spa, with the Aston-Martin de- signed by Claud Hill and driven by Horsfall and Johnson, David Brown entered for the 1949 Le Mans, including in the entry one of the new 2.6 litre Aston-Martins with the Lagonda engine. This time the prototype car was driven by Johnson and Charles Brackenburg, but it retired after only six laps having proved that it had the speed to win. The great heat of the day proved too much for the rather limited radiation arrangements and the car lost all its water. This setback depressed the Aston hopes and although several of the 2-litre models finished, doing well in their classifications, David Brown did not look upon the race as an outstanding success. A month later, however, the cooling trouble overcome, the new 2.6 Aston-Martin finished third in the general classification at the 24-hour race at Spa with an average speed of 76.7 miles per hour—4 miles an hour faster than the outright winner of the year before. It would probably have been won had it not been for tyre trouble during the last part of the race. The following year, 1950, David Brown began motor racing in earnest when he secured the services of John Wyer, the present General Manager of Aston-Martin-Lagonda as manager of the Aston team. Brown says he first noticed Wyer the previous year when he was managing the pit of a car known as the “Red Dragon,” for Dudley Folland. He was impressed by the sense of efficiency that a tall, slim man named Wyer created around him and the extraordinarily tidy pit for which he was responsible. At the time Wyer was a director of the Monaco Garage Company
which was owned by Folland, a small company near London. The Monaco Garage Company was sold shortly afterwards and it was at this point that Wyer joined Aston-Martin. Wyer set out to build the Aston-Martin racing team. He showed great organising ability and also the personality to subdue even the more famous and temperamental of racing drivers. When I asked Brown about him after several years of their association together, he replied, “I have now been to hundreds of motor races with John Wyer and we have spent the long hours together at Le Mans. I have seen him in the early hours of the morning when vitality is at its lowest and bad temper at its highest; and he is always calm and clear in his decisions.” In short, Wyer established himself as one of the great team managers in the history of motor racing and his drivers and mechanics responded accordingly, to make Aston- Martin race-planning and pit-work a byword of how to save the precious seconds. From now on Aston-Martin’s became more and more a name to be reckoned with at motor race meetings. The Press quickly began to take notice. The name became a household word. This is not the place to describe in detail the steady advance of the racing teams but at the 1956 Le Mans, yet another Aston-Martin appeared—the D.B.R. 1. This had a complex space frame chassis, constructed of small section steel tubes, giving great strength and saving some 60 lbs. in weight on the D.B.3.S. For the first time, Aston-Martin were competing on level terms owing to the race being restricted to cars with engines restricted to 3 litres. The D.B.R.1 came into its own the following year, 1957, at the 1,000 kilometre Nurburgring race, one of the toughest and most exacting motor races in the world. Tony Brooks
GEESE INTO SWANS
with Noel Cunningham Reid as his co-driver, in an Aston D.B.R.1, took the lead in the first lap and dominated the race. The Ferraris and Masaratis were well beaten, as were the four “D” type Jaguars—although Stirling Moss in a Masarati did get in front of Brooks for a short period before his car went out of the race. The Brooks car actually won by 4 minutes 13 seconds and was over 10 minutes faster than the record set up by Fangio the previous year. The Aston-Martin thus became the first British sports car in history ever to win the Nur- burgring race. The following year, 1958, the amazing Nurburgring success was repeated. It then made three victories in succession in 1959. And finally to Le Mans in 1959 after having been second four times. The story of that last race and great victory has been told by Stirling Moss himself in his graphic book, Le Mans ’59 with all the authentic terseness of a despatch from the battlefield. It might have been the crowning achieve- ment for Aston-Martins but there was still one more goal left, the World Sports Car Championship. At the start of the last main race of the 1959 season, for the Tourist Trophy at Goodwood, Aston-Martin had 16 points in the World Sports Car Championship. Ferrari had 18 points and Porsche had 15 points. Everything depended on the last race and all three firms entered full works teams. The short Goodwood circuit is notorious for heavy tyre wear, and the faster cars have to stop every 14 hours to change tyres. Pit work therefore plays a very important part and John Wyer and Reg. Parnell (who succeeded Wyer as team manager) had prepared for this by fitting the Astons with in- built pneumatic jacks. As soon as a car stopped a mechanic would connect a valve in its side to a cylinder of compressed nitrogen and the jacks would lift all four wheels off the ground
