Vickers Limited
Overview
 
Please refer to the overview article Vickers
Vickers
Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.-Early history:Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by the miller Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor &...

 for other companies known by this name


Vickers Limited was a famous British engineering conglomerate that merged into Vickers-Armstrongs in 1927.
Vickers was formed in Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 as a steel foundry
Foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 by the miller
Miller
A miller usually refers to a person who operates a mill, a machine to grind a cereal crop to make flour. Milling is among the oldest of human occupations. "Miller", "Milne" and other variants are common surnames, as are their equivalents in other languages around the world...

 Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor & Sanderson and Vickers' brother William owned a steel rolling operation.
Encyclopedia
Please refer to the overview article Vickers
Vickers
Vickers was a famous name in British engineering that existed through many companies from 1828 until 1999.-Early history:Vickers was formed in Sheffield as a steel foundry by the miller Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor &...

 for other companies known by this name


Vickers Limited was a famous British engineering conglomerate that merged into Vickers-Armstrongs in 1927.

Early history

Vickers was formed in Sheffield
Sheffield
Sheffield is a city and metropolitan borough of South Yorkshire, England. Its name derives from the River Sheaf, which runs through the city. Historically a part of the West Riding of Yorkshire, and with some of its southern suburbs annexed from Derbyshire, the city has grown from its largely...

 as a steel foundry
Foundry
A foundry is a factory that produces metal castings. Metals are cast into shapes by melting them into a liquid, pouring the metal in a mold, and removing the mold material or casting after the metal has solidified as it cools. The most common metals processed are aluminum and cast iron...

 by the miller
Miller
A miller usually refers to a person who operates a mill, a machine to grind a cereal crop to make flour. Milling is among the oldest of human occupations. "Miller", "Milne" and other variants are common surnames, as are their equivalents in other languages around the world...

 Edward Vickers and his father-in-law George Naylor in 1828. Naylor was a partner in the foundry Naylor & Sanderson and Vickers' brother William owned a steel rolling operation. Edward's investments in the railway industry allowed him to gain control of the company, based at Millsands and known as Naylor Vickers and Company. It began life making steel castings and quickly became famous for casting church bell
Church bell
A church bell is a bell which is rung in a church either to signify the hour or the time for worshippers to go to church, perhaps to attend a wedding, funeral, or other service...

s. In 1854 Vickers' sons Thomas and Albert joined the business. In 1863 the company moved to a new site in Sheffield on the River Don in Brightside
Shiregreen and Brightside
Shiregreen and Brightside ward—which includes the districts of Brightside, Shiregreen, and Wincobank—is one of the 28 electoral wards in City of Sheffield, England. It is located in the northern part of the city and covers an area of 6.5 km2. The population of this ward in 2001 was...

. The company went public in 1867 as Vickers, Sons & Company and gradually acquired more businesses, branching out into various sectors. In 1868 Vickers began to manufacture marine shafts, in 1872 they began casting marine propeller
Propeller
A propeller is a type of fan that transmits power by converting rotational motion into thrust. A pressure difference is produced between the forward and rear surfaces of the airfoil-shaped blade, and a fluid is accelerated behind the blade. Propeller dynamics can be modeled by both Bernoulli's...

s and in 1882 they set up a forging
Forging
Forging is a manufacturing process involving the shaping of metal using localized compressive forces. Forging is often classified according to the temperature at which it is performed: '"cold," "warm," or "hot" forging. Forged parts can range in weight from less than a kilogram to 580 metric tons...

 press. Vickers produced their first armour plate in 1888 and their first artillery piece in 1890. It bought out the Barrow in Furness shipbuilder The Barrow Shipbuilding Company in 1897, acquiring its subsidiary the Maxim Nordenfelt Guns And Ammunitions Company
Hiram Stevens Maxim
Sir Hiram Stevens Maxim was an American-born inventor who emigrated to England at the age of forty-one, although he remained an American citizen until he became a naturalized British subject in 1900. He was the inventor of the Maxim Gun – the first portable, fully automatic machine gun – and the...

 http://www.submarineheritage.com/history.html at the same time, to become Vickers, Sons & Maxim. The yard at Barrow became the "Naval Construction Yard". With these acquisitions, Vickers could now produce a complete selection of products, from ships and marine fittings to armour plate and a whole suite of ordnance.

In 1901 the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

's first submarine, Holland 1
Holland 1
Holland 1 was the first submarine commissioned by the Royal Navy, the first in a six-boat batch of the Holland-class submarine. She was lost in 1913 while under tow to the scrapyard following decommissioning...

, was launched at the Naval Construction Yard. In 1902 Vickers took a half share in the famous Clyde
River Clyde
The River Clyde is a major river in Scotland. It is the ninth longest river in the United Kingdom, and the third longest in Scotland. Flowing through the major city of Glasgow, it was an important river for shipbuilding and trade in the British Empire....

 shipyard John Brown and Company. Further diversification occurred with the purchase of the car building activities of the Wolseley Sheep-Shearing Machine Company in 1905, which was set up as the Wolseley Tool and Motor Car Company
Wolseley Motor Company
The Wolseley Motor Company was a British automobile manufacturer founded in 1901. After 1935 it was incorporated into larger companies but the Wolseley name remained as an upmarket marque until 1975.-History:...

