HISTORY OF WILLIAM JACK & SONS LTD, GLASGOW
The founder of the company, William Jack, worked as chief designer for D. & J. Tullis of Clydebank, makers of laundry equipment. William decided that he had enough capital and know-how to manufacture and market laundry presses himself and, after leasing 5,500 square feet of factory space on the Hillington industrial estate, hr hired a man and a boy and set to work.
With two presses installed in laundries and another four built, war broke out and William’s plans had to be put on hold until 1946. He managed to convince the authorities that he could be of some use to his country manufacturing war equipment and began to exist on sub-contract work. He made parts for Bailey bridges, rocket firing devices and helicopter parts – all useful experience against the day when he could begin making presses again.
Bill Williams started as a 16-year-old apprentice in 1940 and recalled –"In the early days, we only had two lathes, a drill, a saw and a mill. We had two separate orders, each for ¼ million bomb plugs, and in order to turn them out ingenious techniques and applications were applied to the lathes. Eventually, I was able to turn out 60 bomb plugs an hour, which was quite a rate considering the machines we had."
William Jack’s perseverance was rewarded when, just after the war, a contract for 200 presses to be installed in H.M. ships and shore establishments was secured from the Admiralty. This was followed by an order for presses for the Royal Yacht Britannia. By this time, the company had 11,000 square feet of factory space and sales continued to rise. The number of employees rose as well.
With the help of his three sons, all of whom were university educated and interested in the business, he decided to concentrate on this line of production. He used the four yearly laundry exhibitions to introduce new models – the Synclastic Curved press in 1950 and the 2LO shirt unit in 1954. In 1958 the Laymaker was a success resulting in the export of 20 units per month to Germany.
Their success was such that the issued capital of £14,000 did not reflect the real worth of the company and, in 1961, William agreed to sell 80% of the shares to Baker Perkins. The company was re-named Baker Perkins Jaxons Ltd.
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