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Note: This is a sub-section of 1936 Institution of Mechanical Engineers
For upwards of fifty years, this company has specialized in the design and construction of apparatus used in connexion with sewerage and sewage disposal works. The range of products includes pneumatic ejectors, unchokeable centrifugal sewage pumps, sludge and detritus elevators, screening and raking gear, penstocks, sluice gates, automatic syphons, sewage distributors, and all necessary equipment for sewage disposal works. In addition, the firm manufactures various types of apparatus for ship sanitation, and produces a range of castings of interest to highway engineers.
The works include a foundry, having an output of about 20 tons of ferrous and 1 ton of non-ferrous castings per day. Both hand and machine moulding methods are employed. There are also machine shops, fitting and erection shops, and a pump-testing department, with the general offices and drawing offices immediately adjoining.
The factory was erected in 1926 for dealing with 1,000 tons of beet daily. On arrival at the factory the beets are weighed, sampled for tare and sugar content, and then stored in large concrete silos having a total capacity of 12,000 tons. The beets are conveyed to the factory by hydraulic means through a flume at the bottom of each silo, where they are elevated by means of a 22-foot diameter elevating wheel to the beet washer; thence they are conveyed via the picking table (where any foreign matter is removed) to the beet elevator, which is of the single-chain bucket type. The elevator discharges directly into an Avery automatic 0.5 ton scale, which in turn discharges into three horizontal-disk slicing machines. Here the beets are cut up into long triangular-shaped pieces called cossettes. The cossettes enter one of two continuous diffusers where they travel in an opposite direction to the flow of juice. The sugar is extracted from the cossettes by a diffusing or osmotic action. The spent chips are pressed and then dried in two 2-metre Buttner driers. The juice is limed, carbonated, and purified at three stages and filtered at each stage through plate and frame presses, all of which are equipped with a hydraulic closing device. Then the juice is evaporated in two sets of quadruple-effect evaporators having a total heating surface of 20,800 sq. ft. Two additional filtrations now take place, after which the juice is boiled to grain in one or other of five vacuum pans, three of which are of the coil type and two of the calandria type. The massecuite — which contains the concentrated mass of sugar crystals — is purged in two batteries of centrifugal separators which are of the top-suspension type, electrically driven at 1,000 r.p.m. The sugar is dried in horizontal rotary driers, and then cooled and bagged.
The steam plant consists of four Babcock and Wilcox boilers each having an evaporative capacity of 17,500 lb. per hour and one Babcock and Wilcox boiler with a capacity of 32,000 lb. per hour for supplying steam at 200 lb. per sq. in. to two 750 kVA. Turbo-generators. There are ten Lancashire boilers, each capable of evaporating 7,500 lb. per hour, for supplying process steam at 60 lb. per sq. in. Four vertical Weir pumps and an enclosed Schneider and Helmecke thermal feed supply the boilers. Two Blackstone vertical unchokeable pumps handle the effluent water, whilst a compressed air plant discharges the waste lime to a distance of 1,100 feet.
The plant now has a daily slicing capacity of 1,850 tons.
Founded in 1902, the company manufactures a device for lubricating railway axleboxes. In the factory the oilers are manufactured in their entirety, and are then distributed through agents in all parts of the world. The pads are made on the only power looms ever operated in York. The Silver Jubilee train and the Silver Link locomotive are fitted throughout with Armstrong oilers.
The origin of the company can be traced back with certainty to 1708, when Thomas Wright had a workshop in London, and it is probable that he took over the business of John Rowley, who became established as an instrument manufacturer during the middle of the seventeenth century, but definite proof is lacking. Thomas Wright was succeeded by Benjamin Cole and the Troughton brothers, of whom Edward Troughton was joined about the year 1826 by William Simms, who had a similar business in Aldersgate Street. From that time this branch of the business traded under the name of Troughton and Simms until 1922.
Thomas Cooke first set up as an instrument manufacturer in York in 1836, and in 1855 built a factory on the present site. The firm passed into the control of Messrs. Vickers, Ltd., in 1916, and in 1922 an amalgamation took place between Messrs. T. Cooke and Sons and Messrs. Troughton and Simms, when the present name of the firm was assumed.
Messrs. Troughton and Simms were manufacturers of astronomical and surveying instruments. They built the transit circles for Cambridge, Greenwich, and Cape Town. In 1793 the first automatic dividing engine for dividing circular scales was invented and made by Troughton. This interesting machine is now exhibited in the Science Museum at South Kensington. The firm made the first tacheometer telescope of the Porro type and supplied the standards of length, including the standard yard, and made notable apparatus for the determination of the properties of crystals.
The products of Messrs. T. Cooke and Sons covered a wide range. In the early days, many famous astronomical instruments were made at York, and in 1860 the Newall telescope with its 25-inch object glass was installed at Cambridge, this instrument remaining for many years the largest refractor in the world. Turret clocks were made in considerable numbers, and many installed in and around York 70 or 80 years ago still keep accurate time. One of the earliest steam coaches was built about 1860 but its movements were so obstructed by the law that the engine was transferred to a motor launch to avoid the presence of the man with the red flag who was legally required to precede any mechanical vehicle on the King's highway.
In 1891 Mr. Dennis Taylor, who was in charge of the optical workshops, invented the Cooke lens, and to-day probably 75 per cent of the camera lenses in use in the world are based on the principle of construction which he then discovered. In 1908 a famous astro-photographic instrument was made, which made possible the remarkable series of stellar photographs with which Mr. Franklin Adams's name will always be associated. Other remarkable instruments were the azimuth instrument for Dr. de Sitter of the Leiden Observatory for the determination of atmospheric refraction, and a cinema camera capable of taking photographs at the rate of 3,000 per second.
To-day the firm's main products are microscopes, surveying and precision instruments, and fire-control instruments. The new transit circle for Greenwich Observatory, with a 7-inch telescope and glass circles 24 inches in diameter, was recently manufactured at the works to the order of the Astronomer Royal, and was installed early this year.
John J. Hunt Ltd
The Ebor Brewery was founded by the late Mr. Joseph Hunt in the year 1830. The water used for brewing purposes is drawn from an artesian well 250 feet deep by a Tangye ram pump, which delivers it to a tank at the top of the brewery. Water required in the process is run from this tank to another at a lower level, fitted with steam coils by which the water is heated to the temperature required. Malt, on delivery to the brewery, is first passed through a motor-driven cylindrical wire screen to which is attached a Sturtevant fan expelling all dust into a quencher. Inside the quencher are several jets of water which carry the dust down a drain, in the form of sludge. The malt, having been cleaned, is then elevated to the grading screens at the top of the mills where it is ground. The ground malt, or grist, is then elevated to a grist case situated above the mash tun, in which brewing operations begin.
The valves from the hot water tank and grist case are opened simultaneously, the mixture of malt and water passing into and through a copper cylinder (fitted internally with revolving arms), and falling into the mash tun, where it remains for a certain time. Water is sprayed over the "goods" (as they are now called) in the mash tun, and washes the wort (or infusion of malt) from them before mashing is completed. The wort is run off from the bottom of the mash tun and then pumped up to the copper to be boiled together with the necessary quantity of hops. After boiling, the wort is run into a tank where it is separated from the hops by straining; it is then pumped to a vessel above the refrigerators over which the wort is run before passing to the fermenting vessels. At this point the yeast is added to the cooled wort to produce fermentation, which takes about a week to complete. The beer is then "racked" into casks and sent to the cellars to mature. Before being filled with beer, the casks are subjected to sterilization by hot water and raw steam injected through the bung hole.
On the bottling side, all bottles pass through a process of washing and sterilization as follows: a pre-rinse with cold and then with warm water is first given; they then pass into a tank fitted with jets of caustic solution at 140 deg. F.; from there they travel to another similar tank; then to a similar tank with jets of clean water at 120 deg. F., and finally to a similar tank with jets of cold water. As the clean bottles are taken off the machine they are put in the beer cases and elevated to the bottling room to be filled. Before passing to the filling machine the beer is chilled and carbonated; chilling is carried out on the ammonia compression system and carbon dioxide is injected into the beer in the chilling cylinders. The filling machine is automatic in action, ensuring that all bottles are filled to the same level. As the bottles are released from the filler they are stoppered, labelled, and boxed for trade.
The firm was founded over a hundred years ago and the present works were built in 1933 to replace older premises and plant which were completely destroyed by fire in August 1932.
The factory, which consists of one story, covers an area of 70,000 sq. ft., the length of the bays being 200 feet and the width of each 50 feet, in a single span. Double-return economic boilers with special grates provide the heating, which is effected partly by hot water and partly by steam unit heaters, whilst in the printing bays the humidity is controlled by an air-conditioning plant. Electric power is taken from the high-voltage mains and transformed, and the machines are driven individually by highly efficient variable-speed motors, the power factor being 0.91.
The plant is laid out and equipped for the bulk production of fine printing in black and colour by letterpress and offset lithography which call for skill and co-operation on the part of those employed, and necessitate intricate machinery built to fine limits of accuracy. In the letterpress section the composing room is fully equipped for mechanical composition with slug and single-type machines, together with plant for producing half-tone stereos to within 0.001 inch of the required thickness. The machines are "two-revolution" presses fitted with "stream" feeders; they range in size from 18 by 23 inches to 60 by 40 inches. The larger sizes print two colours on both sides of the sheet in one operation.
In the "litho-offset" section the process cameras range from 15 by 15 inches to 40 by 40 inches and an important department is engaged upon the colour correction of the negatives and positives. The machine plates are produced by hand transfer, by direct photo-litho, or by "offset deep"; the latter gives finer results, a wider range of tone, and greater density of colour than other methods. The printing-down department is equipped with a "step-and-repeat" machine for producing in perfect register a series of machine plates on which the same design appears a number of times. The offset machines, which range in size from 20 by 25 inches to 35 by 45 inches and print one and two colours in one operation, are of the latest types, built to a fine degree of accuracy and equipped with "stream" feeders.
In the bindery the work printed in the two departments mentioned above is made up for dispatch, and here may be seen a variety of machinery for folding, wire stitching, and cutting.
The works are divided into two departments, the carriage works, which were established in 1884, and the wagon works, which date as far back as 1867. Since this date, however, the wagon works have been considerably extended, and recently completely modernized. The total number of hands employed is approximately 3,000, and the works cover an area of 62 acres, of which 19 acres are roofed buildings.
Until the amalgamation leading to the formation of the London and North Eastern Railway in 1923, all the carriages and most of the wagons required for the former North Eastern Railway were constructed at the works, and the maintenance of the stock was undertaken here.
Since then the carriage works have been considerably developed. The greater portion of the carriages required for the company are built here; a greater number of carriages are repaired, and new steel bogies and underframes are erected for the other sections of the company. One new carriage is produced each working day, in addition to sixteen repaired coaches.
Before the building of a carriage is commenced a schedule is prepared, which gives a detailed list of every piece of material to be used and the operations to convert this material into the completed coach; this enables the costing to be accomplished before building is commenced.
One of the chief recent developments is the extensive use of electric welding in coaching construction, particularly in the underframe. In the underframe erecting shop are four arc-welding plants used in the fabrication of the underframes, special jigs being employed for the purpose. A reduction in weight has thus been effected by the elimination of knees, gusset plates, etc. The shop contains a milling machine used for shaping the ends of rolled steel members. It can operate simultaneously at one or both ends of components from 12 to 70 feet long. The shop is served by two 7-ton overhead travelling cranes.
In the adjoining iron machine shop, the ironwork from the forge and the smith shop is machined. A machine of special interest is the 4-inch Landis screwing machine which has superseded screw-cutting on the lathe, and is used mainly for screw couplings, underframe truss rods and king posts, and brake screws. A two-start knuckle-form thread of 3/4 inch pitch can be screwed directly in the diehead, the machine being one of the few in the country performing this operation.
The timber used is first seasoned by the natural drying process in the timber-drying shed, which is 800 feet long and 100 feet wide. The sawmill covers an area of 30,000 sq. ft. and is equipped with the most recent machine tools. The all-electric log band saw has a cutting speed of 30 ft. per min. through a 24-inch diameter log of teak, mahogany, oak, or pitch pine, and will cut logs 48 inches square and 40 feet long. The five-head motor-driven roll-feed planing and moulding machine planes or moulds the top, bottom, and sides of the timber in one operation. The cutting knives rotate at 6,000 r.p.m. and allow the timber to be passed through the machine at speeds up to 120 ft. per min. In the heavy vertical mortising and boring machine the mortising is done by a combined hollow chisel and auger, the auger being driven by a 10 h.p. motor built round the spindle inside the mortising head. Holes can be mortised up to 2.5 inches square. The boring section has three spindles running at 1,350 r.p.m. and one spindle at 700 r.p.m.; the latter is arranged to take augers up to 3.25 inches in diameter. The table is 30 feet long, and accommodates timber up to 16 inches deep and 18 inches wide.
In addition to four heavy-duty high-speed double-spindle moulding machines, a universal mechanical woodworker is installed. The latter machine is used for trenching, cross-grooving, slotting, boring, etc., and it is interesting to note that of the fifteen machining operations required to complete a carriage door pillar, eleven are performed on this machine. There is also a 42-inch triple-drum sander. The timber is placed on the feed table, which forms a bed of a flexible nature and conveys the timber under the revolving sanding drums. Owing to the yielding nature of the bed slightly different thicknesses may be sanded at the same time, and timber can be taken up to 5.5 inches thick.
To prevent malformation of the timber, the sawmill, and all the shops through which the timber passes, are kept at an even temperature of 60 deg. F. All the machines are connected to an air suction plant which conveys the chippings, sawdust, etc., to a "cyclone" whence they are fed directly into the boiler fires.
Following the inspection of all material entering the building shop, the construction of the coach body is carried out on a progressive system. There are seven stages, commencing with the laying down of the floor on the underframe at stage 1. The period spent at each stage is two days, and as there are two constructional roads, a body is completed in this shop each working day. The body fabrication is carried out on one side of the construction roads, and the interior fabrication on the opposite side. Both of these operations are arranged adjacent to their respective constructional stage. Whilst the constructional work is being carried out six coats of varnish are given to the body, thus saving time which would otherwise be spent in the paint shop.
In the paint shop the exterior receives a further five coats of varnish, with the necessary rubbing down and stopping between each application. The seats are fixed and interior decorations completed. The paint shop is 500 feet long and 120 feet wide, and has accommodation for 14 new 60-foot coaches, and 28 60-foot coaches for renovation.
Carriage maintenance is an important part of the work undertaken in the shops, which form the chief repairing centre of the North Eastern area of the company. The two principal maintenance shops are the lifting shop and the adjoining repair shop, each of these shops being 500 feet long and approximately 120 feet wide. All main line and suburban stock maintained at the works passes through the lifting shop every 8 months and 12 months respectively.
In the body repair shop the repairs are carried out on a progressive system. As the carriages enter, all fittings are stripped and placed adjacent to this stage. Whilst the fittings are being renovated the coaches are placed at the other end of the shop, from which they pass forward daily through the different stages until they again reach the shop entrance, where all the renovated fittings are replaced, after which the carriages are ready for the paint shop.
Certain structural alterations are being made to the carriage works in order to provide traversers at each end of the carriage repair and lifting shops, so that the lifting and repairing of carriage stock can be carried out on a progressive scheme. In addition, alterations are being made to the timber-drying shed; two band saws are being installed for the first conversion of logs and an artificial dryer for timber is being provided in order to reduce the stock of timber which it is necessary to keep on hand for natural drying.
The section of line controlled by colour-light signalling covers a distance of 28.5 miles on the London and North Eastern Railway main line. This system has superseded the original Hall's automatic gas signals which were used on part of this section covering 10.5 miles, whilst the remainder was controlled by manually worked mechanical semaphore signals.
In consequence of widenings on this section, five new signal boxes have been built. The control of colour-light signals and power-operated points is effected by means of thumb switches incorporated in an illuminated track diagram, the latter being placed immediately over the lever frame in the position usually occupied by the block instruments and bells. The necessary track circuits are of the alternating current type fed by small transformers from a supply cable which runs throughout.
The colour-light signals are of the searchlight type, using a 6-watt 4-volt double-filament lamp, and show red, yellow, or green according to the controls ahead. Where a fourth aspect is required (i.e. two yellows) it is given by the addition of a single yellow aspect of the multi-aspect type, mounted directly over the main signal. All automatic colour-light signals are lighted by the occupation of the track circuits in rear of the signal.
