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  1. #1
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    Default Brookhirst Switchgear (warning: may contain Wadkins)

    Anyone silly enough to read my postings will probably know I like old switchgear.

    My favourite makers are probably MEM (Midland Electric Manufacturing Co.) and Crabtree. But probably the most robust looking British switchgear is that made by Brookhirst (Brookhirst Switchgear Ltd). Being very robust is probably what gained Wadkin's attention when they first started producing electrically driven machinery (as opposed to lineshaft driven machinery). I think ALL Wadkin & Co.s electrically driven machinery had Brookhirst switchgear. And because it's fitted to a lot of Wadkin machines, I've developed an interest.

    The oldest Wadkin cattledog available online is their 1936 catalogue. This shows most machines fitted with an electrical cabinet containing the switchgear.

    Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 1.21.38 PM.png SO showing electrical cabinet below belt cover.

    Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 1.22.17 PM.jpg PK showing electrical cabinet at the back.

    Screen Shot 2019-01-01 at 1.23.05 PM.png RD showing electrical cabinet - this time fitted with On/Off buttons.

    Here's one on an MA.

    bhirstMA.jpg

    And this one (painted red) on Wallace's LP.

    BhirstLP.jpg

    Within a few years Wadkin modified their castings to incorporate the cabinets - usually into the base of their machines. In the case of the PK dimension saw, this change had occurred by 1937.

    BhirstPK.jpg Recessed switchgear cabinet (white) in a PK base.

    Bhirstclear-out.jpg Recessed switchgear cabinet in Clear Out's RS headstock.

    Covering the cabinet (and usually supporting the switchgear) is what has become the classic "Brookhirst" door - but that's for a later post.

    What's prompted me to start this thread is the recent listing (on an un-named internet auction site) of two very early Brookhirst cabinets - predating the 1936 cattledog.

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

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  3. #2
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    Default Early Brookhirst.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vann View Post
    ...What's prompted me to start this thread is the recent listing (on an un-named internet auction site) of two Wadkin machines with very early Brookhirst cabinets - predating the 1936 cattledog.
    The first is a CD radio alarm saw.
    BhCD1.jpg BhCD2.jpg

    BhCD3.jpg

    wCD1 107 158 UK.jpg CD1 107, test 158.

    I'd not seen pikkies of this style of Brookhirst cabinet before.

    The second is an ME mortiser.

    BhME1.jpg BhME2.jpg BhME3.jpg

    wMEA 583 228 UK.jpg MEA 583, test 228.

    I'd not seen Test No.s as low as 3-digits before - so I'm assuming these are early machines - but I don't believe that Test No.158 means it's the 158th machine Wadkin ever built. Instead, I'd suggest that electrically powered machines added a level of complexity, necessitating more thorough checks before leaving the factory, than required for a simpler, fully mechanical (i.e. lineshaft driven) machine.

    Whether the first electrically driven machine became Test No.1, or whether the testing became formalised after a few customers had cocked up perfectly good machines with excessive, un-necessary tinkering - we can only speculate on.

    But MEA indicates an AC version of the ME - so several hundred non-electric MEs could have gone out the door (without formal testing) before this one. And CD 107 - CDs didn't come in non-electric versions. Well, if we accept Jack's research indicating that most Wadkin models started their Serial No.s at 105 (and I do) then this is only the third CD off the production line - making it's Test No.158 less outrageous.

    And remember: if you can't buy Australian (or Kiwi)...

    BhBB.jpg I love that little Union Jack "Buy British" sticker they put on some machines.

    ...buy British - buy a Wadkin .

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  4. #3
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    Default

    You sure do have an Eagle eye for details and their place in the range of the Wadkin line up Vann . Very interesting thanks .

    Rob

  5. #4
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    Default Brookhirst & Co.

    I haven't found a lot of info on Brookhirst - the company. Vintage Machinery has nothing (and rightly so - Brookhirst supplied components, not full machines). Graces Guide has a bit:

    Brookhirst & Co. was formed in 1898 by John Arthur Hirst and Percy Shelley Brook. At some stage they changed the company name to Brookhirst Switchgear Ltd. and they became a subsidiary of Electrical Switchgear and Associated Manufacturers Ltd. In 1943 Electrical Switchgear and Associated Manufacturers Ltd. was purchased by Metal Industries. In 1960 Brookhirst Switchgear Ltd. was intergrated with Ingranic Electric Co. Ltd. (another Metal Industries subsidiary) to form Brookhirst Ingranic Ltd.

    https://gracesguide.co.uk/Brookhirst_Switchgear

    Cheers, Vann.
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

  6. #5
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    Default

    I had a thought has there ever been a wadkin tag with no mention of voltage etc but then I thought of coarse there are, my MJ's tag has pulley speed on
    I got a really nice catalogue/book of early brookhirst products from a guy in the states. They made some massive control cabinets

  7. #6
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    Default The Classic "Brookhirst" Door - pt.1.

    Quote Originally Posted by Vann View Post
    ...Within a few years Wadkin modified their castings to incorporate the cabinets - usually into the base of their machines. In the case of the PK dimension saw, this change had occurred by 1937.

    BhirstPK.jpg Recessed switchgear cabinet (white) in a PK base.

    Bhirstclear-out.jpg Recessed switchgear cabinet in Clear Out's RS headstock.

    Covering the cabinet (and usually supporting the switchgear) is what has become the classic "Brookhirst" door - but that's for a later post...
    Welcome to a later post.

    Covering the openings shown above was a door, which had the switchgear mounted on the rear. Although there were variations, the "standard" door is 9 3/4" (246mm) wide and 8 15/16" (226mm) high. It mounts on two hinge pins on the left, and is held shut by two bolts on the right.

    There are several generations - but in this post I'll concentrate on what I think is the first - which also came in several versions.

    1. Plain door version:
    Bh1blank1947.jpg Found on a 1947 machine.

    2. With Start & Stop buttons:
    Bh1stopstart1946.jpg From a 1946 CK saw.

    3. With Reset button:
    Bh1reset1945.jpg Fitted to my 1945 PK saw.

    With both Stop & Start and Reset buttons:
    Bh1e1945.jpg From a 1945 RS lathe.

    At the top of each door it says:
    BROOKHIRST
    CONTROL GEAR FOR
    WADKIN LTD
    The shape is a combination of the logos of both companies, with the "Brookhirst" being the shape of the company's "Brookhirst Bean" logo, and the bottom incorporating Wadkins "3-legged circle" logo.

    At the bottom is the electrical data, with:
    No. (2 raised sections between) TYPE
    HP
    (raised section) VOLTS
    ~ (2 raised sections) PHASE
    with stamping on the raised sections.

    In the case of the CK "Brookhirst" door above it reads:
    No. 3863D15 (blank) TYPE
    HP
    (blank) 380/440 VOLTS
    ~
    50 3 PHASE

    Cast letters shown in blue, stamped letters in red - for clarity.

    In a semi-circle around the Reset button it reads:
    WAIT ONE MINUTE THEN TURN
    TO RESET OVERLOAD
    below a clockwise arrow.

    Above the Stop & Start buttons it reads:
    START STOP

    Cheers, Vann.
    Last edited by Vann; 8th Jan 2019 at 05:53 PM. Reason: No photos (I must have taken over an hour...)
    Gatherer of rusty planes tools...

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