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Encyclopedia > Metrovick

Metropolitan-Vickers, Metrovick, or Metrovicks, was a British heavy industrial firm of the early-to-mid 20th century formerly known as British Westinghouse. Highly diversified, they were particularly well known for their industrial electrical equipment and generators, street lighting, electronics, steam turbines and diesel locomotives. Metrovick holds a place in history as the builders of the first commercial transistorized computer, the Metrovick 950, and the first British axial-flow jet engine, the Metrovick F.2. Image File history File links Metropolitan-Vickers company logo File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the... British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company was a subsidiary of the American Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. ... A rotor of a modern steam turbine, used in a power plant A steam turbine is a mechanical device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam, and converts it into useful mechanical work. ... Diesel or Diesel fuel is a specific fractional distillate of fuel oil (mostly petroleum) that is used as fuel in a diesel engine invented by German engineer Rudolf Diesel. ... A locomotive (from Latin loco motivus) is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train, and has no payload capacity of its own; its sole purpose is to move the train along the tracks. ... Assorted transistors The transistor is a solid state semiconductor device that can be used for amplification, switching, voltage stabilization, signal modulation and many other functions. ... The Metrovick 950 was the first commercial transistorized computer, built from 1955 onwards by British company Metropolitan-Vickers to the extent of seven machines. ... An axial compressor is the name used in the aircraft industry to refer to a particular type of compressor used in jet engines. ... A Pratt and Whitney turbofan engine for the F-15 Eagle is tested at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia, USA. The tunnel behind the engine muffles noise and allows exhaust to escape. ... The Metrovick F.2 was one of the earliest jet engines, and the first British design to be based on an axial compressor. ...

Contents


History

Metrovick started as a way to separate the existing British Westinghouse factories from US control, which had proven to be a hindrance to gaining government contracts during World War I. In 1916 a holding company was formed to try to find financing to buy the company's properties, which eventually led to investment by the Metropolitan Carriage, Wagon and Finance Company in 1919. British Westinghouse was now a truly British company, and soon purchased by Vickers, who changed the name to Metropolitan Vickers Electrical Company on September 8, 1919. British Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company was a subsidiary of the American Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. ... Combatants Allied Powers: British Empire France Italy Russia United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria Germany Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Military dead: 4 million The First World War, also known as The Great War, The War to End All Wars, and World War I (abbreviated WWI) was... 1916 (MCMXVI) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... Vickers Armstrong (Aircraft) company logo Vickers, founded as the Vickers Company in 1828, was a British manufacturer, primarily of military equipment, traditionally based in Barrow-in-Furness. ... September 8 is the 251st day of the year (252nd in leap years). ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ...


The immediate post-war era was marked by low investment and continued labour unrest. Fortunes changed in 1926 with the formation of the Central Electricity Board which standardized electrical supply and led to a massive expansion of electrical distribution, installations, and applicance purchases. Sales shot up, and 1927 marked the company's best year to date. 1926 (MCMXXVI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... The United Kingdom Central Electricity Board was set up under The Electricity (Supply) Act 1926 to standardise the nations electricity supply. ... 1927 (MCMXXVII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ...


BTH merger and transition to AEI

In 1928 Metrovick merged with the rival British Thomson-Houston (BTH), a company of similar size and basically the same product lineup. Combined, they would be one of the few companies able to compete with Marconi or English Electric on an equal footing. In fact the merger was marked by poor communication and intense rivalry, and the two companies generally worked cross purposes. The next year the combined company was purchased by the Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) holding group, who also owned Edison Swan (Ediswan) and Ferguson Pailin. The rivalry between Metrovick and BTH continued, and AEI was never able to exert any control over the problem. 1928 (MCMXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... British Thomson-Houston (BTH) was a British engineering and heavy industrial company, known primarily for their electrical systems and steam turbines. ... Marconi may be: People Guglielmo Marconi (1874–1937) Corporations: Alenia Marconi Systems GEC Marconi Marconi plc (formerly GEC) Marconi Electronic Systems Matra Marconi Space This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... English Electric was a 20th century British industrial manufacturer with a base in electric motors that expanded to include railway locomotives and aviation before eventual inclusion as part of GEC. // History The English Electric Company was formed in 1918 and, during that year and 1919, acquired control of Dick, Kerr... Associated Electrical Industries (AEI) was a British engineering company formed in 1959 by the merger of the British Thomson-Houston Company (BTH) and Metropolitan Vickers. ...