. In 1911 a controlling interest was acquired in Whitehead and Company
Robert Whitehead
Robert Whitehead was an English engineer. He developed the first effective self-propelled naval torpedo. His company, located in the Austrian naval centre in Fiume, was the world leader in torpedo development and production up to the First World War.- Early life:He was born the son of a...

, the torpedo
Torpedo
The modern torpedo is a self-propelled missile weapon with an explosive warhead, launched above or below the water surface, propelled underwater towards a target, and designed to detonate either on contact with it or in proximity to it.The term torpedo was originally employed for...

 manufacturers. In 1911, the company name was changed to Vickers Limited and expanded its operations into aircraft manufacture by the formation of Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department). In 1919, the British Westinghouse
British Westinghouse
British Westinghouse Electrical and Manufacturing Company was a subsidiary of the American Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. British Westinghouse would become a subsidiary of Metropolitan-Vickers in 1919; and after Metropolitan Vickers merged with British Thomson-Houston in 1929, it...

 electrical company was taken over as the Metropolitan-Vickers Electrical Company
Metropolitan-Vickers
Metropolitan-Vickers, Metrovick, or Metrovicks, was a British heavy electrical engineering company of the early-to-mid 20th century formerly known as British Westinghouse. Highly diversified, they were particularly well known for their industrial electrical equipment such as generators, steam...

; Metrovick. At the same time they came into Metropolitan's railway interests. Wolseley was sold to the Nuffield Organisation
Nuffield Organisation
The Nuffield Organisation was a vehicle manufacturing company in the United Kingdom. Named after its founder, William Morris, 1st Viscount Nuffield, it was formed in 1938 as the merger of Nuffield's Morris Motor Company , another of Nuffield's companies the MG Car Company and Riley.Morris Motors...

 in 1926.

Merger with Armstrong Whitworth

In 1927, Vickers merged with the Tyneside
Tyneside
Tyneside is a conurbation in North East England, defined by the Office of National Statistics, which is home to over 80% of the population of Tyne and Wear. It includes the city of Newcastle upon Tyne and the Metropolitan Boroughs of Gateshead, North Tyneside and South Tyneside — all settlements on...

 based engineering company Armstrong Whitworth
Armstrong Whitworth
Sir W G Armstrong Whitworth & Co Ltd was a major British manufacturing company of the early years of the 20th century. Headquartered in Elswick, Newcastle upon Tyne, Armstrong Whitworth engaged in the construction of armaments, ships, locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft.-History:In 1847,...

, founded by W. G. Armstrong
William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong
William George Armstrong, 1st Baron Armstrong CB, FRS was an effective Tyneside industrialist who founded the Armstrong Whitworth manufacturing empire.-Early life:...

, to become Vickers-Armstrong, Ltd.

Armaments

Vickers manufactured and sold the Maxim machine gun forming a partnership with its inventor. They later took over the company and improved the design as the Vickers machine gun
Vickers machine gun
Not to be confused with the Vickers light machine gunThe Vickers machine gun or Vickers gun is a name primarily used to refer to the water-cooled .303 inch machine gun produced by Vickers Limited, originally for the British Army...

, which was the last major design Hiram Maxim himself worked on. It became the standard machine gun of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 and Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, serving for some 50 years in the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. Vickers produced the machine gun in literally dozens of different cartridge sizes and sold it all over the world. They even scaled it up to larger calibres, particularly for the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 as a 0.5 inch model).

Vickers & Maxim also introduced one of the first cannon to have an hydraulic recoil absorbing mechanism. In 1900 they produced a small 75mm cannon that used two cylinders mounted alongside the barrel.

Vickers was involved in the production of numerous firearms. The British tested John Pedersen
John Pedersen
John Douglas Pedersen was a prolific arms designer who worked for Remington Arms, and later for the United States Government. Famed gun designer John Moses Browning told Maj. Gen. Julian S. Hatcher of U.S...

's design for a semi-automatic rifle between WWI and WWII. Vickers made British version of the rifle, and their version of the Pedersen rifle
Pedersen rifle
The Pedersen Rifle, officially known in final form as the T1E3 rifle, was a United States semi-automatic rifle designed by John Pedersen that was made in small numbers for testing by the United States Army during the 1920s as part of a program to standardize and adopt a replacement for the M1903...

 usually goes by the name "Vickers Pedersen Rifle".

