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Pressed Steel Company

sundstrom pressed steel company, standard pressed steel company
Pressed Steel Company Limited was a British car body manufacturing business founded at Cowley near Oxford in 1926 as a joint venture between William Morris, Budd Corporation of Philadelphia USA, which held the controlling interest,3 and a British / American bank J Henry Schroder & Cocitation needed At that time the company was named The Pressed Steel Company of Great Britain Limited It acquired Budd's patent rights and processes for use in the United Kingdom4 Morris transferred his interest to his company, Morris Motors Limited

Pressed Steel was acquired in 1965 by the British Motor Corporation and this led to BMC's acquisition of Jaguar later in 1965 At the end of 1966 BMC changed its name to British Motor Holdings BMH BMH merged with Leyland Motors in 1968 to create British Leyland and Pressed Steel's businesses were absorbed into the new conglomerate Many components of the former Pressed Steel business were gradually divested following British Leyland's bankruptcy, nationalization and subsequent restructuring

Today, three major Pressed Steel factories are still in operation; the Cowley plant, BMW's Mini is assembled and this site is known as "Plant Oxford" At their Swindon plant, the BMW subsidiary Swindon Pressings Limited has been established and produces parts for the new Mini at what is now referred to as "Plant Swindon" Pressed Steel's factory in Castle Bromwich now forms part of Jaguar's main assembly plant

Contents

  • 1 Morris and Budd
  • 2 Independence
    • 21 Cowley, Theale, Linwood I
      • 211 Industry consolidation 1953
    • 22 Swindon, Linwood II
    • 23 Tooling
    • 24 Research and Development
  • 3 British Leyland and BMW
    • 31 Cowley
    • 32 Swindon
    • 33 Linwood
    • 34 Theale
  • 4 Diversification
    • 41 Domestic Refrigerator Factory
    • 42 Railway rolling stock, Linwood
    • 43 Beagle Aircraft
  • 5 Notes
  • 6 References
    • 61 Further reading

Morris and Buddedit

William Morris's all-steel Fifteen-Six saloon with Budd / Pressed Steel body

William Morris had recognised the potential of pressed steel car bodies being developed by Budd Corporation in USAand wanted them for his own cars The new joint venture initially supplied car bodies5 to Morris's Morris Motors with its plant located alongside the new Pressed Steel plant across what became the A4142 spanned by a special bridge between plants

This was several years after Andre Citroen was co-operating with Budd in France for building Citroen car bodies

The venture was not a success In May 1930 it was announced that arrangements had been concluded to place the Pressed Steel plant under British control6 Operations had not gathered pace as expected Many difficultiesnote 1 had been encountered The British steel industry was unable to provide steel sheets large enough for the Budd machines and, once they came available, in any case American supplies were still 25% cheaper than local supplies Tycoons William R Morris and Edward G Budd were unable to settle their differences

Budd took his troubles with Morris to the High Court which decided in his favour and in June 1930, by a resolution of the shareholders supported by an order of the High Court the directors of Morris Motors Limited were obliged to retire from the Pressed Steel board, with the share interests of Morris Motors either taken over by other interests or surrendered to the company7 This was followed by the announcement of a reduction of Pressed Steel's capital from £16 million to £12 million8 Morris lost the capital he had invested and the right to appoint directors, Pressed Steel was now free to supply other customers9

In the coachwork exhibition at the 1931 Olympia Motor Show alongside the products of Salmons, Thrupp and Maberly, Windovers etc Pressed Steel Company displayed bodies of a Twelve-six Harley de luxe Austin saloon, a Hillman Wizard 75 de luxe saloon and a 12-horsepower six-cylinder Rover Pilot Readers of The Times were told the bodies were made in four pieces, the back, two sides and the front The doors were also stamped in one These all-steel bodies were said to give the cars lightness with great strength, more room inside and better visibility10

Independenceedit

Cowley, Theale, Linwood Iedit

At the very end of 1935 Budd agreed to sell their controlling interest to British interests and then Pressed Steel was fully independent11 having from mid-1930 also produced car bodies for Morris's competitors12note 2