Shunt signals are of the "position white light" type and their use is an innovation in this country. Two horizontal white lights are shown for the normal or "stop" indication, and two white lights inclined at about 45 deg. to the horizontal for the "off" or "proceed" indication. The use of white lights for shunting signals thus confines the use of red, yellow, and green to running signals.
Points are worked by power when outside the limit for mechanical operation, except at Thirsk, where all the points are power-operated. High-voltage point machines are used at Thirsk and Northallerton and operate the points in 3 seconds; all other power points are worked by low-voltage machines taking 5 to 6 seconds.
Originally there were five manual signal boxes at Thirsk; these have now been replaced by a new central relay interlocking, which is believed to be the first installation where miniature levers have been displaced by a combined switch and diagram panel, embodying the route system. It is also interesting to note that the area covered by this new interlocking extends over 4.25 route miles, forming the largest area controlled from one signal box in Great Britain. The signal box structure includes a control room on the upper floor which accommodates the panel, a workshop, a depot for maintenance staff, accommodation for batteries, and a room for housing the necessary relays. If an ordinary lever frame had been employed, 170 miniature levers, occupying at least three times the space of the present panel, would have been required, involving additional operating staff. As mentioned above, a route system has been employed at Thirsk; that is to say, instead of separate switches being provided for individual points and signals, switches are provided for each route, and the operation of one switch actuates the whole of the points required to set up that particular route and clears the appropriate signals.
Power is obtained from York Corporation at Tollerton and from the North-Eastern Electric Supply Company at Thirsk at 11,000 volts, single phase, with a frequency of 50 cycles per second, and is transformed to 660 volts in each case. These supplies are not in any way interconnected. Emergency plant is provided at each of these places, consisting of a petrol engine direct-coupled to an alternator. Each set is capable of delivering the full load normally taken from the main supply at that point, and of maintaining it indefinitely. The engine starts automatically within 6 seconds of the main supply failing, and continues to run until stopped by hand.
The school is equipped with the following signalling and telegraph apparatus as used in the North Eastern area: (1) a complete scale-model layout controlled from a 25-lever interlocking frame, together with a control panel, similar to that recently installed at Thirsk on the London and North Eastern Railway main line, the layout being completely track-circuited and electrically interlocked, and the panel operating on the non-route system; (2) a 5-lever interlocking ground frame with electrical controls; (3) a 5-lever interlocking frame with electrical control; (4) an all-electric power frame controlling low-voltage power-operated points and signals; (5) examples of Adlake and Cooke powerful lights; (6) train control and automatic telephones, home and wayside sets, speakers, etc.; (7) examples of alternating-current and direct-current track circuits; (8) tablet, key token, staff, and ticket apparatus, and an intermittent track circuit, showing methods of controlling single-line working; and (9) complete block telegraph apparatus for three adjacent signal boxes.
OLD STATION SECTION (SMALL EXHIBITS)
In this section is exhibited the Briggs collection of railway prints, including Bourne's drawings illustrating the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway; documents and original letters written by George Stephenson, Robert Stephenson, I. K. Brunel, and other great railway pioneers. Railway relics comprising early forms of railway tickets, uniforms, badges, medals, hand lamps, bells, seals, pictures, models, and original documents, books, maps, etc., are also exhibited. The collection includes a working exhibit of early block-telegraph and signalling apparatus.
QUEEN STREET SECTION (LARGE EXHIBITS)
This section contains a collection of locomotives, vehicles, permanent way, bridges, etc. Nine locomotives are exhibited, the earliest one being the Hetton colliery engine, which was built by George Stephenson in 1822. There are also relics of the Blenkinsop rack-rail engine, the Croydon Atmospheric Railway, and the hand-operated lathe which was used by George Stephenson in constructing his locomotives.
The works are equipped for the production of all kinds of bottles, jars, and containers; blown tumblers, both plain and acid-etched; and table glass, by the most recent fully automatic machinery.
The firm manufactures chocolate, confectionery, cocoa, table jellies, and fruit cordials. The factory is extremely interesting from the mechanical engineer's viewpoint, and the following technical details will give some idea of its magnitude.
The whole of the electrical power is purchased from the national grid. Current enters the factory through four cables connecting the York Corporation generating station on Foss Island with the works' substation, where part of it is transformed and converted from alternating current at 3,000 volts to direct current at 230 volts by means of five rotary converters, two of which have a capacity of 1,000 kW. each, and the other three, 500 kW. each. Alternating current at both 3,000 volts and 500 volts is also in use, amounting to an average load of 550 kW. The total average electrical day load is 2,500 kW. (alternating current), whilst the night load is 1,800 kW. The total number of units used per annum is in the region of 14,000,000 (alternating current). The approximate number of electric motors in the factory is 1,300, ranging in size from 1/8 h.p. to 250 h.p.
The boiler plant is in two units, one consisting of two Thompson water-tube boilers with their auxiliaries, and the other of four Babcock and Wilcox boilers. The former are each of 30,000 lb. evaporative capacity per hour, and of the latter, two have capacities of 20,000, and two of 10,000 lb. of steam per hour. The average steam load during the day demands the evaporation of 7,000 gallons per hour, and during the night the quantity is 5,000 gallons per hour. The total water evaporated per annum is approximately 44,500,000 gallons, and the fuel consumption 27,700 tons.
A very large refrigeration plant is maintained for the purpose of chilling chocolate after it is moulded, also for air conditioning, etc. This plant consists of six units of varying capacity, the largest one of which is capable of 150 tons of refrigeration per 24 hours. The total capacity of the six compressors is 400 tons of refrigeration per 24 hours.
Town water is supplied by the York Waterworks through four 6-inch diameter mains, and the total annual usage is approximately 166,000,000 gallons. Well water is used in large quantities for cooling purposes and is obtained from two boreholes, one of which is 250 feet deep, supplying 30,000 gallons per hour, and the other 325 feet deep supplying 26,000 gallons per hour. The amount of well water used per annum is in the region of 230,000,000 gallons.
Town gas is also used in very large quantities, the total consumption per annum being 24,000,000 cu. ft. A relay automatic telephone system having 4,000 separate circuits is in use.
The works stand on an estate of 177 acres, and the employees number over 6,000. The firm's welfare services are of a very wide character.
The brewery was built in the year 1883 by Mr. William Smith and has been enlarged at various times since. It is one of the largest breweries in the North of England and trades over an area extending roughly from Chesterfield to Northumberland, and from the east to the west coast, owning a very large number of houses. In 1934 a new bottling store was erected and the latest appliances were installed. The fermenting room is one of the largest in the country and possibly the finest example of the Yorkshire stone square system in existence.
The firm was established in York in 1767, and moved to its present site at Bishopthorpe Road, where the main works are now situated, in 1925. The old factory near the river at Clementhorpe is still used for heavy processes such as the manufacture of chocolate before manipulation into the various forms of plain and assorted chocolates offered to the public.
The Bishopthorpe Road factories are situated near the west bank of the river Ouse. Here, in garden surroundings, are a number of modern buildings comprising a two-story office building, 196 feet long and 135 feet wide; a time-keeping and ambulance building; a water tower; a boiler house; a transformer house; a five-story factory, 510 feet long and 60 feet wide; and a one-story factory, 325 feet long and 256 feet wide. Here 2,000 employees are engaged in the various operations involved in the manufacture and dispatching of chocolates.
Chocolates are manufactured under constant atmospheric conditions, a Carrier conditioning equipment maintaining a temperature of 65 deg. F. and 55 per cent relative humidity throughout the whole year. In summer time the conditioning equipment requires 256 tons of refrigeration to maintain these conditions when the outside temperature is at a maximum.
A turbo-driven centrifugal compressor is used to supply 200 tons of the refrigeration required for air conditioning, the turbine exhausting steam at 25 lb. per sq. in., which is used for process work. The requirements of the various cooling processes in use in the factories are supplied by a modern refrigeration plant comprising twin-cylinder double-suction sleeve valve compressors, multi-tubular condensers, evaporators, and a 22,000-gallon brine storage tank, the plant having a capacity of 104 tons (ice melting) refrigeration.
Steam is supplied to the factories by four Babcock and Wilcox water-tube boilers fitted with chain-grate mechanical stokers, each boiler having a rated capacity of 8,000 lb. of steam per hour, and a working pressure of 200 lb. per sq. in.
Electrical power is received from the York Electricity Department in the form of three-phase alternating current at 6,600 volts, with a frequency of 50 cycles per second, and is transformed to 400 volts. Power factor correction has been highly successful, and an average power factor of 0.97 is maintained.
In the factories can be seen all kinds of modern confectionery machinery, including automatic package and tablet-wrapping machines. Conveyers of all descriptions are used throughout the factories for transporting, and in heating and cooling processes.
The Corporation of York commenced a public supply of electricity in the city under a Parliamentary Order, at the end of 1899. In 1914 this supply was extended to a number of villages on the outskirts of the city and in 1929 the area of supply was still further extended to more remote rural districts. The total area of supply is now approximately 280 square miles.
The generating station is situated on the east side of the city, on the banks of the river Foss. The original station generated direct current, but in 1920 it was modernized and now generates three-phase alternating current, and is a selected station for operation on the national grid.
The engine room contains one British Thomson-Houston and four Oerlikon turbines having a total capacity of 20,250 kW. The generating voltage is 3,300, at a frequency of 50 cycles per second. The boiler house contains two Babcock and Wilcox and four Thompson coal-fired boilers having a steaming capacity of 218,000 lb. per hour. All the boilers are of the water-tube type fitted with superheaters. The working pressure is 200 lb. per sq. in., with a steam temperature of 600 deg. F. Coal is fed from overhead bunkers to the chain-grate mechanical stokers. Circulating water for condensing purposes is taken from the river Foss, and there is one concrete cooling tower.
The main switchgear is of the metal-clad type, and the more recently installed switches are remote-controlled from the engine room. The switches themselves are in a separate building, some 50 yards from the engine room.
The number of units supplied to consumers last year exceeded 55 millions.
York was first supplied with gas by the York Gas Light Company in 1824, the works being on the site still utilized for gas-making to-day. A second company, the York Union Gas Light Company, was promoted in 1836, but after a short life of seven years an amalgamation of the rival concerns was brought about, leading to the formation of the present company. The number of consumers supplied by the undertaking is 29,000; the length of mains is 187 miles; and during 1935 over 4,520,000 therms of gas were made and distributed.
The site of the York works is divided into two parts by the river Foss and a roadway. Carbonizing, condensing, and exhausting processes are carried out in the "Old Works," whilst the carburetted water-gas, dry purification, metering, and benzol-washing plant, together with the gas holders, are situated in the "New Works." Coal gas manufacture ceased in the latter works in 1916. Both works are served by an elevated railway which crosses the river and the road by a bridge and gives direct communication with the London and North Eastern Railway.
Coal is conveyed to the works by railway wagons and by river barges. It is transferred from barges to the company's own wagons by means of a pneumatic conveyer by Messrs. H. G. H. King and Company, with a capacity of 20 tons per hour. A specially designed nozzle is suspended in the coal which is drawn by air suction, through a 5-inch pipe 120 feet long, to a combined dust collector and coal discharger, where the coal falls through a rotary valve into wagons. The air pump is steam-driven; the steam cylinder, with a diameter of 14 inches and a stroke of 15 inches, develops 50 h.p.; it is placed vertically above the 32-inch by 15-inch air cylinder and operates a common piston rod. A vacuum of 11 inches of mercury is produced at full load.
All wagons are discharged through bottom doors into pits leading to the coal breakers. From the breakers, elevators, with capacities of 70 and 60 tons per hour respectively, convey the coal to the retort house storage hoppers.
The horizontal retort house contains 21 beds of 6 retorts of "D" section, 24 inches by 18 inches by 18 feet long, together with charging and discharging machines and a hot-coke conveyer. Six beds of retorts are fired with producer gas obtained from a Trefois mechanical producer gasifying coke breeze. The air blower and gas exhauster attached to this producer are of the Connersville rotary impeller type.
The vertical retort house contains five settings, each of eight Glover-West 33-inch retorts, and the appropriate coal and coke handing plant. The surplus heat from the settings is brought by a collecting main to a common flue serving two Spencer-Bonecourt fire-tube waste-heat boilers each capable of producing 4,000 lb. of steam per hour. Additional steam for works requirements, and for supply to the adjacent York County Hospital, is provided by three Cochran boilers, 8 ft. 6 in. in diameter and 16 ft. 6 in. high, burning breeze. The carburetted water-gas plant comprises two sets by Davison and Partners, with a total capacity of 1,750,000 cu. ft. per day. Both sets are fitted with "Centriflovane" grit catchers.
Coal gas from the retort houses passes through a water-cooled condenser, having a daily capacity of 5,000,000 cu. ft., to the exhausters, which are of the four-blade type driven by horizontal steam engines. The gas is further purified by passage through a Livesey washer and a rotary brush washer, each capable of dealing with 5,000,000 cu. ft. per day. Filter boxes of the company's own design then remove all but the last traces of tar.
The dry purification plant consists of four boxes, 30 feet square and 10 feet deep, containing four layers of oxide. The boxes are built of bolted side-plates embedded in a concrete floor. The tops of the boxes and the removable covers are made of plates welded in situ. Each box is fitted with internal Hollis trinity valves whereby the gas may be made to pass through each box in many different ways, by any combination of top, middle, or bottom entry and exit. Oxide handling is effected by overhead telpher.
After dry purification, the gas is washed with oil in a "multifilm" washer, intimate contact between oil and gas being obtained by recirculation of the oil over brush filling. Connected with the washer is the oil regeneration plant for recovering the benzol extracted by the oil. Nearly 130,000 gallons of crude benzol were produced in 1935.
The station meter is of the Connersville type, designed to deal with amounts up to 200,000 cu. ft. of gas per hour. The meter registers the volume, pressure, and temperature of the gas passing through it.
There are three gasholders. Two are column-guided and of 1,000,000 cu. ft. and 750,000 cu. ft. capacity respectively. The third, a 2,000,000 cu. ft. Klonne dry holder erected in 1930, was the first holder of this type to be erected in the country. The foundations take the form of an inverted T-shaped ring in reinforced concrete. The shell of the holder, which is truly cylindrical, is made of 3/16-inch steel plates, the vertical joints being riveted to upright stanchions, and horizontal joints to 4-inch by 2-inch curved channels. Five circumferential galleries give strength, and afford access for painting and inspection. The shell is 126 feet in diameter and 180 feet high to the eaves, and supports a domed roof.
The domed piston inside the holder carries an annular cup, forming a seal for the circumferential elastic apron plate. Secured to the apron plate is a lubricated packing ring pressed firmly against the holder wall by 384 weighted levers. Hard wood guide rollers are attached to the upper and lower sides of the piston. Access to the holder is obtained by means of a staircase, and to the piston top by an electric lift with remote control.
The foundation stone of the building was laid by the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII), in July 1883. Several different educational activities were carried on in the new building, and technical instruction was organized by a committee known as the Technical Instruction Committee of York Corporation.
As a result of the passing of the Education Act of 1902 the responsibility for technical education was handed over by this committee to the Education Committee in October 1903. Even after this date, technical classes were held in several different premises, notably the classes in engineering subjects, which were open to the general public; these were held in the Railway Institute under the supervision of the North Eastern Railway Company.
Gradually the various classes were gathered into the present building; day engineering classes were instituted; and the work was developed until now the Technical Institute, by means of part-time day and evening classes, provides instruction in all branches of engineering for which there is a demand in the area. The school is recognized for the issue of the Higher National Certificate in Mechanical Engineering, the Higher National Certificate in Electrical Engineering, and the Ordinary National Certificate in Building.
Other classes held include motor vehicle mechanics, motor vehicle electricians' work, carriage and wagon building, gas-fitting, electric-arc and oxy-acetylene welding, magnetism and electricity, telephony, telegraphy, radio communication, typography, bread-making and flour confectionery, sugar confectionery, cabinet making and upholstery, in addition to both theoretical and practical instruction in each of the following branches of the building trade: brickwork and masonry, joinery, and plumbing. Courses of instruction in preparation for the Qualifying Examination of the Pharmaceutical Society, the London University Matriculation Examination, and the Intermediate B.Sc. examination are also provided. The Day School of Commerce is also housed in the premises of the Institute.
There are chemical, mechanical, electrical, physical, and building trades laboratories, a well-equipped bakery, and workshops for handicraft, plumbing, and engineering; provision is also made for electrical installation work and automobile engine testing.
