Memories of Times Past
“RECOLLECTIONS OF THE EARLY DAYS OF A.M.
PERKINS & SONS LTD”
[Charles Hayward joined A.M. Perkins & Sons in 1886 and became a trusted right-hand man to Loftus Perkins. He retired as Oven Shop Foreman at Westwood Works, Peterborough in 1930.]
[Please note: This contribution is reproduced with the minimum of editing and might appear idiosyncratic and rambling. A fair comment perhaps but we all might feel rather fortunate if we knew that we were to be able to produce such a history at the age of 88. That said, it does provide a vivid picture of life in an engineering company at the time.]
I was apprenticed for five years to a place where they had four locomotives and one stationary engine. The stationary engine was used for a mill, also for the machine shop. This engine was a “Perkins” make and was used, I believe, at Spratt’s Biscuits before it was installed at the works. Its boiler had a pressure of 300 lbs per square inch and worked just as regularly all the time I was there, and was very economical in fuel. We did all repairs, pins in link motions, stays in fire boxes, retubing of boilers and anything that was required, which gave me much experience.
On the Saturday that was the finish of my five years I approached the Manager for a testimonial. He said, “What do you want to leave us for?” I said “To gain more experience.” So he gave me a good reference and a golden sovereign. And I left, but was at work in London on the Monday morning at Keens Brush Works, having got the job before leaving.
There we made machines for the manufacture of every kind of turnery and brush backs. Every kind of wood was used from every part of the world – cedar, ebony, rosewood, box, lignum vitae, and many others too numerous to mention.
I was soon put on to a lathe. When asked what I could do, I said, “Anything”. So I was for weeks turning double square threads on a long shaft and afterwards making nuts to suit. I suppose that as an improver I was giving satisfaction, for I got an increase in pay the first month.
I spent some time there, but I always wanted to get into the Criminal Investigation Department at Scotland Yard, so I left Keens and was a candidate for the Metropolitan Police. I was examined and went three times before the Chief Surgeon but was turned down for having too small bones.
Then came a request to me to become Mechanical Engineer to the “Express”, which I accepted. At this period Loftus Perkins was alive.
I had heard much about the boat, its engine and its boiler pressure, so I made my way to the W. India Dock where she was lying. I made the acquaintance of the Captain and some of the crew, which was made up of: Captain, 1st Mate, 2nd Mate, two Engineers, two Firemen, two Stewards, two Lady Stewards, a Cook, three Deck Hands and one Boy.
After making my investigations of the engine, I was satisfied with conditions. But we had to have a Board of Trade Certificate as we intended sometimes to carry passengers as well on tests on the measured mile and coal consumption, etc. In due time the Board of Trade men came along and we blocked out the safety valves and put hydraulic pressure of 1,800 per square inch (all O.K.) Next, safety valves were put into position and a steam test made of 750 with valves blowing off into condenser.
During this time the Inspector did not come into the Engine Room. He said to his two men, “Everything O.K?” They said “Yes, no leak anywhere.”
We then had a Board of Trade Certificate to carry 677 passengers to the Nore lightship and Sheerness.
Now we had to get our bunkers filled with 12 tons of Welsh coal and I had to see that we had the light and heavy oils we needed and cotton waste and anything pertaining to the Engine Room, everything cleaned down below and on deck and in the cabins (which the Stewards looked into), funnel painted (that was our job), which was soon done by the firemen.
After we got out of dock we used to tie up at the Blackwall Pier. This was very handy for Loftus Perkins, for he could come from Kilburn by the North London line straight to Blackwall.
We went several trips as far as Gravesend to see how she behaved. Here is a description of the boat. Her length I cannot remember, nor her tonnage, but as I have said, she had a Board of Trade Certificate to carry 677 passengers, which was exhibited for anyone to see. In the forward compartment was the anchor chain and stores. Next the Captain’s cabin; next the fore cabin with Engineer’s berth and bar; next Boiler and Engine Room; next Ladies’ cabin; next Saloon and bar, followed aft by Crew’s quarters. From Bridge, Chadburns Telegraph to Engine room and speaking tube.
And now we advertised sailings and the first Mate used to tour the City in a brass bound uniform and peaked cap with “Express” exposed on the front. We soon had passengers, and conspicuous was Loftus Perkins on the bridge with the skipper, “Cap’t. Kirby” complete with a pipe and breast pocket full of cigars.
We went to Sheerness daily, but one day our condenser got hot and I could not understand the reason, but we lost vacuum and got in late.
Next day we were in dry dock, and after the water had gone down we found the cause. The body of a dead dog had been sucked into the intake and held there and had to be pushed away forcibly, hence the shortage of circulating water. Next day we were delighted that we had found the cause and so we carried on every day except Fridays. But our next stoppage was a serious affair.
A jam manufacturer had put into the river bushels of cherry stones, which sank at the time, but for some reason or other became suspended, and we sucked small quantities of them in until the inner copper tube (which conveyed the water to the stopped end of the outer in which they were inserted) became completely jammed. This of course stopped any water circulating and we had a hot condenser.
This happened the day before the Jubilee of Queen Victoria, 1887, and I had a day off to see the doings of an historic day and saw Queen Victoria in Trafalgar Square.
It took us some time to release the copper tubes and get out all the stones. They were all shortened by ½”, cleared and then returned to the tube plate and expanded in position. But to avoid any further trouble we put in the 9” copper inlet an interceptor so that by closing the “Kingston” valve we could take out the section, examine it, and return it. This was done daily before starting.
We at times had squads of engineers (with introductions) to have a look at the engines. Others came and chanced their luck without any introduction. But we had men from all over the world, day by day, more especially to see the Boiler and gaze at the pressure gauges, one at each end of the Boiler.
Of course, the pressure of 750 lbs per square inch was abnormal and the design of the engine was too. With a triangular connecting rod and the engine athwart ship instead of fore and aft, it was novel in design and when working had a rocking motion, as the outside pistons had an 11” stroke, whilst the central was 9”.
The connecting rod was anchored on one side to a slide or guide and this made the 11” stroke. It was a very long crank pin (from memory 1’6”) and only 4.1/2” throw. This gave the central engine its 9” stroke, and the high and medium were on the same rod. But Perkins Type had two different size cylinders which of course were single acting.
The Medium Low and Low were both double acting. The stuffing boxes were deep and were packed with greased asbestos packing; after packing they were left just thumb-tight and never gave the slightest trouble. All the main shaft bearings were extra long. The main shaft was made by Sir Joseph Whitworth; the whole of the remainder of the engine was made at Regent Square.
The inlet and exhaust valves were all tappet worked from three cam shafts; these cam shaft rods were attached to a sliding eccentric fixed to main shaft. This gave us the reversing gear.
We used all distilled water for the boiler from a distilling apparatus fixed in the engine room – two boiler feed pumps with 1” plungers and an air vessel on the top. A slight adjustment kept them working uniformly. Also a Donkey Pump with air, feed, circulating and bilge pump all working from main boiler.
No further trouble disturbed us the two seasons we ran. The engines were very easy to watch and control, and everybody who saw them running (I mean engineers) thought they were wonderfully and ingeniously designed and they looked extraordinary when tumbling round with the rocking motion at 200 to 230 revs per minute.
One very important thing was the thrust block, which was extra long, designed for a propeller fore and aft. Our lubricant for this was castor oil. The forward propeller was taken away before I arrived but the shaft was taken out during my time and the bow made good. The two propellers were made of fluid compressed steel by Whitworth and had a perfect “pitch” like a corkscrew. They cost £500. After trying various Griffiths 2, 3 and 4 blade, the Perkins propeller gave best results.
Our boiler was of the Perkins type, 12’0” long by 4’0” wide, with an opening at each end for firing and a bridge of fire bricks in the centre, so that each fireman had a 6’ x 4’ grate to look after, which was an easy job, as we went to Sheerness and back on 2 ton 10 cwt. Other boats carrying the same number of passengers and four firemen burnt 18 tons. There is no doubt in my mind that higher pressures are more economical with engines designed to use the pressures. Our boiler was encased in an insulated case so that on the outside it was just warm.
On one side were insulated doors for cleaning tubes, and on the opposite side were three water gauge glasses to register the water height in the boiler. These had to be of special design as ordinary glass would have been unreliable and dangerous.
Each was made from a bronze casting with a whole right through the centre but with a bar in the centre. At two points this casting had a projecting machined face. On this were bolted strips of mica, also the covers had machined faces. This made a steam-tight readable gauge. There was a valve at the top open to the air and two valves at the bottom, one to shut off the water and another open to the air. You could then blow through the gauge and clean it whilst working. All valves had an outside screw in the bridge piece over the top so that the packing was always on a plain turned spindle. This applied to all valves where pressure was concerned and was perfect in action as it simply moved the spindle up and down without turning.
One of the notable visitors among the many was the son of Sir Joseph Paxton. One man, who was a pumping station visitor, was interested so much by the pressure that he said, “I only use 25 pounds per square inch and I think I am safer on deck and would rather be with my old Beam Engine with 25 lbs per square inch.” But he didn’t know that the Boiler before leaving Regent Square was hydraulically tested to 3,000.
On one occasion Loftus Perkins, who was on the bridge with the Skipper, came below and said to me “Longfellow”, (that was his name for me) “I hear a little “click” on the Crank Pin Brass. Do you think you can take that up?” I said “Yes, but it will take me a couple of days.” “Very well,” said he, “you can do it now we have the time.”
So I set to work and it was no ordinary job. After the two days I notified the Skipper, and Loftus sat on the Bridge whilst we ran down the river. He then came down and sat on a camp stool in front of the Engine, then without further talk said, “Splendid, she runs like a sewing machine.” He then ascended the Engine Room ladder, and as he was going up pointed to his camp stool, and there laid a golden sovereign for me. This was my unexpected reward for making a good job of a difficult undertaking.
And so we ran day by day without any particular incident during the 1887 season from Easter to September and through 1888. Our only worry was the crowds of engineers who asked to be allowed to come below to see the boiler and engine. As an advertisement we gave them as much information as we could.
We had a few runs with Special Committees. Our last run was to take a part of the City Corporation for a trip. They brought their own lunch and waiters and it was a great ending to many trips. I also made many friends from far and near.
I stood by her with one fireman during the winter and some days went to Regent Square, where they were busy on the “Arktos” Freezing Machine or, rather, apparatus.