The degree of completion of Pressed Steel's finished product varied widely In some cases unpainted stampings are shipped to the customer's plant for finishing and assembly Other customers are sent their bodies fully assembled, painted, trimmed and glazed9

Industry consolidation 1953edit

MG Magnette ZA Standard Steel Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn with Pressed Steel pressings 1953

When compared with USA and France the British automotive industry then had little vertical integration Britain's "Big Five"note 3 looked to their body suppliers In the spring of 1953 Briggs Motor Bodies, American like Budd, had the bulk of its British operation swallowed by Ford The following autumn The British Motor Corporation acquired Fisher & Ludlow Fisher & Ludlow supplied Standard-Triumph who were then obliged to take control of the relatively small Mulliners but that took a few more years to develop and Mulliners was to close at the end of 1960 Pressed Steel stood alone as the only remaining independent supplier of mass-produced car bodies in Britain9

In December 1953 Pressed Steel Company Limited was able to advertise: "The largest press shops in Europe with over 350 power presses working with pressures up to 1000 tons a factory area at Cowley alone more than half the size of Hyde Park Here, indeed, with its 12,000 and more workers, is one of Britain's greatest industrial enterprises"

Factories: Cowley, Oxford Theale, Berkshire Linwood, Scotland
Head Office: Cowley
London Office: Sceptre House, 169 Regent Street W1 Manufacturers of bodywork and pressings for many of the most famous names in the British motor-car industry, including Austin, Daimler, Hillman, Humber, Jaguar, Lanchester, Morris, Morris Commercial, MG, Riley, Rover, Singer, Wolseleynote 4 The largest body manufacturers in Britain and pioneers in Britain of pressed steel bodywork and unitary construction in quantity Manufacturer of Prestcold refrigerators, steel railway wagons, agricultural implements and pressings of all types13 Names to which pressings were supplied not included in the above list include Rolls-Royce and Bentley, Alfa Romeo, Volvo, Vauxhall

Swindon, Linwood IIedit

The Swindon pressing plant in 1967

In 1956 they opened a new plant in Swindon to provide extra capacity, and in 1961 they opened their Linwood, Scotland plant alongside the new Rootes Linwood plant to provide bodies for the new Hillman Imp being produced there9 By the end of the 20th century the Linwood site had been completely cleared It is now partly occupied by a cinema complex

Toolingedit

Pressed Steel was a major manufacturer of press tooling for Morris, Hillman, Rover and Rolls-Royce and car companies across the world including Vauxhall, Alfa Romeo etc9

Research and Developmentedit

The R&D function which was set up at the Cowley site in the early 1960s, and later transferred to their development site at Gaydon 1980, was a centre of excellence for the industry with many new processes including the development of electrophoretic painting electrocoat, full mould casting, robotic welding and assembly, robotic adhesive and sealant application and robotic painting amongst many other firsts in the industry In the late 1960s, and the early 1970s, the R&D function pioneered the use of Finite Element Analysis for the body structure, and developed computerised crash simulation techniques for the complete vehicle, the occupants and the pedestrian Between 1973 & 1980 the R & D function also developed plastic fuel tanks that proved superior to the only other current ones of the time produced by Volkswagen

British Leyland and BMWedit

By 1965 Pressed Steel employed 26,000 persons Its sales to the British motor industry—over 90% of turnover— were by value 40% to BMC and a similar share to Rootes However BMC's bodies were relatively unfinished, Rootes bodies were painted and trimmed so in terms of body units 61% went to BMC and 27% to Rootes9

BMC found only about a quarter to a third of its requirements at Pressed Steel obtaining the rest from subsidiary Fisher & Ludlow, Nuffield Metal Products, Austin, Morris Commercial Cars and Morris Motor Bodies Rootes Group was almost entirely dependent on Pressed Steel for its car bodies Jaguar and Rover were wholly or very largely dependent on Pressed Steel for their car bodies9

