THE HISTORY OF WERNER, PFLEIDERER & PERKINS LTD

INDEX

Early Merger Negotiations

The negotiations between A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd and Werner & Pfleiderer (London) Ltd began in 1892 and soon turned into what could be argued to be a very one-sided transaction. With his usual charm, Paul Pfleiderer persuaded the two men then running the Perkins business - Major George Deane (a retired soldier who had fought in the Indian Mutiny thirty-five years before) and Horace Sandars - of the benefits of a merger with promises of a prosperous future. Horace Sanders was to be co-managing director (with the promise of the chairmanship) of a new company that brought together A.M. Perkins' patents, an engineering business as a going concern, a well-equipped factory and considerable stock in trade and Pfleiderer's patent rights and £5,000 worth of unsold machinery. Hermann Werner gained a seat on the board and was personally allotted 42% of the capital, the title of the new company was Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins Ltd and Paul Pfleiderer shared, with Horace Sandars, 20% of all profits after the company had earned 7.5% on its share capital.

The Role of Horace Sanders

(NOTE: Detailed research carried out by a descendant of Horace Sanders raises some questions about his role in the negotiations leading up to the merger between A.M. Perkins & Son and Werner & Pfleiderer ( London) Ltd. As described by Augustus Muir above, Sandars was - "an old Perkins employee who had been rewarded with a seat on the board". It is suggested that it is possible, indeed quite likely, that Horace Sandars, a very well known figure at the time, rather than being a Perkins employee, was called in by Loftus Perkins' sons after his death, as a business/financial expert, at a time when the company's fortunes were at a fairly low ebb. Analysis of papers lodged at Companies House allows a clearer picture of the situation in the company from 1889 to 1903 to emerge and aids clarification of his role - see the final paragraphs of The History of A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd. Perhaps the most compelling evidence is that in all of the lists of shareholders, Horace's occupation is given as "Gentleman" whereas all that are clearly employees of the company are said to be "Engineers". In the 1891 Census, Horace was declaring his principal interest as being a director of a mining company and it is known that, at this period, Horace was involved with mining companies in Spain. His descendant's research suggests that "Horace seems to have combined responsibility for substantial business interests with a passion for archaeology with considerable results. He clearly had the means to employ others to do all the donkey work". It is therefore likely that he acted in much the same way as a modern"outside director" This detachment from any long-term involvement with the Perkins company might go a long way to explain his actions during the merger negotiations).

Contemporaneous Correspondence

The amalgamation of Werner & Pfleiderer (London) Ltd and A.M. Perkins & Son, London was finalised on 2nd June 1893. That the marriage was not entirely amicable will been seen from the following correspondence.

the impending amalgamation of A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd. and Werner & Pfleiderer, London. The first item is a draft of a "Preliminary basis of a proposed arrangement for the amalgamation of A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd. and Werner Pfleiderer, London". This was based on a draft produced by Paul Pfleiderer on 14th December 1892. It was sent by a Mr Clulow (believed to be the solicitor for WP&P) to Horace Sandars who, with Major George Deane was at that time "conducting" A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd., reaching him on 1st February 1983. The draft discusses how the share capital was to be divided, the royalties to be paid during the 5 years after the amalgamation, the directors' remuneration and that Paul Pfleiderer and Horace Sandars should act as joint Managing Directors. It is not clear whether the handwriting is that of Paul Pfleiderer or of Mr Clulow.

There followed a letter from Horace Sandars to Paul Pfleiderer, dated 2/2/1893, querying some of the points raised in the above draft – the sum to be paid in cash by each company at the end of each five year period following amalgamation, how subsequent Managing Directors were to be appointed and how much each company should contribute towards the working capital of the new organisation. The letter requested that these points be considered before "the final interview" to be held at 5 o'clock on the following day. This letter is signed by Mr. Sandars but is obviously not in his handwriting.

On the day after "the final interview" – 4th February 1893 – Mr Sandars wrote again to Paul Pfleiderer confirming agreement on the level of Working Capital, voting rights and the appointment of Directors. It is clear that Mr. Sandars wrote this letter himself.