Problems grew dramatically worse in 1929 with the start of the great depression, but Metrovick's overseas sales were able to pick up some of the slack, notably a major railway electrification project in Brazil. By 1933 world trade was growing again, but growth was nearly upset when six Metrovick engineers were arrested and found guilty of espionage in Russia. The British government intervened; the engineers were released and trade with Russia was resumed after a brief embargo. 1929 (MCMXXIX) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Great Depression was a worldwide economic downturn, starting in 1929 (although its effects were not fully felt until late in 1930) and lasting through most of the 1930s. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ...


In 1936 Metrovick started work with the Air Ministry on automatic pilot systems, eventually branching out to gunlaying systems and building radars the next year. In 1938 they reached an agreement with the Ministry to build a turboprop design developed at the RAE under the direction of Haine Constant. It is somewhat ironic that BTH, their erstwhile partners, were at the same time working with Frank Whittle on his pioneering jet designs. The same year they arranged a contract with A.V. Roe to start construction of the Avro Manchester under license. Metrovick would eventually supply 1,000 of the Manchester's offspring, the Avro Lancaster. 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Air Ministry was formerly a department of the United Kingdom Government, established in 1918 with the responsibility of managing the affairs of the (then newly formed) Royal Air Force. ... A simple detachable autopilot on a sailboat. ... This long range radar antenna, known as ALTAIR, is used to detect and track space objects in conjunction with ABM testing at the Ronald Reagan Test Site on the Kwajalein atoll[1]. Radar is a system that uses radio waves to detect, determine the distance of, and map, objects such... 1938 (MCMXXXVIII) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar). ... A schematic diagram showing the operation of a turboprop engine. ... Rae was a Formula One constructor (Indy 500 only) in 1950. ... Frank Whittle speaking to employees of NASA Glenn Research Center, USA, in 1946 Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle, OM, KBE (1 June 1907–9 August 1996) was a Royal Air Force officer who invented the jet engine. ... Avro 504K. Avro was a British aircraft manufacturer, well known for planes such as the Avro Lancaster which served in World War II. One of the worlds first aircraft builders, A.V.Roe and Company was established at Brownsfield Mills, Manchester, England by Alliot Vernon Roe and his brother... The Avro 679 Manchester was a twin-engined heavy bomber developed during World War II by the Avro aircraft company in the United Kingdom. ... The Avro Lancaster was a four-engine World War II bomber aircraft made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force (RAF). ...


In 1940 the turboprop effort was re-engineered as a pure jet engine after the successful run of Whittle's designs. The new design became the Metrovick F.2 and eventually flew in 1943 on a Gloster Meteor. Considered to be too complex to bother with, Metrovick then re-engineered the design once again to produce roughly double the power, while at the same time starting work on a much larger design, the Metrovick F.9 Sapphire. Although the F.9 proved to be a winner, the Ministry of Supply nevertheless forced the company to sell the jet division to Armstrong Siddeley in 1947 to reduce the number of companies in the business. 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (the link is to a full 1940 calendar). ... The Metrovick F.2 was one of the earliest jet engines, and the first British design to be based on an axial compressor. ... 1943 (MCMXLIII) was a common year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1943 calendar). ... The Gloster Meteor was the first jet fighter aircraft of the British Royal Air Force, introduced into service only weeks after the Third Reichs Messerschmitt Me 262, in August 1944 during World War II. It was thus the second fighter jet in history and the first of the WWII... The Sapphire was a jet engine produced by Armstrong Siddeley in the 1950s. ... The Ministry of Supply (MoS) was a department of the UK Government formed in 1939 to co-ordinate the supplying of equipment to the British armed forces, headed by the Minister of Supply. ... The Armstrong-Siddeley automobiles (and later aircraft engines) were an English marque manufactured from 1919 (after the company was formed in 1917 by a merger between two Coventry_based companies, Armstrong-Whitworth and Siddeley-Deasy) to 1960. ... 1947 (MCMXLVII) was a common year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1947 calendar). ...


