MEYNELL VALVES LTD
8. The Later 1950s
In 1956 the old method of coke furnaces, which we had used since 1798,
was changed over to oil-fired burning, which was cheaper and easier. The previous coke method was always dirty from coke-dust and
expensive on labour, with wheelbarrows being constantly wheeled to and
from the coke heap in the yard which was itself replenished by a big
lorry driving into the yard once a fortnight.
1958 was the year when we negotiated the sole selling rights in the UK
from Econosto of Rotterdam for a type of diaphragm valve widely use in
Holland by the rayon producing industry and which we christened the
“Rayon Patent Valve”. The
basic design of this product differed from the concept of a standard
diaphragm valve as made by the Saunders Valve Company because ours
featured a metal reinforced clack which gave it certain advantages but
also an extra manufacturing cost. The Meynell directors never appreciated the huge number of
varieties which would be needed and failed to realise that its range of
sizes would vary between ½” and 16”, whilst the material requirement
could be cast iron or brass or lead or aluminium;
and also that any of these could be required glass lined, hard
rubber lined, soft rubber lined, butyl lined, etc.
In short, the whole project was quite mind boggling and the
competition from Saunders offered cheaper prices because of their unit
being of cheaper construction.
It was sometimes mentioned, as a rather poor joke, that the original
diaphragm valve patent was offered to Herbert Meynell in the early 1930s
but he rejected it as a newfangled idea which was unlikely to work.
The Rayon Patent Valve Division was run by a Mr. Perkins, who joined us
from Qualcast Ltd, but it was an ill conceived venture for our company.
It was eventually sold off with all patterns, tools and stock
plus a specialist machine to Wm Broady & Sons Ltd of Hull in 1969, after
we moved factory to Bushbury, for a sum of £35,000. We were greatly
relieved to see the back of it.