in half a second. Thus mechanics were able to change all four wheels and take on 25 gallons of fuel in 30 seconds, a saving of about 25 seconds each time. With four stops in the race this amounted to saving a complete lap. It was typical of the type of planning that Wyer and Parnell had brought to Aston- Martin. Stirling Moss driving the No. 1 Aston-Martin led from the start of the race and after two hours Astons were first, second and fourth. Then disaster occurred. Moss’s co-driver, Roy Salvadori, had brought the leading car into the pits for Moss’s second spell at the wheel when a flashback from the exhaust ignited a drip of petrol from the refuelling apparatus. The car caught fire with Salvadori still in it. By a miracle Salvadori escaped with slight burns, and no one else was hurt. But it was the end of the car for that race and also the end of the Aston- Martin pit. A friendly rival, Graham Whitehead, sportingly withdrew his car so that the works cars could use his refuelling arrange- ments. Only eight minutes after the fire had started the pit crew had reorganised their equipment and Jack Fairman in the second Aston was brought in. He handed over to Moss who now faced nearly 34 hours’ driving to the finish, as Salvadori was not fit to drive again. A Porsche was in the lead with a Ferrari in third place.. Eventually Moss caught the Porsche and although he lost the lead briefly when he stopped for wheel changes and refuelling, accomplished in 38 seconds, he regained it when the Porsche pit crew took 2 minutes 26 seconds to do the same job. Moss went on to win, finishing a lap ahead of the Porsche with another Aston in fourth place. So the World Sports Car Championship went to Aston-Martin. At this point, after more than ten years of work, success
1959. A year of victories for Aston-Martin which include the great win at Le Mans and the World Sports Car Championship
The victorious team at the World Sports Car Championship. L. to R.: Carroll Shelby, Stirling Moss, Roy Salvadori David Brown, Jack Fairman
GEESE INTO SWANS
and some disappointments, David Brown regretfully decided to give up sports car racing for the practical reason that the racing cars were getting to be less and less like the models that were available to the public. What made the David Brown Aston-Martin a model of precision engineering that eventually led the world in its field and what were the factors that made the achievement possible where others before had failed? The real answer is determination to succeed and the concentration of purpose that went with it. Undoubtedly John Wyer, Reg. Parnell, and their associates were the men who actually did the job—and without them nothing would have resulted. But always in the background was Brown himself, more dogged and obstinate than any other of them, unwilling to concede anything to those who were at hand to tell him it was all a waste of effort. He had been there himself at most of the races throughout the years, a small, keen figure in glasses, watching his cars’ performances during practice with critical precision and maintaining close relationships with all his drivers. Brown’s own comments on the art of fast driving make . interesting reading: “It can be summed up by the word ‘anticipation.’ One must always anticipate what is coming up in front, whether it is a corner or other cars. Only then can one be sure that one’s own car is under control and in the right place. There is, for example, a correct path for every corner, which not only makes sure that the car goes round without loss of time, but also puts one in the right place relative to the other traffic. I think it essential to drive within oneself and one’s capabilities. This means you must not go beyond a speed that is comfortable. A lot of drivers find that they gradually warm up to going faster and faster as a journey
progresses and I think it is important not to push it until you have settled down. Only experience can settle these limits for each individual.” One final word about the development of the D.B.4 Aston- Martin, the newest production car of all. It has been tested as being capable, starting from a stationary position, of reaching 100 miles per hour and resuming a stationary position—all within 20 seconds. Brown’s geese that he bought in 1947 are now swans and for him it has been the fruition of his early dream. .
