Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Alistud wrench

This peculiar wrench came my way.  It's stamped:  "Alistud.  J.V.M. B'Ham U.K."  Turns out J.V.M. is still doing well, now out of Tamworth, Staffs.  (a city perhaps best known for the Reliant car company, especially the three-wheeled Robin.) I sent the company an email query, and remarkably received replies from both the Sales Manager and Managing Director!  Turns out the wrench is for the removal and tightening of aluminum studs on rugby boots.  The company used the "Alistud" trademark until the patent ran out, and the studs are now made in the far east.  In 2003, the newly developed 21 mm studs were supplied exclusively to the English rugby team, and were credited with helping England upset Australia to win the Rugby World Cup when they stopped Jonny Wilkinson from slipping at a vital moment.  Australia had won for the previous eight years in a row, and this was England's first Cup.  Quite a big deal. JVM's part is discussed in a Youtube video.  Below, a screen shot from that piece showing the stud:

JVM castings was founded by Joseph Vernon Murcott in 1929.  Two years later, he designed and built his own airplane, which he dubbed the "Flying Flea."  Although its inaugural flight was a success, his wife was not impressed, and the plane was dismantled. All that's left is the propeller, which now hangs on the wall of the JVC office.  Below, Joseph Vernon Murcott standing by the plane he built in Gravelly Hill, Erdington before its inaugural flight in 1931.

Source:  JVM Castings
In 1959, JVC purchased the largest die casting machine in Europe:

Source:  Op. cit.

(As also reported above, the almost 20,000 increase in motorcycles that year is also impressive.  The heyday of the British bike industry.)

In 1963 JVM Castings first supplied the pulley castings for the Rover P4. Today the firm supplies die castings for the complete range of Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles.

One final story courtesy of a google search.  Below, a 1900 Motor Manufacturing Company 6-hp "Charette" rear-entrance tonneau:

Source:  Bonhams
It has an interesting history. In 1913, the engine was coupled to a bandsaw-lathe, and during World War I the engine helped to provide power to make parts for bombs, shells and wheelbarrows. In 1953, it was acquired a new owner, who celebrated the Queen's Coronation by driving in the vehicle with his son from John O'Groats to Land's End, a distance of 876 miles.  It took them 10 days and must have been something to have experienced.  In the 1960's, Joseph Vernon Murcott paid £1749 for it.  It left his hands some 30 years later for a full restoration, ultimately to be part of a display of pioneer motor cars at Leonardslee Gardens in Sussex, the inspiration for the setting of Rudyard Kipling’s famous motoring story Steam Tactics. In 2005, the pioneer car sold at auction for  £115,000 (CA$ 204,093).  It's original price was £380.  Not a bad return on investment over a century.


tonyand03 said...

Just a pernickety note:
"DESIGNED and built his own airplane" No.
The aeroplane was designed by Frenchman Henri Mignet, "Pou du Ciel", roughly translated into the "Flying Flea". There was a craze for building them in the thirties, fuelled by Mignet's demonstrations (he flew his prototype across the channel) and enthusiastic hyperbole ("if you can nail together a packing case, you can build a Flea!") until a number of unexplained accidents were examined and revealed an aerodynamic fault that resulted in the effective banning of the type in the UK. Whatever the fault with the design, Mignet was apparently a lovely man.

The Duke said...

Thanks for this! All grist for the mill. So there was a flaw in the Flea. It reminds me of an old children's rhyme:
"A flea and fly in a flue
Were imprisoned, so what could they do?
'Let us flea,' said the fly.
'Let us fly,' said the flea.
So they flew through a flaw in the flue."