A factor covered in the Monopolies Commission Report is the association of Chrysler with Rootes Group so that there was the possibility of a take-over from USA putting Jaguar's and Rover's body supplies at risk if BMC's proposal was vetoed It was also noted by the commission that an internal document drawn up while negotiations between BMC and Pressed Steel were in progress set out the terms and assurances to be offered to customers including that the continuance of supply of bodies or tools to customers other than BMC would be subject to BMC's own requirements The Commission subsequently obtained assurances that allocations will be made to all customers on a pro rata basis9

In 1965 Pressed Steel was acquired by the British Motor Corporation BMC1415 and BMC set about combining Pressed Steel with its existing body making subsidiary Fisher and Ludlow, acquired by BMC some twelve years earlier, thereby creating Pressed Steel-Fisher PS-F16 At the time of the merger Pressed Steel was the largest independent manufacturer of car bodies and car body tooling in the world 1

In the third quarter of 1966 BMC completed its takeover of Jaguar Cars1718 On 14 December 1966 BMC shareholders approved the change of its name to British Motor Holdings BMH and it took effect from that moment1619

Early in 1968 BMH merged with the Leyland Motor Corporation LMC to form the British Leyland Motor Corporation BLMC,20 By this time PS-F had become the world's largest independent car body and car body tool manufacturer, and supplied bodies and tools not only for the British motor industry but also for Volvo, Alfa Romeo and Hindustan Motors9 Under BLMC the Pressed Steel-Fisher business became the Pressed Steel Fisher division

In 1975 BLMC was nationalised and became British Leyland Limited21

Cowleyedit

Swindonedit

When BMW acquired Rover Group in 1994 they became owners of the Swindon pressing plant Although BMW disposed of much of Rover Group's assets in 2000, they retained the Swindon pressings plant and set up a subsidiary, Swindon Pressings Limited SPL, there in 2000 SPL now provides most of the body panels and body sub-assemblies for the Mini models produced at Plant Oxford in Cowley, at what was the Pressed steel site22

Linwoodedit

Thealeedit

Diversificationedit

Domestic Refrigerator Factoryedit

Under the Prestcold name Pressed Steel supplied refrigerators for the home, industrial cold rooms and marine installations The Domestic Refrigeration Factory DRF—it was publicly acknowledged the product of the first four years was not reliable4—started in 1933 and was located within the Cowley site for many years before transferring to Swansea in a government sponsored regeneration scheme, an ill fated venture with Rolls washing machines As a supplier to entrepreneur John Bloom's company when Rolls Razor went into liquidation in July 1964 Pressed Steel was owed $1,200,00023 So ended Prestcold domestic appliances

Industrial refrigeration supplied on a large scale to supermarkets and food retailing groups9 was to continue for many years operating out of the Theale site nr Reading

Class 117 Pressed Steel suburban unit no 51360

Railway rolling stock, Linwoodedit

Former associate Budd Corporation built passenger rolling stock An existing engineering factory in Linwood, Scotland, was acquired by Pressed Steel in 1947 where they manufactured railway rolling stock A peak of production was reached in the late 1950s – early 1960s The types of rolling stock produced were of standard British Railways design, and included: standard carriages, British Rail Class 117 Diesel Multiple Units, British Rail Class 303 "Blue Train" Electric Multiple Units, and specialist vehicles like restaurant cars Pressed Steel received few orders after the completion of the changeover to diesel trains and modern carriages9

Beagle Airedale 1961

Beagle Aircraftedit

British Executive and General Aviation Limited In 1960 Pressed Steel was persuaded by Sir Peter Masefield to invest in light aircraft through the formation of its Beagle Aircraft division Beagle was sold to the government in December 1966 This venture lost Pressed Steel about £3M24

Beagle's facilities at Shoreham-by-Sea were purchased with their take-over of Miles Aircraft and those at Rearsby with Auster

