Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cookham's Wartime Factory.

Cookham's Wartime Factory.
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Most of you are aware of a famous vacuum cleaner company called Hoover. During the war this company like so many other appliance manufacturers had to turn to making parts for the war effort.
The Cookham sub assembly work was carried out in the very large garage that was part of the King's Arms Hotel. I did illustrate its position on my blog dated 25th of October 2008. Of course all of this has been altered and built over now.
The work in this local factory was to assemble 24 volt DC motors and generators for use in fighters and bombers for the Royal Air Force. Depending on what was being produced at the time those ladies of the village use to fit maybe one or two parts and then pass it down the line to the next lady, each one knowing what they had to do. Finally when it was complete it went to a test bench where it was checked that the output was according to specifications. It was found that to train an unskilled labour force how to one or two simple tasks was easier and more efficient than trying to get someone to assemble the whole unit. It also had been long recognised that ladies do not mind doing repetative production line work, while having a chance to chat to their neighbouring co-workers on the line. All this information I was able to glean from my one time mother-in-law who worked in that factory.
In the photograph above you can see the production line benches and bar stools that the ladies use to sit on. On the bench in the foreground you can see some of the electric motors and generators ready to be packed for shipment.
Even in production lines today the same methods of assembly are caried out by ladies, though robots are gradually taking over as speed and accuracy now seem to be the norm. The soldering iron has been replaced by the wave soldering unit.