The boat looked very nice on the water, her hull painted black with a 3” gold leaf streak and the bow was decorated with gold, vermilion and blue, artistic device with the inscription “S.S. Express”. She was eventually sold to some people who intended to use her for the Midnight Sun business in Norway. So ended the last big effort to demonstrate that high pressure steam was economical. I was sorry in a way to leave the boat. And now I will turn to other events.
First to Loftus Perkins. He was a man with a beautiful brown eye, well proportioned in build and a great chemist and engineer. He had a large moustache and Dundreary whiskers, and always wore a double-breasted blue suit and, in the Works, a peaked cap with silk oak leaves around. In the winter he used to wear a Canadian fur cap. He came into the Works one Sunday morning dressed in white flannels with a white peaked yachting cap, and I thought what a handsome man he was. He was going on Fred Power’s yacht for the weekend.
He smoked 13 oz. of tobacco a week – he always carried a pouch with 4 oz. of tobacco in it and I shared many pipes with him. His type of tobacco was “Branksome’s Light Virginia”.
Loftus Perkins almost regularly had his lunch in the Works. A white scrubbed table was set by the Engine Room by an old sailor every day, if required or not. If used, there were placed on it a basket, tray cloth, soda siphon, knife and fork and a chop and two potatoes, roll and butter and a piece of cheese, a small Bass and two glasses and some whisky. This was regular, as most days he lunched there, then smoked a big cigar and had a walk around his jobs. When a man or men worked overtime on any experiment he had in hand he would give them 1s 6d extra to their time and quarter. He was 54 when he passed on. When he became ill he had a chair made in which he could balance himself in any position without effort.
When I returned to Regent Square Works after my spell on the river the development of “Arktos” was in full swing and I often sat beside Loftus Perkins watching thermometers. He would sit for an hour without speaking, pushing his quarter pound pouch across to me. We were especially watching to see when thermometers ceased to go up and started to come down, for it was the low temperature he was after. We had twelve to watch, six each. Now the mercury in a thermometer, if closely watched, on starting to come down becomes concave, and if still rising the column is convex. All at once he would jump up and say, “Going down, is yours?” I would say, “Yes”. Then he would put on such a smile and say, “Ah! We are on the right tack.”
I have seen him in the Works discussing some very important things with Professor James Dewar and Sir Fred Bramwell and Hill of the Thames Iron Works and Peter Brotherhood senior, Donaldson and J.I. Thornycroft. I have often thought what a man he was because these visitors looked at him with awe and wonder. I went to see him shortly before he died and I had the last pipe he smoked with a piece of tobacco he had put into it half an hour before he died. I kept it for some years and then gave it to one of his admirers.
His wife’s name was Emily and before he passed on she said to him, “Lofty, dear, I am afraid your mission in life is nearly ended.” He said, “Must I go? I have so much to do.” He was one of Nature’s Noblemen – a lovely character.
About this time anything was put on one side for the “Arktos” and a great clearance and rearrangement was undertaken. There was a triple expansion engine made to the order of Admiral Selwyn, and I could stand on the bedplate with my head just under the cylinders. This engine was a beautiful piece of work from an Engineer’s point of view, but was eventually sold as scrap.
I saw the Admiral (he was then 90 years of age) carrying out some experiments on a tug called the “Water Witch”, and he required this engine to stand athwart ship to drive powerful pumps, which could be used not only to propel the ship but also to steer her. But that never happened and, as I have said, it seemed such a shame to break up such a good piece of British workmanship. I believe it was never paid for.
The Managing Director at this time was W.W. Harris, who was an M.I.M.E. and also an M.I.C.E. He was also a Member of the Society of Arts at John Street, Adelphi, and through his kindness I was able to attend all their Meetings – Cantor and Ordinary – which I did for eight years. He gave me a book of tickets signed by himself, introducing me. This was a great help to me. Major Dean also was interested in the business.
But all efforts were made to push this Freezing Apparatus. It was not generally known that Sir Fred Bramwell was an apprentice student with Jacob Perkins, and when Jacob was in bed with a cold Frederick took to him, wrapped in a blanket, the first piece of artificial ice ever made in this country, which he had made during Jacob’s absence. Loftus told me this himself.
In 1889 an “Arktos” was made for the then Paris Exhibition. It was made for freezing one cwt of mercury in the open air, and mercury does not freeze until minus 40, that is, 72ºF of frost. It was frozen in a large wooden bowl and the Parisians came and carved off pieces that seemed like lead.
An apparatus was made for Edwards in the Hampstead Road for freezing milk in block moulds. They finally had stacks of blocks, which they put into churns, and when the milk had become thawed they sold it around the street, and you were able to draw it from the tap into a customer’s jug.
Another plant was made for the Kensington Stores and also one for Whiteley at Westbourne Grove. Yet another, for Nelson of Dowgate Hill, was under Cannon Street Station for keeping 2,000 sheep at 26ºF for two years.
We also had erected in the works a Brewer’s Wort cooling machine, which was nearly automatic, and which created a great deal of interest among the brewing fraternity, inasmuch as it cut off the heat and put on the cooling water without attention, and we made several cwts of ice a day. We shared the ice made with the Royal Free Hospital and the Ear and Throat. Both were in the Grays Inn Road.
We had a gateway in Seaford Street 40’ long by about 10’ square. We insulated it and made it into a long Cold Room. We also had a gateway into the Works in Harrison Street with an acting crane to six tons, so we had no inconvenience that way. We got this apparatus going and brought the room to 20ºF, and started putting into it some tons of soles which were hung up on wooden rods and, when frozen, were thrown up in heaps. When the Fishmonger’s men came to get some for sale they brought a wooden shovel and carefully put them, like chips, into baskets. Of course, they had to be very careful as the fins could be easily broken and look ragged when they were dipped in cold water and put on a marble slab. Close to Charing Cross Station, I suppose, many a City man stopped and took to his country residence soles that were months old. But they were edible and very tasty, and you would not think that they did not come that morning from Billingsgate Market.
I seemed to have many things to look after and to be responsible for, but I was not wholly in charge of the Works. Having always a great respect for my superiors, I did what I was told, and always made it a practice to hammer into anyone who had orders from me or others over him that if a job was worth doing it was worth doing well, and this paid a good dividend.
Well, the Arktos was like high pressure steam; it is true they were at opposite ends of the thermometer but the public did not appreciate it. We sent to a fever-ridden African district some very small apparatus that could be worked by anybody. Instead of a runner carrying a piece of ice in a blanket that was wasted when they got to the sun-stricken man, they ran instead with this apparatus, which had handles for two men, so when a case was heard of, they went trotting away with this apparatus to the spot. A bucket of water was put in the condenser tank and clamped around the round tube was a hinged mould filled with water. Wood was gathered from the jungle and 11 lbs of this was weighed on a scale, put into the heating end and set alight. The thermometer was a square piece of metal immersed in a tube filled with metal that enabled you to move the square easily. After one and a half hours you could unhinge the mould and you would have 8 lbs of ice on the spot after burning 11 lbs of wood. The thermometer metal would melt at 260ºF, which was what was required, and would again become solid for the next ice required. One point is that the wood cut from a rough jungle may not have the same B.T.Us as 11 lbs of English wood, and might leave the metallic thermometer unmelted. Therefore the 260ºF which was required might lead to some confusion. I think it would have been better to say, heat until the thermometer is free and movable. You would them be sure of getting all the NH3 driven out of the water.
Mr Pelmore was in charge of the working with a skilled fitter. He had the formula, the quantity of NH3 gas to weigh in, also the quantity of water. He then worked the machine and it was always said 11 brought 8 (i.e. from 11 lbs of wood, 8 lbs of ice were obtained).
Now here is my opinion. In this country the water temperature may be 60ºF or even 50ºF. Before you freeze you have to pick out of the water, if it was 60º, 30ºF. Here seemed the snag to me. In a tropical country your water in the ice mould may be 90ºF. You would then have 60º to extract before you made ice.
It really is a very simple apparatus because the gas, after being driven out of the water in which it is in solution, returns after absorbing heat and is again taken up by the water.
A great number of types of the Arktos were made (small and large) but for some reason we came back to earth again with general Engineering work.
About this time we had a number of Field Ovens to overhaul of the 1867 type, with driving seat, bicycle wheels and cushion on driver’s seat. They also had a level fixed to the side so that, on whatever ground the wheels stood, you had to get the Bead on the level. This gave 5½” fall and was the proper angle for the Oven body when baking.
Now it was a month or two from Christmas and Major Dean said, “You know, Hayward, December is the end of our financial year. Can you, do you think, with other work in hand, get four or five Field Ovens ready by that time?” I said, “I would certainly”.
When the time came I had six ready for the Inspector, with salt boxes on the side and straps coiled. I snapped a chalk line down the front, Bay A and set the six wheels behind the others so that, seen from the front, only one oven was visible. Then the chalk line was brushed out. All the gear had two coats of paint and looked as if it were in good shape.
The Major came down in the morning with the Inspector and said, “That is how I like to see things set out. I congratulate you, Hayward on getting them all so nicely straight”. And after walking down the Works he said, “And I see you have six – that is a bit more to congratulate you on”. Well, all that from your superior officer adds another stripe to your tunic and also gives you great pleasure.
We now seemed to be merging into the time of Mr Carnelly and Mr Balcarris. I think it was before this that Mr Horace Sanders came on the scene and he, coming down into the Works one morning, said, after greeting me, “Can you take complete charge of the Works?” I said I could, and he said, “When?” I said, “At once – tomorrow”. And I did. Roebuck, who had previously done so, was put outside travelling in the London area, and as time went on I cleared the Works of a good many careless and drinking characters and made good progress. At the end of the year it was found that men were earning more and prime costs were down.
There seemed to be some mix-up with Mr Balcarris and I hardly knew who was who. At one Bakers’ Exhibition where we had an office Mr Paul Pfleiderer said to me, “See if you can find Mr Balcarris”. So I looked in the office and saw him lying down on a settee. I told him Paul Pfleiderer wanted him but he made no response, so I reported to Paul Pfleiderer that he was resting. “See if you can rouse him,” he said, “and have another try”. I did, with no result. Then Paul Pfleiderer came in and looked at him and finally said “Will you sign this? – ‘I have today seen Mr Balcarris (with Paul Pfleiderer) intoxicated in the office at the Agricultural Hall Exhibition.’” Well, I signed it, but what became of it I know not.