The fourth letter is dated 11th February 1893 and is handwritten by Paul Pfleiderer. The original is very difficult to decipher and both it and a transcript are shown above. Paul Pfleiderer agrees with most of Mr. Sandars' comments but firmly shifts the responsibility back onto A.M. Perkins & Son for the accuracy of any financial figures quoted in the draft agreement.

An interesting letter from Hermann Werner of Werner & Pfleiderer, Cannstatt to Horace Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Directors of A.M. Perkins & Son. It was written four years after the formation of Werner Pfleiderer & Perkins at a time that A.M. Perkins was still in existence as the holder of some Perkins patents but six years before the company was finally wound up.
 



A Less Than Welcome Agreement

It is perhaps possible to sense through this exchange of correspondence that the new arrangement was not totally to the liking of A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd, and a more detailed account of these discussions can be found on pages 18-19 of Augustus Muir's "History of Baker Perkins" (See Where to find more information). This makes clear that the benefits of the transaction did appear to be somewhat one-sided.

Needless to say the two sons of Loftus Perkins – Loftus Patton Perkins and Ludlow Patton Perkins were rather unhappy with the new arrangement. The joining of the two companies quickly led to the end of any influence from the Perkins family on the future of the business. After Paul Pfleiderer had taken out a new patent for an 'improved' stopped end tube boiler – superceding Loftus Perkins' own patent which had been earning royalties for the Perkins family – had, in Ludlow Perkins' view, mishandled his late father's Arktos patent and excluded both sons from the boardroom, the brothers played no further part in the management of the company.

Loftus Patten Perkins, the elder son, was offered a job as a clerk in the office at a pound a week. It is not known how long he remained with the company but it is likely that he left soon after to make a living as an artist in his own business (See Another Artist in the Family). Ludlow Patten was an able engineer and although he left the company very soon after the amalgamation with Werner & Pfleiderer (London) Ltd., he remained interested, and involved, in the development of the high-pressure stopped-end tube boiler – having taken out a patent in conjunction with William Buck, Engineers of Carisbrooke, Battershall, Worcestershire, back in 1892, that gave improvements to the basic Perkins tube. He is known to have been associated with Hy Wallmark & Co. Ltd. and with Joseph Adamson & Son, of Hyde, Cheshire before moving to Lancaster in 1902 where he was a director of the Lune Valley Engineering Co. Ltd. In the context of his parentage, it is interesting to note that he later practised as a consulting engineer in the development of refrigerating apparatus.

BANK 5117

Pages from the 1897 London Telephone Directory

The Telephone Company Ltd, using Bell's Patents, had opened Britain's first public telephone exchange in London, in August 1879, serving eight subscribers. By the end of the year a further two exchanges had been opened, the number of subscribers totalling 200. Telephone exchanges were also opened later in the year in Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh, Birmingham and Bristol. The first known telephone directory was issued in January 1880 containing details of over 250 subscribers connected to three London exchanges, together with details of 16 provincial exchanges. The Telephone Company Ltd’s next directory, published in April of the same year, showed that the company had seven London exchanges, 16 provincial exchanges and more than 350 subscribers.

Most of the early subscribers were inevitably businesses with private numbers being very much in the minority but the total number of subscribers continued to grow. Even so, it is interesting to note in these days of the universal availability of the mobile phone, that seven years later (by 1897/98), the telephone directory for the whole of London consisted of only 208 pages at one column per page. The whole country, including Scotland and Ireland, was contained in less than 1500 pages.

Werner Pfleiderer & Perkins were quick to embrace the new communications technology as will be seen on P198 of the 1897/98 edition. Also note that the business of F.C. Ihlee’s father – Ihlee and Sankey – is also listed (on P100).

