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Let's hear it for British manufacturing!

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Kiwi Bloke06/08/2018 12:18:00
260 forum posts
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Well, I can't fault Neil for closing a thread after mention of the Austin Allegro. After that, we all need a lift, don't we?

Let's start a new thread celebrating (what's left of) British manufacturing. It's easy to fall into a geriatric mindset where nothing is as good as it used to be - and it probably isn't, a lot of the time - but we need to protect ourselves from establishing purely curmudgeonly attitudes, don't we?

Try living on the opposite side of the world NZ), where a quality precision manufacturing industry never got established. There's a generalized sad indifference to quality, and purchases are decided by price. Orientally-produced manufactured goods, of wildly-variable quality, have a virtual monopoly, with little available from countries with long-established engineering heritage. What is available costs, in real terms, at least twice the price in Europe or USA. Try NZ$600 (that's about 300 quid) for a Henry vacuum cleaner! Nothing Swiss in the engineering supply houses, but plenty of low-quality rubbish I don't want. Materials are a problem too - 6061 and (IIRC) 7075 alloys are all that are readily available - at a price.

So, cheer up! You've still got quality innovators and manufacturers, if only you are prepared to recognise them. You can still buy quality goods and materials.

I'll start the ball rolling by mentioning a tiny few, picked at random:

Brooks saddles, Morgan motorcars, Cowells machine tools, Purdey guns, Raspberry Pi, most of the Formula 1 motor racing circus and its suppliers ...

Let's hear of more, and of firms who provide quality service, before they're forgotten.

Mick Dobson06/08/2018 12:24:17
16 forum posts
6 photos

Triumph motorcycles from Hinckley.

Well, at least for the first 10 years or so of production. They seem to have lost some of the individual 'Britishness' now, but still high quality desirable machines.

I have a '93 Trident, but normally ride my '93 Moto Guzzi.

Regards,

Mick

Juddy06/08/2018 12:34:19
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63 forum posts

New Holland Tractors, assembled in Basildon at the rate of 89 per day and exported all over the world

Hopper06/08/2018 12:40:54
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3735 forum posts
76 photos
Posted by Mick Dobson on 06/08/2018 12:24:17:

Triumph motorcycles from Hinckley.

Made in Thailand these days. But nothing wrong with that, or the resulting quality which is way better than Coventry or Meriden produced in the golden days of yore.

And from what I hear from the few brave enough to own them, the new UK-made Nortons are not the most problem-free of machines.

I'll stick with my American/Chinese-made Harleys.

Phil Stevenson06/08/2018 13:15:59
73 forum posts
13 photos
Posted by Hopper on 06/08/2018 12:40:54:
Posted by Mick Dobson on 06/08/2018 12:24:17:

Triumph motorcycles from Hinckley.

Made in Thailand these days. But nothing wrong with that, or the resulting quality which is way better than Coventry or Meriden produced in the golden days of yore.

And from what I hear from the few brave enough to own them, the new UK-made Nortons are not the most problem-free of machines.

I'll stick with my American/Chinese-made Harleys.

It's increasingly difficult to say which country any vehicle is "made" in. 100% sourced? Assembled? Designed? Badged? Here's an interesting comment from Triumph **LINK**

Far easier to pick a component and say where it was manufactured. I'm sure the same argument goes for much of the rest of industry. Where are Boeing and Airbus aircraft manufactured? My mate's little engineering company in the West Midlands (you'll never have heard of them) makes some of the bits.

Edited By Phil Stevenson on 06/08/2018 13:27:52

Derek Lane06/08/2018 13:26:37
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218 forum posts
54 photos

As much as I would like to support British made how do I know it is made in the UK from start to finish as many companies now have all the parts made abroad and only assembled in the UK giving them the right to put Made In England on it

Geoff Theasby06/08/2018 13:37:11
593 forum posts
15 photos

Where do I start? Special steels, Airbus wings, Honda/Nissan/Toyota, AMRC, medical joints/scalpels, JLR, ARM microprocessors, electronic games, <pause for breath>

Geoff

John Haine06/08/2018 13:41:17
2638 forum posts
134 photos

Sorry to be pedantic again, but ARM don't make microprocessors, they sell designs for them, which then get made by, mainly, Taiwanese chip foundries. Likewise electronic game software is written in the UK but highly likely to run on hardware made in China.

Mick B106/08/2018 13:45:19
1211 forum posts
70 photos
Posted by Kiwi Bloke 1 on 06/08/2018 12:18:00:

...

Brooks saddles, Morgan motorcars, Cowells machine tools, Purdey guns, Raspberry Pi, most of the Formula 1 motor racing circus and its suppliers ...

Let's hear of more, and of firms who provide quality service, before they're forgotten.

You're dead right they're a tiny few, and, apart from Raspberry Pi, only available to a tiny - and wealthy - few, too. I've never used or handled any of them, and I never even heard of Brooks saddles. So how am I supposed to cheer for them?

On the other hand, when I was working on the development of British manufacturing management software, and driving Austin Montegos (which seemed just as good as anything else in their range at the time), I was quite proud of the part I was playing in British manfacturing. More difficult now.

