I went from department to department, it was like an unpaid
apprenticeship. F.T. Jones the works manager was very nice to me. I saw
him one morning and asked for a move. I told him that I'm getting fed-up
with what I'm doing and I'm interested in engineering. He said "Oh you
are, are you. Carry on with your work and I'll see what I can do".
I was about fifteen an a half he moved me down to the engine bench and I
had to bits and pieces such as tap the heads of the tappets, and tap and
file the tappet rod. Eventually I went on to the flywheel balancing,
balancing flywheels singly and then doubly. I then went on to the
department building the heads for the overhead engines, putting the
valves in and grinding the seats, making the head complete with the
springs and the valve, ready for the engine fitter to put on as a unit,
they did all the other work.
Sunbeamland from Pool Street.
|I had a spell in the progress, so that I went
around every department, until in 1934, F.T. Jones said "Do you
think that you could systemise the toolroom?". I said "I don't
know what you mean sir, what do you want me to do?". He said
"Well its all a shambles, nobody knows what and where, and can't
pinpoint anything. Can you sort something out?". And I said "yes
Sir I can", so I went into the toolroom in 1934 and carried on
there until 1972. I put a system in and as the years went by I
had to liaise between the drawing office and the development
department, because everything came through them for making
tools for the next product. We went from the start of little
hand presses to one or two good power presses, and it developed
and developed. Eventually we got some 500 tonners
|After the war, H. E. Clive became Managing Director. He came from
Witton and had a high pitched voice. He was a considerate man who
started to pull things together, and soon things did improve. In 1939 I
was working on presses at Fordhouses and asked Mr. Clive if we could
have a sports field. At the time, we had a big order for car radiators,
and Mr. Clive's response to my question was "You know everyone around
the factory, I want you to tell people how important this order is. If
everyone will do their best, you can have a sports field". Everyone did
do their best, and he was as good as his word, we had a sports field.
|B. J. Evans was an electrician and brother-in-law
of the Works Manager, F. T. Jones. He did everything well and
introduced cyanide hardening. We had previously used muffle and
pot hardening, where the articles to be hardened were placed in
pots with sand and carbon crystals. After preparation the pots
were placed in ovens, left overnight and cooled the next day in
Cyanide hardening is a quick process and doesn't involve
overnight heating. Mr. Evans' first demonstration didn't work
too well. It resulted in an explosion which damaged the roof.
Mr. Evans used to teach at the Technical College and was a
successful lecturer who had a lot of enthusiastic students.
The works from the northern end of Jeddo
|Sunbeam enamelling was so good that it was said that it could hold
the bike together. When I.C.I. took over, they made enamels and B. J.
Evans developed an auto enamelling process using the I.C.I. products. It
involved automatic dipping and automatic ovens. When it was introduced
the enamel easily chipped and the first 350 bikes that were made using
the process had to be returned, and re-enamelled. The problem however,
was soon resolved.
When Sidney Bowers was replaced by Graham Bellingham in 1931, a
time and motion study was introduced. B. J. Evans was in charge of it
but it was a ruthless business. It did get better later on and continued
until the late 1930's. A lot of experienced people gave up their jobs to
get involved in the time and motion study, and carry out measurements on
their friends. I was in the toolroom at the time and we never had it
there, as everything that you did was different.
I worked for Marston's for forty eight and three quarter years, and
finished in 1972.