The UK was the centre of thermionic valve (tubes for our U.S buddies) production for many years and we produced the best and most consistent products which are still highly sought after even now – nearly 50 years after production stopped. Our dream is to restart manufacturing of valves in the UK using existing knowledge and equipment but bringing it into the 21st century where not only consistency and performance are drivers but efficiency and the environment.
There have been two breakthroughs for us this year – the first was the acquisition of equipment which will allow us to start small scale manufacturing of a limited range of valves. The second was the tracking down of three pantechnicon loads of equipment that went from the Mullard Blackburn works to Europe where it was used for some years before being put into storage.
The Great British Valve Project is about creating a valve manufacturing base in the UK. Now that we have located equipment and some of the technical expertise to make it all work we need to plan and finance how we can check the equipment, ship it back to the UK and find a production facility large enough to take some or all of the machines. We need to assemble a small army of people with experience in project management, fund raising, finance, negotiation, law, production engineers, etc.
Financing the project is also clearly an issue. The estimated costs of buying and shipping the equipment run to nearly £50,000 and that is before we pay for storage or premises in the UK to put the stuff in – what we dont want is money right now until we have a more concrete plan however an honesty system of pledges would also help us to assess the level of support there is for this project. If there is enough support and we can produce a feasible plan, we can take our project to a crowd funding platform.
The thermometer on the left shows how we are doing with pledged funding and the one on the right represents our success at recruiting the key members of our project team. When we meet both targets, we wll be in a strong position to move forward and bring the equipment home.
You can email the Great British Valve Project team using the form below if you want more information or are able to help us revive valve/tube manufacture in its spiritual home – the UK.
Please use this form to register your interest in the GBVP and helping us to bring manufacturing back to the UK