A Momentous Meeting

One of Paul Pfleiderer's better decisions came in 1896 when he came across a leaflet for a new dough-divider that had been invented by two men in Wellington, Shropshire – Charles and John Pointon. Pfleiderer quickly negotiated the world sole sales agency and told Hermann Werner at Canstatt of his find. Werner saw its value and bought European and American manufacturing and selling rights. Paul Pfleiderer was careful to retain for himself the British and Empire rights, and in July 1896, he arranged the sales in that area on a commission basis with Werner. Pfleiderer & Perkins. The story of how the dough-divider was developed, the subsequent formation of Lewis & Pointons Panification Ltd and the later acquisition of the company by Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins, is told in some detail in The Pointons.

Expenditure Exceeds Income

A major problem for the new company was that Paul Pfleiderer spent too much money on exhibitions – for example, he supplied, gratis, a complete baking plant to the September 1897 Bakers' and Confectioners' Exhibition at the Royal Agricultural Hall, Islington. Despite increases in sales, the company continued to make losses and was close to bankruptcy. Pfleiderer confessed his inability to stop the rot and was persuaded to take a six months voyage to Australia for his health. Horace Sandars, still chairman and joint managing director, threatened to leave the office if Pfleiderer curtailed his leave of absence.

Augustus Muir tells us that: "A critical conference was held with lawyers to consider how to get out of this financial morass; then, gathering together all the depressing facts, Paul Pfleiderer took Sandars with him and hastened to Canstatt to put them before Hermann Werner. With his large personal shareholding in the form, Werner was the real power behind the throne, and he agreed to shoulder half of the outstanding debts if the firm of A.M. Perkins & Son (still in existence as the holder of some Perkins patents) would take over the other portion, and a levy of twenty-six shillings per share was made on the shareholders. This was agreed to, and work went on as before in all departments".

Unfortunately, Pfleiderer continued his profligate ways, and Horace Sanders demanded that the company be re-organised. Sandars argued that, among other problems, the balance-sheet was not being properly drawn up. Finally, Sandars, the man more responsible than any other for consenting to the union of the Perkins firm with Werner & Pfleiderer resigned from the board in 1898

It is possible to obtain some insight into business conditions at the time from a relevant sales brochure. The first illustration is the title page from a sales brochure for Heating & Ventilating systems dating from the days of A.M. Perkins & Son Ltd and which, judging by a series of Testimonials printed inside, was produced around 1898.

However, the second illustration shows that the front cover has been crudely overprinted with "Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins Ltd.", which was registered in 1893. It perhaps says something about the lack of funds in the company at this time that a new printing block could not be financed for the cover of a prestigious sales brochure some five years after the takeover of the business by Paul Pfleiderer.

At the start of the Boer War, in 1899, WP&P were given an order to make six hand-operated mixing machines, to be delivered in six weeks. The task was completed with two days to spare.

A New Leader - F.C. Ihlee

It was a newcomer to the scene, F.C. Ihlee – an able engineer, shrewd business man and a natural leader - who steered the business through the next series of traumatic events - the move from London to Peterborough in 1904 and the fierce local antagonism towards the company which existed at the start of World War One (See History of Perkins Engineers).

Ihlee's mother and father, Ferdinand and Victoria Ihlee, had left Germany in about 1865 to escape Bismarck's despotism and settled in England where he F.C. developed characteristics and loyalties at least as strong as a native Englishman. His father had helped the German scientist, Dr. Jaeger, to establish a wool business and F.C. worked there for a time, somewhat against his will, before securing a post with Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins. Fortunately, Hermann Werner saw much promise in the young man who, after some practical experience at Cannstatt, augmented by study at the Polytechnic, returned to London and joined the technical staff at Regent Square.

We are very fortunate that a descendant of F.C. Ihlee - James de la Mare (also a great-nephew of the poet, Walter de la Mare) - has kindly provided a detailed appraisal of his great-uncle:

"To most former employees of Baker Perkins now I imagine that F.C. Ihlee is a barely known name. It is seventy years since he died and with a strange surname I presume he must be something of an enigma compared to some of the other directors of his time.