The Overseas Companies
7. David Brown business has always had the widest international interests and the company’s products are to be found all over the world. Naturally the proportion of exports varies from group to group within the company, and the manufacturers of the end products, like the tractors, have a much greater percentage of exports than the intermediary products, such as gears. However, even amongst these pro- ducts, the end products themselves are often exported and therefore there is a very high proportion of indirect exports. In any organisation of the size and scope of David Brown’s eventually it becomes necessary to establish overseas subsi- diary companies, or allied companies, for the purposes of selling, servicing and sometimes assembly and even manu- facturing. To gain a proper perspective of the importance of the exports, David Brown himself was sent on a trip to Africa by his father over thirty years ago, to see the company’s gears working in the gold and copper mining industries. Most of the products that he saw on his trip had been exported through the main contractors and, in spite of this, he found that, in many of the mines he visited, almost all the gears were made by David Brown’s. He was surprised and pleased to learn of the reputation his family business possessed already. Asa result, it was the natural course of development that when David Brown’s made their first main ventures abroad after World War Il, it should be in South Africa. And to-day
D.B. 113 H
Africa is the continent with some of the company’s most important overseas interests. Prior to this, the very few foreign ventures of the com- pany had been confined to the continent of Europe. Earlier in the story there was reference to the ill-fated French association which had to be liquidated. Then, in 1933, the parent company was associated with a small company in Germany. This owed its origin to Frank Brown, who made arrangements with their German agent named Puchstein, and with Oscar Henschel, of the great Henschel industrial empire. The company was called Deutche Brown Getriebe— literally, German Brown Gears. Its first premises were in Dusseldorf, where Puchstein’s other business interests were established. By an extraordinary chance the company passed through the Second War unscathed. When the fighting stopped David Brown was somewhat surprised to learn that the little German company in which he had an interest was still functioning. The association with Henschel was then strengthened and the company was moved to Kassel, where it is to-day. The first completely post-war company was David Brown S.A. (Proprietary) Limited. This was set up in Johannesburg to import, sell and service gears in the Union of South Africa. Shortly after the company began operations in Johannesburg Avison visited South Africa to investigate manufacturing possibilities. Brown’s now heard of the chance of acquiring a controlling interest in a small manufacturing business at Benoni. This gave a better foothold in the Union and an organisation on to which gear manufacturing could be grafted. Later the two South African gear companies were merged. Its first manager, Alec Brindle (now retired) and Allan Avison both played an important part in the success of the venture,
THE OVERSEAS COMPANIES
and in a comparatively short time it was responsible for making a wide range of Radicon gears. At the time of writing it is the largest wholly owned David Brown manufacturing unit overseas and amongst the most successful. Its present manager is Gilbert Skellan. Recently there has been an extension of activities into the Rhodesias and the development of an organisation at Salisbury to sell gears and tractors. Following on the Benoni Company, but a considerable time later, a second company was established to handle the tractor business. This was David Brown Tractors (South Africa) Limited, and it was established in East London, 1955. It was started primarily as an importing organisation to assemble, test and service David Brown tractors and eventually a new factory was built on the Gately Estates on the west bank of the Buffalo River to house it. At the time of writing it is under the direction of Derek Bennett, one of the ablest of the junior executives who have developed at Meltham. The first attempt to establish a company in North America was made in 1951 at Toronto, Canada. At first, it was an importing and selling company for gears only; but later it extended its activities to tractors. The Canadian venture was a courageous speculation because Toronto is the headquarters of one of the principal competitors of David Brown in the manufacture of farm machinery. It was like taking coals to Newcastle to take tractors from Britain to Toronto. The struggle was uphill. However, it succeeded to the extent that, in 1959, David Brown was invited as the guest of honour to open the Toronto Farm-Industrial Trade Fair, and his “950” tractor was the centrepiece of the show. This was recognition indeed carried a stage further when Brown was also created an Indian chief !