The first recorded attempt to establish a water supply for the City of York was made in June 1616 when it is recorded in the city minutes that a certain Mr. Maltby was carrying out work for "bringeing of water by conditts or pipes into their Cittye." In 1677 Henry Whistler, a London merchant, entered into an agreement with the mayor and commonalty of the city to make a waterhouse or waterwork; the deed for this is in the possession of the present York Waterworks Company, who are the legal successors of Henry Whistler.
In 1779 the waterworks were sold for £7,000, divided into 28 shares. John Smeaton, the celebrated civil engineer and designer of the Eddystone lighthouse, became one of the new proprietors. He designed one of the earliest of the old fire engines, adapted from Newcomen's engine, for the purpose of the waterworks. The original drawing of the engine, as well as several detail drawings, are now in the possession of the company. At that time the water was pumped from the river to the top of the old tower adjacent to the present offices, then 10 feet higher than it is to-day, and was supplied direct to the city without filtration or treatment of any kind. Similar conditions prevailed down to the formation of the present company in 1846.
The works at Acomb Landing were established in 1846, the source of supply being the river Ouse. The site was secured on the advice of the eminent waterworks engineer, Thomas Hawksley, M.I.Mech.E. (Past-President), who stated in a report made in September 1845 that it afforded an excellent situation, the water of the river Ouse being free at that point from any of the contaminations by which it was then affected nearer the city, and was in all respects as good as, and probably better than, any other water procurable in sufficient quantity within many miles of York.
The drainage area of the river above the works is approximately 1,200 square miles and includes the watersheds of the rivers Swale, Ure, and Nidd and their many tributaries. The flow is such as to render unnecessary the provision of storage reservoirs. The water is first pumped to subsidence reservoirs from which the top water flows by gravitation to two batteries of "Jewell" rapid gravity-filters, then to slow sand filters, and from these to clear-water wells, from whence it is pumped to the city. There are nine "Jewell" filters in use and ten slow sand filter beds, with a total area of 164,250 sq. ft.
The supply to the city is by dual flow, a reinforced concrete water tower of 300,000 gallons capacity having been erected on Severus Hill to supplant an open service reservoir and stand pipe. The water is of medium hardness and is subjected to daily bacteriological examination on the latest approved method recommended by the Ministry of Health. It is proved to rank within the first standard of purity.
The company at the present time supplies, in addition to the City of York, the following villages which are within its statutory area Acomb, Dringhouses, Middlethorpe, Fulford, Heslington, Osbaldwick, Heworth, Clifton Without, Bishopthorpe, Earswick, Towthorpe, and New Earswick. It also provides bulk supplies for Copmanthorpe, Askham Bryan, Strensall, Haxby, Wigginton, Rawclifle, Skelton, Murton, and Stockton on the Forest, the total estimated population being 111,000.
The pumping machinery is driven by steam engines, oil engines, and electric motors, the steam plant acting as a standby only. The steam engines comprise one Worthington triple-expansion engine, one horizontal compound engine, and a high-speed vertical engine direct-coupled to a centrifugal pump. The oil-engine plant consists of four Vickers-Petter and five Ruston engines, totalling about 1,200 b.h.p., driving centrifugal pumps through double helical gears. The electrically driven plant comprises two centrifugal pumps of 475 and 125 b.h.p. respectively.
The works are the second largest chemical works in the world; they cover a developed area of 800 acres and employ over 8,000 men. Manufacture of synthetic nitrogen products was begun in 1923. Since then expansion has been almost continuous, and a unique variety of engineering problems have been encountered during the development of the new industries which are included in the factory. The industries carried on require coal, anhydrite (calcium sulphate), salt, water, and air as raw materials. Coal is obtained from the Durham coalfields and up to 3,700 tons per day are used for the boilers and for gas and petrol manufacture. Anhydrite occurs in large deposits which are mined under the factory at a depth of 800 feet. Salt is pumped into the works in the form of saturated brine from wells adjacent to the site. Supplies of cooling water are available from two pumping stations on the river Tees, with an installed capacity of 254,000 gal. per min., water being brought to the site through one 66-inch and one 78-inch diameter main. Clean water from the Tees Valley Water Board system is used, after softening, for boiler feed and for other purposes. A beck running through the site also supplies feed water to an evaporation plant with an output of 44,000 gallons per hour of distilled water for the high-pressure boilers.
The handling of coal and anhydrite and of the various intermediate and finished solid products has necessitated the installation of 4.25 miles of ropeway and 4 miles of conveyers, together with a considerable number of hoists and elevators. The site is also served internally by 78 miles of railway, and 10 miles of roads. The river frontage has two large wharves which can berth ships up to 10,000 tons, and a third wharf has recently been constructed in connexion with the new hydrogenation plant, for the export of petrol.
Considerable quantities of steam and electric power are required for the various processes, and these are generated in the company's power plant. Over 1,200,000 lb. per hour of steam are raised at 800 lb. per sq. in., at temperatures up to 450 deg. C., in the high-pressure boiler plant, which was the first station with this pressure to be installed in the country; a further 400,000 lb. per hour can be raised at 275 lb. per sq. in. The boiler plant is the largest powdered coal installation in England, and the electrical generating plant has an installed capacity of 90,000 kW. About 25 miles of steam mains have been installed, and over 250 miles of paper-insulated cables. These services, together with gas and liquor mains, are distributed throughout the factory on pipe bridges, which are a noteworthy feature of the site.
Among the other services are large stores and workshops. The latter are laid out for the speedy handling of all the normal repair work of the factory, and for the fabrication of special plant and instruments. For example, it has been found necessary to install in the tube shop a butt-resistance flash-welding machine, capable of dealing with steel pipes having a sectional area up to 30 sq. in. In addition to large shops equipped with modern machine tools there are platers', plumbers', sheet iron, tube, instrument, electrical, and joiners' shops in the main group of workshops, as well as various subsidiary fitters' workshops distributed over the site for maintenance and repair work. At the present time the main workshops employ some 1,700 men and receive between 200 and 300 orders per day. The large storage space necessary for the finished fertilizers and other products mostly takes the form of concrete parabolic silos, and the largest single building of this type is capable of holding 100,000 tons of ammonium sulphate.
For the control and improvement of the large range of products next to be described, and for the development of new products, a large research organization is available. The products manufactured can be considered most conveniently under three main headings, according to the principal raw materials on which they are based, namely hydrogen, anhydrite, and salt.
Hydrogen Group. - In this group are included ammonia and all its derivatives, methanol, "Drikold " (solid carbon dioxide), and petrol. Hydrogen is made from coke and steam. Coke is produced on the site in a large coke-oven battery, and steam is supplied by the exhaust from the factory power plant. The steps in the manufacture of hydrogen are: (1) coke production; (2) the generation of water gas; (3) the reaction of carbon monoxide with steam to form hydrogen and carbon dioxide; (4) compression; and (5) purification from carbon dioxide and residual carbon monoxide. A variation of this process in which some producer gas, containing nitrogen from the air, is used instead of water gas, gives the mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen which is required for the synthesis of ammonia. The hydrogen plant delivers gas at 250 atmos. (3,700 lb. per sq. in.) pressure for manufacture of ammonia, methanol, and petrol. For ammonia, a mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen is required; for methanol, a mixture of hydrogen and carbon monoxide; and for petrol, hydrogen alone.
The ammonia is made by passing the mixture of nitrogen and hydrogen over a catalyst contained in strong steel cylinders called converters. At about 450 deg. C. a portion of the nitrogen-hydrogen mixture combines and forms ammonia. The ammonia is condensed from the gaseous mixture as liquid ammonia, by cooling, and the uncombined gas is returned for recirculation through the conversion system. Some of the ammonia thus made is shipped as such to the firm's other factories and elsewhere, and some is converted into anhydrous ammonia which is sold for use in refrigerating machines.
For the manufacture of ammonium sulphate, an ammonia solution is converted into carbonate of ammonia by means of carbon dioxide obtained as a by-product in the purification of hydrogen, and the carbonate solution is made to react with finely ground anhydrite forming chalk (calcium carbonate) and sulphate of ammonia. An important ammonia derivative is ammonium phosphate, which is manufactured from ammonia, sulphuric acid, and rock phosphate imported from Morocco. Most of the ammonium phosphate is mixed with potash salts and ammonium sulphate to make concentrated complete fertilizers which are granular and contain twice as much plant food as the ordinary low-grade mixtures.
Part of the ammonia is converted, by oxidation with air over platinum gauze, into nitric acid, some of which is concentrated by means of strong sulphuric acid, on its way to the ammonium phosphate plant, where dilute sulphuric acid is required. Nitric acid is essential for the manufacture of all explosives and until the Billingham plant was built, Great Britain was dependent upon nitrates imported from Chile. Nitric acid is shipped from Billingham to the company's and other factories for the manufacture of dyestuffs and explosives. Part is converted, at Billingham, into nitrate of soda, by soda ash imported from the firm's works in Cheshire, but the most important product is ammonium nitrate made by neutralizing nitric acid with ammonia. Ammonium nitrate is an ingredient of blasting explosives, but the greater part is used for making the well-known fertilizer nitro-chalk. This is made by allowing a mixture of ammonium nitrate solution and chalk to solidify by spraying a mixture of these materials down a high tower. The resulting product combines lime with nitrogen derived both from ammoniacal and nitric acid sources, and, like the concentrated complete fertilizers, has a granular form which makes it easy to distribute.
The next hydrogen product is methanol, which is made very similarly to ammonia by combining hydrogen and carbon monoxide. The principal use for this compound is in the manufacture of formaldehyde by oxidation, in a way similar to that by which nitric acid is made from ammonia. Formaldehyde is one of the raw materials for the most important artificial resins. Another important constituent of such resins is urea, which is made at Billingham by combining ammonia and carbon dioxide under high pressure. An entirely new synthetic resin is now made at Billingham and sold in different forms under the names of "Diakon," "Perspex," and "Kallodent." This resin belongs to the thermo-plastic class, and shows great mechanical strength and chemical resistance. It can be prepared in a highly transparent form of great beauty.
"Drikold" is solid carbon dioxide, made from the gas which is a by-product from the purification of hydrogen. Carbon dioxide gas is carefully purified, then liquefied, and finally allowed to freeze by evaporation under controlled pressure. Solid blocks of "Drikold" are marketed throughout the country. Some of it is used as a source of compressed carbon dioxide in breweries and mineral water factories, but the bulk is employed as a refrigerant in place of ice. It has the advantage both of lower temperature and of changing direct to gas instead of melting.
The latest development in the hydrogen group of products is the plant for the production of petrol by the hydrogenation of coal. This process is again self-contained, as the raw materials required are coal and water, and if desired, petrol can be the sole end-product. Research work on this process has been carried out continuously by the firm since 1927, and during 1930-31 a pilot plant, which treated 15 tons of coal a day, was worked at Billingham.
The announcement of the British Hydrocarbon Oils Production Bill by the Government in the middle of 1933, guaranteeing a preference on home-produced light oils for a period of years, enabled the company to commence the erection of the first large-scale unit in the world for the direct production of petrol from bituminous coal by hydrogenation. The erection of the plant was commenced in August 1933, and the first section was ready in January 1935. Its construction involved an expenditure of some £3,000,000 new capital, and in addition it utilizes many of the existing services, including certain plant for the production of compressed hydrogen. During its erection, the number of workmen employed at the works was increased by nearly 7,000; of the workmen now in normal employment at Billingham some 2,000 are engaged on the manufacture of petrol, and the necessary services and research. The extra coal consumption demanded by the hydrogenation process, which amounts to 600,000 tons per year, corresponds to the employment of some 2,000 miners. With the exception of a few special instruments, the whole of the plant was made in the United Kingdom, and involved the use of special materials never previously employed in the country.
Description of Process. — The raw coal is cleaned to less than 2.5 per cent of ash and is ground up with oil (previously made in the process) to make a 50 per cent coal-in-oil "paste." This is raised to the working pressure of 250 atmos. and, after mixing with the requisite hydrogen, is heated to the reaction temperature (400-500 deg. C.) where liquefaction of the coal takes place. A small heavy-oil fraction containing the unconverted coal (5 per cent by weight) and ash is treated for oil recovery, and the coke residue is used as a fuel. The major part of the coal is transformed into lighter oils which are vaporized, and are recovered by cooling the gaseous products leaving the high-pressure converters. The crude oil so obtained is distilled into heavy oil, middle oil, and petrol. The heavy oil is further hydrogenated, in plant exactly similar to that used for the hydrogenation of coal, to give middle oil and petrol. Middle oil resulting from these two reactions is again hydrogenated in the vapour phase converters in which the vaporized light oil and hydrogen are passed over a solid catalyst. The crude vapour phase product is distilled, the residual middle oil being separated from petrol and treated again. The whole of the coal is thus transformed into petrol, gas, and a small amount of solid consumable residue.
Creosote oil and low-temperature tars are either employed for making up the coal paste, or are distilled; and the distillation fractions are introduced into the appropriate liquid or vapour phase stages. These materials play no essential part in the main process of making oil from coal, but are conveniently treated in the plant available for the coal process proper.
The final petrol, after a simple purification, is pumped to storage tanks beside the river Tees from which it is transported by steamer, rail, or road. The normal rate of production is 410 tons per day (or 123,000 gallons). As a matter of interest it may be mentioned that the Billingham plant makes only 4 per cent of the country's consumption of petrol, but its output is almost equal to the total home production of motor spirit from all other sources which use coal as a basis.
Anhydrite Group. — Anhydrite is used instead of sulphuric acid for the manufacture of ammonium sulphate at Billingham. It is also used to make sulphuric acid, Portland cement being produced as a by-product. This method of producing sulphuric acid is important because it forms the development of an indigenous source of sulphur. "Pioneer" wall plaster is made from anhydrite and has certain advantages over ordinary plaster. "Pioneer" partition blocks are a parallel development. They are made in rectangular slabs, and are so uniform in shape, size, and smoothness that a partition built of them can be decorated without further treatment.
Salt Group. — This group covers caustic soda, chlorine and its derivatives, metallic sodium, and sodium cyanide. The primary process is the decomposition of brine by means of an electric current into caustic soda and chlorine. Most of the chlorine is condensed into liquid form and sold in tanks and steel cylinders for use in artificial silk manufacture, paper manufacture, and water sterilization. Part is burnt with hydrogen to give chemically pure hydrochloric acid which is used by the iron and steel trade. The rest of the chlorine is absorbed in lime to give the familiar bleaching powder or chloride of lime. Some of the caustic soda solution is sold and the rest is evaporated to solid caustic soda, of which some is sold and the balance used for the manufacture of sodium. By reaction with charcoal and ammonia, the greater part of the sodium is converted into sodium cyanide, a chemical of great importance to the gold-mining industry.
The company was formed in June 1914 by its chairman and managing director, Mr. Robert Blackburn, who, as one of the pioneers of British aviation, designed, built, and attempted to fly his first aeroplane in 1909. The original factory was situated in Leeds and the Brough factory was established in 1915 as an erecting and testing establishment for the aeroplane components built at Leeds. In 1919 plans were made for the transference of the Leeds organization to Brough and by 1933 the removal was completed. The site consists of nearly 130 acres, including the aerodrome, and comprises the aeroplane factory operated by the firm, a flying school operated by a subsidiary company known as North Sea Aerial and General Transport, Ltd., and an engine factory operated by the Cirrus Hermes Engineering Company, which is controlled by Blackburn interests.
The Blackburn Company's activities are chiefly concerned with the design and manufacture of military aircraft and in particular of naval types, in which they have long specialized. Their productions, however, embrace a wide range of designs, from the small single-engined light aeroplane to the large multi-engined flying boat. They have supplied the torpedo-bomber ship-plane equipment of the Fleet Air Arm continuously since 1921. At the moment, apart from experimental work, they are engaged in the production of "Shark" torpedo spotter and reconnaissance landplanes and seaplanes for the British Government.
The aircraft factory consists of four main buildings. The first contains the general offices, the design office and drawing office, the experimental department, the anti-corrosion and degreasing shops, and the power house. The second contains the main machine shop with tool room and separate shop for automatic machines, the inspection and progress departments, the fitters' shop, and the tinners' and coppersmiths' departments. The third is the main erection workshop comprising the component erection departments, boat and float departments, draw-bench and rolling mill, track assembly, salt baths, and the main works offices; and the fourth contains the wood mill and the covering and doping departments.