I believe the Ihlee name itself was always mispronounced at Peterborough. I heard the IH was always pronounced as a hard I at Baker Perkins but the family always pronounced it as a double E. It is a German surname and it was a Frankfurt family, though originally an acute accent on the first E, like a French name, which it may have been originally – we think from Alsace.

My great grandfather (F.C. Ihlee’s father) came from Frankfurt to England about 1863 because he did not like the unification process of Germany under the Prussians and Bismarck. As you may be aware, Germany was historically a large collection of princedoms and dukedoms and some independent city states, like Frankfurt. Ferdinand Heinrich Ihlee (born 1844) set up business in London importing paper, musical instruments etc. under the name of Ihlee & Horne, then later, when Horne went, he took on another partner, Sankey, and the firm became Ihlee and Sankey. It remained under that name until quite recent times, but not under the original ownership. I remember finding (to my surprise) the company’s sign still on premises near Finsbury Square in the City of London about fifty years ago.

F.H. Ihlee came from a well-established family in Frankfurt, one of a group of inter-related and inter-married families whose members made the city important, cultured and prosperous for generations – Wirsings, Lindheimers, Hessenbergs, Goethes, Schwendlers etc. They were in city government, the universities, the law, commerce, the arts and so on. One can trace a long line of books by, and references in books too, these useful and intelligent people and their descendants. F.H. Ihlee’s wife was a Hessenberg, whose father was an eminent geologist and proprietor of a family silversmiths business that was also still in existence until recent times as a jeweller’s shop (and may still be). I still have here silver cutlery made by the firm with its name on the back of each spoon and fork, and no doubt F.C. Ihlee had the same too at Paston Hall.

When F.H. Ihlee had been in business in London for about twenty years, his brother-in-law became interested in the theory of Dr Gustav Jaeger that wool was the best material for clothing. His brother-in-law was Lewis Tomalin, whose wife was a younger Hessenberg sister of Ihlee’s wife. Together with Sankey (Ihlee’s business partner, who may also have been a relation) they set up the Jaeger Company whose shops and clothes became internationally recognised. It remained a family business until the mid-1960s.

F.C. Ihlee was not, I understood, very interested in the Jaeger type of business, but was more drawn to engineering. His father died in 1891, so the primary driving force in Jaeger was the Tomalin family and in any case, the Ihlee and Sankey business still existed. Nevertheless, the Ihlee family members remained major shareholders throughout, and after the death of Lewis Tomalin in 1915, F.C. Ihlee became Jaeger chairman concurrent with running Baker Perkins until his own death in 1938. My grandfather, Ernest Ryan (brother-in-law of F.C. Ihlee) was the Jaeger company secretary for years and had various other useful functions in the firm, like editing the staff magazine. The Jaeger company records are now largely in the care of the Westminster City Archives near Parliament Square. We went to watch the Coronation Procession in 1953 from the windows of Jaeger’s shop in Regent Street – a good day with lunch, a projection television and everything thrown in. My father had to have his car parked up in the back street by 7.00 am that day, but there was no serious concern about security! But that was, of course, fifteen years after F.C. Ihlee had died.

F.C. Ihlee lived at Paston Hall, Peterborough, which he rented and bought some adjacent land for himself to distance the house from encroaching housing development! The Hall housed his ship museum, a collection of top class Royal Navy dockyard ships models which he restored and kept in proper glass showcases. (The models were originally built by dockyard craftsmen to show to the Board of Admiralty when they wanted to order new ships. The workmanship, precision and detail are astonishing.) Indeed, he employed one or two people at Paston to do the work, including his wife’s nephew, Mr Fred Beard, who later became president (I think) of the Peterborough Model Engineering Club. One of the photos shows him actually working on one of the models. I did visit him once before he died and was shown a model railway locomotive which F.C. Ihlee himself had made (I have FCI’s photos of it) which he had inherited. It was then in pieces due to be restored but was unfortunately sold when Mr Beard died. The dockyard models which F.C. Ihlee collected and the specially made miniature tools for restoring them all went to the Science Museum in London on his death in 1938. One can see the models there and at the Greenwich Maritime Museum. He left more of these ship models to the Science Museum than anybody else except for the Admiralty. The Times reported that there were thirty of them, together with books, plans and pictures, etc.