Then it became necessary to put down a gas engine in the Works and Mr Balcarris seemed to have some authority. Mr Ihlee appeared on the scene and I very soon became aware that after a period in the Drawing Office he was to be my Managing Director.
We seemed to have plenty of work and jobs came in from unexpected quarters. Some jobs were permanent overhauls, such as the Guildhall Engine and Boiler. We supplied the engineer at the Old Bailey and I went there every session to take him over the place and show him his duty. The judges were very particular as to ventilation and heating. I also went to see that the various Courts had right temperatures and to hear any complaints from the City Surveyor or the Governor of the Old Bailey. I have heard Judge Hawkins and have seen a scaffold erected and a grave dug in Dead Man’s Walk, as it was then called. Also, so that I might say that I had been, I was locked in the Condemned Cell by the Warder.
We then came back to the Works and cleared out some tons of scrap, generally cleared up and made working space.
Our workmen used to stand along a wall in Harrison Street waiting for the Works bell to ring. One day Paul Pfleiderer asked for a workman’s “check” which had his number on it and which was cast into a box and afterwards collected by the Timekeeper. He was given a “check” with an unused number. The next morning in the dark at 6 o’clock a tall man, muffled, stood with the men ready to enter the Works. He did not speak, but listened to the conversations of the men. He then entered and threw his “check” into the box and followed the last man in. He strolled up to me (I was standing in the middle of Bay A), and quietly said, “Good morning, Hayward, I just wanted to see how this thing worked”, spent a little time in chatting on the work we had in hand, and then bade me good morning. He was a very nice man to converse with. He must have got up early, as we then started at 6.00am.
We were now getting machines from Cannstatt ready packed for dispatch, so in Harrison Street we got permission to cut through the wall into the back of some houses and make an additional store. Here we stocked such machines as could be hand-loaded.
When Paul Pfleiderer came from Upper Ground Street, Blackfriars, he brought with him an old soldier who used to carry out Mr Carnelly’s instructions and had no other boss. He was installed in this store to keep it clean and load such machines as were required. I visited the store every day and I warned Lee (that was the soldier’s name) not on any account to smoke. He said to me, “When I give a promise I keep it”. “Very well”, said I. “That is good”. One day I looked out of the Timekeeper’s door in Harrison Street and saw a pipe projecting, so I immediately went up to the store. Now Lee always wore a peaked cap, which he had on with the peak aft instead of forward. I said, “Lee, you have been smoking”. “Me?” he said. “Did I not give a promise?” His jacket hung on the wall. He went straight to it and took out a pipe and said, “Feel that – perfectly cold”. “Yes”, said I after putting my hand in the opposite pocket. “A pipe perfectly hot – feel that”. Silence. I said, “Lee, you are discharged. You could have set fire to this place and you disobeyed orders and broke your promise”. He said, “I will see Paul Pfleiderer.” He did, and Paul Pfleiderer said “Lee, you are an old soldier and have been used to discipline. Make your peace with Mr Hayward. I have nothing to do with it”. I kept him. He never deceived me any more and respected my orders.
One day Paul Pfleiderer came to me and said, “Can you make me a screw from a drawing? It will be about 5’ long, square thread”. I said, “Yes. Do you want it to fit a nut?” He said, “Yes, but the nut is not here”. I got it made and then he told me that the nut was on a machine in Cannstatt and he wanted to see what kind of fit we could make. He said it fitted perfectly. This was some years before he died.
The South African war came along and we got an order to make six hand-operated mixing machines, to be delivered in six weeks. We did it and had a couple of days to spare. But it made me have less sleep – for two weeks out of six I had one night’s sleep in two days.
We had some fly press castings to machine for the Self-Opening Tin Box Co., planing and boring, and it seems about this time that we had an order for a number of piston rings from Humphrey Tennant. Bradley & Craven, Wakefield, did the castings. I think there were 60 rings, the largest 5’ in diameter and the smallest 1’4”. I think you will find the provisional patent specification under Perkins Patent Metal 1872. It is a mixture of copper and tin, and I forget if the specification says a proportion of zinc is added or not. But it is in a proportion of 16 to 4 and it is then that one particle takes up the other and becomes so that, when broken, the fracture looks like cast steel. This makes a good hard bush or bearing and, if properly lubricated, lasts for years. Castings should not be uncovered in the Foundry until they are perfectly cold.
For castings 4’ or 5’ enough should be allowed in case the castings are not perfectly round for machining. They are struck up, and no patterns are required. The castings should first be tempered by making them 900º to 1000ºF and then quenching them and leaving them until they are perfectly cold. Some of our largest rings ordered weighed 5-cwt. in the casting. I did all the estimating for weights of castings and costs of machining, which proved very satisfactory.
We still had a good bit of heating to buildings and made the furnaces and coils. We also started making a good many Peel Ovens with straight tubes. We also got orders for ship ovens; one order for Shichan of Danzig for four.
I first instituted proper instructions (when I was first installed) for ship ovens. The instructions were: Light the fire in the usual way. But who knew the proper way? So we put on the front of the ovens: “Light the fire and use coke and keep the fire not more than 6” high and uniform the whole length of the fire box. Then regulate by using the ash pit door. When temperature is reached close the draught to fire. See that ash pit is cleaned regularly”. There are many things we did in my early days that were forgotten.
Soon after Mr Ihlee was installed as Managing Director, J.Newman, who was then prime cost clerk, took the cashier’s place, and I can’t pass by this period without saying something him (not detrimental).
We were very busy with ship ovens and were loading one. He said, “So this is a ship oven?” I said, “Yes”. He said, “Can I open the door?” I said, “Yes, of course”. He looked inside and said (after seeing the top row of tubes), “Well, it ought to be strong with all those strong bolts going through the top like that”. I said, “Those bolts are the heating tubes”.
Another little joke was when he came down into the Works and asked me (after telling me he had bought a mangle for his wife), “How do you get the polish on the rollers that the makers put when they supply it new?” I explained to him how, at high speed, after the finest sandpaper had been applied, the wood turner picked up a handful of shavings and held them on the roller and that gave a fine polish. He said, “Ah, I have got a better one than that. I have varnished mine”. I said “You will hear more about that”. And he did. And from Mrs Newman, a lot.
Mr Ihlee and I went around the Works and turned out all the scrap. I got his permission for rearranging machines and making as much room as possible. When Mr Sanders was looking into things, Ludlow, the youngest son, went to Pearns, the pump makers in Manchester, and W.H. Beanes went to Dells, the millers’ apparatus people, of Croydon for two years. He then came back to Regent Square and Loftus Junior went into the office. We were very busy and we made a new pattern for the Standard B front casting and F.C. Ihlee sent me to Wellington to see the first castings made, as they had started a foundry, and they then supplied our castings for most things.
I should here mention that before F.C. Ihlee started his indoor position he had an ordinary box of Engineer’s tools and went to the Gravesend Co-op. and erected a plant as an Outdoor Engineer. He then returned to the office.
We then had plenty of work in hand and continued to have. Several Sundays I went to Cedar Gardens (where Mr Ihlee lived). J.N., myself and F.C. Ihlee fixed P.W. prices. F.C. Ihlee read out the parts from the drawing and J.N. booked them, and I fixed prices for whatever part it was, until we had been into every detail. Those prices were, to my knowledge, never altered. Of course, that was for levelling plates for Drawplates, fixing ball guides, etc. We continued to be busy with some repairs to Kneaders. I used to fix weights and machine work prices so that there was very little to do but put the machine together on the job. We also had furnaces and coils to make for heating apparatus, also several kinds of brass and gunmetal cocks, which was generally a turner’s job. Some jobs for the Dental Manufacturing Company also filled a few gaps. Roebuck, who lost his life in a motor accident, was my assistant after being at Cannstatt for two years. We still had some rings to turn sometimes – 2 or 4 – and of course we had to get castings, chiefly from Bradley and Craven of Wakefield. They had supplied them for years and they had the composition and we were sure that, after our tempering, our clients would be perfectly satisfied.
F.C. Ihlee and I went to Maudsleys Son & Fields’ sale to buy some rolls for plates (they may be yet at Peterborough) – the three rolls weighed 30 cwt. The first man I saw at the sale was a man named Higham, dressed very smartly, who used to buy our scrap. F.C. Ihlee said, “What is he doing here?” and I said, “He is after those rolls”. So I went to him and said, “Don’t you bid for that lot as I have come here specially to buy them”. He did not know F.C. Ihlee so we appeared to bid against each other and got them for £25, and they have paid for themselves many times. Having more room, we had another set at Peterborough.
We required all the room we could get and wanted to get some people out of one of the firm’s houses in Harrison Street next to our gateway, and had some difficulty in doing so. So I said, “I’ll get them out for 5 shillings”. F.C. Ihlee said, “Go ahead”. So at night I got a labourer to put a wet sack over their chimney top. Now their lead water pipe supply came through the Works and I flattened that. A Sergeant of Police lived next door to 43, so I got him, when he came off duty, to come and stand on the doorstep whilst I talked to the lady, but he (the Policeman) never said a word. I said, “If you are not all out by Saturday your goods will be put in the street”. The lady complained that they could not light a fire and the neighbours would not give them any water. They were out by Saturday. I did not claim my 5 shillings but F.C. Ihlee said it was worth it and insisted on me having it. We wanted the room for Dr Reese, the metallurgist, whom I afterwards met at B.P. in Saginaw.
Now here is a unique experience. We had an order for a fairly large Ship Oven. I think it came through from Blom and Voss on the Elbe. However, on their return voyage, the whole way from the Suez Canal, she had a bad list. Dough put in the oven remained there until she got into the port of Hamburg. Now we had word from the WPP office at Hamburg and from what we were told, thought that something was wrong when the Ship Oven was sent away, and F.C. Ihlee said, “How could it be?”, and indirectly blamed me. So off I went to Hamburg on the Saturday previous to Whit Sunday, to the office of Paul Pfleiderer There I learned the facts of the list. “But”, I said, “That should not have made the slightest difference to the Oven”. But the ship had not arrived until Monday.