In 1960 there was a major reorganisation of the Canadian arrangements following on the association with the American company, Foote Brothers, to which I come shortly. The gear business in Toronto is now handled by the new company David Brown-Foote Gears. Tractor exports are under the control of David Brown (Canada) Tractors. The first David Brown Company in the United States grew out of the Canadian venture. Rather surprisingly it was on the West Coast, in California. It was first established at Oak- land to handle gears and tractors, which could be shipped to California from Britain as cheaply as if the products were coming from one of the great American manufacturing centres to the east of the Rocky Mountains. To support the tractor efforts the Californian company set up a branch to sell gears. This was a second attempt to break into the American market with Brown gears, there having been an abortive attempt between the wars. By 1958, however, it became clear that it would require much greater capital investment than was possible for a major excursion into the American market. As a result, tentative negotiations were opened with existing American companies with the aim of David Brown’s buying its way into an estab- lished American business. After some negotiations that fell through, a deal was eventually agreed with the Foote Brothers Gear and Machine Corporation, a firm that is one year older than David Brown’s, having been founded in 1859. Foote Bros. was widely known in the United States and as far back as 1895 it pioneered the development of the enclosed gear drive in America. During the Second World War the Chicago company manufactured over $100 millions of precision quality aircraft gearing and was in some ways a larger U.S. counterpart in this field of the aircraft gear division established
THE OVERSEAS COMPANIES
simultaneously at Meltham. Since the association it has bought the Whitney Chain Company of Hartford, Connecticut. Under the new arrangement, which was accepted on 6th May, 1959, without dissentients by the shareholders of Foote Bros., the David Brown Company purchased a 25 per cent interest with an option to increase this to per cent of the equity capital over six years. In addition the British company was represented on the board of Foote Brothers by two directors, David Brown himself and Allan Avison. Now to Australia. Tractor distribution in this continent had, until 1952, been managed through distributors in each of the Australian states in the normal manner. However, it became clear that a separate Australian company was necessary and in 1952 the decision was made. David Brown (Australasia) Proprietary Limited was brought into being in a small office over Winyard Station, Sydney, with an initial staff of a manager and a girl secretary. The first manager was Pat Clifford who was to die tragically. In his work he was helped by the late Harold Richardson and his brother, with whom David Brown’s already had a long association selling gears. The Australian tractor company in Sydney grew steadily, selling and assembling. It moved to new premises early in Clifford’s time and it is now under the management of F. B. Marsh, who himself has played a very large part in establishing so many of the overseas ventures referred to in this chapter. There is one other early overseas tractor company, David Brown Tractors (Hire) Limited. This was actually one of the first companies and was set up in 1948, just after the first South African venture. Again it was a selling and servicing company. F. B. Marsh was its first Chairman and James Whitehead was also associated with its inception. It now
occupies substantial premises in Upper Dominick Street, Broadstone, Dublin, and its present Manager, has been with the Irish company since its early days. Finally David Brown’s have an interest in a business in Madrid, which is concerned with gear manufacturing, David Brown’s are not at the end of their overseas ventures by any means. Their policy is largely the same in each country, which is to establish organisations which are managed and operated as far as possible by local people. Only the broadest policy is laid down by the parent organisation and the local boards are always given as much autonomy as possible. David Brown himself makes periodic visits to each overseas company and there are reciprocal visits to Britain by managers and staff for liaison and training in new developments. At the time of writing there are substantial projects going forward in India with the view to establishing a major tractor assembly and manufacturing plant in collaboration with S. K. Mahindra of Bombay. Secondly, there is also a major gear manufacturing project in collaboration with the Greaves Cotton Company Ltd. There are also the-European Common Market and Free Trade Area which pose new problems, the industrial approaches to which will depend -upon political arrangements that are likely to be made. The small pattern-maker’s business in Huddersfield has now world wide interests.
100 Not Out
ms post-war development of the David Brown organisation has been the greatest and most rapid in the story that now extends to a hundred years. The great gear business of Park Works, together with its subsidiaries and associates in Britain and in different parts of the world, is still the corner stone of the organisation. It stands to-day as the leading gear manufacturers in the British Com- monwealth. Behind it is its remarkable record of technical
Picking out some of the highlights of this, the most im- portant unit, in the earliest days the gear cutting business was mainly confined to the manufacture of spur wheels, bevel wheels and worm gears. These were undertaken in any size from about an inch to twelve feet and there was a continual demand from the developing engineering industry. In the course of time gears with single and double helical teeth were developed and the firm’s capacity for gears of all kinds was steadily extended; and with it the business grew. In 1933, an important new development was introduced, the “Radicon.” This was a type of unit in which a stream of air was the side of the gears’ ribbed casing to assist in dispersing the heat created by running. Thus the name “Radicon” was derived from its special feature of heat dis- sipation—by radiation, conduction and convection. Well over 250,000 Radicon gears have been made and sold. The automobile worm gear for rear axles was another
great advance. The manufacture of automobile gear boxes began as far back as 1906 but after World War II it has in- creased to such proportions that there is now a special automo- bile gear box division, with a completely new works, and a floor area of 44,000 square feet attached to Park Works. Its present General Manager is J. T. Riley, and the General Manager of the Gear Division at Park Works is F. J. Everest -—both men with long and outstanding service to the David Brown organisation. Everest holds a very important posi- tion indeed because of the large plant over which he is in charge. Mention has already been made in earlier chapters of the contribution to Park Works of Allan Avison before he became a Deputy Managing Director, but little has been said of Arthur Sykes, now in semi-retirement, as consultant and adviser to the David Brown organisation in all matters related to gear and machine tool production. To him must go an important part of the credit for the long success of Park Works. In addition to his $5 years, outstanding service with the David Brown organisation, including periods as chief engineer, works manager, engineering controller and technical director, Sykes has made significant contributions to the development of the British gear industry as a whole, through his writings and. association with technical and learned bodies. For this he was awarded the O.B.E. in 1958. The Tractor Division in post-war years has become respon- sible for the largest part of the turnover of the whole David Brown organisation. Since the end of 1954 all wheel models equipped with hydraulic lift for their implements have been fitted with the Traction Control Unit, an ingenious David Brown device which facilitates the transfer of the weight of the implements to the tractor wheels to provide extra grip.
