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Model of an epicyclic gear made by apprentices

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Henry Brown01/04/2020 21:24:31
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I was sent some pictures by an ex-work colleague today showing a model epicyclic gearbox that was made by apprentices at W H Allen, latterly Allen Gears, of Pershore, Worcestershire back in the 60's. There were a few of these models made but this is the only one that I know of sadly.  It is being restored for display along with some other Allen memorabilia from the now closed works. Scale is in the order of 1:10.

model gears raa.2.jpg

model gears raa.3.jpg

Edited By Henry Brown on 01/04/2020 21:25:27

Michael Gilligan01/04/2020 21:41:04
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Nice work yes

MichaelG.

Andrew Johnston01/04/2020 21:43:55
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Posted by Henry Brown on 01/04/2020 21:24:31:

............apprentices at W H Allen, latterly Allen Gears, of Pershore, Worcestershire back in the 60's.

Any association with W H Allen in Bedford who made steam turbines, diesel engines and pumps?

Andrew

Addendum: Apparently the answer is yes, a management buy out in the 90s, now seems to have been sold on

Henry Brown01/04/2020 22:04:52
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Yes, quite right Andrew, WHA set up a gearing division in Pershore in 1955 opening it in 1958, specialising in high large speed epicyclic gears for power stations, oil rigs ships and similar.

The company became part of the Amalgamated Power Engineering group later bought out by Rolls Royce. RR decided that it wasn't part of its core business and sold it to three then directors who ook the money and ran after selling it to General Electric. They moved the manufacturing to France, there is still a few designers in the buildings and the service division is still on the site, the site should have closed in September 2019.

thumbnail_atlas works opening 2.jpg

Edited By Henry Brown on 01/04/2020 22:12:37

Hopper02/04/2020 00:03:58
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I vaguely remember working on Allen diesel engines years ago. Great big ones that you could stand up inside the crankcase -- as you could do after one tossed a con rod right out through the side of the case!. Used as start-up-from-cold power in an oil- fired power station to power the boiler feed pumps and control systems on start up. But when the power station suffered a major turbine failure and the engineers hooked the diesel generators into the grid to stop the alumina refinery from setting soild like concrete and ran them flat out for two days they did not like it so much! Probably a result of having sat unused for years.

Edited By Hopper on 02/04/2020 00:04:46

Ady102/04/2020 00:41:47
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We had a crankcase explosion in one of our diesel gennys one night

Gets you out of bed when that happens because the bang lifts you about an inch from the mattress

One of those moments you remember until the end of your days...

Edited By Ady1 on 02/04/2020 00:44:00

Hopper02/04/2020 01:05:20
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Bit like the sound of water hammer/priming in a super-heated steam line between power station boiler and turbine, which was what caused the above turbine failure to start with. Still makes my buttocks clench 40 years later!

Edited By Hopper on 02/04/2020 01:05:59

Henry Brown02/04/2020 07:27:10
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Unfortunately I don't have many pictures of gears in manufacture, this is part of a gearcase for a "Titan" for Solar Gas Turbines in the US, there were more than a hundred of these made. Probably taken about fifteen years ago, sadly both operators are RIP.

pp  cj on a titan.jpg

Speedy Builder502/04/2020 08:37:20
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I too lived in Bedford and went around Allens in the 70's - super works visit.  Very nice work by those apprentices.

Talking of large diesels, I used to have (but lost somehow) a super cartoon of a big engine, Conrod poking out of the crank case, oil and steam everywhere and surrounded by engineers scratching their heads. An office boy approaches the boss with a telephone on a long cord and says "Boss - its your wife, she says she has a headache !"

I loved that one, anyone got a copy ?

 

Edited By Speedy Builder5 on 02/04/2020 08:38:38

Martin Connelly02/04/2020 10:29:23
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Where I worked we used a lot of Allen epicyclic gearboxes. The older ones were cast casings but they changed to fabricated at some point.

gearbox.jpg

Martin C

Henry Brown02/04/2020 10:47:45
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Posted by Martin Connelly on 02/04/2020 10:29:23:

Where I worked we used a lot of Allen epicyclic gearboxes. The older ones were cast casings but they changed to fabricated at some point.

It was all down to volume Martin, there were fabricated for specials usually steel and some in aluminium for hovercraft and a luxury yacht. Is that at Siemens, Lincoln?

Not sure what happened to my photo in the previous post so here it is again...

pp  cj on a titan.jpg

Martin Connelly02/04/2020 12:42:39
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RGT, EGT, GEC Alstom then Siemens. Bay 40, mainworks. This, below, is a special that we used in large numbers.

p1040091.jpg

Martin C

Edited By Martin Connelly on 02/04/2020 12:47:06

Henry Brown02/04/2020 13:17:38
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Tempest or Tornado if I remember correctly. I didn't ever get to Lincoln but did work very closely with the guys in Service, Martin Stevenson was one, there were others who's names escape me! Small world, thanks for posting the photos, I'll ask my colleague to see if he has any pictures of some gear internals.

Martin Connelly02/04/2020 13:50:00
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Cyclone SGT400.

Martin C

martin perman02/04/2020 14:53:24
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A good friend of mine did his Apprenticeship at WH Allens in Bedford and was there when it closed, he said there were loads of models in glass display cabinets that after the closure was announced disapeared over night, the museum Internal fire has several large multi cylinder engines in working order and as a Gofer I have taken a couple of van loads of literature to the museum from around Bedford.

My friend told me of a three cylinder that arrived from the Middle East for repair, when the eingine was de crated the middle cronrod had failed and almost cut the engine in half.

Martin P

Tim Stevens02/04/2020 15:42:24
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This is not the firm Allen which invented / patented/ introduced the hexagon socket drive and key - is it?

Tim

Neil Wyatt02/04/2020 16:47:29
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That's a lovely model of an unusual subject..

Neil

Henry Brown02/04/2020 18:01:31
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Tim - William G Allen was the man for the Allen key, from Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

Neil - Thanks, there were several. I just wish I had thought to "borrow" one when they were dumped in a cupboard!

Andrew Johnston02/04/2020 22:44:12
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Posted by Speedy Builder5 on 02/04/2020 08:37:20:

I too lived in Bedford and went around Allens in the 70's - super works visit. Very nice work by those apprentices.

That's interesting, I had a factory tour in 1971. At the time it looked like my school career was going to be a major car crash so my parents were looking for an alternative to the academic path. My father knew the Allens apprentice master through the IMechE. So we got a factory tour and I informally took, and passed, the apprentice entrance exam. Three things stick in my mind, watching a turner working on a rotor forging for a steam turbine and wondering if he was more important to the company than the MD, large wooden patterns for pump bodies in the woodwork shop and a massive 25+ foot planer machining engine blocks for the diesel engines.

Andrew

Postscript: My school career was a car crash but fortunately not too serious a one as it turned out.

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