The engine factory is housed in one large building with small test houses adjoining, and the flying school has its own large hangar with aircraft and engine repair sections, and its offices and lecture rooms.
Near the factory is the canteen, also the huts which have been converted for the use of some of the workpeople. There is a residential club for visiting pupils of the flying school.
The works were originally built as repair shops for the Great Northern Railway and occupy an area of 84 acres, of which 19 are covered by workshops. Engines and carriages of the principal classes working on the London and North Eastern Railway are built and repaired at Doncaster. In order to maintain the output, to manufacture details with the precision necessary for interchangeability, and to reduce the time spent by rolling stock in the shops, the main locomotive machine shops have been concentrated under one roof and equipped with a large number of new machine tools, whilst the repair shops for locomotives and carriages have been completely reorganized on progressive lines. As a result of the reorganization it has been possible substantially to reduce the number of locomotives and carriages undergoing repairs in the shops.
A new central drawing office has recently been provided with the object of centralizing all locomotive, carriage, and wagon design. The north end of the office is allocated to the carriage and wagon section and has accommodation for thirty draughtsmen. In the centre there is a private designing room, also offices for the chief locomotive and chief carriage and wagon draughtsmen, and for the material-ordering section. The south end is occupied by the locomotive draughtsmen and has accommodation for a staff of thirty-five. A photographic department, a fireproof drawing store, and a room for models are also connected with the office.
THE LOCOMOTIVE WORKS
Locomotive Machine Shops. — The principal group of machine shops has six bays. The first bay contains the sections dealing with connecting rods and piston valves, and includes precision grinding machines for motion details, also machines for milling the triangular ports in piston valve liners, and two large turret lathes for machining crankpins and other details.
The second bay is devoted at one end to cylinder work, and contains a special boring mill on which mono-block cylinder castings for three-cylinder engines are machined. The other end of the bay is occupied chiefly in machining axleboxes and in assembling new and reconditioning built-up crank axles. The next three bays are equipped with modern machines for general machine and fitting work, brass finishing, and small tool maintenance.
In the sixth bay, plate rolls, slotting and drilling machines, together with an oxy-acetylene cutting plant, are installed. Engine and tender frames are prepared in this bay for the erecting shop up to and including the fitting of spring brackets and horns. At the other end of the bay the machining of straight axles and crank axles is carried out.
New Engine Erecting Shop. — Here four types of engines are under construction: a series of 2-6-2 three-cylinder passenger side-tank engines for suburban traffic in the Newcastle, Edinburgh, and Glasgow districts; a series of 2-6-2 three-cylinder mixed traffic tender engines; a series of 2-8-2 three-cylinder tender engines streamlined at the front end, and a further series of 4-6-2 three-cylinder tender engines similar to the Silver Link.
The Forge. — The equipment includes two 40 cwt. forging hammers, six drop-stamps, three forging machines, and presses.
The Boiler Shop. — This shop has been reorganized, resulting in more economical operation and increasing the rate of output. A complete new flanging shop has been provided and contains three hydraulic presses and three oil-fired furnaces. The large press is of 750 tons capacity. The equipment is served by a 10-ton electric overhead travelling crane.
The Crimpsall Repair Shops. — This group consists of one main shop comprising four bays, each 520 feet long by 52 feet wide, and two smaller bays, each 30 feet wide; also a second shop with two bays, each 200 feet long by 52 feet wide, and one bay 30 feet wide. These shops have been reorganized on progressive lines. Prior to the alterations it was customary for approximately 100 engines and 16 tenders to be under repairs.
As a result of the reorganization, the number of locomotives in the shops was reduced to thirty-six, and the work was concentrated so that movements of workmen and material were reduced. The repair of tenders was transferred to No. 1 bay of the engine repair shop. One bay of the former tender repair shop was converted to deal with boiler repairs, including the fitting of new copper fireboxes and complete restaging, and in the second bay a progressive system of tube repairs has been instituted.
In addition to the rearrangement of the system of repairs, the shop equipment has been improved by the provision of modern high-production machine tools. The repair shops have been rendered as nearly self-contained as possible, and a small furnace using a liquid case-hardening compound enables small details to be hardened in a short time.
Tube Repairs. — A plant has been introduced in which some modern appliances are included. Approximately 4 million feet of tubing pass through this shop each year. On entering the shop, the small tubes are picked up in batches and deposited on a skid for sawing and reeling. Every tube is then examined to decide whether it is fit for further service. Scrap tubes drop into a container on depressing a pedal, and good tubes pass on to further operations. Tubes which are to be cut down for shorter boilers are belled and annealed only, but those which are to be restored to the original length pass to the electric butt welder. Throughout the whole system of tube repairs handling is reduced to a minimum; skids or magazines, on which batches of tubes are placed by the cranes, are provided for each series of operations.
The layout for repairing the large superheater flues is similar to that for small tubes. The tubes are descaled and straightened in the reeling machine, annealed, electrically butt-welded to restore them to their original length, screwed at the firebox end, and finally tested. The two electric butt-welding machines are respectively capable of welding small tubes up to 2.25 inches diameter and large tubes up to 5.25 inches diameter. The operation is entirely automatic and the actual welding time is from 11 to 15 seconds for the 2.25-inch tubes and from 15 to 25 seconds for the flue tubes.
Weighing Machine. — To provide means for the accurate determination of the weight distribution of large modern locomotives, a new weighing machine has been installed. This consists of separate weighing units placed directly under each wheel. The equipment, which is known as the "Voiron" type, has a number of special features.
Locomotive Wheel Shop. — The equipment includes modern wheel lathes, tyre-boring, wheel-drilling, and journal-grinding machines, a 400-ton hydraulic wheel press, a wheel-balancing machine, etc. Some very accurate measuring apparatus is used for ascertaining the diameter of tyres and the external diameter of the wheel centres, the diameter of the crankpins and axles, and for checking the relative angular positions of the crankpins.
THE CARRIAGE WORKS
These works are specially equipped for the construction of restaurant cars, sleeping cars, and other modern types of coaching vehicles, also for the maintenance of carriage stock working in the southern area of the railway.
The sawmill is so arranged that the flow of timber from log to fully machined details is continuous and in one direction. The body shop, which opens out from one end of the sawmill, is laid out for the progressive construction of coaching stock and consists of four construction roads which are worked in pairs on the shuttle system. Adjacent to this shop is the paint shop, capable of holding approximately 50 vehicles.
The machine work, the lifting of coaches, and carriage repair work, are dealt with under one roof in a shop 600 feet long and 190 feet wide, the machine bay being situated at the south end of the shop, with two lifting bays running down the east side. Coach repairs are carried out on three roads at the west side. A portion of the machine bay is specially set out for the progressive movement and overhaul of carriage wheels, and in this arrangement wheels requiring one operation only can be introduced into the system at any point. The machine bay equipment includes two modern Craven wheel lathes with two balancing machines and two journal-turning and burnishing lathes, all of which are served by a crane gantry carrying two 2-ton overhead cranes. Each lifting bay is equipped with two 20-ton electric overhead travelling cranes, and dipping tanks are installed for cleaning and painting carriage bogies. On the body repair side, staging is provided to facilitate the repair of carriages, and benches are specially arranged for dealing with the repair of carriage doors. The progressive repair system enables modern types of vehicles to be thoroughly overhauled and returned to traffic within a period of twenty-six days.
The works form a branch of Messrs. Pilkington Brothers, of St. Helens, and were built in 1920-21 for the production of polished plate glass. This has always been the principal manufacture, though "Vitrolite" is now an important auxiliary product. One of the large sheets of polished plate glass made in the earlier days of the works was the Empire Window at the Wembley Exhibition, which measured 288 inches long by 168 inches wide by 3/8 inch thick, and weighed 1,700 lb.
Polished plate glass is manufactured from sand, soda, and limestone, these making a "frit" which is melted in large tank furnaces, from which it is rolled (in the form of a continuous ribbon) through an annealing chamber known as a "lehr," where it is cut into lengths suitable for grinding and polishing. Grinding is effected by graded sand, whilst rouge is used as a polishing medium. The operation is carried out on tables about 650 feet long, over which twelve grinding and twenty-five polishing units are arranged vertically, and the whole machine is mounted on a reinforced concrete tunnel forming the baseplate, as great accuracy is required in grinding, the vertical slides being set to 0.005 inch. The power absorbed in the machine amounts to 1,800 h.p. An auxiliary plant is installed for grading and feeding the abrasive.
"Vitrolite" is an opaque glass manufactured from the same materials as ordinary glass, but certain fluorides are added. On cooling, the fluorides are deposited in the form of microscopic crystals which render the glass white and opaque. Different colours are produced by the addition to the frit of certain colouring matters.
The power house contains seven Babcock and Wilcox boilers, each with an evaporation capacity of 18,000 lb. of water per hour, supplying steam for process work and to turbo-generators. There are three turbo-generators with outputs of 500, 2,500, and 3,750 kW. respectively, supplying direct current at 500 volts.
The works water supply, also the water for condensing processes, is obtained from the South Yorkshire Navigation Canal, which runs along the west side of the works. The water for boiler feed make-up and domestic purposes, including the villages of Kirk Sandall and part of Barnby Dun, is supplied from two boreholes, one of 6 inches and the other of 12 inches diameter, the latter being 350 feet deep.
There is a garden village which consists of approximately 450 houses, of various designs to suit different tenants or tenant purchasers. Adjacent to the village are recreation grounds for various sports.
In Europe, prior to 1914, the manufacture of glass containers was almost entirely carried out by hand, by craftsmen possessing a high degree of skill. Since 1918, however, the glass container industry has become mechanized with great rapidity. Initially the invention of the necessary machines was the work of certain American engineers who were urged to develop the manufacture of glass containers by automatic machines because of the difficulty of obtaining the necessary skilled labour to meet the increasing demand. The success in manufacturing bottles by machines led to still greater demands because of the greater accuracy in dimensions and capacity which were thus made possible.
The development of automatic machine methods followed two major lines: the suction process, and the "gob" formation or feeder process. In the suction process the requisite volume of glass for the manufacture of the bottle is sucked from the glass-conditioning chamber or pot which is usually incorporated with the glass-melting furnace, into a preliminary mould held in one arm of a rotating machine. In the gob or feeder process, the glass is allowed to flow, or is extruded, from the furnace; the shape of the gob is mechanically controlled to give the correct conditions for any particular shape of bottle. The process in use at the Kirk Sandall works is of this type and is known as the "Hartford" process. The furnace is of modern design and is highly efficient; its nominal capacity is 40 tons of glass per 24 hours.
The process is as follows. The raw material (largely composed of sand, soda, and lime) is mechanically mixed with a percentage of broken glass. From the mixing room it is transferred to a large storage hopper, from which the mixture is elevated to a small bin at the back of the furnace. A mechanically operated worm conveyer continuously feeds the raw material to the furnace at a sufficient rate to maintain a constant level inside the furnace, which is of the regenerative type. At the opposite (or "working") end of the furnace are three Hartford feeders which extrude the gobs of glass, whose weight and shape are under precise and flexible control to suit bottles of different types. The gobs pass down chutes to the moulds of the forming machines.
Two types of bottle-forming machines are in operation. The first is the Hartford "press and blow" machine, suitable only for wide-mouthed containers such as milk bottles and jam jars. The process is as follows.
The "gather" is received by the blank mould and is then pressed under the press head and the "parison" or embryo bottle is formed. A transfer mechanism next removes the embryo bottle to the blow mould. The bottle is then blown to the size and shape of the "blow" or final-shape mould by compressed air. The bottle is automatically taken out of the machine and placed on a conveyer travelling towards an annealing lehr. About half way along this conveyer the bottle is automatically weighed, the object being to indicate to the operator, within close limits, the weight of glass in the bottle and thus enable him to ensure bottles of correct capacity. The final operation is the annealing, the periods for which vary from 1 to 3 hours, instead of 1 to 3 days, as was often the case in pre-War years.
The second type of bottle-forming machine is known as a Lynch machine. It is of the "blow and blow" type, i.e. both the forming of the "parison," as well as the final blowing given to it when in the blow mould, are carried out by compressed air. The machine is pneumatically operated and is primarily designed to produce containers of the narrow-neck type, such as beverage, perfume, or sauce bottles.
The final process through which a milk bottle passes before it is dispatched to the dairyman is a careful capacity check. This is accomplished by machines, adjacent to the cold end of the lehrs, which discharge into each bottle an accurate volume of water equivalent to the nominal capacity. These machines are controlled within extremely fine limits.
Routine chemical tests are carried out on the raw materials and finished glass and the accuracy and strength of the bottles are tested from time to time by gauges, impact meters, and thermal shock apparatus.
The dock system owned by the company extends to about 139 acres of deep water, including the recently constructed No. 3 Fish Dock, which has a water area of approximately 35 acres. The quays extend to approximately 5 miles and the warehouse and transit shed accommodation amount to over 525,000 sq. ft. In addition, the company owns over 500 acres of land adjoining the dock system.
The equipment at the docks, excluding the new fish dock, consists of:—
There is also an electrically operated belt coaling conveyer plant, with four lines of conveyers and hydraulically operated tipping machinery, with a total capacity of 1,600 tons per hour.
The new No. 3 Fish Dock, which was completed in 1934, has been primarily constructed as a fitting out and coaling dock for trawlers. The equipment includes three electrically operated coaling plants, each consisting of three fixed shipping towers providing six loading berths fed by three lines of electrically driven belt conveyers from three teeming hoppers, each of approximately 20 tons capacity. Three 5-ton endless-rope electrically driven capstans draw the full wagons from the sidings, hauling a maximum of 360 tons at a time; and three 1-ton capstans deal with the placing of the truck on the tipper turntable. The capacity of each line of conveyers is 400 tons per hour and the conveyers, hoppers, etc., are designed to deal with any class of coal.
The full wagons are discharged through end or bottom doors into the teeming hoppers by electrically operated rams connected to hinged tipping tables capable of dealing with 10-, 12-, and 20-ton wagons; there is one tipping table for each hopper. The coal discharges from each teeming hopper through a regulating door on to an electrically driven steel-plate apron feeder capable of delivering coal at the rate of 400 tons per hour on to the main belt, which carries the coal from the apron feeder to two 25-ton hoppers installed at each fixed shipping tower. The coal is delivered from the hopper by two apron feeders each capable of delivering 1 ton in 5 seconds into the bottom-door buckets which transfer the coal from this point by means of electrically driven cantilever cranes to the vessel. Each cantilever crane has a maximum lifting range of 70 feet and an outboard range of 48 feet, and is capable of lifting a maximum load of 25 cwt. of coal at a speed of 360 ft. per min. The traversing motion is capable of carrying this load outboard at 240 ft. per min., these speeds giving, with normal operation, a delivery of 60 tons per hour per bucket, or 120 tons per hour per berth, the average bucket load being 1 ton and the maximum load 25 cwt.
Slipways. - Three main slipways have been provided, two having a capacity of 600 tons and one of 1,080 tons. Each slipway is operated by individual electrically operated winches, speed control being obtained by hydraulic variable-speed gear actuated by oil pressure. Seven side berths have been provided, making ten berths in all; three separate winches are installed for transferring vessels from the main to the side berths. The haulage speed can be varied from standstill to 40 ft. per min., and side haulage from standstill to 10 ft. per min. The cradles (one to each slipway) comprise nine detachable carriages, each fitted with twelve wheels and eighteen heel blocks.
Cranes. - Two electrically operated cranes are provided, with capacities of 15 tons and 5 tons respectively.
Power Supply. - Electric power for the whole of the docks is generated at Immingham Dock power station, situated approximately 7 miles from Grimsby, the power being transmitted by overhead line at 6,600 volts, three-phase, with a frequency of 50 cycles per second, distribution being by means of direct current at 230 volts and 460 volts and by alternating current at 230 volts and 400 volts, three-phase, at the same frequency as the supply. The power station equipment consists of five water-tube boilers with superheaters, economizers, mechanical stokers, etc., and four generating sets with a total output of 6,500 kW. In addition there are fourteen substations, nine of which are in the Grimsby Docks area. The power for the hydraulically operated appliances is provided by electrically driven multistage turbine pumps, having a total horse-power of 1,300.
