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British Industrial History

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Coventry Ordnance Works

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Plans of Coventry Ordnance Works/ 1907.


1907. Grinding department.
1907. Planing department.
1907. Light erecting shop.
1907. Breech mechanism department.
New Naval Shop-Centre Bay. 1907.
Big Gun Bay. 1907.
Gun-Fitting Department. 1907.
Gun Boring Machine. 1907.
Carriage shop. 1907.
Press Shop. 1907.
Gun Carriage Shop. 1907.
Carriage Shop. 1907.
Original Power House. 1907.
Smiths Shop. 1907.
Grinding and Milling.1907.
Plain Milling Shop. 1907.
Artillery Department. 1907.
Tool Room. 1907.
Machine Shop. 1907.
Wood Mill. 1907.
Light Gun Shop. 1907.
42 inch Gun Turning Lathe. 1907.
Interior of Power House. 1907.
February 1911.

Coventry Ordnance Works (C.O.W.) was a British manufacturer of heavy guns, particularly naval artillery in Coventry, Scotstoun and Cliffe.

1903 In order to produce naval ordnance, with its very different requirements, the Coventry Ordnance Co organised its Ordnance Works into a separate company which was acquired by Charles Cammell and Co. H. H. Mulliner became managing director; Mr F. Wigley remained responsible for the technical side of the business. Large capital investment was made in the necessary equipment[1]

1905 Shares in the company were acquired by other British shipbuilding firms in order to gain entry to the ordnance business and compete with the duopoly of Vickers and Armstrong Whitworth. John Brown planned to acquire a half share in the Coventry Ordnance Works of Cammell, Laird and Co[2]

1906 Fairfield acquired a large share in the company[3]. A novel feature of the design was a system where up to 20 portable machine could be applied to the piece being worked, rather than having to move it from one machine to the next. The company later set up a factory in Scotstoun, Glasgow, which made heavy gun mountings, and at Cliffe, for cordite and magazines.

1906 20,000 yards testing range set up in the Wash.

1907 Established plant for construction and fitting of complete gun mountings at Scotstoun, beside the Clyde, a facility similar to that of the company's competitors - Armstrongs and Vickers. This could manufacture 12 sets of complete heavy double gun mountings per year.

1910 Public issue of preference shares[4]. Initially the plant was managed by Retired Admiral Sir Reginald Bacon.

1917 The C.O.W. 37mm gun was the first modern auto-cannon developed in 1917. The firm also designed the 5.5 inch Naval gun and a 15 inch siege howitzer for the British Army.

1918 Dick, Kerr and Co took an option to acquire the Coventry Ordnance Works[5].

1919 Taken over by English Electric Co which would be chaired by Sir Charles Ellis, chairman of John Brown and Co[6]

1925 The firm struggled in the recession after the end of World War I which affected Britain's arms industry and closed in 1925.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times, Jun 09, 1909
  2. The Times, Jun 28, 1905
  3. The Times, Dec 12, 1906
  4. The Times, Feb 08, 1910
  5. The Times, 15 November 1918
  6. The Times, 1 October 1919