Now we distinctly told them that the oven was to be fixed fore and aft. They had the room to do this, but had fixed it athwart ship against instructions, and the list that the ship got took all the water in the tube to the oven end. I insisted on our instructions being carried out and promised them good baking. The ship was to sail on the Thursday. The Marine Surveyor allowed us to cut through the bulkhead on certain conditions. One was that the oven fitted the aperture we cut through the bulkhead, which was 3/8” plate. The oven was unfastened from the iron deck and turned at right angles, unbricked, and I personally examined the tubes. The bricked-up firebox was then passed through the bulkhead and an angle iron, fitted in halves, as close to the oven casing as possible, was filled with packing. So now we had the oven mouth in the bakery and the fire in the next compartment, and by Thursday mid-day had a batch of bread baked to perfection. I was up biggest part of the night to keep things going. Now we had the oven in the position which we instructed, namely, fore and aft, and the list would not affect it at any time, and to my satisfaction proved the client wrong.
Between Bays A and B there was a gallery about 8ft wide, and there were some brass finishing lathes. Here we made any brass turnery, universal cocks for Tempering Tanks, stop and pumping cocks for heating apparatus.
Every Sunday in my early days two men were sent to four corners of London to Nevills’ Bakeries. They had to pump and test the oven coils which then made the ovens the first hot water ovens. They were heated from an outside furnace and the continuous coil gave the heat for the baked loaf. The outside furnace was stoked until a bell rang which was attached to a pressure gauge and warned the baker the oven was sufficiently heated for setting in. We kept one man continuously on the testing and adjusting of pressure gauges and indicators for Nevills’ ovens. Of course these were all altered to Drawplate Ovens.
Whilst talking of Nevills’ Ovens and their bakery, Paul Pfleiderer once asked me to meet him at Brixton at 12 midnight as he had a problem to settle. I arrived to order at 12 midnight and found Herr Kübler ready to meet us. He had fixed a gas engine and some shafting and at a certain speed it went O.K. But when it got up to the useful speed it shook the place. I got up behind the shaft and wall and was astonished at the vibration. I came down and Paul Pfleiderer said, “Now I want to know from you what is the matter. Look around and see if you can find anything”. I came to the conclusion that the pulleys on the driven shaft were unbalanced, which proved to be right. After this, balanced pulleys were specified, which replaced those that I saw. For that I was given Paul Pfleiderer’s thanks.
We continued busy with Peel and Drawplate Ovens and straight tubes, Peel Oven mouths, Tanks (40 gallons) which were made at the Works and then galvanized. After their return they were tested to see if any leak had occurred through galvanizing. Sometimes scale, not properly removed when pickling, led to leakage which we made good and re-tested. Around this time we had a number of 1.5/16” x ¾” bore tubes which leaked under test about 9” from the end. These tubes were all made from strip and butt-welded and had to have three heatings in the furnace. So F.C. Ihlee said I had better go to the tube makers; it was not the first time.
This was the New Brotherton Tube Company, and it was a strange thing that when we gave Stewarts & Lloyds an order the same thing happened, and so I went there with more experience. I was taken to the furnace but they (in their great place covering many acres) were less kind. I saw a batch of 12 tubes made and had them sent to our Works. I complained of the same thing but they said, “No”. These tubes were tested in my presence to 6,000 per square inch. But you must have a dry place to test, and in this case there was a vapour, and I said, “You can’t put 6,000 on a tube in this atmosphere”. So several of the gents came along to see our test. We put in one and put 6,000. They said, “There is nothing the matter with that”. I said, “Wait”, and put my finger along the tube, and there was water, and they agreed, and all the 12 tubes were the same. The next time I went they had made great alterations in their testing and kept the pressure on for a minute and examined the whole tube. A solid drawn steel tube no doubt is best and most reliable.
We were now very busy with ovens and only had one set of bent tubes made at Regent Square.
We then had the concentrated furnace and here we began a lot of unnecessary trouble through using a butt-welded iron tube, and after testing did the worst thing we could have done by bending it. This had a tendency to open the weld by bending, and there was no means of telling if it could or would leak under pressure of use, and we suffered a lot of expense by tubes being burnt off through loss of water. These tubes had to be replaced and were often difficult to take out. Further, our reputation was not enhanced. Now we had another idea of Paul Pfleiderer to carry out, and that was to encase in zinc a number of tubes for the purpose of transmitting heat from one side of the oven to the other. I did not see the need if the oven was properly fired. But Paul Pfleiderer had the idea and I had to see it carried out. Mr Harris, whom F.C.I. succeeded, was consulting engineer and warned Paul Pfleiderer that it was dangerous to carry out the experiments suggested, but I suppose Paul Pfleiderer insisted that we had a go once.
We laid six steel tubes in a trough of sheet iron 10 ft long and were supposed to cover them with molten zinc. We had 2 cwt. of molten metal in crucibles with proper carriers as used in the foundry, which was in Bay C. Now zinc melts at 736F and was probably a little higher in temperature owing to its fluidity as it had to run along the trough 10’0” to cover the tubes and submerge them. But did it? The zinc was well hot, brought along and poured and, as I told the carriers to scoot, the end of one tube cocked up a bit, and I needlessly took a broom and pushed it back into the molten metal. There was a terrific explosion. The metal plastered the walls as if it had been zinc lined. I had a double-breasted blue suit on at the time. It burnt a sharp line up at the back of the jacket and vest and singed my shirt. The jacket fell in front of me in two pieces, still burning. A piece of tube, red hot, went up and cut through the wooden sash over the top of St Peter’s Church and fell in a trench in Sidmouth Street. One of the men digging the trench brought it to the doorway in Seaford Street in a piece of sacking, and every head was out of windows three storeys from the ground upwards, asking “What was that?”
That was the last of the experiments in “translators”, as Paul Pfleiderer called them. Of course you could well understand a tube with water in suddenly being immersed in 736F. The water gave the pressure due to its heat and the tube weakened pro rata, and hence the trouble.
Now for six Saturdays we had various quantities of water put into various iron tubes, 1.5/16” x ¾” bore, and had metals and a pressure gauge on each tube. The metal melted at a given temperature and the pressure showed on the gauge. Paul Pfleiderer was built in a screen of tubes in a corner whilst I looked through a small slit in a large C.I. disc. Paul Pfleiderer could see both the gauge and the metal which melted at a given temperature, and each tube was tested to destruction. We made them hot with a given length in the fire. I never could understand what he wanted to know until some time after. He said to me, “The quantity of water you put in the tubes is right”.
Liquiefying Oxygen (See also HERE)
Whilst I think about it, I must tell you of the experience at the Society of Arts. It was there that the liquefying of oxygen was first brought about and the vacuum flask came into being. They first made a flask like an egg, and after extracting the air, the glass was pushed into shape. This made a receptacle to carry the liquid. An egg placed in the liquid for a second or two when exposed to an arc light became luminous. A chop immersed when hung up by a string rang like a bit of steel, and a rubber ball thrown against the wall after immersion split into a dozen pieces. Well, all these things were instructive, as they were meant to be. A.M. Perkins supplied a machine there and had it working whilst the lecture was taking place. On one occasion we supplied a machine to the Royal Society for the same purpose.
In the evening papers there was a long report about “Arktos”. I remember one shop in the Edgware Road, Bowrings by name, at 6 o’clock, when the pheasant shooting began, they had their shop front covered with pheasants (last year’s birds) and before 1 o’clock they were all sold. I had several glasses of claret which was frozen in jelly moulds, and Loftus Perkins used to say to visitors, “Will you take a glass of frozen claret?” You took an ice pricker and pricked off a lump and let it dissolve in a glass. On a hot day it was quite a novelty.
During this period Ludlow Perkins went from Pearns, the pump people in Manchester, to the Whitehaven Engineering Company. He became a director. He was a very clever and knowledgeable man. Unfortunately he died in his sleep and the Whitehaven people lost a brilliant man.
Now I will tell you of one of my experiences. As I think of them I must put them on record.
In 1911 the “Orama”, a 20,000 ton North Atlantic liner, was sailing from Tilbury to Australia for a maiden voyage and she had on board several Green Line and also Orient Line directors. She had a large steam oven on board and was also testing a new electric steering gear. Later I saw this working.
At the Thames Estuary they burst a tube. They wired Peterborough and, as usual where there was trouble, I was told to board her and put things right. I took the last train to Weymouth, and then had to take a sea-going tug and two tubes and a week-end case. The tug took me on a cold November night off Portland Bill. From there I watched for three red – three green – three white lights, and then I had to get aboard. How? From 2 o’clock we saw several “ships that pass in the night”, and at 2.30 I said to the skipper of the tug, “How many hands have you got aboard?” He said “Fifteen”. I said, “What about a cup of coffee?” “He said, “I will call the boy and get him to put some for us both in the chart room”, which he did, and we went from the bridge and had some coffee with plenty of milk and a drop of rum in it, which comforted me, and we then returned to our vigil. He said, “How are you going to get aboard?” “Well”, I said, “That rests with the Channel Coaling Company which has undertaken to see me on board the “Orama’”. He said, “They might suggest the Breeches Buoy or the ladder”. At 4.30 he said, “Here is your ship”. She stopped and by megaphone ordered him to get on the lee side and await orders, and then they put down a line and hauled up the two tubes and my case. Then the first officer said, “Can you grip the ladder when it is within grasp?” I said “Yes”. But that ladder came from the boat deck and was about fifty feet long. It swayed first several feet to right then to left, and sometimes was hanging tight to the ship’s hull. For twenty minutes I waited whilst tug and ship rolled, and then came my chance. The first officer said, “Mr Hayward, both hands for yourself”. And up I went, and when I got to the top two men had a grip of the seat of my trousers and pulled me on board and said “Well done!” But I did not think about the dangerous job of boarding a liner at sea.
However, it was now past 5 o’clock and they said, “You have a first class cabin up forward. You had better have a lie down.” So I lit my pipe and rested, and at 6.30 there was a meeting of the Travelling Steward and the Chief Engineer and the directors who were on board. I went and saw the oven and the damage and said I would need to have two engineers and would soon make things O.K.
Well, we worked all through Saturday night and by Sunday night we had a baking temperature. I got from the Engineer some fire bars which, when cut, made a good fire box, and the tube was replaced. I said to the Chief, “Well, it has been a rough night but the job is done to the satisfaction of all concerned.”