The firm was founded in 1860 as a pattern-making concern specializing in gearwheel patterns. The production of gears with machine-cut teeth, of which the firm was one of the pioneers, was a natural development, and in 1902 a 12-acre site was acquired at Lockwood. The present organization embraces the subsidiary companies of Messrs. P. R. Jackson and Company, Ltd., of Salford, where the manufacture of steel castings and heavy gearing is undertaken, and the Keighley Gear Company, which devotes its attention to small- and medium-sized gears and gear units. It has an aggregate personnel of over 2,000 and constitutes the largest general gear-manufacturing concern in the world. The opening, early this year, of the new works at Penistone, situated on a 29-acre site, allows scope for further development.
At Park Works the main block, which is fronted by the offices, constitutes the light machine shop. This is devoted to the production of the smaller types of gear and to the machining of gear cases and light components. Owing to the diverse nature of the company's products, machines are grouped according to function, with bays for turning, milling, grinding, etc., and for the cutting of spur, helical, bevel, and worm gears. Behind the main block are situated the heavy machine and heavy fitting shops, in which the heavier products, such as turbine reduction gearing and gears for rolling mills, tube mills, winders, paper-making and cement-making machinery and the like are manufactured.
In adjacent buildings the iron foundry, hardening shop, tool room, welding department, and the machine tool and worm gear fitting shops are located. The hardening shop was the first, and is still one of the largest, all-electric heat treatment installations in the country, and works in close co-operation with the chemical, metallurgical, and physical laboratories. The welding department is equipped for the manufacture of fabricated steel products by a variety of processes, and deals with fabricated bedplates, gear cases, and large wheels.
A large proportion of the machines employed in the production and testing of gears of all descriptions are of the firm's design and manufacture, and this is particularly true of worm gears, with the modern development of which the name of the company is closely associated.
The products of the works cover a wide range of self-contained gears and geared motor units of the helical, bevel, and worm gear types for industrial speed-reducing and speed-increasing purposes. Of particular interest amongst the standardized gear units are "Radicon" worm and bevel reducing gear units, also products manufactured for traction purposes, including clutches, change-speed gearboxes, rear axle worm drives, and steering gears.
The firm's activities commenced in 1843 when the manufacture of valves and boiler mountings was commenced in two four-roomed cottages in Huddersfield. To-day, the firm's Britannia Works, erected in 1904 and enlarged on several occasions, occupies a ground area of 18 acres, and includes steel, iron, bronze, and special metal foundries, chemical laboratories, a physical test house, extensive machine and fitting shops, and numerous testing departments and administrative buildings. Every process in the manufacture of valves and boiler mountings, from metallurgical and foundry work to the details of electrical controls, is thus carried out entirely at the works, and special facilities are available for the production and testing of valves designed for exceptionally severe conditions in service.
The general layout of the works takes advantage of the slight slope on which they are built, and raw materials are supplied to the foundries at the top of the incline, whence each item of manufacture proceeds down the slope in progressive stages of production, to the packing and shipping departments situated at the other end of the works.
For many years the greatest attention has been paid to the materials used in the production of high-quality castings, and the manufacture of special steels is carried out in the large steel foundry. "Hipress" steel is a "straight" carbon steel, used for valve bodies and covers for temperatures up to 800 deg. F., and has a maximum stress of 28-32 tons per sq. in. (cold) and a maximum creep load of 6 tons per sq. in. at 800 deg. F. In recent years "Hytemp" steel has been developed for body and cover castings required for temperatures above 800 deg. F., and has a maximum stress of 30-36 tons per sq. in. when cold, and a maximum creep load of 8 tons per sq. in. at 900 deg. F. These steels are melted in an acid-lined oil-fired stock converter of 2.5 tons capacity, under strict physical and chemical control. The greatest care is taken in the subsequent heat treatment, for which two of the latest type of thermo-electrically controlled annealing furnaces are installed.
Bronze castings are produced in two oil-fired "Sklenar" furnaces supplemented by two oil-fired Morgan pit furnaces. Adjoining the bronze foundry is the "Platnam" foundry, where the standard material for valves and seats is produced. "Platnam" is an exceedingly hard non-corrodible alloy, which suffers neither chemical change nor loss of its physical properties at high temperatures. A high-frequency electric furnace is in use in this department, together with a Booth direct-arc furnace.
Strict analysis of all materials to be used in valve construction is carried out. Test bars are taken from each heat of metal produced by the foundries; the structure is examined and a permanent record is kept. The two latter undertakings are earned out in the metallurgical laboratory, which is equipped with a "Micro-macro" apparatus, and, apart from the numerous requirements of routine work, is specially equipped for progressive research into high-temperature work. The physical test house contains a Buckton machine for tensile, bend, and transverse tests, a Vickers pyramid diamond hardness tester, a Brinell hardness tester, an Izod impact testing machine, and creep-testing apparatus.
The machine shop occupies more than 100,000 sq. ft. of floor space; iron and steel work are dealt with on one side and bronze on the other, whilst the tool room and stores for finished parts are placed centrally. The production of high-grade tools has necessitated the installation of electrically heated hardening furnaces, the temperatures of which are automatically controlled.
A particularly noteworthy operation in the machine shops is the grinding of the threads on "60 steel" stud bolts. The firm's "60 steel" is an alloy steel of high tensile strength, which has been specially developed for service under high temperatures. This operation ensures perfect pitch and thread form, and greatly reduces the possibility of seizure of the bolts as a result of long periods of service at high temperatures.
A feature of the firm's manufacture of valves and mountings is the thorough system of tests carried out at various stages of production, some of which have already been mentioned. All fittings subject to pressure are tested to twice the working pressure; the valve bodies are tested first as a whole, then from inlet to seat, and finally from outlet to seat. After assembly, the complete unit is tested and operated at twice the working pressure, parallel slide valves being thus tested on each side of the valve in turn. For high-pressure tests, a Babcock and Wilcox oil-fired test boiler was installed a few years ago, providing pressures up to 2,000 lb. per sq. in., with superheated steam temperatures up to 1,000 deg. F. For testing the bronze products, a gas-fired boiler affords a working pressure of 500 lb. per sq. in.
The electrical fittings for the patent electric valve controls are dealt with in a separate department which also specializes in the production of temperature- and pressure-controlling valves, electrically operated engine house telegraphs, and the recently introduced Hopkinson-Carlstedt regulator.
Although the firm is primarily concerned with the manufacture of boiler mountings and valves, its scope has, from time to time, been widened in various directions. Several years ago the manufacture of centrifugal oil-purifiers was commenced, and for this purpose a departmental works was erected adjoining the main factory. The purifiers manufactured here are in widespread use, and their recent application as clarifiers for non-inflammable solvents represents a further aspect of the firm's activities.
The firm manufactures boilers and radiators for central heating and domestic hot water supply, including many accessories and fittings. The works at Hull were opened in 1906, the company then being the National Radiator Company, Ltd., which was formed into a public company in 1934, and the name changed to Ideal Boilers and Radiators, Ltd. The present works cover an area of 52 acres, of which nearly 15 acres are under cover.
The process of manufacture starts with the large stores of raw materials at one end of the works and proceeds directly, through the various processes of converting these materials into finished goods, to the warehouse at the opposite end. The main foundry, making castings of all sizes up to 1,000 lb. in weight, is 1,300 feet long, and the iron is supplied by four automatically charged cupolas. The castings are moulded on automatic moving units and poured at the end nearest the cupolas. As the hot castings reach the other end of the units they are removed from the sand and pass directly into the next department, where they are cleaned and brushed. This progression continues through testing, machining, assembling, etc., but always proceeds from each operation in a direct line. Rigid tests under high pressure, both of the individual castings and the assembled finished product, are made before the goods finally pass inspection and go to the warehouse, which covers a floor space of 100,000 sq. ft.
There are a number of other features of interest: a large wet-enamelling room containing four furnaces; a cutting room for sheet iron jackets; a nickel- and chromium-plating shop; and a large maintenance department. The product is conveyed in the works by a fleet of electric tractors, and a special station has been provided for recharging the accumulators. The works offices are located near the warehouse, and special office equipment and accounting machines are employed in obtaining necessary data and statistics.
Alexandra Dock. - The Alexandra Dock was constructed for the Hull and Barnsley Railway, and was opened in 1885. It came under the control of the London and North Eastern Railway when the amalgamation of the railways took place in 1923. The principal cargo dealt with is timber, but a large amount of coal, wool, grain, and general dairy produce is also handled. The water area is 53 acres, with a dock entrance of 85 feet. There are sixteen quays, which are amply provided with cranes to deal with ships' requirements, and recently the dock equipment has been modernized by the erection of electric luffing cranes in place of some of the hydraulic cranes, and by the erection of large coal hoists to deal with 20-ton wagons.
Thirty-nine electric cranes, with capacities varying from 15 cwt. to 10 tons, are available, in addition to thirty-three hydraulic cranes, with lifting capacities which range from 20 cwt. to 25 tons. A 100-ton steam crane is also provided. There are six coal hoists, and two rubber belt conveyers, each capable of dealing with 600 tons per hour, to meet the coaling requirements on the dock, Two graving docks are provided, No. 1 being 500 feet long, with an entrance of 56 ft. 6 in., whilst No. 2 is 550 feet long, with an entrance of 61 ft. 2 in. Two electrically driven pumps are available to pump out the graving docks, each having a capacity of 22,000 gal. per min.
The hydraulic pressure required for the cranes, hoists, and lock gate machinery is supplied from two hydraulic generating stations, having two and three pumps respectively, driven by electric motors of 210 and 270 h.p.; suitable hydraulic accumulators are installed. The main station has three ram-pump machines, each with a capacity of 400 gal. per min., whilst the second station has two such machines of 300 gal. per min. capacity. The hydraulic pressure is 750 lb. per sq. in.
To prevent breakage of coal during shipment, anti-coal-breaking appliances have been designed, and one of the latest type has been fitted at No. 7 coal hoist at this dock; in practice it is found to be very satisfactory.
The connected electric horse-power on this dock is 6,000.
King George Dock. - The dock was opened in 1914, and has a water area of 53 acres, with an entrance width of 85 feet.
All the fifty-three cranes are of the electric luffing type, ranging in capacity from 30 cwt. to 25 tons. A very valuable asset to the port is the provision of a floating crane, which can deal with 80-ton lifts, with a maximum radius of 65 feet, to a height of 70 feet above water level. It is also provided with 10-ton lifting gear having a maximum radius of 76 feet. There are two rubber-belt coal conveyers, each capable of dealing with 800 tons per hour, together with two coal hoists, each designed to deal with 600 tons per hour.
Two graving docks are provided, No. 1 being 450 feet long, with an entrance of 66 feet, whilst No. 2 is 535 feet long with an entrance of 72 feet. For the dry-docking of vessels there are two electrically driven pumps, each of 420 h.p., capable of discharging 33,000 gal. per min. The hydraulic pumping station consists of four pumps, each driven by 200 h.p. motors, capable of pumping 250 gal. per min. at 800 lb. per sq. in.
The principal cargo dealt with at this dock is grain, and the silo is provided with 288 bins, each capable of holding 150 tons, giving a total storage capacity for the building of 40,000 tons. There are altogether 4.25 miles of conveyer belting and 0.75 mile of grain elevators in the silo. To deal with the grain from the ship to the silo, six crane elevators are provided. Each of these machines is capable of discharging cargo into the silo at the rate of 120 tons per hour.
Six portable grain elevators, each with a capacity of 60 tons per hour, are also provided in addition to two other portable elevators with capacities of 100 tons per hour. These appliances are used when it is not convenient to fit the crane elevators into small holds of the ships, and also for discharging from the ships through portable weighing machines direct into lighters, without using the silo. All grain passing from the ships into the silo is weighed by automatic machinery, and is again weighed on passing out of the building.
A large amount of timber and wool is also dealt with in addition to general merchandise. The connected electrical horse-power at the dock is 9,500.
Hull Docks. — The other docks at Hull are the Victoria, Princes, Railway, Humber, Albert, and St. Andrew's Docks.
Victoria Dock has two rubber-belt coal conveyers, each capable of taking 800 tons per hour; all the coaling at this dock is carried out by these appliances. The principal cargo is wood, and during 1935 approximately 600,000 tons of timber was dealt with.
St. Andrew's Dock is known as the fish dock, and during 1935 no less than 282,000 tons of fish were landed. The coaling of trawlers is also carried out at this dock; altogether 823,000 tons of coal was loaded into bunkers during last year.
The works were established in 1870 as a general engineering works and iron foundry. Power was originally obtained from an adjoining mill, but was later supplied by steam, gas, and oil engines. Now it consists entirely of electric supply in bulk.
In addition to general engineering work, the firm constructed grab dredgers. Later an oil engine was patented and manufactured. Present-day specialities are grabs, dredgers, and excavators, including large dragline excavators, as used for land drainage by catchment boards throughout the country.
The works cover about 3 acres and employ about 500 men. Recently, considerable extensions have been made to premises and plant, which now comprise well-equipped machine shops, together with assembling, erecting, plating, and electric welding shops.
The firm was founded in 1840 by Sir Isaac Reckitt, who built the main Kingston factory. Mr. Reckitt's four sons later joined him in the business, which was formed into a public company in 1878.
The present chairman is Sir Philip Reckitt, Bart., O.B.E., the grandson of the founder. The firm's earliest products were biscuits, starch, and blue, and trade in the latter article has so developed that the firm is now the largest manufacturer of ultramarine blue in the world. From time to time other articles were introduced, notably household starch, grate polishes, metal polish, bath cubes, motor car polish, and a household disinfectant and germicide.
Timber arrives at the works in consignments of 2,000-3,000 tons, and the logs are efficiently piled by a timber stacker, with minimum risk of accident. Trucks on a light railway run into the sawmill, in which the box-making and printing plants are housed in addition to the saws. The whole of the power required is derived from individual electric motors fixed in the basement, whilst induced draught apparatus removes all sawdust, etc., to "cyclones" outside the main building, thus ensuring extreme cleanliness and a minimum of obstruction and risk. Transport inside the works is effected by pipe lines, chutes, varied types of conveyers and elevators, hoists, and "transveyer" systems with overhead runways, whilst raw materials and goods for dispatch are hauled between the works and the railways or docks by a fleet of petrol-driven lorries.
The card box department contains the machinery for the necessary cutting, scoring, creasing, and stitching, in addition to high-speed carton-producing plant. The block varieties of blue, blacklead, and bath cubes are formed by automatic mechanical processes, whilst liquids are filled into containers on multiple-head vacuum filling machines provided with sections for the subsequent fixing of plugs and caps before the containers are passed for boxing. If filling to a definite weight is required, the operation is carried out on smaller machines which are electrically controlled. Products which are not thus packed are wrapped and labelled by hand or on high-speed machines of various types to suit particular requirements. As a result of careful study, the present system used for the assembling of orders in the packing room has been developed. More than 10,000 separate orders are dispatched to home and foreign markets every mouth.
Electrical energy is purchased for power and lighting purposes. The steam required for process work, heating, etc., is supplied by a battery of four coal-fired Lancashire boilers fitted with Hodgkinson automatic mechanical stokers and coking furnaces. The varied plant in the works is efficiently maintained by engineers, electricians, and builders, each trade being provided with well-equipped workshops. Air for the ventilation of the works is filtered before entering the various buildings, and special exhaust plants remove all dust arising from manufacture or packing. Fire precautions include sprinkler systems supplied by elevated water storage tanks, and both steam- and motor-driven pumps are also installed.
At the Kingston works alone, the floor space of the various rooms amounts to nearly 19 acres. The total number of persons in the direct employment of the company at the date of the last staff census was 5,326, of whom about 4,000 are employed in Hull.
Welfare. - The firm has a works council, on which all sections of the works and offices are represented. A doctor, nurses, and a dentist are attached to the welfare department at the works, for the care of employees. In the Francis Reckitt Institute are dining rooms, gymnasia, class rooms, club rooms, lending library, etc., also a swimming bath, the gift of the late Rt. Hon. T. R. Ferens. The recreation ground covers 20 acres, whilst the garden village inaugurated by the late Sir James Reckitt houses many of the employees. A girls' residential club has also been established. In regard to education, continuation schools are attended by young employees during the day time, and many voluntary evening classes are provided.
In 1920 the directors initiated a profit-sharing scheme by which all employees benefit directly in proportion to the annual dividend on the ordinary shares. There is also a contributory pension fund to provide for old age.
RYDE AVENUE WORKS.