Bill Phinn06/08/2018 14:30:08
210 forum posts
41 photos

In the cycle manufacturing line, besides the world famous Brooks, who incidentally used to make a popular lightweight adjustable spanner [see Ron Geesin's monograph "The Adjustable Spanner - History, Origins and Development to 1970"], there's the bicycle frame makers Mercian (going since 1946), and Brian Rourke (since 1972), as well as the world's leading manufacturer of folding bicycles Brompton.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 06/08/2018 14:31:03

SillyOldDuffer06/08/2018 14:44:31
4772 forum posts
1011 photos
Posted by Derek Lane 2 on 06/08/2018 13:26:37:

As much as I would like to support British made how do I know it is made in the UK from start to finish as many companies now have all the parts made abroad and only assembled in the UK giving them the right to put Made In England on it

As appearances are highly deceptive I suggest it's safer to 'follow the money'. If that's done you get a different picture. The value of British production has gone up compared with yesteryear even though the number of obviously 'Made in England' items has drastically reduced.

Industry is actually slightly more valuable today than it was when everybody thought it was the bees-knees and the place was full of smoke-stacks.

The contradiction is due to manufacturing moving away from cheap, commodity items that can be knocked out anywhere into high value production.

British industrial success isn't particularly obvious in the amateur workshop, because we don't buy things like aerospace, telecommunications, defence, or business services etc. We think it's all gone wrong because no one makes screwdrivers any more, completely forgetting how hard it is to make a living from making ordinary stuff like that.

Instead we maintain a higher standard of living by buying screwdrivers made abroad rather than the same thing made expensively here. Buying cheap foreign goods frees money up for us to spend more effectively. Of course, there are always losers. Britain's shift from volume to value has been painful. What is sad is the large number of techies who have lost their jobs, and the hands-on way of life that's disappeared. Where car factories once employed tens of thousands, they now employ hundreds. I regret that very much, but can't think of an alternative.

Watching 'Detroit Steel' the other day, I was intrigued to see the boys buying a second-hand robot. $27000 gets you a robot capable of doing perfect welds at 41" per minute. Not good news for skilled welders expecting big money for straightforward work. Industrial robot prices are dropping - I wonder how long it will be before one is picked up by a Model Engineer?

Dave

 

 

 

Edited By SillyOldDuffer on 06/08/2018 14:46:09

Bill Phinn06/08/2018 14:46:33
210 forum posts
41 photos

 

Posted by Derek Lane 2 on 06/08/2018 13:26:37:

As much as I would like to support British made how do I know it is made in the UK from start to finish as many companies now have all the parts made abroad and only assembled in the UK giving them the right to put Made In England on it

You've touched on a crucial question there, Derek. In my experience, most "British" manufacturers aren't exactly open about the degree to which their products are truly British made, and the same can be said for certain world-famous brands it was once taken for granted were made in Japan or the U.S., and maybe even Switzerland.

Roger Smith the watchmaker merits a shout-out.

Edited By Bill Phinn on 06/08/2018 14:48:01

Ady106/08/2018 17:02:57
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3463 forum posts
513 photos

woooooooooooo !

hurrah !

larry phelan 106/08/2018 17:54:08
515 forum posts
11 photos

Dave,

Regarding your last comment,I dont think it will be too long at all,not in my lifetime,I,m sure,but perhaps not too long after. Think about it,how many home workshops would have had a DRO twenty years ago ? very few I think,so,twenty years hence??,Who knows !

Right now it,s not a question of where something is made,rather a question of what part of China it,s made.

It,s all about cost,quality comes second. When China becomes too expensive,which it will,in time,production will simply move to somewhere else,and then we start all over again,thinking that Chinese stuff was the bee,s knee,s !

Regarding English motorcycles,can,t remember the last time I saw one of those,could be around the time Honda arrived on the scene.

Stuart Bridger06/08/2018 18:14:44
352 forum posts
21 photos

JCB going strong.

Dave Martin06/08/2018 18:24:37
101 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by Bill Phinn on 06/08/2018 14:46:33: .....Roger Smith the watchmaker merits a shout-out.

Bill - I'm delighted to see Roger Smith's team mentioned here, but his watches aren't make in Britain, or Great Britain, or in the UK - they are made here in the Isle of Man !

martin perman06/08/2018 18:33:23
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1673 forum posts
67 photos
Posted by Kiwi Bloke 1 on 06/08/2018 12:18:00:

Well, I can't fault Neil for closing a thread after mention of the Austin Allegro. After that, we all need a lift, don't we?

Having not read the previous thread may one ask what was wrong with the Austin Allegro, I had one for almost eleven years, in that time I replaced the front wheel bearings and a suspension balance pipe, it didnt rust that much, passed its MOT every time and took my wife and I all over the south west for holidays. I towed a trailer with it and I only sold it because I had a new company car, when I sold it it had over 100000 miles.

Martin P

Cornish Jack06/08/2018 18:39:36
944 forum posts
127 photos

Interestingly (at least, to me!), searching for something unrelated the other day, I came across this >**LINK**

As a boy, Tom Teagle was locally well-known but not particularly high-profile. I was amazed to find his enterprise still operating and celebrating. I suspect that even those with farm backgrounds won't find his name familiar

rgds

Bill

V8Eng06/08/2018 18:58:12
1318 forum posts
28 photos

Hayter mowers are (I think) still made in Hertfordshire, I owned one for about 20+ years and treated it harshly until around 2012 when the frame broke against a tree stump.

Total repairs over the time if I remember correctly was replacing one small pulley and a belt, best of British for sure.

JasonB06/08/2018 19:02:34
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Moderator
16415 forum posts
1736 photos
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My Hayter has a Briggs & Stratton engine, US company probably not a US made engine.

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