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Issue #2
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Friday 21st December 2018
Tail end of an Automat Grid Winder

The newsletter of Great British Valve Project


Merry Christmas reader,

Since we last produced a newsletter, almost a year ago, a lot has happened to the GBVP. Back in October 2017 we received the machines that will become the backbone of our manufacturing operation. Since then our growing team of volunteers have worked hard to clean and stabilise years of deterioration. 2019 will see us finally moving into the site of our heritage factory museum in Stoke Prior and when the real fun will start. We will start commissioning each machine and building the industrial burn in and activation units that will be needed to produce our first valves.
Tungsten Works
We are starting to develop the GBVP website now which we hope will become a reference site for all things valve theory and manufacture. Over the coming year, we will be adding pages for each machine showing its operation along with articles about the development of the Thermionic tube and valve making in the UK. We are always looking for good articles and volunteers to create graphics, drawings and content (web expertise is useful but not essential).

Meet the Machines ....

Gertcha-Bulb Former

Bulb Former

A carousel machine which takes glass tubes and makes them into the bulbs (a test tube shape) and cuts them to the correct size. The clutches and rotating mechanisms all function now but commissioning will require all the gas work to be refitted and tested and new moulds for the closed end to be produced.
Lee - Stem Setter

Stem Setter

another carousel machine which takes the glass bulbs from the former and attaches a glass straw or stem to the closed end after making a blow hole. The joint is tested for leaks using a high voltage spark detector. These machines can be linked to the former to form one continual process. The conveyor at the back is for annealing.
Kimberley-Ring Mill

Ring Mill

Using similar lead glass tubes as the bulb former, 'all' this machine does is cut the tubes into rings which are then made into bases by another machine. This machine like all the others is indexed - it rotates in steps rather than continuously. When it came to us, it was a solid lump of rust and full of glass.

CRT Manufacture ends in Manchester

It is with some great sadness that we report that BAE have stopped manufacturing CRT tube technology in what was the old Brimar plant North of Manchester. This just leaves English Electric as the last surviving valve manufacturer in the UK. We have been very lucky to meet with some of the ex Brimar engineers and scientists and we hope that we can make use of their knowledge and skills as our project develops.

More volunteers needed

The Great British Valve Project is completely dependent on volunteers - thre more we have, the more we can do and the faster we can do it! In the last twelve months, 20 machines have been cleaned, factory premises have been secured and fitted out and we have designed and started to implement our activation system, PLC controlled grid winder and evacuation systems.
As we develop our unique heritage factory and museum, we continue to need more volunteers who can either work on site or at home on various tasks and projects such as :
  • Making up wiring panels
  • gas fitting and plumbing in of the machines
  • Create graphics for the website and museum displays
  • Historians, researchers and archivists
  • Metal work and assembly
  • tea makers and biscuit eaters
  • maintenance
  • treasurer
  • exhibition material and promotion
Please consider how you can share your knowledge and expertise (which doesn't need to be in valve manufacturing) with us and support this very special project. You can contact us at any time through our online form.
Thank you for your interest in the GBVP and signing up for our newsletter. The team wish you a merry Christmas and look forward to an exciting 2019.
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