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23rd January 1919
Page 9
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Page 9, 23rd January 1919 — THE THORNYCROFT WORKS.
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An Interesting Run Round tile Basingstoke Factory. An Interesting Run Round

TWENTY YEARS AGO John I. Thornycroft and Co.. Ltd., removed their works from Chiswick to Basingstoke, and, on the 10th inst., they celebrated the approaching completion of 21 years of occupation by inviting the Press to inspect the • factory on the virtual termination of work for war purposes and the recommencement of industrial production.

The visitors were impressed by the excellent way in which the works are laid out for production, involving the smallest amount of handling of material ; with the cleanliness and orderliness of every department ; and with the obvious convenience of the wide roadway which separates the buildings fronting the public road, viz., the offices, running sheds, laboratory and chassis-erecting shops, from the main block of buildings. All the raw material enters at one end of the works from a railway siding, and a pair of rails is taken straight through the main buildings, so that, at certain convenient points, wagons can be loaded or unloaded. Raw materials are arranged for convenience of handling, and on one side of the works area is erected a timber drying store, capable of holding £80,000 worth of timber, arranged for natural drying. We understand that apparatus for artificial drying is about to be installed in case of emergency.

The metal castings are taken through pickling sheds, where sand and scale are removed, before they go into the machine shop. The smith's shop, which is close handy, where the copper smithing, electric welding, acetylene welding and die casting are undertaken, is certainly one of the best smith's shops we have entered. A very complete ventilation system carries away all fumes, so that the men are able to work under the healthiest possible conditions. The machine shops and tool rooms are equipped with the very finest machinery, as is naturally to be expected considering the high-class work which these works are called upon to produce. Besides the commercial-vehicle work going through the shops, the visitors were able to see in process of manufacture a number of engines for the coastal motor boats, ab ft. hydroplane launches, which have played a highly important part in the suppression Of the enemy submarine, whilst some of tin lathes were employed in turning the long tail shafts for these boats, and it was interesting to know that these tail shafts—two of them. to each boat, the greater portion of the length of each being outside the hull of the boat and therefore running in water—were made of rustless steel, a metal which seems gradually to be taking a highly important place in industry.

The commercial vehicles that we encountered at -various stages of their manufacture whilst passing

through the works were the " J " type, being the War Office model, and the " X " type ; the latter, whilst having the same engine, is more lightly con structed in its transmission, and is designed for a net load of three tons in an open lorry body. We saw quite a number of vehicles of this model going through intended for despatch to India. For this

service they are provided with wheels 1030 mm. in diameter and with a larger radiator' as over some of

tke roads an uphill climb of 14 or 15 miles is occasionally encountered. The weight of this chassis in running order is approximately 2 tons 8 cwt. In the chassis-erecting shop between 70 and 80 vehicles are laid down at any one time. The erection of each vehicle is under the supervision of a qualified

fitter with his gang of assistants. Other piocesses of erecting chassis have been examined and considered,

but this earlier, but not necessarily old-fashioned, method has been retained as being the most suitable considering the output of the works. It was interest ing to learn from Sir John E. Thornycroft that the first Thornycroft commercial vehicle was built in a shed at Chiswick which had been erected by Sir John I. Thornycroftto house the full-size plaster model -of the statue of Boadicea which now stands facing the Houses of Parliament on Westminster Embankment. The front legs of the horses were removed, and partially under the body of the horses Thornycroft No. 1 was erected; the second vehicle being larger, and therefore requiring more room, was the energizing factor which finally resulted in the statue being cast and erected where itnow graces a prominent position in London. One could deal at great length with the methods of manufacture and with the care shown in erecting and assembling, but that is hardly necessary here, par c30

ticularly as the Thornycroft vehicle has earned a large measure of praise for its behaviour at the Front. One of the greatest testa that the work on the Western Front has provided has been that of back axles, and the banjo type of back axle adopted. by Thornycrofts stood up remarkably well.

An opportunity was provided for seeing the excellent quality of work put into bcxly construction, and there is no doubt that the lorry body supplied by this company is well designed and soundly built, and should be capable -of giving a long period of service. An opportunity was also given of witnessing a test of the " J" and , " type vehicles (the 4-ton W.D. model and the 3-ton lorry) in the long climb to the top of Farley Hill, where the gradient at one point was 1 in 7. The vehicles took the climb extremely well, and on the return journey the efficiency of the brakes was remarked by everybody.

Not the least interesting portion of this visit was the demonstration of the Thornycroft depth-charge throwers and trench mortars in Rockwood Park (close to the town). This particular type of gun is interesting, not only because it was designed, developed and produced by Thornycrofts, but because the cartridge is exploded in one cylinder, and the pressure is then led through a comparatively small tube to the base of the ram in one case. and to the rear of the bomb in the other, so as to give a sustained and comparatively slowly-acting thrust.

Two of the most recent additions to the works buildings are the finely-equipped laboratory -and the canteen for the male and female workers. It is interesting to note that Thornycrofts have made a good success of dilution. They have a large percentage of women workers, and all the troubles incidentalito the introduction of this class of work have been overcome. One leaves Thornycrofts with an impression of having seen things done well, care and trouble being taken at every turn, and with the feeling that the factory side of the business is doing its very best to give the selling side something that it can offer with supreme confidence in its ability to render satisfactory service to the buyer.


Locations: London

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