Camelinat and Company Limited, Birmingham

In 1890, twenty years old Eugene Camelinat, started his business in Birmingham, as a spinner to the gold and silver trade. He had been born in France, but moved to England with his parents, in about 1871, during the Franco-Prussian war.

His firm began to spin all metals, and undertook copper smithing, polishing, plating and built assemblies in sheet metal. As a result, the business was quite successful. Eugene was among the earliest pioneers to work in aluminium. At the time, copper was extremely expensive, and so he pioneered a method of copper plating zinc, which enabled the firm to increase its production of art metal work.

By the late 1890s, cars and motorcycles were beginning to appear. Eugene realised their potential, and so began to produce a range of oil and acetylene lamps, and later, electric lamps for both cars and motorcycles.

The First World War the firm made engine cowlings for Handley-Page aircraft, manifold and water fittings for aircraft engines, acetylene lighting sets, hand grenades and petrol tanks.

By this time, Eugene’s four sons had been working in the business, and learning the trade. In 1922, Eugene took a back seat, and the four brothers started to run the business.

In the Second World War the firm produced steel helmets, smoke and signal bombs, incendiaries, bomb tails, primers and exploders, mine horns, gun cases, machine gun magazines, and many pressings and assemblies for all the Government departments.

In 1945, the firm joined the Owen Organisation and began to specialise in the production of metal products for the aircraft industry, for vehicle manufacturers, and for the electrical industry, shipbuilding industries, railways, and general engineering.

Part of the press shop.

Another view of the press shop.

The factory had the most up-to-date machines, and could produce all types of deep drawn pressings, light and medium pressings in steel, brass and alloy, all using the firm's own press tools. Sheet metal could be spun up to 50 inches in diameter, and bar products up to 2 inches in diameter could be machined. The press shop had over sixty presses. The single action presses ranged from 20 to 400 tons capacity, the double action presses could draw to a depth of 12 inches from a 33 inch diameter blank. The firm also had electric bright annealing furnaces for the heat treatment of pressings between operations. There were also departments specialising in electric and acetylene welding, spray enamelling, polishing and electroplating.

In 1950 the business expanded with the opening of a new factory at Dowlais, Glamorgan, for the production of deep-drawn presswork.

The heat treatment plant.

Return to the
previous page