roo NOT OUT
In addition to the supply of tractors, there has been the great demand for the supply of farm machinery of all kinds, the manufacture of which is now located at Leigh, Lancashire. James Whitehead was succeeded as General Manager of the Tractor Division, on his appointment as a Deputy Man- aging Director in 1956, by David Brown, junior, who is known as “Bill,” to differentiate him from his father, David, the present Chairman. “Bill” Brown, after a thorough ground- ing in the organisation, has brought to the Tractor Division the indigenous family ability. He is like his father in one other way, too, his natural interest and facility in drawing and painting. “Bill” Brown took over the management of tractors at a difficult period when competition was severe and the Suez crisis and other international developments had made great difficulties in some of David Brown’s traditional export markets. Since, he has played a very important part personally in restoring the fortunes of the Tractor Division and widening its horizons. Steadily he has been assembling around himself a new and younger team, led by Jack Thompson, his present General Manager, whilst he, himself, is Joint Managing Director of David Brown Tractors Ltd. In the David Brown “950” machine he considers that he has a product which compares favourably with any other tractor of its kind made in the world and under his management the Tractor Division is confident of its future. The successes of the David Brown Foundries under Gordon Hancock and the Machine Tool Division under Kenneth Oliver have been described elsewhere. So, too, has the story of the Aston-Martin-Lagonda Company, with John Wyer. Suffice it to say that the successes continue. Many other members of the organisation (past and present) deserve
mention. And it has not been possible to incorporate them all in the story. James Sterling has made a unique contri- bution to Aston-Martin-Lagonda and played a versatile role in building it up. Henry Presst at Park Works, Dean Roberts as Director of Personnel, Vincent Gallagher at Meltham, and Alan Worton are all men who are in significant posts to-day. Of those who are no longer with the Company “Charlie” Burton, once of Park Works, is remembered as a forthright personality. Dr. H. A. Merritt and Dr. W. A. Tuplin both made important contributions in their day to technical developments, also Bert Ashfield who is now in charge of technical developments at Meltham. Others who have contributed a great deal, including the whole or part of their working lives are E. B. Fulton, formerly Financial Director, Arthur Blackwell, the Works Manager at Meltham and Commander Weston-Smith. No mention of the story of tractors is complete either without J. C. Birney who was with the Company for many years although he has now left. To them and to hundreds of others must go credit for the building up of David Brown’s. In 1960, a hundred years after its foundation, a major re- Organisation was announced in order to give the various units of the organisation greater freedom of action, whilst retaining their essential character. The ownership of the Gear, Foundry, and Tool Divisions was transferred to a new Company with the historic name of David Brown and Sons (Huddersfield) Limited. This is a completely separate company from David Brown Tractors Limited and from Aston- Martin-Lagonda Limited. The co-ordinating factor between the various companies continues to be the David Brown Corporation.
oe NOY OUT
Thus the David Brown organisation begins its second century of service with an outstanding record of contribution to the good name of British engineering and particularly to our national reputation for quality. In short, David Brown’s is now a significant asset to Britain. The men who have made it so deserve the warm congratulations of their countrymen.