In these works is carried out the manufacture of artificial stone for the building trade. The buildings comprise an office block containing stores and a drawing office, a mould-making shop equipped with modern woodworking machinery, and a casting and curing shop. In the casting shop supplies of various aggregates and cements are stored in overhead bins whence they pass to the mixers. The resulting mixed material is hand-rammed in a semi-dry state into carefully polished moulds. The moulds are then stripped in the curing kilns which are electrically heated under thermostatic control. Everything in the works is electrically operated, power being supplied at low tension from the Hull Corporation electricity works. Polishing and grinding plant is also provided for the production of polished terrazzo, slabs, and stair treads.
CLOUGH ROAD WORKS
This factory, which was built in 1935, is equipped for the mass production of all classes of joinery work. All the plant is electrically driven, power being taken at high tension from the Corporation supply and transformed in the works substation.
The plant installed comprises a 4-cutter moulding machine, the cutting heads of which are driven by motors running at 4,300 r.p.m., the current being taken from a frequency changer. There are also double- and single-ended tenoners, circular rip and cross-cut saws, surface planers, thicknessers, chain mortisers, drum sander, dovetailing and trenching machines, and hinge- and lock-recessing machines.
The workshops estate on which 9,000 operatives are engaged in the manufacture of men's clothing, is the largest bespoke tailoring factory in the world. Practically the whole of the processes are carried out on one floor. Over 300 electric motors are employed to drive the machine benches, each motor being independently controlled and each bench having its own chain drive. These units are augmented by motors ranging from the fractional horse-power sizes to 65 h.p. machines used for driving auxiliary plant.
Three-phase current is supplied by Leeds Corporation, at a pressure of 346 volts for power, whilst 200-volt single-phase alternating current is supplied for lighting. All main controls are centralized in one switch room. From here also any part of the roof can be opened by push-control. A small Diesel engine and generator is used for emergency lighting in the event of failure of the Corporation supply. The factory is illuminated by means of 200-watt reflectors spaced and suspended to give correct intensity for the particular operation concerned.
The steam-raising plant consists of a battery of five Lancashire boilers fitted with the Benner patent air-draught mechanical stoker giving a total evaporation of 5,500 gallons of water per hour at normal rating. Of the steam thus generated, 20,000 lb. is absorbed each hour by the 550 Hoffman pressing machines of various types, and a further 6,000 lb. per hour is required for some 300 steam irons, of which there are two types, working at pressures of 70 lb. per sq. in. and 40 lb. per sq. in. respectively. Another large steam consumer is the heating system; approximately 15 miles of piping are installed for this purpose, requiring 25,000 lb. of steam per hour at low pressure. The condensed steam from the heating system and from the pressing machinery is returned to a large storage tank to be pumped into the boiler feed tank as required. By this method 80 per cent of the water evaporated is reclaimed for further use.
The vacuum pumps installed at various points in the factory are capable of handling about 7,000 cu. ft. of free air per minute. The pumps work in conjunction with the Hoffman presses, the vacuum being applied in such a manner as to produce a cooling effect on the garments after they have been heated in the presses.
A hot water system is installed throughout the factory, the heating being accomplished by passing water at various temperatures through a series of steam calorifiers. This system is applied to the canteen services, a feature of which is the continuous boiling water supply in operation on the tea counters. The canteen kitchens contain various steam-controlled appliances.
The works of this firm, which was established in 1895, occupy the site of the workshops where Matthew Murray produced the first commercially successful locomotive ever placed on the market. The company manufacture not only high-speed printing presses for national daily newspapers, but also smaller presses for newspapers of smaller circulation; they also produce the necessary plant for making the stereo plates with which to print them, and the lithographic offset presses. There is in course of erection part of the largest order for magazine presses which has ever been placed, as well as newspaper, lithographic, and gravure presses for this country, and other parts of the world.
Wellington Foundry is one of a group of works which specialize in the manufacture of machinery for the preparation, spinning, and weaving of almost every kind of fibre, apart from cotton and wool. The firm has been responsible for the design and equipment of almost all the jute and flax mills throughout the world; hemp, sisal, and other fibres are also dealt with by the firm's machinery in many countries, so that a very large percentage of these products is for export abroad. In addition to being the largest makers of this class of machinery, the company is also the oldest, having been established in Leeds in 1812. Since then amalgamations with other companies have taken place, so that to-day, in addition to the Leeds works, there are large works in Belfast and Dundee.
The firm supplies machinery for the manufacture of ropes and twines of every size, and their products are used for the forming of the majority of the larger mooring and towing ropes in use to-day. At the other end of the scale, machinery is regularly supplied for making the finest flax or linen yarn, of such a size that 1 lb. of the yarn is over 50 miles in length.
An early partner in the company invented the system of screw gills, and took out the first patent for the system in 1833. The patented system is now in universal use for the treatment of every known fibre. The firm is also patentee of the automatic doffing spinning frame, by which the cost and wages for spinning flax and jute have been reduced by over 50 per cent. As a result of the very high speeds demanded for all classes of the machinery manufactured, the firm is a very large user of ball bearings; an automatic spinning frame to-day requires over 400 of these bearings in all.
Wellington Foundry covers an area exceeding 10 acres, and when working at normal capacity the group employs between 6,000 and 7,000 workpeople. The entire plant is electrically driven, and the use of electricity is a feature of production work throughout the shops. Of recent years considerable extensions and improvements have been made, and a great number of the machine tools in use have been designed and manufactured by the company to meet their own special requirements.
The firm was founded in 1900 for the manufacture of wrapping machinery, which at that time was not in general use. In 1901 the first machine used in Europe for wrapping small rectangular chocolates and round disks in tin foil was made by the company, and its manufacture was continued until 1904. Since then the more commodious existing premises have been built, where a variety of wrapping machines are made by modern tool equipment, using the Murray colour control system.
In the best chocolate and confectionery shops there is an elaborate display of all sorts of chocolate and other delicacies, wrapped and labelled. Visitors to the works will see the machinery for doing this work automatically at speeds ranging from 60 to 500 pieces a minute, requiring only one operator. These machines embody a variety of novel ingenious movements for registering and cutting wrappers, applying gum, and enclosing the goods in delicate tissues of foil, wax paper, and cellophane.
The company was founded in 1862 to develop the inventions of John Fowler in connexion with the cultivation of land by steam power on the cable system. To this was added later the production of allied machinery such as traction engines, road rollers, and locomotives. Stationary engines, electrical power plant, and colliery winding gears were also produced for many years, but were given up later when the demand for steam cultivating machinery increased.
After the War the demand for steam machinery lapsed very quickly and production was turned first to petrol-engined and later to Diesel-engined machinery, which involved a very complete reorganization of methods of production, workshop equipment, and manufacturing standards of all kinds. Further, a revolutionary change in the methods of land cultivation was introduced in 1928 in the Fowler "Gyrotiller" (Storey's patent) which, to a large extent, replaces the plough, the basic cultivating implement for centuries.
The "Gyrotiller" breaks up the soil by rubbing it against itself by means of two cutter rings rotating in opposite directions and produces a tilth in one operation, instead of the several separate operations required with other implements; it also eliminates the hardened subsoil pan formed by the wedging action of the plough. It is produced in four sizes: 170 h.p., 80 h.p., 40 h.p., and 30 h.p., all mounted on "crawler" tracks and driven by high-speed Diesel engines produced by the firm. The smaller sizes can also be used as agricultural tractors when required.
After trial of other types, the firm decided a few years ago that they would obtain the best results by manufacturing their own Diesel engines to fit in their "Gyrotillers," crawler tractors, road rollers, and light locomotives for shunting and plantation work. For all these purposes the working conditions require a high-speed prime mover, with complete protection from dust and dirt, which will withstand prolonged full-load duty with unskilled attention. All engines produced for this purpose are fitted with the Fowler-Sanders patent combustion chamber with double-swirl turbulence, which has given extremely good results in the directions of economy, cleanliness, and easy starting.
Complete plant for the line production of these engines by up-to-date methods has been installed, together with similar plant for the production of gearboxes, clutches, crawler tracks, and other equipment required. Conversion and adaptation of shops previously arranged for the production of steam machinery is still in progress.
In addition to "Gyrotillers" and Diesel engines, other machinery under construction and completed includes Diesel crawler tractors, Diesel locomotives for works and railway shunting purposes, Diesel and steam road rollers, street gully emptiers and street-washing machines, concrete mixers, and contractors' winches, elevators, and other plant.
The works cover about 14 acres and employ about 1,000 men.
The company was established in 1864 for the manufacture of locomotives, principally those of the lighter types. These cover a wide range, from 6 to 80 tons' weight, and the firm has always had a large export business and has been identified with pioneer and development railways in various parts of the world. Locomotives have been supplied to English as well as to colonial railways, also to India, South Africa, Australia, and South America. In recent years the firm has taken part in the rapid development of the Diesel locomotive with mechanical transmission.
The company acquired the goodwill of two important locomotive manufacturing firms, Messrs. Kerr, Stuart and Company, of Stoke on Trent, and the Avonside Engine Company, of Bristol, following the cessation of these companies' independent activities.
The Leeds works, which cover an area of some 7 acres, are conveniently and compactly laid out, and are equipped with plant of modern description.
In 1919, in consequence of the growth in the demand for electricity, the engineer of the existing power station advised the Electricity Committee of the City Council that preparations should be made for building a new generating station. An opportunity later occurred for the purchase of the Kirkstall site, and in 1926 the Corporation acquired the estate, comprising 104 acres, with a bridge giving access to it. In 1927 the Electricity Commissioners empowered the Corporation to proceed with construction, and in the following year the issuing of the necessary specifications commenced. The first sod was lifted in July 1928 and the first generator was supplying energy into the distribution system in October 1930.
The site is particularly good for coaling facilities; the Leeds and Liverpool Canal runs along one side, and its junction with the river Aire at Leeds enables coal supplies to be brought in bulk. There is also a series of sidings connected with the London Midland and Scottish Railway. The river Aire, forming another boundary to the site, provides the water required for condensing purposes.
The land was originally flat pasture forming the flood plain of the river Aire. After preliminary boring, however, it was found that piling was unnecessary, and a reinforced concrete raft was constructed over the portion of the site to be occupied by buildings, to act as a foundation. The ducts for the inlet and discharge of the cooling water were combined with the raft as far as possible. Excavation amounting to 35,000 cubic yards was required for the raft and the water ducts; the surplus material was used for levelling the rest of the site, and for embankments for the railway sidings. During the construction of the raft a steel tower about 180 feet high was erected; the mixed concrete was hoisted up this tower and conveyed by gravity chutes to the desired position. The beds for the turbo-generators were made at this time, each requiring 400 cubic yards of concrete.
A large dock was also constructed as a bypass to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. It is 1,000 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 6 feet deep, and can accommodate fifty barges.
Preparation of Fuel. - Coal is removed from the barges by two telphers, each of 40 tons capacity, and is then discharged through an automatic weighing machine, capable of dealing with 60 tons per hour, into a 300-ton bunker. From the bunker it is discharged to a distributing hopper, with gates arranged to feed either of two belt conveyers which transport coal to the wet coal bunkers in the dryer house or alternatively to a third conveyer leading to a storage ground. The two belt conveyers are 18 inches wide and have a capacity of 40 tons per hour. The store belt conveyer has an automatic travelling belt distributor with a reverse belt operating transversely, to distribute coal to either side of the main conveyer and a travelling hopper. The main conveyer is reversible, to enable coal to be removed back from the store to the dryer house conveyers.
The dryer house contains three drying units, 80 inches in diameter and 45 feet long, revolving at 6 r.p.m., and driven by a 75 h.p. motor through four sets of gearing. Each dryer will reduce the moisture content in 12 tons of raw coal from 15 per cent to 1.5 per cent in one hour. The dryer consists of a shell formed by two long concentric steel-plate cylinders, the outer being somewhat longer than the inner one. This shell holds the coal to be dried. A small hand-fired furnace is so arranged that the waste gases first pass down the inner cylinder of the dryer; they are then turned back at the discharge end so as to pass through the annular space between the two cylinders, to the exhaust hood, from which they are withdrawn by an induced draught fan. After drying, the fuel is delivered by screw conveyers and elevators to the pulverizer house. Storage is also provided for 100 tons of dried coal.
The pulverizer house is a steel structure with brick panelling. Each of the mills can pulverize 15 tons of dry coal per hour to a fineness such that 86 per cent will pass through a 100-mesh screen, and all will pass through a 40-mesh screen. Pulverization is effected by six rollers of chilled cast iron, running on a circular steel track. They are mounted in pendulum fashion so that when the mill rotates they are maintained against the track by centrifugal force, grinding the coal which is fed between the fixed and rolling surfaces. Attached to the spindle which operates the rollers, and revolving with it, is a support carrying a number of manganese steel ploughs corresponding to the number of rollers. The function of the ploughs is to pick up coal from the bottom of the mill and project it between the rollers and the track.
Air is drawn up through a series of tangential ports at the base of the mill and carries the coal dust in the mill to a "cyclone" collector. From the collector the pulverized coal is fed to a rotating valve controlling delivery to the conveyers supplying the 100-ton powdered coal bunker. Before passing into the bunker the fuel is weighed by an automatic machine. Two pneumatic fuel transport pumps convey the powdered coal to the boiler house bunkers, each of which will hold 70 tons. The pumps will deal with 90,000 lb. of fuel per hour, and consist of screw feeders for transferring the fuel from the bottom of the bunker to a pipe line which is supplied with compressed air to give the necessary stimulus to the coal stream. The air is supplied by two motor-driven compressors supplying small pipes connected to the fuel lines at a number of points.
Boiler House. - The plant includes three Stirling high-duty tri-drum boilers. Each is arranged as a separate unit, comprising three drums 42 inches in diameter and 32 feet long. The drums are of seamless forged steel 1.75 inches thick and each weighs about 14 tons. The ends are separately fabricated and attached by rivets. Each boiler has 848 3.25-inch tubes giving a total heating surface of 16,540 sq. ft. The working pressure is 475 lb. per sq. in., and the normal evaporative capacity of each boiler is 160,000 lb. of water per hour, with an overload capacity of 184,000 lb. per hour.
Three duplex feeders are installed at the bottom of each pulverised coal bunker, and convey the coal in a steady stream into two pipes through which it is carried by a stream of air to three burners of the turbulent typo. Preheated air passes through ports in the periphery of the burners. The combustion chambers consist of water-cooled side and rear walls with a water screen situated above the ash pit. The walls are of the fin-tube type forming a complete water-cooled metal screen connected to the steam and water spaces of the boiler. The water screen above the ash pit consists of plain tubes only, for cooling ash particles below fusing point before they settle in the ash hopper.
Each boiler is equipped with a multi-loop single-pass superheater with an effective surface of 4,850 sq. ft., designed to raise the temperature of the steam to 750 deg. F. Economizers of the Foster type are installed, the elements consisting of cold-drawn steel tubes, on to the outside of which are shrunk cast iron rings. The economizers are designed for a working pressure of 490 lb. per sq. in. Ljungstrom preheaters are installed, working on the regenerative principle and consisting of a rotor revolving inside a container at 3 to 4 r.p.m. Primary and secondary air fans are provided, the former delivering air at 280 deg. F. to the burners. The main forced draught fan is of the double inlet type, delivering heated air to combustion chambers at the firing floor level. Each boiler is also provided with two induced draught fans. Automatic control of the boiler house is provided to ensure the highest economy in operation.
Generator House. - The building is 83 feet high from basement level to the overhead crane rails, 84 feet wide between the crane rails, and 140 feet long. Rising from the basement are the concrete foundations for the generators, 27 feet high. Surrounding these and continuing down each side of the engine room are platforms; otherwise the room is open from basement to roof, thus affording ample natural lighting. Galleries are also provided along one side, to give access to other parts of the building.
The plant consists of two units each having a maximum continuous output of 25,000 kW. or 35,714 kVA. at 70 per cent power factor. Each unit consists of a two-cylinder turbine, the high-pressure portion being of the pure impulse type with 16 stages, whilst the low-pressure portion is fitted with reaction blading throughout. The blades in both cylinders are of stainless steel. Free expansion due to temperature changes is provided for in the high-pressure casing by attaching each bearing housing to the casing by two pads set at 45 deg. to the horizontal and vertical centre lines of the casing. The central casing of the low-pressure portion is attached to two streamlined exhaust casings through which exhaust steam passes to a breeches pipe leading to the condenser. Steam for feed heating and for the evaporators is tapped from three points on the casings, for the high-pressure, intermediate-pressure, and low-pressure heaters respectively.