Paston Hall in 1935 Fred Beard and models at Paston Hall

Another special interest of his was of course, cars. My parents went to stay sometimes at Paston before the War. They told me the car would be taken by the chauffeur on arrival and cleaned and refuelled and garaged for them. FCI had Daimlers, presumably the 1920s Knight sleeve valved cars. I think he had two or three but do not know the details. It was convenient to have more than one so that going on tour (which he did) there was one for the family, one for the staff and one for the luggage. If other circumstances had prevailed before 1914 I have no doubt (to judge from what I know of the family background and interests) that he was fully capable of making a very high quality car indeed if he had had the opportunity. (See also - How it Was - How it Started - Maranello, Detroit, Solihull ... Peterborough?).

He was a Henry Royce-like figure – the family is like that. Quality and precision are important. But running Baker Perkins through the 1914-1918 war, the amalgamation and the difficulty times afterwards must have been enough for anybody. Many carmakers went out of business in the 1920s anyway.

He and his wife Winifred Beard (from a Kent family) had no children. Most of his sisters lived in England and one was married to Bernard Julius Pfleiderer (born in Germany and surnamed Pelmore from 1915) who was a son of Paul Pfleiderer and who, as a British Army major, was killed in 1917. (See also - Westwood Works in WW1). Bernard Pfleiderer’s nephews Gerald Keston Pelmore and Hugh Pelmore were the founders of the Bentley Drivers’ Club, a highly esteemed body which I come across through my own historic car and Brooklands interests. I think Gerald worked briefly at Baker Perkins but became more interested in theatre and films until be served as an RAF officer and was killed over Germany early in the Second World War. Other Pelmores were at Baker Perkins too.

It was, of course, interesting that both the Ihlees and the Pelmores had family members on both sides during two world wars and a number of both families were killed. My own aunt was in Germany throughout the Second World War, married to a German. During the 1914-1918 war F.C. Ihlee’s cousin, the German poet Rudolf Binding, who was the same age and was a cavalry and staff officer in the German Imperial Army, wrote an extraordinarily good account of his experiences, later translated into English and published in 1929 as “A Fatalist at War”. It is truly brilliant, but almost forgotten today.

Finally, I might mention the interesting matter of F.C. Ihlee’s will. As might be expected, of a meticulous man who had some standing and well-developed interests, it was compiled carefully and was lengthy. He had no children of his own, so apart from leaving his ship models to the Science Museum, etc. he provided for paying annuities to quite a number of his own employees and an income to members of his family, and then, when all the annuitants had died, the capital in the Trust was to be distributed to the families of his various sisters according to a formula he carefully set out. The beneficiaries of the income and the capital were not precisely the same. In the event, one or two annuitants survived very long after 1938 when he himself died and it was not until more than sixty years later that the last surviving annuitant died and the lawyers were able to wind up the estate. By that stage we had had a World War, the original lawyers had died and financial conditions and legislation were very different. The beneficiaries then living were no longer his sisters, or even his nephews and nieces, but three or four generations further on. They were dispersed all over the world. The winding up proved to be hugely complicated, expensive and time consuming, with plenty of scope for disagreement and with nearly three million pounds involved. The annuities being paid out, which had been reasonable or even generous in 1938, were tiny sixty years later as they did not increase in line with inflation, so the whole winding up was delayed for years on account of paying (in the end) one annuitant 10s 6d (55.) a week!

Those who see the name Ihlee on this website will know he was very significant to the history of Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins, then to Baker Perkins, in pre-War days, but he was a remarkable and extremely competent man who deserves to be better known. Having no direct descendants, he would otherwise perhaps remain just a curious foreign name on the list of Baker Perkins Directors".