The post-war era led to massive demand for electrical systems, leading to additional rivalries between Metrovick and BTH as each attempted to one-up the other in delivering ever-larger generator contracts. Metrovick also expanded their appliance division during this time, becoming a well known supplier of refrigerators and stoves.


Another major area of expansion was in the diesel locomotive market, where they combined their own generators with third-party diesel engines to develop in 1958 the type 2 Co-Bo, later re-classified under the TOPS system as the British Rail Class 28. This diesel-electric locomotive was unusual on two counts; its Co-Bo wheel arrangement and its Crossley 2-Stroke diesel engine. Intended as part the British Railways Modernisation Plan, the twenty strong fleet saw service between Scotland and England before being deemed unsuccessful and withdrawn towards the end of the 1960s. The Total Operations Processing System, better known by its initials TOPS, is a computer system for managing the locomotives and rolling stock (railroad cars) owned by a rail system. ... British Rails Class 28 diesel locomotives or as they were usually known Metrovicks were built as part of the early modernisation plan. ... A number of vehicles use a diesel-electric powerplant for providing locomotion. ... British Railways (BR), later rebranded as British Rail, ran the British railway system, from the nationalisation of the Big Four British railway companies in 1948 until its privatisation in stages between 1994 and 1997. ...


The rivalry between Metrovick and BTH was eventually ended in an unconvincing fashion when the AEI management eventually decided to rid themselves of both brands and be known as AEI universally, a change they made on January 1, 1960. This move was almost universally resented within both companies. Worse, the new brand name was utterly unknown to their customers, leading to a noticeable fall-off in sales and AEI's stock price. January 1 is the first day of the calendar year in both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. ... 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link is to a full 1960 calendar). ...


GEC takeover

When AEI then went on to attempt to remove the doubled-up management structures, they found this task to be even more difficult. By the mid-1960s the company was struggling under the weight of two complete management hierarchies, and they appeared to be unable to control the company any more. This allowed AEI to be purchased by GEC in 1967, which became Marconi plc in 1999 (now Marconi Corporation plc). The 1960s decade refers to the years from 1960 to 1969, inclusive. ... The General Electric Company plc or GEC was a major UK company involved in consumer and defence electronics, communications and engineering. ... 1967 (MCMLXVII) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar (the link is to a full 1967 calendar). ... The Marconi Corporation plc is a radio, telecommunication, and internet equipment manufacturing company, formerly known as The General Electric Company (GEC) and Marconi plc. ...


External links

  • John Dummelow M.A., A.M.I.E.E. Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Co. Ltd. 1899 - 1949. The History of a great company. More than 200 pages of text and pictures, on line.

  Results from FactBites:
 
Metrovick 950 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (340 words)
The Metrovick 950 was the first commercial transistorized computer, built from 1959 onwards by British company Metropolitan-Vickers to the extent of seven machines.
The Metrovick 950 used only 150 watts of power, an astonishingly low figure in an era when machines typically used tens of kilowatts to warm their tubes.
Metrovick became interested in the design after the success the university had selling computing time on the Mark I to commercial customers.
Metropolitan-Vickers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (930 words)
Metrovick holds a place in history as the builders of the first commercial transistorized computer, the Metrovick 950, and the first British axial-flow jet engine, the Metrovick F.2.
Metrovick started as a way to separate the existing British Westinghouse factories from US control, which had proven to be a hindrance to gaining government contracts during World War I.
The rivalry between Metrovick and BTH was eventually ended in an unconvincing fashion when the AEI management eventually decided to rid themselves of both brands and be known as AEI universally, a change they made on January 1, 1960.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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