The bearings are supplied with oil under pressure from a main oil pump positively driven through gearing from the turbine shaft. In addition, a turbine-driven oil pump comes into operation automatically when the oil pressure falls to a predetermined amount. For cooling the oil after it is discharged from the bearings, each turbine is provided with three oil coolers, the third being a standby. Centrifugal oil purifiers are also installed.
Each machine has a gauge panel fitted with indicating watt-meters and temperature indicators, also an alarm to give warning when the temperature of the air circulating round the alternator reaches a predetermined limit.
The main condensers are of the vertical regenerative type with the condensate outlet arranged on the steam inlet side, to ensure that the condensate temperature corresponds to the exhaust steam temperature. The tubes are expanded in the top plates, but are packed in the bottom tube plates with metallic packing. Normally a two-flow water circuit is in operation, but bypass and switch-over valves are provided so that the flow can be reversed or the condenser operated as a single-flow plant if desired. All circulating water valves are electrically operated from remote controls on the main driving platforms.
The centrifugal circulating pumps have a capacity of 2,400,000 gallons per hour against a 45-foot head. They are cross-connected so that either pump may operate on one or both condensers. The motors driving the pumps are of the cascade type. Only the main motor normally operates, but when the plant is working under syphonic conditions, the auxiliary motor comes into operation. There are two condensate pumps, one motor-driven and one turbine-driven, of the vertical-spindle type with pressure-sealed glands.
Four steam-jet air pumps are provided on each set; they are of the two-stage type, the actuating steam being condensed by surface contact with the condensate.
The condensate, from the time it leaves the main condenser until it enters the boilers, is maintained in an absolutely closed circuit. All make-up water passes through the main condenser, where it is de-aerated. Three feed pumps, driven by steam turbines, are installed with each condenser. The feed-heating plant gives an ultimate temperature of 300 deg. F. Double-effect coil evaporators give a normal make-up of 5 per cent, and can, if desired, be arranged in parallel as single-effect units to deal with 10 per cent make-up.
Each turbine is coupled to its alternator by a flexible coupling of the claw type, lubricated from adjacent bearings. The fabricated stator frame consists of a number of links assembled with longitudinal bars inside and outside. The conductors are made up of a number of laminations arranged so that the relative positions vary in different slots. The rotor shaft and core are made from a solid forging of mild alloy steel. External cooling fans deliver air under pressure, through coolers located in the foundation block, to inlet passages at each end of the alternator, whence it passes to the core and the end windings of both rotor and stator. The alternators supply three-phase current at a generation pressure of 11,000 volts.
A stabilized exciter is directly coupled to the end of the alternator by a flexible disk coupling. This comprises a main exciter and a small auxiliary machine, running at constant maximum voltage with a saturated magnetic circuit, for exciting the main exciter. The arrangement is designed to maintain the stability of the main exciter under all conditions.
Control Room and Switch House. - The main control room is 140 feet long and 50 feet wide and is large enough to provide for considerable future extensions. The battery for operating the switchgear is contained in separate rooms at one end, and has a capacity of 800 ampere-hours at 150 volts.
On the basement level are the main switches which connect to the alternators, the transformers for interconnexion with Whitehall Road station, the group feeders supplying the auxiliary boards, and the connexions to the national grid. On the other side of the building are the four main transformers which connect to Whitehall Road, each of 10,500 kVA. capacity.
Switchgear is of the metal-clad type with vertical isolations. There are three sections: (a) 11,000-volt gear with a rupturing capacity of 14 million kVA; (b) 11,000-volt sub-feeder switchgear, controlling the 11,000-volt feeders, with a rupturing capacity of 500,000 kVA.; and (c) 6,600-volt switchgear for linking up with Whitehall Road, connecting certain outgoing feeders, and providing a service supply for the generating station, also with a rupturing capacity of 500,000 kVA.
Each switchboard comprises duplicate busbars with electrically operated metal-clad switchgear. Two circuit-breakers are incorporated in each unit, one connected to each busbar. From the control board, a complete change over from one busbar to the other can be effected without interrupting the supply. This permits of one breaker being examined while the other is in use. The isolation of each breaker is carried out by motor-operated gear, which drives raising and lowering screws. Tanks can be removed and contacts inspected without removing the breaker from the structure.
The potential transformers have their own isolating devices and thus can be removed from their circuits without interrupting the supply. A separate neutral earthing resistance of the liquid type is provided for each system. A 20-ton overhead crane serves the building and a railway siding is continued right through the house to facilitate the rapid loading and unloading of the heavy transformer units.
Extensions at present in progress comprise a second boiler house, and additions to the turbine house and switch house.
Carbonizing Plant. - Carbonizing is carried out in three groups of retort benches. In the first there are 72 retorts, 33 inches wide by 10 inches high, producing daily 22 million cu. ft. of gas from 170 tons of coal. In the second there are 30 retorts, 50 inches wide by 10 inches high, producing daily 3 million cu. ft. of gas from 165 tons of coal. There are nine settings in the first group, and the waste gases pass into nine small vertical boilers, with a total evaporation of 3,000-3,500 lb. per hour. The waste gases from the 50-inch retorts are utilized in a Spencer-Bonecourt waste-heat horizontal multi-tubular boiler, equipped with an electrically driven induced draught fan, and evaporating 8,700 lb. per hour. The third group of retorts consist of sixteen vertical 5-ton units, with a total capacity of 1 million cu. ft. per day.
The coal conveyers have a capacity of 70 tons per hour; they are all duplicated and electrically driven, and so are the breakers and cross-conveyers. The coke-screening plant is electrically driven, and the bunkers have a capacity for 48 hours' requirements.
The condensing plant consists of two towers (originally scrubbers) 15 feet in diameter and 60 feet high, as well as six sets of air-cooled condensers. Two sets of rotary exhausters are installed, each capable of dealing with 200,000 cu. ft. per hour, and there is also a turbo-exhauster, also with a capacity of 200,000 cu. ft. per hour.
There are two tar extractors and four sets of washers, each with a capacity of 1.25 million cu. ft. per day. All the purifier boxes are 6 feet deep.
All the coal gas manufactured is measured by four station meters; the capacity of the smallest is 75,000 cu. ft. per hour, whilst that of the largest (a Connersville meter installed in 1934) is 200,000 cu. ft. per hour. The combined daily capacity of the meters is 12,552,000 cu. ft.
A benzol recovery plant, installed in 1934, is capable of dealing with 7 million cu. ft. of gas per day. It includes three washers of the multifilm brush type; in two of these, creosote oil is used for benzol extraction, whilst in the last, gas oil is used for naphthalene removal. The plant is operated by a battery of centrifugal pumps. The crude benzol still is 5 feet high and 4 feet in diameter; it contains twelve stripping trays. Oil heaters are of the vertical multitubular type, 3 ft. 6 in. in diameter and 12 feet long; the oil coolers are of cast iron. All water is circulated through a cooling tower, which is provided with induced draught. An average of 2.57 gallons of benzol is recovered per ton of coal carbonized.
There are two gasholders. No. 1 has three lifts; the capacity is 529,000 cu. ft., and the tank is of cast iron, 106 feet in diameter and 22 feet deep. No. 2 also has three lifts; the capacity is 5.25 million cu. ft., and the tank is of steel, 250 feet in diameter and 30 feet deep.
Steam is generated in two Lancashire boilers, each 30 feet long and 8 feet in diameter, with forced draught furnaces. The working pressure is 120 lb. per sq. in.; the chimney is 6 feet in diameter and 100 feet high.
All the electric power is supplied by Leeds Corporation Electricity Department as two-phase alternating current at 200 volts, with a frequency of 50 cycles per second. For the necessary maintenance of the plant, a well-equipped machine shop is provided, also smiths' and joiners' shops. In the yard is a pan ash washer dealing with all pan ash from the vertical retort house; it can also be adapted for washing coke breeze. Its hourly capacity is 4 tons of pan ash or 2.5 tons of coke breeze.
Carburetted Water-Gas Plant. - There are four sets of generators, three having daily capacities of 1.5 million cu. ft., and one with a capacity of 3/4 million cu. ft. All the machines are fitted with grit arresters, The air blast for these sets is supplied by two Sturtevant fans, belt driven from vertical steam engines of 40 b.h.p. and by 55 b.h.p, high-speed turbine-driven blower. Steam for power and process work is supplied by three Lancashire boilers, 30 feet long and 8 feet in diameter. Crosthwaite furnaces are fitted and the boilers have a working pressure of 125 lb. per sq. in. A Weir pump and a Worthington pump supply the feed water from an overhead tank with a capacity of 66,594 gallons. There is a twin exhauster set capable of dealing with 200,000 cu, ft. per hour and two other sets each of 80,000 cu. ft. per hour capacity. In addition, an electrically driven exhauster with a capacity of 100,000 cu, ft. per hour, is installed solely for boosting gas to the New Wortley works. The condensing plant consists of two batteries, each containing four annular condensers, 40 feet by 5 feet, also a set of water-cooled condensers dealing with quantities up to 3 million cu. ft. per day, An electrically driven tar extractor removes the bulk of the tar. Two sets of scrubbers are installed, each containing scrubbers 30 feet high and 5 ft. 6 in. in diameter, packed with wood filling. Four purifier boxes, each 43 feet square and 6 feet deep remove the sulphur from the gas, and there are two catch boxes, 35 feet by 30 feet by 6 feet deep. Two meters are provided, with hourly capacities of 132,000 and 85,000 on. ft. respectively. The relief holder for the carburetted water gas has three lifts, and a capacity of 150,000 cu. ft., the steel tank being 57 feet in diameter and 20 feet deep. The oil storage tank in connexion with the plant is 35 feet in diameter and 30 feet deep, and is capable of holding 180,000 gallons.
Prior to 1930 the department was housed in three separate buildings, scattered in various parts of the city. This organization was costly on account of the necessity of transporting goods from one depot to another, and supervision was not of an easy nature. In 1928 the Gas Committee purchased a plot of land in New York Road covering an area of 21 acres On this land have been erected workshops and stores capable of dealing with the whole of the activities of the department, the branches previously referred to having been disposed of. The present building consists of one story, but provision is made for other stories to be added as required.
The building is arranged to eliminate unnecessary handling of goods, and to ensure that a normal and forward sequence of work is maintained. For the reception and dispatch of goods separate loading docks are provided, each over 100 feet long, situated at opposite ends of the building. A reversible slat conveyer over 100 yards long, 3 feet wide, and moving at a speed of 40 ft. per min., enables goods to be transported to the various sections of the works as required.
The general stores are placed centrally in the building, and are provided with counters on three sides to facilitate the quick issue of stores. The meter and sheet metal shop is equipped for all types of sheet metal work, the repairing of street lamps and meters, meter leather dressing, and meter testing, etc. Attached to this shop is the meter testing room, and adjoining this is the magistrates' meter testing station. Approximately 8,000 meters are repaired per annum. Cookers, fires, radiators, hot water appliances, and canteen and cafe equipment are dealt with in the cooker and appliance shop. Appliances are entirely dismantled, cleaned, repaired, repolished or stove-enamelled, and finally tested before leaving the shop. Lathes, buffing machines, a tap-grinding machine, caustic soda tanks, an incinerator for cookers, and other equipment necessary for the renovation, are provided. The numbers of appliances dealt with during the past twelve months are as follows: cookers, 3,600; gas fires, 1,480; water heaters, 1,080; hotplates, 1,060; miscellaneous appliances, 550.
Easy access has been provided from both shops to the paint shop. It is equipped with four painting booths suitably ventilated, and a compressing plant in duplicate, which supplies air for the pistol paint-spraying apparatus. Both air-drying and stoving paints are used, and two gas-fired ovens are provided for stoving purposes. The department undertakes to colour gas appliances in any shade to meet the taste of consumers. The activities of the street lighting department are also administered from this building. There are upwards of 20,000 street lighting controllers in the city, and a small portion of the works is set aside for the repair and maintenance of this equipment. Heating of the works is carried out by the Dunham system with complete thermostatic control. Heat is provided by radiators, steam pipes, and unit heaters suspended from the roof. These unit heaters can also be used as fans for producing air currents during the summer. Steam is provided by two vertical Cochran boilers, and domestic hot water by a calorifier system. The Bridge Street end of the building is the store for all new and repaired appliances, and meters, and here also is provided a transport office, dispatch dock, and garage.
The offices are also situated at the Bridge Street end of the works, and contain records of every appliance and meter issued from the building, and also complete stores records. The building is also the headquarters for the sales, fittings, and street lighting personnel. The total number of employees is 466.
The firm was founded in 1882, and manufactures many types of both woollen and worsted cloths, and has always been especially well known for indigo Botany serges. About 600 workpeople are employed, and both woollen and worsted spinning are carried on in the works.
There is a weaving plant of 250 looms, among which are a number of the newest Northrop automatic and Hattersley's box looms. The woven pieces are submitted to various processes in finishing. First they are examined in the mending department, where any yarn imperfections or weaving faults are rectified. The pieces are then scoured, milled, and "crabbed," for cleaning, softening, and setting the cloths.
Since 60 per cent of the turnover is on piece-dyed serges, an up-to-date dye house is kept fully employed, and in the final finishing process the pieces are dried by being run through a tentering machine made by Messrs. H. Krantz and Sons, of Aachen, Germany, and working at a pressure of 60 lb. per sq. in. The heat is distributed across the machine by fans. At the time of its installation, it was far in advance of any British-made machine, as it had an electric automatic feed. The latest triple-cutting machines are also used in finishing for the cropping process.
The steam plant consists of two Lancashire boilers, working in conjunction with a Ruths steam accumulator, which has proved most satisfactory. The steam is distributed at high, low, and intermediate pressures, by automatic control valves. Overhead and underground long-distance steam mains convey the steam to the woollen mill, a distance of some 300 yards from the boilers.
The Yorkshire Post, which was established (as the Leeds Intelligencer) in 1754, and its allied papers - the Yorkshire Evening Post (established 1890), the Leeds Mercury (established 1718), and the Yorkshire Weekly Post (established 1720) - are printed at Albion Street, Leeds. These papers are produced in extensive up-to-date buildings, where plant and equipment of modern type are installed, the most recent printing presses being capable of an output of 160,000 20-page papers per hour. An interesting feature is a special motor van, upon which is mounted a Bush printing machine, which travels the country to attend sporting and other meetings. In all, the proprietors issue no less than 2.25 million papers weekly.
The Yorkshire Evening Post enjoyed a record year in 1935 when, for the first time in its history, it produced a 24-page paper. This newspaper is published simultaneously in three cities, Leeds, Bradford, and Doncaster; and branch offices, equipped with Bush machines to replace hand-stamping, have been opened in various towns throughout Yorkshire.
The works, which are the largest works in the world solely devoted to the manufacture of non-ferrous tubes, were established 50 years ago and since its incorporation under the present name in 1909 the company has devoted its entire resources to the manufacture of solid drawn non-ferrous tubes in a variety of alloys, including copper, brass, cupro-nickel, aluminium, phosphor-bronze, aluminium-brass, and block tin. Tubes are supplied for an almost infinite number of purposes, some of the major uses being in marine work for the British and foreign navies and mercantile marine, for home, foreign, and colonial railways, power stations, housing, and buildings, for water services and heating, breweries, dairies, also motor cars and aeroplanes, and for almost all modern developments for luxury and comfort, such as refrigeration, wireless apparatus, etc.
The works estate, of over 100 acres, includes buildings, etc., covering approximately 20 acres, and is situated on the west bank of the Aire and Calder Canal and provided with private railway sidings. Only virgin metals are used and the raw metals are unloaded overside ocean steamers into barges at Hull and conveyed to the works by canal. The barges are unloaded on to the company's own wharves and the metal is conveyed thence into the various metal warehouses.
The process of solid-drawn tube manufacture may be divided roughly into three stages. In the first stage the metals are melted and brought into a state suitable for the making of tubes, when they are cast into solid cylindrical billets. The copper is melted and refined in 25-ton and 40-ton reverberatory furnaces in the refinery, whilst brass and other alloys are cast from low-frequency electric induction furnaces in separate foundries. The second stage consists of converting these billets into hollow cylindrical shells by one of two methods (according to the alloy and size of tube required): rotary piercing, and hot extrusion by hydraulic pressure. In the third stage the hollow shell is drawn to a tube of the required dimensions; one of the several mills occupied by the draw benches is approximately 3 acres in extent.
