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Anyone worked at Firth Browns?

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The first two photos looks like a large mold for the melting shop. The last does look like SPD, the molds were transported in via a railroad car and after melting, refining and tapping was again moved on a flat bed railroad car. The vacuum was created by some of the largest Roots blowers and injection pumps I think I have ever seen. I dont remember what level of vacuum was achieved but I reckon it could not have been too low (or high depending on how you look at it) with all the crap in there and the outgassing rate of the melt?

 

Although the pictures of the ingot molds are captioned Firth brown I suspect both are on Brightside Lane and are English Steel , now Sheffield Forgemasters. The 2nd one is inside the works outside the foundry dept. Both are larger than Firth Browns would use post 1965 when I started there. Z furnace is still there now owned by Allvac. I also worked with Dave Kell.

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Meltman. Do Allvac own the vacuum arc furnaces on Garter street as well as Z furnace?

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Vacuum remelting was a neat place to work for a good few months. Always enjoyed the lunchtime football game in the yard. Wasn't Keith Manual the foreman there? and the fitter when I was there was John ?? Does anyone remember the tricians mate that we nicknamed VOD? Cant say I enjoyed that "ganny mill" work and the stone crusher. Saturdays we used to get great bacon sandwiches on Peter Street and huge cream cakes. My mother has a sweet shop at the Sutherland Road end of Peter St for a time, near a bus stop.

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Although the pictures of the ingot molds are captioned Firth brown I suspect both are on Brightside Lane and are English Steel , now Sheffield Forgemasters. The 2nd one is inside the works outside the foundry dept. Both are larger than Firth Browns would use post 1965 when I started there. Z furnace is still there now owned by Allvac. I also worked with Dave Kell.

 

Hi Meltman,

 

Here, for convenience, are the pics on my post number 740 which you mention.....

 

http://picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;u07183&pos=1&action=zoom&id=100500

 

http://picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;u07180&pos=1&action=zoom&id=100497

 

I was trying to make them fit in my mind to Firth Browns but wasn't convinced that the rail track was a big enough area.

 

Sometimes the text on Picture Sheffield is incorrect. The following pic showing the Head Offices entrance, which are also at the beginning and end of the short film on my post 744, were for example originally listed as T W Ward at the Wicker. Having given my provenance to Picture Sheffield, as mentioned in brief in their notes on the pic, they kindly changed it to Firth Brown....

 

http://picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;s26727&pos=390&action=zoom&id=29146

 

---------- Post added 03-02-2018 at 12:44 ----------

 

Meltman. Do Allvac own the vacuum arc furnaces on Garter street as well as Z furnace?

 

Hi melv and Swowls,

 

Is vac remelt the shop you mention melv? It was on the left at the top of Garter Street......

 

http://picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;u08905&pos=1&action=zoom&id=95055

 

My old pal from 1959 in Progress and Planning office moved to work on the shop floor there in 1963. I recall that he used to park his car under cover inside the shop when on night shifts :). I have been in that shop and do recall that only the first furnace on left of pic was there at that time.

 

Yes Swowls, I recall the yard as being small and ideal for a private game of football!!

Edited by PeterR

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Meltman. Do Allvac own the vacuum arc furnaces on Garter street as well as Z furnace?

 

The garter St. plant was closed down and sold off and all remelting was transferred to the main site on Carlisle st.

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Hi Peter, the vac melt shop was as the top end of Garter street on the LH side. Thanks for the short film on Princess Alexandra's visit. I think that's the only time the melting shop has been as clean as that:-)

Smowls, the foreman was call Keith Manual and the fitter was called Johnnie Crookes. Vac melt was a good place to work as it was pretty clean and most of the plant was quite modern and being of German design it was well engineered and set out.

Jessop Savilles were the first company in Sheffield to use the vac melt process. They melted titanium and I gather it was pretty volatile stuff to melt. As an apprentice I was sent down to help in cannibalizing one of their furnaces. The roof was spring loaded in case of an explosion and there were several alarm buttons scattered around the shop in case of emergency.

Meltman might be able to cast light on the above?

Edited by melv
additional information

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Hi Melv,

 

Thanks for you comment on the short film of Princess Alexandra's visit.

 

My old pal who worked in vac melt once told me that he had a lucky escape in the furnace on the left of the last pic on my post 748. He said that he was down inside the confined space when the item being lowered in broke free of the chains and came to rest on the inside of the furnace, as opposed to on him.

 

Peter.

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As far as I can remember it was quite tricky loading the furnace. The ingots in the crucible were welded together whilst under vacuum. They did this by putting turnings between the ingots and passing a current through them, causing an arc. They then lifted it all out and put some more turnings in bottom of the crucible. They were then ready to melt.

I can see why your friend nearly had an accident as sometimes the weld would fail, causing the ingot to fall.

Edited by melv

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Thanks melv,

 

I see what you mean about the accident. It could well be as you say. Perhaps I made an assumption that the lifting tackle failed. I'll never know as my old pal Ron Skinner died in 2012.

 

Peter.

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http://upl.co/uploads/WP20180401130139Pro1522945350.jpg

I took a picture of the plaque outside the old research dept on a wander down part of the five weirs walk.

It was sad to see the new research dept is for sale and the ground floor is a furniture store.

The East Coast road pump house is now a Saab spares yard. You had to be a certain type of person to work in the pump house as you worked alone, except for a visit from the maintenance guys or security.

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http://upl.co/uploads/WP20180401130139Pro1522945350.jpg

I took a picture of the plaque outside the old research dept on a wander down part of the five weirs walk.

It was sad to see the new research dept is for sale and the ground floor is a furniture store.

The East Coast road pump house is now a Saab spares yard. You had to be a certain type of person to work in the pump house as you worked alone, except for a visit from the maintenance guys or security.

 

Hi melv,

 

Not much happening on this thread now :sad:

 

Thanks for the clear pic. I have looked at the plaques many times over the years and dread the possibility of them being either stolen or vandalised. Yes it's sad to see things changing down there. I intend to have a look around next week when I call to see my daughter in Sheffield.

Here's the Picture Sheffield photo taken on 5th Aug 2005......

 

http://picturesheffield.com/frontend.php?action=zoomWindow&keywords=Ref_No_increment;EQUALS;c01427&prevUrl=

 

All the best, Peter.

Edited by PeterR

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Hi, as PeterR says, not much happening on this thread now so I thought I'd ask if anyone knew Bill 'William' Dudley. I know he worked there but don't know when. He died in the early '80's and had been retired for a while.

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