What was the cause of the trouble? Like many others, it was due to making a furnace fire just inside the fire-door and asking a third of the tubes to do the work of the whole. In fact, there had scarcely been any fire at either extremity of the fire box. But the job was so satisfactory that the ship went the second voyage to Australia without the final repairs.
When I was off Finisterre I said, “I am not sure that my wife knows where I am”. One of the directors said, “Send her a wireless”. That I understand was the first wireless that went through Peterborough Post Office.
We went into Gibraltar and took onboard from a wagon a load of salad of all kinds, and fruit too. Then we pulled out and went through the Strait of Gibraltar, into the Mediterranean and north of the Balearic Isles up to Marseilles, the next largest city in France.
I am sorry to say that this very fine 20,000 tonner was fitted out as an armed cruiser and lost in the 1914/18 war.
When I returned I saw F.C. Ihlee and gave him a full explanation of what had happened and how I had managed to use the liner’s boiler fire bars to repair the damage which was, as I have explained, entirely the fault of very bad firing. I also told him that after I had thoroughly explained to the individual as well as his bosses when present, they well understood. F.C. Ihlee said I had done a good job under difficult circumstances. When I returned J.H.Booth said I had had a d—n good holiday. These are plain words but true.
Now we return to Regent Square. It seems that many years before, the firm of A.M.P. had taken in all the houses between the Harrison Arms in Seaford Street and St. Peter’s churchyard and converted them to their own uses. In the middle was the gateway which I have previously stated was converted into a Cold Room 40ft long but now restored to its former use, and an opening 10ft wide would enable a railway lorry to back straight into the Works under a crane in Bay B. On the floor level the Works consisted of Bays A, B, and C, and between A and B, and B and C were galleries about 8ft wide. As I have said, the one between A and B had brass finishing lathes, also testing apparatus up to 11,000lbs per square inch, and many people sent their gauges to be tested or repaired. At the end of this gallery were the Engine Room and a Roots Blower. The gallery between B and C was used as a store for piecework goods. I should think Bay A would be about 100ft long to the wall of the house next “The Harrison Arms” and those of B and C 70ft, so it would leave the floor level an ‘L’ shape.
At one end of Bay A was the boiler, under which was a semi-basement with a smith’s shop for two or more forges. They also had light from Seaford Street as more than half of the windows were exposed, enabling the smiths to work without artificial light. There was also a semi-basement under the Stores, which was used for many purposes, at one time tube testing; but that was abandoned. On either side of Bay A was a row of benches and vices for fitters with lathes behind them.
Their light was gas, as was the whole works in 1890 or a bit later. Above the Smith’s Shop were two quite high-pitched rooms. The first was a light Plate Shop and above a store for W.P. &P. packed machines. One of the forges was fitted with a patent Perkins Tuyere, which I will try to make clear.
The idea had two objects, one to heat the blast and the other to keep the Tuyere from burning off. In the ordinary-looking nozzle a coil was cast, the two ends of which went through the wall and connected to another coil which was in an enclosed sheet metal tank with a small expansion tube on the top, and this coil after being charged with water was hermetically sealed. Then the air from the Roots Blower was heated and the nozzle was never burnt off; the heated air was always blowing on the fire instead of cold. I never interfered with it and it was there all the time I was there and the Tuyere never burnt away.
On the other side of the 10ft wide gateway was quite a roomy store, and above that, steps up to the Pattern Shop. Also carpenters were found work in making spiral brush sifters, dough trucks and elevator trucks which were generally made from whitewood, as you could get this wide and no joints, any width. They had a band saw and circular saw and lathe.
In Bay C we had a water tank for tempering Perkins’ metal rings in the casting level with floor. Also a covered-in furnace for heating castings before immersion. We also used part of this bay to make gas producer furnaces about 6ft in diameter and 8ft high, rolled up and riveted like a boiler out of 5/16” plate; also drilling machines to drill six holes at once for burners in long lengths of tube. That was when we tried gas to heat tubes instead of coke.
We made many plants and they all went up Manchester way. We also had an inventor from France who heard of our high pressures and had an engine sent over for us to give it a trial with 300lbs per square inch. From what I remember of it, it was something of a turbine, but now I know it had not the proper type of nozzle inlet. The inventor himself was very disappointed. W.W. Harris got interested and we found that it took more steam for the engine than for ours to drive the whole works.
After Mr Ihlee came on the scene he said to me, “Could you now fix up this place with arc lamps?” I said, “I am not an electrician”. However, I knew enough about it to do so. Then we were like many other works using gas. So I first bought a marble slab of the right size and mains switch, and fitted it up. F.C.I. bought a motor so that we could install it in the engine room. I then ordered enough 7/16” cable to fix the lamps in series and F.C. Ihlee and I settled the points where the lamps should be fixed to avoid the crane and could give the angle of diffusion so that all could see. But our chief trouble was fixing the carbons then used. The day came when we switched on the lights and it was some time before the motor got up its speed. However, we used the lights and had a labourer to fix the leads to my instructions and then we had to have the insurance representative to see the doings. He was, to my joy, satisfied. Well, I think we thought more of ourselves than before, but we did not get swollen heads.
We were then carrying out some experiments at Peterborough. I think it was for the purpose of seeing what amount of hydrogen a tube gave off after various charges of water, because we believed it hindered the circulation of the Closed Circuit Oven. So, as I have said, we put into several tubes various charges of water and then put each under the same intensive heat. But we wanted to keep it as secret as possible, and whilst we were doing this a notice was put up and people were told not to enter this part of the building.
One morning there came into the place a person who had been warned by F.C. Ihlee not to bother me at certain times. As he came in I was carefully measuring water into a long tube. He said “What is that you are putting into that long tube?” He said, “It looks like water.” So I answered, “That’s what everybody thinks, but please don’t put your finger in it or you will well know it.” Again he said, “Well, what is it?” and he took out a notebook. I said “Oxidised hydrogen.” He went away but came back again against orders. The next time he came he said, after consulting his note book, “Now, what was that you said you were putting into those tubes?” I said “Hydro-oxide”. He said, “That was not what you told me before”. As far as he could, and I know, he put it down in his notebook and went away. He came again and asked the same question, so I told him, “H2O”. He exclaimed, “That is far different from what you have previously told me.” But it was here that he made a big mistake. He went to F.C. Ihlee and said, “That man Hayward is trying to have a game with me”, and then explained to Mr. Ihlee what had happened. So F.C. Ihlee sent for me and told this man that he was not obeying orders and had no business there, and would he read from his notes what I had told him. “Yes”, said F.C. Ihlee “Don’t you know what H2O is?” “No, I confess I don’t”, said he. “Well, then, you should”. What happened afterwards I know not.
But our object was to find out by giving the same heat and pressure and less quantity of water pro rata in each tube’s length how much hydrogen we got by this process.
We drilled a 1/16” hole in each tube and found that in the larger tube if a match was placed we got a flame 10” long; in the other tubes less. Of course this flame only lasted until the pressure was gone and was taken after all the tubes were cold. But it certainly showed there was a decomposition of the water and the gas produced did hinder circulation in a closed circuit small tube oven as used in Scotland.
We return again to Regent Square.
On the same top floor where the Paul Pfleiderer machines were, and on the side of the wall (which I suppose was a larger room when they were previously houses) were several sizes of machines ready to mix any article sent, and on one occasion we mixed 5 cwt of toothpaste in which we put £5 worth of attar of roses, to the complete satisfaction of the sender and owner of the material.
But on another day we had some chocolate and a large drum of white powder which they would not let me touch, and they said they did not require anyone there but a labourer, in case they required me. So I left him and they incorporated the contents of the large tin with the chocolate. But I told the labourer if he had the slightest chance he was to dive his hand in and squeeze it up and put his hand in his pocket. He would then have a handful of the material they so jealously guarded, which he did, and brought it carefully down to me. Later I put some boiling water on it and tasted it – “Arrowroot”.
There was a Colonel who lived in Grosvenor Square, Victoria, and he wanted a machine, heated to mix some special dust with bitumen and keep it heated for 30 minutes. It would make an absolute substitute for that which was put down in the City of London by Italians. He had found that he had the proper stone in a quarry in Scotland. It made perfect asphalt, but you must have the proper stone and mix it with bitumen and then re-heat it. It behaved and wore like the material that came from Trinidad. We sold him a very heavy machine. He had in his employ two 6ft men in plush breeches and they kept the small machine which I took going continuously for 30 minutes. He had a kitchen big enough to put a bus into and a 3” thick kitchen table (to which he allowed me to fix the machine) and a vast number of servants. He had a maiden sister and, after the experiment, took me and introduced me in such a homely manner. She was one of the Old School and very nicely asked me if I would like some music, in a vast Drawing Room. I thanked her and said, “Gilbert and Sullivan’s”, and she graciously said that was her favourite. When the Colonel returned I went with him to have some food at an old-fashioned coffee shop in Panton Street. He was so pleased with the result of the experiment that he made me a present of an ivory ruler.
We did anything that was required at the Battersea Bakeries. The Manager there was a Scotsman, as also was the under Manager. Now, on one occasion he rang up on a Saturday about 12 o’clock and said they had a 3-sack Machine out of order. He followed up the phone call in person and said, “We require the machine to be working at 10 o’clock tonight. Can it be done by that time?”
The person in authority was Mr Carnelly. I told Mr Ritchie (that was the Manager’s name) that it was Saturday and we closed in an hour’s time. Well, Mr Carnelly said we would do what we could to see that the trouble would be attended to and, if possible, repaired in time for their use. But there was a snag here – every Outdoor Engineer we sent there refused to go there again, as Ritchie was a terrible man to do anything for, and abused and even used bad language to every mechanic. So I said to Mr Carnelly “If they will pay, I will go myself”. So I hired two hansom cabs and took two mechanics and a labourer and told two turners to come back at 1.30 and await instructions, which they did.
