Alfred Herbert Ltd and the British Machine Tool Industry, 1887-1983
At the beginning of the twentieth century Britain was amongst the world leaders in the production of machine tools, yet by the 1980s the industry was in terminal decline. Focusing on the example of Britain's largest machine tool maker, Alfred Herbert Ltd of Coventry, this study charts the wider fortunes of this vital part of the manufacturing sector. Taking a chronological approach, the book explores how, during the late nineteenth century, the industry developed a reputation for excellence throughout the world, before the challenges of two world wars necessitated drastic changes and reorganisations. Despite meeting these challenges and emerging with confidence into the post-war market place, the British machine tool industry never regained its pre-eminent position, and increasingly lost ground to foreign competition.
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Alfred Herbert Ltd American machine tool American Machinist April automatic Birmingham Board of Directors Britain British engineering British industry British machine tool British makers BSA Tools capacity capstan cent Charles Churchill Clark co-ordinate Committee company’s competitive costs Council Minute Book Coventry Coventry Archive customers December delivery demand Departmental Board domestic Drilling economic Edgwick example expansion February ﬁnancial ﬁrst foreign German Greenwood & Batley grinding machines imports increased industry’s investment January July June labour machine makers machine tool firms machine tool industry machine tool makers Machine Tool Review managing director March meet milling machines million Ministry of Munitions Ministry of Supply MinTech Mitchell Report modernisation MTTA November October operations orders organisation output planning problems production proﬁts reﬂected Report September shortages Sir Alfred specialised strategy sub-contracting supply Table technical technological tool ﬁrms turret lathes users workers