Ashfield, Bert, 124 Aston-Martin, 99-103 Australia, 117 Avison, Allan, 54-5, 79, 114, 122
Beaverbrook, Lord, 80 Bennett, Derek, 115 Bentley, W. O., 101-2 Birney, J. C., 124 Blackwell, Arthur, 124 Brackenburg, Charles, 105 Brindle, Alec, 114 Broadbent, Thomas, 25-6 Brooks, Tony, 106 Brown, David, Corporation: foun- dation (1860), 25; becomes pri- vate company (1879), 26; ten employees in 1890, 273 works destroyed by fire (1895), 29; expansion into Park Works (1902), 33-5; becomes public company (1912), 393 2 few motor cars made (1913), 39-40; expan-
sion during and after First World _
War, 18, 43-7; as it was in 1921, 13; compensation for redundancy, $3; start of tractor manufacture, 67; start of aero gear division, 79; during Second World War, 77-85; operations abroad, 113-18; the Corporation to-day, 13, 121-5 Brown, David, Founder of the Company, 25-34 Brown, David, present Chairman and Managing Director; school- days, 15; apprenticeship, 15;
writes Gearing for Beginners, 16; his interest in motor-cars, 17-18, 99; appointed to Board (1929), 20; Managing Director, 20-1, $3-125 pass. Brown, David, Junior (“Bill”), son of Chairman, 123 Brown, Ernest, 28, 30, 35, 39 Brown, Frank, (Joint) Managing Director, 14-20, 28-45 pass., $7, 67, I14 Brown, Percy, (Joint) Managing Director, 28-45 pass. Burgess, F. T., 16-17 Burton, “ Charlie,” 124
Canada, 115-16 Craven Brothers, 30 Crowther, J. D., 39, 55
Dobson motor-cars, 39-40
Everest, F. J., 122
‘Fairman, Jack, 108
Ferguson, Harry, 65-9 Fletcher, Charlie, 32 France, 46-7 Fulton, E. B., 124
Gallagher,Vincent, 124 Gears, produced by David Brown’s: wooden patterns, 26; gears, 26, 121; cogging of mortise wheels, 27; involute tooth gear, 27; machine-cut gears, 31-2; worm gears, 35-8, 121; involute helicoi- dal thread, 37; gear-cutting ma-
chines, 92-4; gear boxes, 122 Germany, 114
Hancock, Gordon, 71 Hanworth Park, 102 Harrison, McGregor & Guest, Ltd.,
74 Hill, Claud, 100, 105 Hives, E. S. (Lord Hives of Duf- field), 79 Hollingsworth, Edward, 30-1 Horsfall, St. John, 100, 105 Huddersfield in 1860, 25; in early 19008, 34 Huddersfield, David Brown’s pre- mises: Vulcan Street, 25-6; Chapel Street, 26; South Street, 26; East Parade, 30; Park Works, 3375 Hydrax gear-cutting machines, 92-4 India, 118 Ireland, 117-18
Jackson, P. R., Ltd., 47, 51-2 Johnson, Leslie, 100, 105
Keighley Gear Co., 19-20 Kersey, Albert, 68
Lagonda, 99-103 Lum, Luther, 28-33
Machine tools, 91-6 Manchester, 89-91 Marsh, F. B., 71-2, 100, 117 Meltham, 69-70, 79 Merritt, H. A., 124 Mitchell, Arthur, 32 Moss, Stirling, 107-8 Motor-racing, 100-1, 103-110
Muir Machine Tool Co., 89-90 Newport Pagnell, 103 Oliver, Kenneth, 90-1
Parnell, Reg, 107-9 Penistone, 56-62 Presst, Henry, 124
Radicon gears, 121 Randupson castings, 58-9 Reid, Noel Cunningham, 107 Riley, J. T., 122 Roberts, Dean, 124 Roe, W. S., 19-20, 45-8 Rowe, F. W., 71, 83
Salvadori, Roy, 108 Scatcherd, Tony, 101 Skellan, Gilbert, 115 South Africa, 114 Sterling, James, 124 Sunderland, Sam, 19 Sutherland, Gordon, 100 Sykes, Arthur, 15-16, 39, 122
Thompson, Jack, 123 Tickford Co., 103 Tuplin, W. A., 124
United States of America, 116-17 Valveless motor-cars, 39-40
Weston-Smith, Commander, 124 Whitehead, Graham, 108 Whitehead, James, 71-2, 100, 102, 117 Worton, Alan, 124 Wyer, John, 105-9
UNITED KINGDOM /3 Sales and Manufacturing Divisions /1 Associated and Si ubsidiary Companies 6 Branch Offices