When we arrived, Ritchie was present. I examined the machine and found that the bush nearest reversing gear had seized on the shaft and slightly moved in its position in the front frame of machine, and it was the fault of non-lubrication. So, finding I could not move the shaft, I found some plate and lit a small fire to expand, if possible, the casting ever so slightly. Then in came Ritchie. He started to use bad language and said we did not know what we were doing. I said,”Now, Mr Ritchie, we pack up our tools and go back to the Works if you don’t stop your abuse”. So I said “Pack up the tools and we get back”, and to Mr Ritchie I said, “You behave like a navvy to every man we sent here, but you don’t do that with me. The alternative is, keep away and we will give you your machine by 9 o’clock”. He went away and came back and said “Is there anything you want?” I said, “Yes, I want a horse and cart to take this shaft to the Works, where we can get it out, and the horse will have to wait while we do what is needed and we will bring it back”. He said, “Do you want a man?” “No”, I said. So he gave us a horse and cart which we drove through Piccadilly Circus to Regent Square.
We took off the bush and found, too, that the front frame was not too badly damaged, fitted a new bush, cut the grease channels and skimmed up the shaft and took it back and fitted it in position, put the belts on and ran the machine. It was summer-time and I said to the mechanics, “Now you can go down at the foot of the stairs and have a smoke”. They were sitting there smoking when along came Ritchie. He began by saying they were wasting their time when they should be at work upstairs, but in words more forceful than polite. I sat at the top of the stairs and said, “Not so fast, Mr Ritchie. Your machine is running in good order and time and those men deserve a smoke. Now let me tell you that your behaviour to our men has not been what it should be, but you can always rely on our doing our very best for you if you don’t interfere”.
When he paid a visit to the Works he always asked for me and shook my hand warmly and said he knew his faults and would not interfere again. We sent men there and never had any more trouble.
Here is another case, and of course it would come at Christmas when we were just closing down for the holidays.
A friend of Mr Harris came along and said they were in trouble and must have an engine working night and day. Now Mr Harris did not like to disappoint his friend and said, “Hayward, what can you do?” I took a hansom cab and saw the engine. When the steam was turned on it went first one way and then reversed so I saw the engineer in charge. I said, “Leave it and I will be along with an engineer tonight and see to it, so that when you come in the morning it will be all right”. As a matter of fact I did not want him there, as I knew what was wrong and Mr Harris’s friend was a director and said, “I don’t mind what it costs as long as it is ready in the morning, when I shall be there”. Now I must tell you that the Engineers in Charge are a society of men who look after jobs of this sort, and their name (the first one) should be something else.
At night I took a Frenchman, a good mechanic, in a cab, and off came the steam chest cover, valve rod lowered, and slide valve out. He, the Frenchman, said, “But Mr Hayward, why do we take this heavy slide valve back to the Works?” I said, “I’ll tell you later”, so we made a new joint for the cover and took the valve and the cover back early morning in a hansom cab. My man put his foot on the fly wheel, turning as I needed, and I set the valve on the valve rod and locked the nuts in position and clapped on the cover. Of course, you will see that the trouble was the valve became loose on the valve rod. If the Engineer in Charge had taken notice of the noise in the steam chest he might have discovered the trouble. The reason for taking the valve back to the Works was to prevent anyone suspecting what was wrong.
The director was there in the morning and seemed very satisfied; he did not say much to me but wrote a letter to the firm saying some very gracious things about me and the way the job was done, enabling them to carry on. I told the Cashier to charge them £10, which he did. Of course, this was at Regent Square.
During the boom with “Arktos” a well (300ft deep) was sunk at the extreme end of Bay A, as they had found, by meter that they were paying from £20 to £30 per month for water. A machine pump was fixed over the top to send the water up on the roof to a storage tank.
When we went for a trip around the Nore Lightship we did not go into Sheerness. So on approaching the lightship he borrowed from the steward a basket and put into it six bottles of beer and as much literature as he could collect off the passengers, put it on the middle of a throw line to the ship; they would haul it in and we would collect the basket on our return. You, sir, if you had been privileged to know him would, I know, have found him a ready exponent of many difficult points, chemical or mechanical. Sometimes I used to wonder, when he was speaking to an engineer (in my hearing) what was the extent of his knowledge.
I should have mentioned that Loftus Perkins married the daughter of Dr Patton of America. He was presented with a gold watch and chain by Dr Patten, who was the Minister of a Presbyterian Church. On the face of the watch was printed the Lord’s Prayer, easily read.
His yacht’s name was “Emily”, since that was the name of his wife. This yacht was also engined by the Perkins type, a triple compound. He used to run around the Isle of Wight during the summer.
Before passing on to more about Peterborough, I should like to say something of F.C. Ihlee. I went with him to buy a small steam yacht. The person who wanted to sell it had a lawn where he could moor it and where it was easily available. So off we went, and the yacht, named “Fiona”, was at its usual place with steam up. The proprietor said, “I have my engineer here and, before buying, you can have a run in it”. So F.C.I. said to me, “Have a look down below”. I did, and said, “If you look after the navigation, I am able to see to the engine”. So off we went and, being satisfied, he came back and handed the proprietor a cheque and the yacht was his.
Now, he lived at that time in Cedar Gardens, close to Putney Bridge, and his yacht was made fast to the old “Queen Elizabeth” within sight of his garden. When I left him I said, “Be careful when you step off the Queen on to the taffrail – go gently, for the lightness of your yacht will make her heel over and perhaps you will go into the water”.
Well, the next morning was Sunday and he went to prepare, so that when ready, and Mrs Ihlee came over the bridge with a luncheon basket, he would steam away. But he forgot and jumped on board the yacht and went overboard and lost his cap. He could swim well, so he swam after his cap, recovered it, ran over the bridge to his bathroom and, after changing his clothing, came back before Mrs Ihlee arrived.
When he bought his first car, called Rambler, I spent several Saturdays with him, and on one occasion l lay on a sack outside J.H.B.’s shop, and then I went in to him for a dead smooth file. He hadn’t one and did not know of one. I wanted it to round up the commutator as it had got a bit out of round. There were only two sparking points and the motor was powered by a wet accumulator. However, I managed and we ran.
The next time I went to J.H.B.’s shop was to see a 4 H.P. ”Otto” gas engine prepared for starting at the request of F.C. Ihlee, as he wanted a bit of shafting in motion for grinding and buffing his cycle frames as he brazed them before japanning. We had a man (who died from being crushed between a truck and a wall) who worked with J.H.B. at the Raleigh Cycle Works at Nottingham. I don’t think I can say anything about the number of men at Regent Square, only by the annual Beanfeast. There were then 130, as far as I can remember.
Now, at Peterborough we had Carl Pletscher in the Drawing Office. I got him a comfortable lodging in which he stayed whilst there, and we were always good friends. Also at Regent Square was Herr Kübler, and I learnt a good bit of German from him. Carl followed Herr Kübler in Saginaw. When Carl was designing the engine etc. for a car we were going to make, he said, “Have you anything I can do in fixing up machines, etc.? So he came down in the Works with me and I gave him some labour and he fixed up 100ft of shafting and some woodworking machines in the Pattern Shop.
One of the jobs which entailed a bit of thinking when I went to Peterborough was unloading the flywheel which was for the first 90 H.P. Suction Gas Engine. But I had twelve labourers and told them to bring up four rails from the Midland stock and I laid these on the truck. I also got them to bring up as many new sleepers as I required. I began by making a solid runway from the siding off the truck to the inside of the Power House, which was some distance away. I secured the sleepers and rails, and made a slip-way with sufficient room to clear the boss of the flywheel. I lifted the wheel at the right angle and greased the rails, and off she went, right where I wanted it in the Power House. It took me longer to prepare than the few minutes I saw it sliding down my runway. We took the rails and sleepers back to the stack where we found them.
Now we had the suction gas plant to erect and get the first engine together with the generator switch-board, etc., so as to get power enough to do things. But we had another snag in the erection of the crane structure to put it on its rails in the Plate Shop. This gear came from Belgium, and the manufacturers sent their own engineer to lift it on to its rails. He made a derrick and when he had it nearly up, the derrick bent and he called me to see what could be done. So we had to prop up his derrick and save the whole lot from coming down. This was done and finally we landed the structure on the rails, much to his relief.
Now we were ready to make our gas and run the first engine. Now, the man who knew so much about water (H2O) came with me for a week, as per instructions from F.C. Ihlee, and got all the information for starting up. But he only came one day and I was to stop away. Result – no engine started. So I had to resume. When asked about it, he could not give a satisfactory answer. So F.C. Ihlee said, “Come with Hayward up to Paston Hall”. He had questions for both of us to answer. I put my answers down on a pad and so did he. Every answer he gave was incorrect and besides, he disobeyed orders. He was there three months only after that.
When in 1905 the Wellington people came to Peterborough, I was in charge of the Machine Shop. With an assistant from Wellington, Evans was on the marking off table.
We had an order from the Brazilian Government for some pile drivers. We estimated for some parts and we knew not who did the rest. We had to bore out some heavy castings weighing some 5cwt and also to bore a 1½” dia. hole 11ft up a 4½” dia. shaft. For that we had to line up two lathes in perfect alignment, as the shaft to take the drill was over 11ft and we continually had to take out the swarf and clear the hole. Our 1½” hole had to be perfectly concentric and we found that the drill preceding the final bore wandered a bit. Now whilst in London I used some D bits, which made a perfect hole and clean. C.E.Pointon knew of these bits but had never seen them at work. So we made a bit, turned and milled it and started it on a ring stay at shaft end, first with a tool on the slide rest. We made a perfect hole and it was central, too.
Soon after this, F.C. Ihlee bought his first car. He bought a second, something like a waggonette – you got up steps at the back and it would there seat four people.
Now, he had an accident with a bent connecting rod and a twisted crank. I looked at it and saw that the web of the crank, when made, was in line, so that the metal would be balanced, and left it in the tool stores. Some hours after, I was sent for and found C.E.Pointon and J.H. Booth looking at the twisted crank shaft with F.C. Ihlee. F.C. Ihlee said to C.E.Pointon “What would you do with that?” He said, “Scrap it – you would get a new one for ten pounds. J.H. Booth said, “Yes, you could”. Then F.C. Ihlee turned to me and said, “Well, what do you say?”