Running parallel with the mill is the annealing house, where the tubes are annealed between each pass to remove the work-hardening produced by the drawing process. The furnaces most recently added are electric, the largest being 160 feet long, and with the extension of the annealing house similar plant is being added. The temperatures of the heating zones are automatically controlled to within 5 deg. C. by means of pyrometers.
The demand for light-gauge copper tubes for domestic water service and heating installations, and for gas and refrigerator work, has increased so greatly in recent years that the company, realizing that the advance was being impeded by lack of suitable fittings, has developed and put on the market a patent fitting in which solder is included in the body of the fitting, as an integral part; the tubes are joined by the application of heat, when the solder flows between the fitting and the tube by capillary attraction. This new product has developed so rapidly that a new mill, 216 feet long and 81 feet wide, has been built and is devoted entirely to the manufacture of these patent fittings.
At the southern end of the works is the recently enlarged inspection department and the finished-tube warehouse, a building 430 feet long and 60 feet wide. The company's sidings run into loading bays in the warehouse, so that finished tubes can be loaded directly into railway wagons.
There are 1,500 employees engaged solely in the production of tubes and fittings. A well-appointed canteen for workpeople and staff is part of the works establishment.
The firm was established in 1809. At that time it was owned by Messrs. George and Thomas Earle, who were described as marble merchants, manufacturers of Roman cement, and general commission agents. Portland cement was invented and patented by Joseph Aspdin in 1824, and it is impossible to say when its manufacture was actually taken up by this firm. It is interesting to note, however, that from 179 tons of cement per week in 1879, to-day a combined average output of 15,000 tons per week is obtained from their three works at Wilmington, Melton, and Hope. Messrs. Earle acquired the Melton Works of the Humber Portland Cement Company in 1923, and since that date have carried out considerable extensions.
Work in the quarry, which is about a mile from the works, was begun in 1921, and there is now a daily output of 1,000-1,400 tons. The chalk is brought down in 12-ton trucks and tipped direct into a gyratory crusher, capable of dealing with 90-120 tons per hour. This crusher reduces the material to 5-inch cubes. Further crushing takes place in a hammer mill, and the chalk is then carried up an 81-foot elevator to the 2,000-ton silo for direct feed into the tube mills. Approximately 37 per cent of moisture is added at this point and the material is reduced to a slurry, which is pumped to the works through a pipe line at a pressure of 200 lb. per sq. in.
The clay is obtained from clay fields on the banks of the Humber, brought up in trucks, and tipped into a wash mill where the liquid chalk is added. This does not, however, finish the combining of the chalk and clay, and the material is conveyed by bucket wheel to the wet tube mills, where it is ground and intimately mixed ready for burning.
There are three kilns at the works, all 200 feet in length, automatically fired by pulverized coal. Approximately xx ton of coal is consumed per ton of mixture burned. The slurry is fed into the cool end of the kiln at a rate of 24 tons of clinker per hour, and attains a temperature of about 2,700 deg. F. in the burning zone. The hot clinker drops into coolers where the temperature is reduced to about 250 deg. F., when the clinker is transferred to silos which have a capacity of 1,800 tons. The final grinding of the clinker takes place in four cement mills, each containing steel balls which are used as a grinding medium. Each of the mills is 36 feet long. Screw conveyers transport the finished cement to the storage silos, of which there are six, each having a capacity of 1,350 tons, which, together with a cement warehouse capable of holding 5,000 tons, make a total storage capacity of 13,000 tons. Automatic packers with an average capacity of 25 tons per hour are used, and the cement is subsequently dispatched by road, rail, and water, as necessary. To ensure absolute uniformity, all raw materials, together with details of the process of manufacture, are checked by the laboratories every hour.
The history of the works goes back to 1823, when they were started by two men from Sheffield. They passed through the hands of several owners and were at one time known as the Birmingham Tinplate Works, apparently indicating that tinplates were then the main product. Eventually they came into the possession of Messrs. Samuel Beale and Company, from whom they were purchased by the present owners 70 years ago. The Park Gate Iron Company, Ltd., was incorporated in 1864, the principal object being the acquisition of the works from Messrs. Beale. In 1888, the extension of the company's activities was reflected in the changing of the name to The Park Gate Iron and Steel Company, Ltd.
For many years, until 1876, iron rails were the chief product, and were supplied to the leading railways at home and abroad. At the same time, a considerable trade was carried on in iron plates and bars, and it is an interesting fact that the majority of the plates for building the steamship Great Eastern were made at Park Gate. The experience thus gained was put to good use a few years later, when the first trials in this country for producing rolled armour plates were carried out at the works. The trials were successful, and the first plate was sent to the builders at Newcastle in February 1856. In the following three months, nearly 200 tons were supplied, ranging from 3 inches to 4xx inches thick, for H.M.S. Terror. For the next five years, rolled armour plates were obtainable only from Park Gate.
The original plate mill at Park Gate was the first reversing mill used in the country. It was also in the Park Gate blast furnaces that the first trials were made of the ironstone from the Frodingham district, which led to the subsequent extensive development of that area. Again, when the Bessemer steel process was introduced into Sheffield, the first ingots were rolled at Park Gate. Later, when electric power was applied to the works, electric charging machines were installed at the open hearth furnaces, and they were among the first mechanically operated charges to be introduced into Great Britain.
In connexion with the development of steel manufacture, preference was given, after close investigation, to the open hearth process instead of the Bessemer, at Park Gate; and in 1888 the first two furnaces were built. For many years, both wrought iron and steel were manufactured, but in 1908 it was decided to discontinue the production of wrought iron, and the works were devoted entirely to steel manufacture. The steel plant has been steadily enlarged and improved, until to-day there are 10 open hearth furnaces, varying from 50 to 80 tons' capacity, and fitted with the most recent accessories for control and economy. At the same time, the blast furnaces and the rolling mills have been kept continuously up to date, so as to ensure that the equipment and organization of the works shall be equal to the demands made upon them.
The company was one of the first in the market in bright-drawing and free-cutting steels, also in deep-stamping and cold-pressing steels, and in steel arches and props for collieries, which to-day form so important a part of the steel trade. The present weekly capacity of the works is as follows: pig iron, 3,200 tons; steel ingots, 5,000 tons; plates, sheets, bars, and sections, 3,500 tons; dry crushed slag, 3,000 tons; tarred slag, 3,000 tons; also 50,000 red bricks, facing bricks and common bricks.
When the works were first built, the only process of steel melting in use was the crucible process developed by Huntsman. Subsequently, Messrs. John Brown became pioneers in adopting the Bessemer process, which was later followed by the open hearth process and more recently by the electric arc and high-frequency induction methods of melting.
Since 1931, when the two firms which constitute the present company were amalgamated, the acid open hearth and the basic electric arc processes have been principally used. A battery of Siemens furnaces is installed on the side of the works dealing with heavy castings. The furnaces are specially designed for producing steel of the highest quality. Ingots weighing as much as 180-200 tons can be produced for the manufacture of the largest components of chemical plant, such as those required in hydrogenation processes.
At the side of the works devoted to lighter castings, a remarkable electric melting shop has been developed. Originally there were only hand-charged Heroult furnaces for melting various stainless steels; then, as the demand for high-quality alloy steels for aircraft and motor cars rapidly increased, additions were made to the equipment, and the shop now contains a furnace of 30 tons capacity, the largest electric arc furnace in Europe. All these furnaces are provided with modern high-voltage electrical control and automatic charging methods. Several recent furnaces are designed so that the roof can be removed with the electrodes in position, in order to minimize delay between the tapping of one charge and the commencement of the next.
A number of high-frequency induction furnaces have been installed for melting high-speed tool steels from selected Swedish steel bases. Another similar plant supplies the needs of the special foundry devoted to the production of rust- and acid-resisting castings.
Some idea of the size of the works may be gained from the fact that its consumption of electricity is more than one-quarter of the total commercial and industrial electrical load for the whole of Sheffield.
Forging and Rolling. - Plant for the forging and rolling of steel ranges from one of the largest steam intensifier presses in the country, equipped for dealing with forgings exceeding 200 tons in weight, to mills for manufacturing light steel billets and wire rod. A large amount of the high-pressure plant for the Billingham works of Imperial Chemical Industries, Ltd., was made from forgings produced in this department, as well as 120 boiler drums for the Cunard-White Star liner Queen Mary. Turbine rotor spindles, turbine wheels, gearwheel rims, pinions, and shafting for the same ship were also manufactured in this forge.
The heavy forging department contains the largest hollow-rolling mill in the country; it is capable of rolling hollow drums up to 18 feet in diameter. With this machine it was possible to roll the sections for the great high-density wind tunnel at the National Physical Laboratory. It is noteworthy that when the segments of this wind tunnel were being reheated before the final rolling operation, their size and weight were such that special measures were necessary to prevent their collapse in the furnace.
Forged steel rolls, small turbine wheels, locomotive and Diesel engine parts, steam engine details, shafts, and axles are produced in the lighter press shop. Tyres and axles for railways, also automobile and aircraft steels, are produced in separate departments.
Engineers' Tool Factory. - This factory was opened in 1934. The shops, which are laid out on ground level, occupy 62,000 sq. ft., and are concerned with the manufacture of drills, reamers, milling cutters, metal saws, high-speed circular saws, hacksaws, wood saws, files, and rasps. A progressive system of production is in operation, so that handling of the items is minimized, and continuity of output is assured.
Research Laboratories. - The firm's research laboratories consist of different sections, devoted respectively to chemistry, physics, micrography, mechanical testing at ordinary temperatures, creep testing at elevated temperatures, corrosion, and pyrometry. There is also an extensive library. The properties of the 13 per cent chromium steels were discovered in these laboratories, where also the "18-8" austenitic "Staybrite" steels were developed at a later date. In addition, a considerable amount of routine work is carried out on problems presented to the company by customers. In the new extension, formerly Messrs. Cammell's Cyclops Works, the latest heat treatment of steels is carried out, and here the chemical laboratory for the entire works is concentrated.
The firm was founded in 1872, at the Hecla works in Newhall Road, Sheffield, by Mr. Robert Hadfield, father of the present chairman. During the first years of its existence the company confined its activities exclusively to the manufacture of steel castings, but in 1888 it was formed into a limited liability company with Sir Robert A. Hadfield, the inventor of "Era" manganese steel, silicon steel, and other special steels, as chairman and managing director. The invention of manganese steel marked a new epoch in metallurgical history and was one of the chief causes which led to the development of the modern alloy steels. The chief characteristics of manganese steel are its great hardness and toughness; and the fact that it has all the attributes of hard steel without its brittleness has made it the supreme material for parts of machinery and structures subject to excessive abrasive action and abnormal conditions of wear.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century the available space at the Hecla works became too circumscribed for the rapidly growing business of the firm, and the East Hecla works was established on the present site at Tinsley. The two works now occupy over 200 acres, with over 61 acres actually under cover. There are over 200 overhead electric cranes in operation; over 250 furnaces; the machine shops house over 700 machine tools; and there are 40 miles of railway track. The steel is made by almost every known process from the open hearth, both basic and acid practice, to those involving the use of modern types of high-frequency electric furnaces. A recent addition to the steel plant is the installation of a 50-ton open hearth furnace embodying the latest features. One of the most active departments is that devoted to metallurgical research and scientific control of the processes and products. The laboratories are amongst the best-equipped in the country.
There is a well-equipped pattern shop, while the steel foundries cover an area of nearly 12 acres and are the most extensive of their kind in the world. There are also two fettling shops covering an area of 45,000 sq. ft.
The machine shops cover an area of 200,000 sq. ft. One shop is specially equipped for the machining of marine forgings weighing up to 20 tons. In another, the manganese steel castings used in stone and ore crushers, dredgers, and other appliances are machined by means of high-speed steel-tipped tools. This shop is also equipped with vertical boring and turning mills for the machining of locomotive wheel centres, rolls, etc. In the erecting shops are carried out the fitting and assembly of railway and tramway track, dredging machinery, crushing machinery, and special mechanisms and structures of "Era" heat-resisting and non-corroding steels.
The forging plant is one of the most up-to-date in the country for the production of all classes of general engineering and marine forgings. Twenty-eight hammers, ranging in size from 2.5 cwt. to 4 tons, and twenty-five presses ranging from 60 to 2,000 tons in capacity, are in daily operation. The furnace equipment includes coal-fired furnaces with waste-heat boilers for the heating of the largest forgings, and regenerative gas-fired furnaces.
The rolling mills occupy an area of about 5 acres and comprise three separate sections. They are all electrically driven, the largest being a reversing 28-inch blooming and finishing mill, having an output of approximately 1,500 tons per week, and capable of reducing ingots from 15 inches square to billets 2 inches square at one heat. The other two mills are 14-inch and 11-inch bar mills and are used for rolling billets of high-tensile alloy steels and steels of other special grades to the various commercial sizes, and for the production of hollow drill bars and special shapes for turbine blading.
As makers of crushing machinery the firm's reputation is largely due to the use of manganese steel for the wearing components, and to the fact that steel is extensively employed in the construction of the crushers, which are of all types and sizes, and include jawbreakers, gyratory crushers, disk crushers, roll crushers, granulators, coal breakers, shale and clay breakers, etc.
An important product of the firm is special railway and tramway track, for which manganese steel has proved its value in maintaining important components such as switches, crossings, and sharp curves in a high state of efficiency. The firm has also specialized in the manufacture of dredger components such as tumblers, buckets, pins, and bushes, etc., for which manganese steel and other special steels are extensively employed. Complete main driving gears for dredgers are manufactured in the best toughened cast steel. Amongst the latest and most important products of the firm are heat-resisting steels and non-corroding steels.
Sheffield is the home of the silversmith's art, and the firm's modern factory provides an opportunity for observing the manufacture of silver plate in all its processes under the most favourable conditions. The firm, which has a large export trade, owes its existence to a small engraver's shop which was started by Joseph Mappin in Fargate, the main business thoroughfare of Sheffield, about the year 1797. Forty-five years ago, the company built a handsome factory in Norfolk Street, which in turn proved too small for their expanding business, and in 1922 the present factory was established as one of the largest of its kind in the country, covering 15,000 square yards, and giving steady employment to more than 1,000 workpeople. It is built on modern lines, and the workshops for producing articles of silver plate and cutlery are well lighted and well ventilated.
It is impossible to describe all the productive processes, from the mixing of the base metal to the polishing of the finished article, but a few important features may be noted. The stamp and press shop, with its elaborate system of presses and hammers for machine production, is of special interest to engineers, and constitutes a modern development of the business, introduced to meet the wide demand for standardized patterns. From the artistic standpoint, however, by far the most important section of the company's business is the work of the silversmith, and in the rooms set apart for such work can be seen the most beautiful designs being fashioned by the same methods as were employed in the old days, demonstrating a survival of the ancient skill in that craft that made Sheffield famous a century or so ago. An interesting side line in this section is the piercing of intricate designs in sterling silver, a craft which is the result of years of study and practice. Another method of decorating is by chasing, a process of manipulating small steel punches in conjunction with a small hammer. Spinning is another interesting process, in which a perfectly flat piece of metal is skilfully wrapped round revolving wooden blocks of various shapes, pressure being applied by large steel burnishers.
In one of the large shops, articles of hollow ware, such as teapots, entree dishes, meat dishes, etc., undergo the process of buffing preparatory to electroplating. Leather and felt buffs are mounted on revolving spindles, enabling all traces of roughness to be removed from the surface of the metal, and leaving it perfectly smooth and ready to receive the deposit of silver.
In the plating department is the intricate plant required to produce "Prince's Plate," with long rows of iron tanks or vats with their electrical meters and conductors, containing thousands of gallons of silver solution, which forms the plating liquid. The modern degreasing plant may also be noted, through which the articles pass, the process being followed by various acid dips to ensure perfect chemical cleansing. Here also articles to be gilded receive a coating of gold on the inside surface. Other processes include burnishing and polishing, besides many interesting features of cutlery production, such as hand-grinding, hand-forging, handle making, etching, etc.
Large quantities of silver plate are badged with the device of some well-known steamship company, or the name of a famous hotel, restaurant, or club. This is an indication of an important development of the company's business, namely hotel and steamship equipment. It is no uncommon thing for the firm to supply an outfit of silverware, consisting of some 20,000 pieces, for a large liner; in many cases the articles are designed to harmonize with the general scheme of decoration in the ship's saloons.