Thursday, 20 February 2014

Men in Suits - Sepia Saturday

This days wearing a suit makes me itch. Perhaps that's why I found myself at the local flea market earlier today and found some men in suits. Just don't ask who these four are/were.

However these two were named.

According to the back of the photo they were called Ben & Ern who had sent the photo to someone unknown in 1939, "With Best Wishes."

Our prompt for this week shows three men in suits. Well if you average the number of men in my two flea market photos you also come up with three.

However I can do better that that with this 'formal' shot.

Lord Nelson hands over the winner's cheque
Lincolnshire Iron & Steel Institute Dinner  1962
The man in the middle was C G Davies, President of The Lincolnshire Iron & Steel Institute and MD of Richard Thomas and Baldwins, Redbourn Works, Scunthorpe. My winning young members' paper that I had presented at a meeting earlier in the year was entitled "Experience with the Rotor Process at Redbourn Works, with special reference to lance control."

The plant at Redbourn was the only oxygen steelmaking Rotor process ever installed in the UK although there had been other plants in Germany, where the process was developed, and in South Africa.

Rotor Steelmaking Vessel
The vessel is in the blowing position with lance, which you can just see, on the right. The rotating vessel can be rotated through 360 degrees in the horizontal plane. It can also be be tilted; and tilted vertically when empty for the vessel to be removed for relining while another takes its place.

Rotor cross-section showing oxygen blowing in progress
Oxygen is blown through a lance (3) into the metal (1). The lance at Redbourn was different to this with the tip turned down. Impurities removed from the metal form a slag (2) with added lime.. Gases formed are extracted (5) to a gas cleaning plant..At the end of the process the metal can be decanted via a tap hole into a ladle (not shown) by tilting the vessel. The vessel produced about 100 tons of steel at a time.

Before I left Scunthorpe at the end of 1969 the steel industry had been nationalised. In 1971 I became Works Manager of a foundry and engineering shop in Billingham on Teesside and there were more men in suits.

Sir Monty Finniston visits APV Paramount
From right to left they are J F B Jackson, MD: Sir Monty Finniston - Chairman of British Steel, behind him Bill Cockburn, General Manager: Leslie Halling, Sales Director; A n other; and me complete with orange ear muffs..

The tubes that they were examining where intended for the British Steel Direct Reduction plant at Hunterston, Scotland. That plant never operated and was it was eventually moved to the USA.

So you can see that my early career was heavily involved with steel which brings me to men in suits in a drawing on my study wall.

Demonstration of an early steel rolling process
I must say one man is trying a hard sell; others look more sceptical.

For more suited gentry roll over to Sepia-Saturday-216.


Jo said...

Matt doesn't even own a suit any more. Blazers or jackets, but no suit.

Interesting about the steel, is that what you were doing in Norway too?

La Nightingail said...

It's fun to see photos of ourselves looking young & fresh & ready for anything. Belated congrats on the award & I love the orange earmuffs. Bet they came in handy!

B. Rogers, Living in Black Mountain said...

Had no idea about that steel process...which wasn't expected at all when your post began. Most interesting!

Marc Latham said...

Interesting photos Bob. Top photo one on the left (as viewed) reminds me of Ed Miliband, while one on right reminds me of Bob (Terry Woods) off Emmerdale!

Little Nell said...

What exalted company you keep - but hard hats are a great leveller aren’t they - Sir or no Sir? Well done on the prize.

Bob Scotney said...

Jo - Norway was different, but there was a lot of steel in the offshore platforms being built or in use where I worked.

Lovely's Blot said...

Very interesting Bob. Not that I understood all of the technical stuff. It all sounds very important stuff!

Wendy said...

Serious papers always have such serious titles. Congratulations on winning a prize for it. The artwork on your wall appeals to me because I like seeing people collect things related to their career - like a carpenter collecting old saws and planes; a teacher collecting old textbooks or school desks; a doctor collecting old medical stuff. You know a person is happy and proud in that career.

Anonymous said...

It was interesting to read about the steel making and I hope that the heavy industries are going well in Britain. Poor Geelong has just learnt that it's soon to lose both its Ford and Alcoa plants so reading some steelmaking history was quite appropriate for this week.

Postcardy said...

I learned that there is more than one way to make steel.

Deb Gould said...

The ear muffs absolutely make the suit -- you engineers know what you're doing!

Mike Brubaker said...

An excellent assembly of suits, Bob, though I imagine what is suitable for an award dinner is less practical at 2100°C! I bet that furnace/forge? made a lot of noise too.

Patrica Ball Morrison said...

When you started writing about the flea mkt I thought you were going to say you went and bought suits...the hard hats are a necessity but not so sure about the fancier ones of fashion...hats to steel here today.

ScotSue said...

What an inventive link from a 1930's prompt of suits and hats to iron & steel making. I must admit I was envious that you have nearby a flea market selling old postcards.

Karen S. said...

On the business and life of men and their hats as well....dare I say, I take my hat off to you, and yes, bravo on this post. Great photos.

Kristin said...

I just noticed that tiny little man on the catwalk with the big machine.

Were the orange ear muffs for noise protection or actual ear muffs.

Bob Scotney said...

Kristin - the ear muffs were for for noise protection; As the works manager I had to set an example in the noisiest areas of the foundry and fettling shop.

Sheila @ A Postcard a Day said...

I didn't have such luck with my flea market today. You have made a great post out of your finds.

Alan Burnett said...

Never thought I would find "the Rotor Process at Redbourn Works" so interesting.

Tattered and Lost said...

I'm thinking the fellows in the first two shots are very steely eyed.

Okay to groan.

Boobook said...

I like the way you linked the photos and the stories.