I said, “I will risk straightening it and making it true”. J.H.Booth said, “Not on your life. If you did, it would cost more than a new one”. So I had permission and in the Tool Stores we had a gas-fired furnace (producer gas) and room for 3’ x 3’ heating. So I moved close to the furnace a base of a “Z” Moulder which had been planed on top with suitable holes drilled and tapped, and plates to hold the crank shaft down until cold. Into the furnace went the crank shaft and when it became red hot we bolted it down on to the planed face and it remained there until cold. We then checked it over and found it very good and nearly correct. Another warm and a small twist and that did it. We clocked it over until we had got it O.K., then ran it in the lathe, touched up the bearings, made good the metal on the connecting rod, and I had every minute checked by the time-keeper. When it was complete, its cost was less than £3 in mechanic’s time. Then the previous committee was asked to come and see it. I was absent, but received thanks from the proper quarter, and the following day went to Skegness and had no trouble with the crankshaft.
About this time I had a call to a ship in Amsterdam, where they had badly misused a ship oven and burst two tubes, which I got replaced and the oven working, and the people who looked after the oven were discharged. I was nearly killed, for two men were painting the black around the top of the ship’s funnel, and through some mishap the paint pot (a keg about 12” high) was dropped through the hatch from the top of the funnel into the galley between the surveyor and myself, a few inches from either of us. My suit and his were splashed with paint, which we cleaned as best we could, but they hardened and were spoilt by the turpentine we had to clean them with. We just escaped the weight of the paint pot and, perhaps, head wounds.
The surveyor was so impressed with our work that he promised to go to Dover to see that my instructions were carried out, which he did, and we got another order for the ship that was being built.
I have spoken on a previous page about bending tubes. The only precaution the bender could take was, if he could see the weld seam on top of the butt welded tube, when bent, then it would have a tendency to close the weld, but you might search for it in vain. At that time we were having a great number of tubes bent. I knew, too, that we were having a lot of ends burnt off from loss of water and it seemed stupid to test a tube to 6,000 and then bend it, and until the oven was working you had no evidence that the tube was bad until it was burnt off in the fire box, and it was costly for a bricklayer to get a tube out. So I went to J.H.B. again and told him we should have solid drawn steel tubes, and this would avoid a lot of trouble to the Bakery owner and to our reputation. He said, “I don’t care – I am not paying 1d or 1½d per foot for steel tubes when I can get them at the price I am paying”.
Of course, when a tube was burnt off I knew about it because I had to make another one of the same number to replace it, and it came so frequently that I went to F.C. Ihlee and said, “What a stupid thing we are going to bend a butt welded tube after it had been tested”. He said “Come with me”, and we went to J.H. Booth’s office and he then said, “After today we bend no iron tubes but we will have steel ones. Make a note of it and the date”.
During the 1914/18 War (when both Joseph Baker & Sons and Peterborough did war work), there was difficulty at the Manchester ship canal. They were stoking the ovens with wood and complained that they could get no top heat on their Coburg loaf. But they were fitting up the fire box and leaving the fire door open, taking in the cold air. Also, there was a Lieutenant there who said to me, “Your people don’t know much about baking. Do you know that they (the ovens) are lower at the rear than in front? I am building a brick wall and lifting them all to one level”. I said, “I will see that they bake the bread all right, but I shall explain to my Managing Director when I return what you intend doing, which is entirely wrong, and he will write to your superior officer of the North East Command to prevent your interference with the ovens”. He sent a Corporal for a drawing he had made, showing the brick wall, and said, “This is what I shall do, and I have had this drawing made for the purpose”. So I said, “You will take your instructions from your Colonel and you will get them soon”, which he did, and the ovens were left as they were.
We had the same difficulty at Ripon Camp with the baking. They had 24 ovens and had 60 men cutting up wood for fuel, and there again they crammed the fire box with wood blocks and left the door wide open. I stayed there three days and we had 24 men to look after the ovens instead of 60, and used coke and got good results.
Next, I took a trip down through France to meet a ship called “La Loire” at Marseilles. It was in December, just before Christmas, and my wife read in the daily paper that Paris was the coldest city in Europe, for when we arrived ice was all along the train.
I met a gentleman from St James’s Club in London at Calais, an elephant breeder in Burma, who was meeting one of the Bibby Line steamers which, he said, saved him time and the travel through the Bay of Biscay. He said he preferred the company of an Englishman, so we went through Paris together to the celebrated café on the station to get some food. We had a most beautiful dinner in this place, well served, and all the waiters spoke good English. From the platform of the P.L.M. Station we caught our train for Marseilles, and when we got to Avignon the train stopped and along its whole length were trestles with a wide board, covered with a clean cloth, and waitresses attired in white. So you only had to step down out of your warm train (instead of rushing to a waiting room) to be served with hot coffee and sausage rolls or sandwiches. You know what coffee and milk is in France – excellent.
After this wait and refreshment we returned to our compartment and resumed our journey to Marseilles and arrived there at 9.30 I said goodbye to my co-traveller and went to find a hotel. At the bottom end of the Rue Camibere is the Grand Hotel Geneve. I was surprised to find water running down the street from fire hoses. After fixing up at the hotel I was told that bubonic plague was very bad and that I was not on any account to drink water, even if boiled. This did not trouble me much, so I made my way to Rue Reavue, where the “Courtier Maritime” resided. He said the ship would arrive after noon, so I returned to the Gare du Nord Station to see that my two tubes had arrived, and ordered them to be sent on board “La Loire” when she got in dock. I am not sure, but had reason to believe that she belonged to the Messageries Maritime Company.
The moment she arrived I went on board and saw what was wrong and what was needed to put matters right. With a little difficulty I got the men I needed and started dismantling. I found that, like all others, she had been badly treated, viz: I first found that the flue was connected to the main funnel of the ship, which gave a big draught. As this could not well be altered I had a ½”plate put in the flue and reduced the size to about a third. This, when tested, worked very well. I had a row with the people who were responsible for the firing, inasmuch as they expected, like others, to get a third of the tubes to do the work. Instead of equal distribution of firing they were just lumping it on to the centre. I got the Chief Engineer to explain their lack of common sense, which he did.
Whilst the heat was getting up for baking, I went into a tobacco shop and asked, in French, for a packet of tobacco. The lady who served me said, “I see you are English – you could have asked for that in English. I am a Canadian and, of course, speak English”. A very fair man standing in the shop said at once, “I also speak English and five other languages. Can I be of use to you?” I said “Yes, I will pay you if you come along on the “La Loire” ship tomorrow and rebuke certain individuals whom I cannot as I have to pick my French.” He duly came and did well what was wanted. He said, “At present I am a journalist out of a job, but I have credentials. I am the son of a Swedish Consul”, so I encouraged him to believe that I could, perhaps, on my return find him a job if he could pay his fare to London.
During my stay at the hotel I saw every morning whilst at breakfast a load of coffins go by for those who had died by the plague. At night I had at my table a Professor from Hamilton College, and I noticed he kept the menu to himself. After advising me not to drink water, he said “How did you like your leg of chicken?” I said, “Very well, nice and tender”, He said, “Ah! That was the leg of a bull frog. I thought if you saw the menu you might not like it”.
I arrived home without harm from the epidemic that raged there at that time. When I returned I told Mr Ihlee about Olaf Rothman, the man who helped me. He sent for him and he came to London, also with us to Peterborough, and we found him very useful. We found he could speak, write and read eight languages. When the 1914/18 war broke out he invented a material which was called Casement, used for hardening. He then left us and went to live at Hampstead and became very prosperous.
I paid a number of visits to Slateford Road in Edinburgh. They had several circuit ovens in Ireland that were giving trouble. So I went to look at several thousand small bore tubes; their trouble was leakage. I had a quantity of tubes laid out on the floor and minutely examined them. The ends, instead of being uniform in thickness, were in many cases eccentric. So they turned me a smooth mandrel with a gradual taper, which I inserted and gave a sharp rap. Instead of the tube expanding, it split. If the wall of the tube had been uniform it would have expanded without fracture. So we had all the tubes sent back and told the manufacturers they were not reliable; they replaced them. Of course, they were steel, solid drawn, 1.1/16” outside diameter.
I was told that I was to go to America by the “Columbia” (an 8,000 ton rocking horse), and as she sailed from Glasgow I wended my way there. Before I went, W.H.Beanes was told to go, but he refused. When I got to Glasgow, L.H.King met me and I spent the night at his home, and on the Sunday he took me to the dock and at midnight bade me goodbye. It took us ten days to arrive.
Baker Perkins was then housed at the Woolworth building. When I arrived on the “Columbia” the first person to meet me was the man who was to be my future son-in-law, the Superintendent Engineer, who is about the first on the ship to see what is wanted down below. In any case, he knew from a sister of his, who lived in Peterborough, that I would be coming. His father was the Works Manager at Brotherhoods for many years. To my knowledge, I had never seen him before; but, like the good man he was, he took me to the Woolworth Building, where Mr Elmer Baker welcomed me. When I stepped out of the elevator Carl Pletscher also welcomed me to New York. But, as you know, my business was in Rochester, New York State.
For a fortnight I sat 34 storeys up and got acquainted with the office staff in the Woolworth Building and its routine. Mr Elmer Baker was very kind to me and took me off down into the strong room of the building and gave me all the information I needed. I also produced the drawings or blueprints which I required, and found that the tube exposures were so faint that it was impossible for me to read them. So New York wired to Peterborough for correction, which duly arrived. When the draughtsmen who were there saw the drawing of the bent tubes, they were a bit mystified, “Where are you going to do this and how?” Where, I did not know, but I have always welcomed a difficult job and it did not worry me. It appeared that the tubes were loaded in a ship and afterwards unloaded and put into another, so for some weeks the tubes had not left England and I was cooling my heels waiting for the news that they had left. This I finally got. Then there was a longshoremen’s strike in America, which was another nuisance. When that ended there was a switchman’s strike, which was equal to our signalmen.
After a fortnight in New York, Elmer said perhaps I had better go on to Rochester. In the meantime of waiting I became associated with Roberts, who was travelling getting orders for B.P. The bricklaying had no fears for me, but it was no use getting these men until I could get ironwork sent to me and, more especially, the tubes. Finally I learnt that the tubes were at Niagara Sidings, and we strained every effort to get them, but the conditions then held us up and we finally got them on 3rd December. We were now getting 16º below zero and I wanted to unload at once. So on the Sunday I got a number of Italians together and we put the tubes horizontally as close to the job as possible. Before I got on with the brickwork I had to have the bottom rows of tubes bent. Again, where? Then I found a lumber shed with two feet of sawdust in it, not far from Murray and Texas Street, and I got Roberts to interview the owner and I finally hired the place and cleared away sufficient sawdust for us. We lit fires in three braziers and fixed the bending machine with several sacks of cement.
