THE SEARCH FOR POWER

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53

THE SEARCH FOR POWER A FLYING VISIT TO LAYSTALL’S WORKS

IN common with the majority of motorists, anything in the nature of a works possesses for me a fascination which only increases as I see more of them, and when on a visit to Ewer Street recently about some engine parts of mine which were receiving the magic touch from Laystalls, Mr. Bersey asked me if I would like to have a look round before I went. In a brief tour of the works (Mr. Bersey is a busy man), I began to see why so many well-known firms in the trade, in addition to thousands of private owners, avail themselves of the facilities of this amazingly versatile works.

Gudgeon Pins—all Hot.

Plunging first into a sort of devil’s kitchen, I saw a furnace door swing open and the officiating sprite withdraw a huge iron tray dotted with glowing red gudgeon pins and looking like a mephistophelean birthday cake ! “Hardening Shop,” remarked Mr. Bersey, and passed ..on to where a man wearing a fearsome sort of gas mask was gazing intently through a little window into a great metal box, from which a hollow roar proceeded to add to the Satanic appearance of The operator.

“Sand-blasting,” said my guide and was gone before I could have a closer look. Realising that you cannot examine every process in a works like this in a matter of minutes, I hurried on through departments in which every step in the manufacture of pistons was going on. Through pattern-making, moulding, piles of piston castings, which although sand cast were so clean that they would be mistaken for die-castings if their internal shape had not shown this to be impossible, we came to a great store bounded entirely by finished pistons of every size and description. Deep shelves of pistons mounted from floor to ceiling on every side.

” There are over 25,000 worth of pistons here,” I was informed as we passed on to the main machine shop. Here the first point of interest was a figure standing by a peculiar, delicate looking machine, in which was mounted a crankshaft revving so that the webs and crankpins were a mere silvery blurr, what time its master turned screws and took readings quite unconscious of our presence. ” Dynamic balancer,” was the only comment on the machine which does so much to make an engine really

something out of the ordinary, and we wended our way through the maze of machine tools on which every variety of engine component was being made, crankshafts being turned, con-rods being bored ready to add to the neatly stacked heaps of parts in various places. Never have I seen so many crankshafts in one place before. Varying in size from “750 “s to shafts far larger than any car engine uses, and in condition from untouched forgings to the shining finished product, they seemed everywhere.

There was no time however to linger here, and stepping into Mr. Bersey’s car we drew up a few streets away at another section of the works, and saw where cars were standing waiting for their engines to descend again from the regions above, after overhaul and test. Here also was the welding department, announced by the penetrating hiss and blinding pin points of bluish light from the various oxy-acetelyne blow pipes. A view of more hardening ovens, and we passed to the light and spacious workshop where engine overhauls are carried out. “Plenty of room, that’s the great thing,” and Mr. Bersey pointed out the large bench space opposite each engine stand so that parts could be arranged neatly instead of being piled in boxes in the usual way.. This shop has its own machine shop attached so that they are independent of the main works.

A Busy Test Shop.

A steady hum showed the position of the test-shop and entering we saw four Heenan and Fronde test plants, more than many car factories can boast of. At one end a man was taking readings of an engine on test, referring now and then to a wall chart which enabled him to translate his figures into horse-power instantly. Another engine was just being coupled up for test.

“It’s the only way to prove if the job’s O.K.” said Mr. Bersey as he dropped me again outside his office, “Good-afternoon.”

And so home to dream of a devilish figure in mask and cowl muttering incantations to a red-hot crankshaft revolving in mid-air in the glaring mouth of a furnace, and an acrid smell of burning, at which I wake to find I have been resting my feet on the grate again. I wonder if Laystalls can re-sole shoes ? They seem to be able to do most things.—B.

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