Notesedit

  1. ^ It took some considerable time to gain the confidence of customers and to accustom workmen to a class of work which they had never done before Steel sheets used: 1926 720 tons 1930 13,300 1935 30,900 and in 1937 they were running at the rate of 50,000 sheets per annum Employees at Cowley works annual average 1926 873 1930 1,300 1935 2,950 on 28 April 1937 there were 4,322 employees
    Address of the chairman to shareholders Pressed Steel Company The Times, Saturday, 22 May 1937; pg 19; Issue 47691
  2. ^ Olympia Motor Show, October 1932 Pressed Steel, stand 172 All-steel bodies are well represented by the display of three production models: Hillman Wizard 65 saloon, Austin light twelve-six Harley saloon, 12 hp 4-cylinder Humber They are made in four main parts, each part being stamped by a giant press into the required shape from sheet metal
    The Olympia Show The Times, Thursday, 20 October 1932; pg 9; Issue 46269
  3. ^ BMC Ford GM Rootes Standard-Triumph
  4. ^ BMC and Rootes Group with Singer Jaguar and Rover

Referencesedit

  1. ^ Geoffrey Tyack, Oxford: An Architectural Guide OUP, 1998, ISBN 0198174195
  2. ^ M Stratton, B S Trinder, Twentieth Century Industrial Archaeology, Taylor & Francis, 2000, ISBN 0419246800
  3. ^ Offer for sale of shares – Pressed Steel Company Limited The Times, Tuesday, 7 April 1936; pg 21; Issue 47343
  4. ^ a b Address of the chairman to shareholders Pressed Steel Company The Times, Saturday, 22 May 1937; pg 19; Issue 47691
  5. ^ Deliveries have commenced Morris Motors 1926 Limited The Times, Friday, 13 May 1927; pg 24; Issue 44580
  6. ^ Mr Thomas And Motor Industry SMM&T The Times, Friday, 2 May 1930; pg 16; Issue 45502
  7. ^ Roan Antelope Debenture Issue The Times, Wednesday, 11 June 1930; pg 19; Issue 45536
  8. ^ Legal Notices The Times, Friday, 11 July 1930; pg 4; Issue 45562
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k The British Motor Corporation Ltd and the Pressed Steel Company Ltd A report on the merger 25 January 1966, The Monopolies Commission, HMSO
  10. ^ Coachwork at Olympia The Times, Monday, 19 October 1931; pg 18; Issue 45957
  11. ^ Pressed Steel CompanyThe Times, Friday, 10 January 1936; pg 19; Issue 47268
  12. ^ Pressed Steel Company of Great Britain, Company Results The Times, Saturday, 3 May 1930; pg 21; Issue 45503
  13. ^ The Illustrated London News 19 December 1953
  14. ^ BMC-Pressed Steel's Defensive Merger The Times, Friday, 23 July 1965; pg 17; Issue 56381
  15. ^ BMC Gets 89 pc Of Pressed Steel The Times, Friday, 10 September 1965; pg 15; Issue 56423
  16. ^ a b "Pressed Steel-Fisher: Europe's biggest body-building group" Autocar 127 Vol nbr 3730 10 August 1967 pp 63–64 
  17. ^ Jaguars To Join Up With BMC £18m deal to strengthen front against Detroit The Times, Tuesday, 12 July 1966; pg 1; Issue 56681
  18. ^ 90PC OF JAGUAR TAKE BMC The Times, Wednesday, 14 September 1966; pg 18; Issue 56736
  19. ^ British Motor Takes That New Label The Times, Thursday, 15 December 1966; pg 17; Issue 56815
  20. ^ £410m British Leyland group to storm the world market The Times, Thursday, 18 January 1968; pg 17; Issue 57152
  21. ^ Government takes over the restyled Leyland, British Leyland today joins the ranks of nationalized industries The Times, Monday, 11 August 1975; pg 13; Issue 59471
  22. ^ "New era under BMW" The Car Industry in Swindon SwindonWeb 
  23. ^ "The Doomsday Book" Time Magazine 4 September 1964 Retrieved 2008-04-12 
  24. ^ http://wwwpilotfriendcom/acft_manu/Beagle%20Aircraft%20Ltdhtm

Further readingedit

  • "The British Motor Corporation Ltd and the Pressed Steel Company Ltd A report on the merger" Competition Commission UK 1966 Retrieved 2006-06-06 
  • Bardsley, Gillian Issigonis: The Official Biography Icon Books ISBN 1-84046-778-9 

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