Now, the floor was no use to me because it was uneven and useless, so I went to a lumber merchant and got sufficient wood and boards to make a drawing board 22ft x 14ft, painted it with quick-drying paint and made a blackboard without gloss, sawn square and level. I then asked C.P. at Saginaw to send me two men. One was a useful mechanic, the other a useful labourer. Some of the tubes were bent so they first had to be straightened. For this purpose I required a length of heavy channel iron. Now, this shed was close to an American Outdoor Store of forgotten steel bars, which would be used for the 75 mm. French guns. Some thousands were stacked next to the shed, also various lengths of channel. I found a length of 17” channel to suit the purpose of an anvil. The labourer from Saginaw scratched the snow away and put it on his shoulder with ease. I am sure it weighed 2 cwt. Then I borrowed a top tool and sledge hammer from a smith and straightened the tubes that were bent in transit, put our drawing board level on the floor and we were then able to set out the tubes from the drawing full size and bend them to suit. Knowing I was to go and do the job, I dabbed the rows of tubes before leaving Peterborough with various colours so that they could be picked out on sight. I also painted the number relative to the drawings.
We then laid out the tubes on the sawdust, where we were not working on the floor, in their proper order. This prevented confusion in selection for bending. After the bending machine was ready we started bending the most difficult sets, namely the bottom rows at the end of the oven where the bread entered, and so followed on to the first, second and bottom rows and got ready for the brickwork foundations on the third floor of the Bakery. Roberts ordered the bricks and promised he would come and give me a hand in setting out the foundations.
Now you will see what followed. We got the cement and lime but no bricks. We now had the bricklayers in sight but we had no sand, but we heard that there was a car of sand for our use between us and the rail some miles away. It was frozen like a rock when it arrived, so I got some lard barrels from Ward’s Manager and set them alight on the top of the sand. It was a steel freight truck, so we could not do any harm to that. It somewhat softened the surface, enabling us to get a crowbar into it. I then needed labour to get it to the third floor, so I borrowed three policemen who were off duty and we got chunks of rock to the floor, where it thawed out, and finally by this method got all the sand we needed in proper condition (but what a job).
There were still no bricks, and Roberts said to me, “Boy, you will not want bricks, I’ll see after that.” But we could have done with them. I got a piano wire and, after fixing some wood to each end of the building, stretched it taut as the centre from which all could work. Still no bricks. I phoned several times to the Rochester Brick Company where they were on order, and got promises only.
I learned, however, that they were sending lorry loads to a Municipal building for some interior work, on the same road that led to the Ward’s Bakery. So I wrapped myself up well (it was snowing and very cold) and went and met the lorry and said to the man who was driving, “Let me look at your delivery note”. Now”, I said, “bring them down to Ward’s Bakery”, and gave him a quarter dollar and signed the note and got all hands to put them on a freight elevator and up to the third floor. Then I phoned the Brick Company and thanked them for sending me two loads of bricks. I said, “You know, you have an order for some thousands of bricks and I suppose your carman must have made a mistake. But you will see I have signed for them, so I don’t think it matters much”.
So now we were in good form and could make progress and, with the exception of the snow and bitter cold, I was happy. I had the ironwork for all the doings except the roof of the oven, which I hoped to get before I wanted it. One morning there entered an individual who nosed around. I said to him, “Who are you and what are you snooping about here for without a permit?” He replied, “We enter any building we like, and I see you have no permit from the Fire Marshal hanging up. I am also the representative of the A.F.L.!” I said, “Well, you have no business here”. He said “I shall visit you every day I think fit”.
Next day I had a document from the Municipal Office saying I was erecting a building without their permission. So I collected the whole of the drawings and off I went to the Fire Marshal’s office. I entered and asked to see the gentleman. A door was opened and I was introduced to the Fire Marshal. I said, “Good morning, sir”. He said, ”How do? Say, what can I do for you, brother?” “Well”, I said, “I had this letter from this office this morning and if you will kindly read it you will see”. I showed him the drawings and he said, “What’s it all about?” “Well”, I said, “I am putting up an oven for a friend of yours at Ward’s, Tom Kearns. I believe you know him?” “Well, sure, just step in to that guy in the next room and he will perforate the white drawings with F.M.A. and give you a board or two to hang up”. So I hung up the Notice Boards at the back of the oven. On them it said, “The Fire Marshal has given permission for this building to be erected according to conditions, etc. … Signed …………………… Fire Marshal”
I again had a visit from the A.F.L. man to ask if I had permission from the Fire Marshal, so I said, “What is the matter with your eye-sight?” After he had walked around the oven and seen the notices he was satisfied. Now, I knew that the next thing he would want to know was if all the men belonged to the A.F.L., so I arranged that those who did should hand their tickets to those who had none and then they should wander around and hand them back. They agreed, and when he came to examine the tickets, by my arrangements they all had them, and when he had gone the men had a good laugh about “The guy from the A.F.L.”, and so they all kept at work and, as required, the tube bending kept pace with the bricks
One night at the Rochester Hotel, Roberts turned up and said, “I will come down with you in the morning and help you set the foundations”. He came, and when he saw the progress we had made, said, “But how did you get the bricks?” When I told him, he said, “Well, we are pretty smart here, but this time you have beat us”.
After getting another man to help get the plates in for the travelling sole, all went well until we had finished. Then slow fires were lit to dry out the water, for the walls were all grouted with cement in such a fluid state as would fill all or any small gaps. The cement was mixed in a tub, kept stirred and baled out and was made the right consistency.
Of course, I had finished the oven and saw it working, but had to see how it behaved under baking temperature conditions and also how it dried out, which took about three weeks, as the floor on which it was built was practically water-tight. All the moisture had to be evaporated with heat as none could be taken up by the floor. The tubes, I know, were packed in the oven entrée and were designed to give a grip on the first loaves when entering. So close were the tubes that I made a number of pieces of hoop iron shaped like a square staple to keep the heating of the tubes from creeping by expansion, and this allowed the heat to circulate. Why I made them square was that they could not turn but remained in that position.
Ward’s people fixed the conveyor from the delivery end to the cooler, and when the bread was wrapped, 24 loaves were placed in a cardboard carton so they were easy to count and handle. Before I came away from New York I understood that they baked 1,200 dozen hot cross buns very satisfactorily.
William Ward was a very nice man and had a monthly meeting of his sales carmen, and this was the procedure of the meeting to which he invited me. He sat in a swivel chair in the midst of his men and called them all by name, like this:- Well, Bill, how is your sales book for last month?” Bill would say, “I was 24 up”. “Well, Bill, that is what we want – all the people must have Ward’s bread. Now, Jack, how is your book?” But Jack said, “Well, Mr Ward, I was 12 down”. Now, Ward would say, “Well, Jack, you just call there and give them 12 loaves and tell them you will bring them 24 next visit”. And so he would go on, praising each man for his sales effort and encouraging those who had not kept their sales up. At the end he would say, “Well, boys, you will be glad to know that you sold more bread last month, so keep it going and try your hardest to sell Ward’s bread”. He said to me, “Leave your hat in my office on the desk”. When I returned he had gone, but a dozen cigars were in the hat every time.
One morning at Ward’s Bakery I came along to find the Maintenance Engineer up to the knees in bread wrapping paper. I said, “Well, can I help you?” He said “I seem to want some help”. I said, “I think I can help you, Tom. Just put on a fresh roll of paper”. He did, and the bread wrapper went on without trouble. I said to Tom, “There are some thin lengths in that paper which will not carry the usual strain”. After examination we found this to be so. Result – roll of wrapping paper returned.
Will Ward came to England after I had been to America and F.C.hlee. brought him to me and said, “Here is an old friend of yours”. Not so old, but a very nice man indeed. He invited me to his house at Buffalo.
Later on I considered if I should take my wife to U.S.A. and stay at my son-in-law’s at Cunard Building, 25 Broadway. I was told, when I asked for an extended holiday, that nobody deserved a holiday more than I did, so I arranged to go and went on the “Caronia”.
While there, I was invited to Mr Elmer’s residence at White Plains, together with my daughter and her husband. Sir Ashley Sparks, when in New York, lived on the top of the building, 23 storeys up, next to my daughter’s husband. My son-in-law retired (same day as Sir Ashley Sparks) after being with the Cunard Company 44 years, 27 years as Superintendent and the rest as Chief Marine Engineer at sea. He and my daughter have two children; the boy is in Lehigh University hoping to get a B.Sc. and a B.A. and the daughter married the son of a doctor at Buffalo. Mr Ihlee, when in New York, always called on them, and so did L.H.King and J.H.Booth.
After renewing the acquaintance of some friends that I met before, I had a note from Carl Pletscher saying I was in U.S.A. without his permission and would I be a sport and buy a ticket for Saginaw and come and stay there for a week. So on the Monday I went from Grand Central to Saginaw and had a very interesting time until the Saturday.
During my stay, Carl put me into a small room with four of his staff. He said, “I have know Mr Hayward for years, and I want you to fire questions at him and I am sure you will get some useful information”. And he left me to answer questions, which I was pleased to do. After 1½ hours had gone by, he said, “Stop where you are. I have another to see you whom you have known”. There was a rap on the door and there stood poor old Dr Reise, walking with two sticks. He was not told whom he was going to see, and the tears ran down his face as he saluted me. And was he pleased to see me, and I him, as I had spent a good bit of time with him at 43 Regent Square.
I knew Carl and his abilities – he was as good a mechanic as he was a draughtsman. I was also well acquainted with his predecessor, Herr Kübler. I learnt enough German from him by our exchange of English that when in Germany I was surprised at myself asking for this or that in German.
When I was in charge of the Machine Shop there were six lathes on a line shaft, and the turners, though on piece-work, were obstinate about some high speed steel tools and did not put their speed up on the next cone. So I said, “Break the tool down; never mind the speed”. There was no response, so by myself I went into the Works one Sunday, went into the Stores and selected the pulley I required, same colour, fixed it so that it gave the speed I wanted, and left it ready for running on Monday morning. Casually, I strolled around and found that not a single turner had noticed the change of speed, although their work was running faster. I used to carry in one pocket a surface speed indicator and my watch in the other, and would sometimes check any speeds I was doubtful about, which would sometimes bring the operator more money.
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