Like some of his successors in much later years, the new man was first handed a bag of tools and sent to join the Outdoor Engineers – F.C.I. being sent to Gravesend Co-op – before being introduced to his job in the office. Ihlee could not understand why the same air of dynamism that he had experienced at Cannstatt did not exist at WP&P but his enthusiasm and energy soon led to his appointment as works manager.

On Horace Sandars' resignation, Paul Pfleiderer had stepped into the vacant chair and R.K. Balcarras – who had at one time held an important post at Joseph Baker & Sons Ltd – was appointed sole managing director. Balcarras soon fell out with Pfleiderer's reckless spending and resigned after only twenty months in the job. F.C. Ihlee took over and soon began to improve the efficiency of the business. Paul Pfleiderer, by now suffering from a serious lung condition, was glad to hand over much of the responsibility to the dynamic Ihlee.

As a result of the company's financial difficulties of the nineties, no dividends had been paid except 10% in 1902 and 5% in 1903. Paul Pfleiderer's wife and sons suffered most from this but Pfleiderer had shrewdly provided for them, his holding of 208 shares had grown to a point where his family now owned more than half the capital – the sale to the firm of patent rights and royalty privileges having allowed the acquisition, without cash payment, of blocks of unissued shares.

A New Business Impetus

As Pfleiderer began to take things more easily, Ihlee drove ahead with his plans to grow the company. Turnover continued to rise, the premises were extended and the plant was brought up to a higher standard than it had been since the Perkins family were in control. The company's products had changed, a very significant fall in the number of installations of the once-famous Perkins heating and ventilation systems being replaced by a rapidly growing volume of ovens and baking machinery.

The growth in volume of production required the acquisition of more space at Regent Square and, to show that management decisions were just as difficult to make in the last century, a story from Charles J. Hayward paints another side to relations with the local community: apparently a room was wanted to house Dr. Reese, the metallurgist, and this required some people to move out of one of the firm's houses in Harrison Street next to the Works gateway. C.J.H. offered to get them out for 5/- and, with the help of a labourer, put a wet sack over their chimney top and, as their lead water pipe came through the Works, flattened that. He told the occupant that if she was not out by Saturday her goods would be put out in the street. She complained that they could not light a fire and the neighbours would not give them any water. The house was vacated by Saturday and C.J.H. got his 5/-".

Meanwhile, the rapid growth of Lewis & Pointons Panification Ltd continued. The Pointons had been developing a bread dough moulding machine to go with their divider but it had taken them a good deal longer to invent a device to mechanise the rest period required by the dough after its battering by the divider and moulder. They finally came up with the swing tray prover that formed the final link between the dough mixer and the steam oven.

Union With The Pointons

Following Paul Pfleiderer's death in 1903, Ihlee suggested to the Pointons that a union between the two companies would be beneficial to both parties.

Machinery made at Cannstatt for sale in Britain and the Empire was being sent in considerable quantities to Regent Square. Although the 'Universal' kneader had been made under licence in Regent Square, Hermann Werner took the decision in 1903 that the entire supply for the British Market should be imported from Cannstatt. This put considerable pressure on space at Regent Square and the whole of the top floor was turned into a German warehouse. (For more details of the Regent Street premises see Before Westwood.)

The Move to Peterborough

Ihlee realised that he would need to transfer his business to a lower cost location where expansion was possible. His first thought was to move alongside the Pointons in Wellington but there, too, space was limited and he began the search for a suitable site adjacent to a railway. Although many areas of the country were considered, none were found to be suitable until a ten-acre plot was located next to a busy railway line just to the west of Peterborough. The site was purchased from the Ecclesiastical Commissioners for £3,040 on 22nd December 1903 and Westwood Works began to take shape soon after.

For more information on the development of the factory, visit westwoodworks.net. The story of how the company came to change its name during the early days of WW1 can be found in the History of Perkins Engineers.

