The Cowey Car

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Sir,

A copy of your May issue has reached me, with a reference to the Cowey car.

I went to the Cowey Engineering Co., in 1921, after my two years at Acton Tech. At that time the firm occupied premises in a yard adjacent to the railway at Kew Gardens and entered through an archway in a row of shops.

The whole two-storied building alongside the railway was devoted to the machine and press shops, that on the opposite side was partly given over to the assembly of calibrating departments. About a third of the floor space was occupied by a coachbuilder. The Cowey polishing dept. was housed under the archway of the road bridge at the far end of the yard.

The Works Manager in 1921 was a Mr. Marsden, the machine shop foreman being Mr. Wells.

One example of the Cowey car was stored in the works. This had the hydraulic suspension plus leaf springs. The engine was the then familiar Hotchkiss. Apparently, none of the works staff employed in 1921 had worked on the pre-1914 car production.

In my time with Cowey’s the main products were speedometers, bulb horns, two types of hand operated diaphragm warning devices and handoperated screen wipers.

The shops were well equipped and backed by a first-class toolroom.

Power for the machine shop was provided by a venerable single cylinder gas engine with hot tube ignition. It. ran on town gas and the hit and miss governor provided the characteristic “chug-chug-psst-chug” for nine hours per day. She was tended by Mr. Bill Burr and was 100% reliable.

Incidentally, there existed, in the office entrance, a collection of early Cowey speedometers, mostly of heavy construction and pillar mounted.

In this connection, I would guess that the speedometer of the 1906 Silver Ghost (March issue) was fitted several years after the car was first commissioned.

The Cowey concern ran short of work around 1924 but soldiered on until 1931 when most of the workpeople were discharged.

I had, in 1925, fled to pastures new, firstly to Clement Talbot and the Boesch 14/4.5, then to Laystall where I found myself skimming the leather facing of the cone clutch from Captain Millar’s Big Benz. Finally pre-1939, to B. A. and Swallows.

London, E17 R. F. PULLEN

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