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ABWEALTD

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About ABWEALTD

  • Rank
    Registered User

Personal Information

  • Location
    Lymm, Cheshire
  • Interests
    Sheffield Steel Works
  • Occupation
    Retired Metallurgist

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  1. I used to work in the Non-destructive Testing (N.D.T.) Department within the Research Department from 1958 to 1961, it was my first job. Dr. Edwin Gregory was the Chief Metallurgical Director who first interviewed me and to my surprise said "Whatever you do, don't work too hard!". The Chief Physicist who was an expert on magnets, and also N.D.T., was Fred Hinsley. One of the interesting jobs I was given was in the Shepcote Lane Track-work Department, they were drilling the holes ( for the bolts for the fish-plates)in the end of the rails and these were cracking up in service. My job was to measure how hot the rail was during drilling. this was done by taking the drillings and putting them into water and measuring the temperature rise caused by this. This involved physics known as the "method of mixtures" which I had done at school for O level. I also worked on measuring the magnetic properties of steels.
  2. My late mother was a nurse who trained at the Sheffield Royal Infirmary in the 20's, and I remember her mentioning a doctor called "Mr Knutt" -and they apparently pioneered a method of treatment using a powerful electo-magnet -to remove metal from the eyes of injured steel grinders employed in the steel works.
  3. During the 2nd World War, a bomb dropped in the middle of the boating pool in Millhouses Park.(regret date not known)---The repaired hole was cemented in such a way that you could, until recently, (when it vanished from the image?) -see the patch under the water on Google Earth! The other notable event (date not known):--- was that a barrage balloon, I am told, was brought down in Marriott Road, -also in Millhouses. It was presumably there to protect the railway and its nearby engine sheds which are no longer present.
  4. Before the firm was called Dunford Hadfields it was just Hadfields Ltd., my late father was the Chief Chemist and he remembered the days when Sir Robert Hadfield used to arrive at the works by horse! (even before the electric trams!) When he retired he got a part time job helping out at a very small firm called Dunford and Elliott Ltd.He always used to joke about this, because when he left Hadfields the shares went down, and then Dunfords "took over" Hadfields! Faraday produced potentially anti corrosion steels and kept the samples in a box in the Royal Institution in London. Sir Robert Hadfield had these sampled and my father analysed the samples for him, so he could write a scientific paper on it. In the early days, church door hinges, were also analysed,-- with a view to helping to produce fatigue resistant alloys, ---and coffin nails for corrosion resistant alloys. Hadfields was at the end of Vulcan Road, (which no longer exists) and for several years their radiography department which, due to the very thick walls, was difficult to demolish.-- so it survived for several more years as a steel castings repair shop cum radiography unit, run as a separate company. I know this because I regularly visited it as a visiting inspector. Hadfields was originally making Manganese steels for both mining equipment and railway crossings, and in earlier days they made steel plates for battle ships. Eventually they became proficient in plate for nuclear reactors etc. They also did a lot more products. I visited their Research Department when in my early teens and saw a jet engine turbine blade fractured using sound produced from an organ pipe, to test its' fatigue properties!
  5. Yes, I remember the foundry Manager George Marsden, he used to come to the Radiography department in the "Research Department" on the corner of Vulcan Road and the main road.He came to review the radiographs of the various castings to understand how to make them "feed better" so as to avoid cavities in them. One memorable occasion was when we cast some very large gearwheel castings which came out full of bubbles of gas, -like Aero chocolate! -it was cast and the defect was repeated several times and was eventually found to be caused by a works cat using heated moulds as a resting place over night! -when the hot metal was poured in the gas was produced and the sulphur and phosphorous content was sky high!
  6. The title is wrong! The Steelworks was called HaDfields East Hecla Works and the Meadowhall Centre now covers the site. My late father, John L. West, was the Chief Metallurgical Chemist there and I first was taken round the laboratories at about 10 /11 years old! --I saw an aircraft turbine blade fractured in a sonic fatigue test. -very impressive to see it fractured by sound alone! The firm was most famous for Hadfield's Manganese steel which was used for steel railway crossings, and also used for grinding equipment. My father, before I was born, had analysed samples of steel which had been made by Michael Faraday. These samples were obtained from a box in the Royal Society in London, by Sir Robert Hadfield who was a Fellow of that Society. The samples had been made with small amounts of elements like gold and silver in order to try to make corrosion resistant alloys. My father often analysed strange things for Sir Robert, among them old church-door hinges to try to develop fatigue resistant alloys, and Coffin nails for their known anti corrosion behaviour. He also analysed part of the famous Indian "Delhi Iron Pillar".
  7. Hobbies Ltd. was the shop I often visited in the late 40's and early 50's for model aircraft kits engines etc. It was situated opposite the town hall on the paved area opposite (south) side of the gardens.(now developed beyond all recognition!).
  8. It was called Wilson Pecks. My father went in there for a small tin of gramaphone needles and came out with a minipiano! The manager was a Mr Fair. They sold pianos and almost everything for classical music. The piano selling part of the business eventually moved to somewhere on the road leading to Hunters Bar. I used to have violin lessons in the top floor of the building from Mr. Eric Watson late of the Hallé Orchestra.
  9. My late mother trained at the Royal Infirmary as a State Registered Nurse qualifying in 1927. She worked in the early days of the radiography department and I remember her telling me that a speciality of the hospital was the removal of metallic debris (accidents from grinding operations in the steelworks) from patients eyes by using a very powerful electromagnet. She also used to assist in the operating theatre. The sister in charge was a Miss Smeaton, and I have a photograph of both of them in the theatre which had a marble panelled wall. The nurses had to entertain the patients at Christmas and put on various entertainments which took place in the Outpatients Hall.
  10. I worked at the Foundry's Radiography Department as part of my first job 1958 to 1962. The late Fred Hinsley was in charge of the department and the Chief Director of the Foundry's Research Department was the late Professor Edwin Gregory. They were manufacturing electric motor casing (castings) which we radiographed to try to find any cavities in them, --they were for use in London underground trains and also other electric locomotives. Mr Hinsley was also an expert in magnetic properties of steels and we also measured the magnetic properties of the steels of these castings. Edgar Allen Ltd. also manufactured magnet-castings for cyclotrons (atomic particle accelerators) and various electomagnets. The firm was also supplying trackwork for the railways. Permanent magnets for railway signalling. The firm were also manufacturing cement kilns.
  11. My late father used to be the Chief Chemist at Hadfields and was there for most of his working life. In my earlier career, I worked at Edgar Allen's Non-Destructive Testing Department (Radiography etc. of steel) just opposite Hadfields in Vulcan Road. My father remembered the days when Sir Robert Hadfield came to work by horse! Sir Robert was interested in the effect of rare metals such as gold, silver etc. on the corrosion resistance of steels, and with this in view he borrowed steel samples from a box from the basement of the Royal Institution in London, these samples had been produced by Michael Faraday (who had the similar idea). My father had to analyse these for Sir Robert, and he took him to lunch in London at the Cafe Royal, as a reward. He also analysed coffin nails to help develop corrosion resistant materials, and church door hinges to help develop ideas for fatigue resistant alloys. When I was about eight or nine years old (late 1940's) my father took me around the East Hecla laboratories and I remember seeing a turbine blade being fractured by subjecting it to sound waves! (produced from an old organ pipe which had been specially modified for the purpose.)
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