In 1908, Ihlee created "an independent brain centre for the Works" – the Works Office - and a new Works Manager was appointed. This was Joshua 'Josh' Henry Booth, whom Ihlee had recruited from a garage in Putney, and who quickly earned promotion, achieving an almost legendary status in later years – "His short temper was a byword; and when he 'blew his top' about some blunder that had come to light, he was liable – it is said – to throw his bowler hat on the floor and dance on it. He would sack a man in a fury, then wish him a cordial good-morning when he found him at work the next day – Ihlee could not have a more tireless and devoted adjutant, a man dedicated to maintaining the smooth and steady running of every piece of plant in every section of Westwood Works".

Putting a Toe into the Automobile Business

One of the first projects undertaken by Ihlee at Peterborough concerned something about which, apart from work, he was fanatical – the motor-car. In 1906, aided and abetted by Josh Booth, he persuaded his fellow directors that over £4,000 should be spent on plant to manufacture a car of his own design which he called the 'Mercial'. The new car failed to excite the local motorists and only three were ever built. Ihlee's colleagues hoped that, by putting a new body on the car, and calling it a delivery van, some of the investment could be recouped. Carl Pletscher – who later played a leading role in the American factory (see History of Saginaw) - worked in the drawing office on the big Hotchkiss engine and the smaller G.W.K. Apart from the crankshafts and connecting rods, the entire engines were made at Westwood Works. Despite high hopes that the Mercial delivery van would become a familiar sight on local roads, the Peterborough tradesmen were reluctant to buy anything that was not drawn by a horse and Ihlee's fellow directors had to persuade him that there were many other more pressing matters to attend to. It is said that Ihlee never quite got over the disappointment.

NOTE: The manufacture of motor-cars featured in the early days of other companies that became members of the Baker Perkins group. See History of Job Day and History of Rose Brothers (Gainsborough).

More Financial Problems

Financial troubles continued to haunt Westwood and a lack of cash seriously affected progress. The role of Cannstatt in worsening this crisis and manner in which Barclay & Co., the bankers, came to the company's rescue can be found on page 53 of "The Story of Baker Perkins" by Augustus Muir.

Following the rescue by Barclay & Co., in 1912, the financial picture became transformed and the shareholders could be told that "all assets not represented by actual values had disappeared from the balance sheet". An increase in orders was the cause of a night shift being introduced at Westwood despite Ihlee admitting that "the yield from a night shift is never satisfactory in our class of work, and labour costs are twenty-five per cent more". Around the same time, the directors, "confident that it would help the good understanding that existed between management and men" voluntarily instituted a change to a 51-hour week in place of the old 52 hours in the shops.

It is interesting to note the rate of growth of the Company over the period from 1901 (prior to the move to Peterborough) to 1913 (after some 9 years in its new factory and the last year of peace).

In 1901 the manufacture of steam engines had ceased 14 years before and output consisted of:

  • 44% - Drawplate and Peel Ovens for baking bread.
  • 25% - General engineering work inc. Refrigeration machinery.
  • 17% - Universal Kneaders for dough and chemicals.
  • 14% - Heating installations for buildings.

Total annual sales were around £75,000 and the firm employed about 150.

In 1913, the last complete year before WW1, WP&P had acquired Lewis & Pointon Panifications Ltd (in 1904) and the company now employed about 450 men and its total sales were about £180,000. Output now consisted of::

  • 37% - Drawplate and Peel Ovens.
  • 22% - General engineering work.
  • 19% - Bakery machinery (mostly from Lewis & Pointons).
  • 17% - Kneaders.
  • 5% - Heating installations.

These figures suggest that WP&P's core business (i.e. minus the Lewis & Pointon contribution), just about doubled in money terms over the period despite a fall in sales of Heating installations.

First Talks With Joseph Baker & Sons

It was during WW1 that the beginnings of a relationship between Werner, Pfleiderer & Perkins and Joseph Baker & Sons first became apparent. From the first tentative discussions in 1913 it took another 6 years before the company that was to become Baker Perkins was brought into being.

It was also the start of WW1 that created the unfortunate circumstances that brought about the changing of the company's name – see History of Perkins Engineers.

NOW SEE:

History of Joseph Baker, Sons & Perkins Ltd

History of Perkins Engineers

Westwood Works in WW1

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