In the interwar period Vickers worked on several tanks designs. Medium Mark I
Vickers Medium Mark I
The Vickers Medium Mark I was a British tank of the period between the two World Wars built by Vickers.-Background:After the First World War Britain disbanded most of its tank units: their number was limited to five tank battalions, equipped with the Mark V and the Medium Mark C...

 and Mark II
Vickers Medium Mark II
The Vickers Medium Mark II was a British tank built by Vickers in the Inter-war period.The Medium Mark II, derived from the Vickers Medium Mark I, was developed to replace the last of the Medium Mark Cs still in use. Production and rebuilding ran from 1925 until 1934. The tank was phased out of...

 were adopted by the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

. The Vickers 6-Ton
Vickers 6-Ton
The Vickers 6-Ton Tank or Vickers Mark E was a British light tank designed as a private project at Vickers. It was not purchased by the British Army, but was picked up by a large number of foreign armed forces and was copied almost exactly by the Soviets as the T-26. It was also the direct...

 tank was the most successful; being exported or built by other nations under licence. The Vickers A1E1 Independent
Vickers A1E1 Independent
The Independent A1E1 is a multi-turreted tank that was designed by the British armaments manufacturer Vickers during the interwar period. Although it only ever reached the prototype stage it influenced many other tank designs....

 tank design was never put into production but credited with influencing other nations. During the Second World War Vickers built large guns and tanks; the Valentine tank
Valentine tank
The Tank, Infantry, Mk III, Valentine was an infantry tank produced in the United Kingdom during the Second World War. More than 8,000 of the type were produced in 11 different marks plus various purpose-built variants, accounting for approximately a quarter of wartime British tank production...

 was a design that they had developed privately that was taken up

Airships

Vickers began work on Britains first rigid airship (for the Admiralty
Admiralty
The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the Kingdom of England, and later in the United Kingdom, responsible for the command of the Royal Navy...

) in mid-1909 in Cavendish Dock, Cumbria
Cumbria
Cumbria , is a non-metropolitan county in North West England. The county and Cumbria County Council, its local authority, came into existence in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972. Cumbria's largest settlement and county town is Carlisle. It consists of six districts, and in...

. Through a lack of experience HMA No. 1
HMA No. 1
His Majesty's Airship No. 1, more commonly known as the Mayfly, was designed and built by Vickers, Sons and Maxim at their works in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England, as an aerial scout airship for the British Royal Navy. She was the first British rigid airship to be built, and was constructed...

, then the largest airship, broke up on its second trip out of a floating hangar on the evening of 23 September 1911. Further designs and difficulties followed although non-rigid machines including "Sea Scouts" (popularly called blimp
Blimp
A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is a floating airship without an internal supporting framework or keel. A non-rigid airship differs from a semi-rigid airship and a rigid airship in that it does not have any rigid structure, neither a complete framework nor a partial keel, to help the airbag...

s) proved generally less troublesome than the larger rigid examples.

For their second attempt at rigid airships, a team was formed with H B Pratt as "Chief Draughtsmen, Airships". Pratt had left Vickers in 1912 to work for J. Samuel White
J. Samuel White
J. Samuel White was a British shipbuilding firm based in Cowes, taking its name from John Samuel White . It came to prominence during the Victorian era...

 at Cowes. When he was persuaded to return to Vickers, he brought with him a colleague, Barnes Wallis
Barnes Wallis
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, CBE FRS, RDI, FRAeS , was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the RAF in Operation Chastise to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II...

, to be his assistant. The pair worked incognito from London where they were supplied with the latest intelligence on German rigid airships, such as the LZ.216, and information freely provided by the German manufacturers of non-rigid airships.
Some models featured floating cars slung beneath them. Much experience in mooring techniques and swivelling motors was gathered despite the pressures of wartime. The last airship built at the Walney Island
Walney Island
The Isle of Walney, also known as Walney Island, is an island in the United Kingdom which lies off the west coast of England, at the northern tip of Morecambe Bay. It forms part of the Borough of Barrow-in-Furness, and it is separated from the mainland at Barrow by Walney Channel, a narrow channel...

 hangar was a small non-rigid reconnaissance machine for the Japanese government that first flew on 27 April 1921.

A subsidiary called the Airship Guarantee Company Limited was formed under Sir Dennis Burney
Charles Dennistoun Burney
Sir Charles Dennistoun Burney, 2nd Baronet was an English aeronautical engineer, private inventor and Conservative Party politician....

 from 29 November 1923 (lasting until 30 November 1935) specifically to participate in the building of a massive six-engined experimental airship
Airship
An airship or dirigible is a type of aerostat or "lighter-than-air aircraft" that can be steered and propelled through the air using rudders and propellers or other thrust mechanisms...

, the R100
R100
HM Airship R100 was a privately designed and built rigid airship made as part of a two-ship competition to develop new techniques for a projected larger commercial airship for use on British empire routes...

 in competition with the government built R101
R101
R101 was one of a pair of British rigid airship completed in 1929 as part of a British government programme to develop civil airships capable of service on long-distance routes within the British Empire. It was designed and built by an Air Ministry-appointed team and was effectively in competition...

 as part of the Imperial Airship Scheme
Imperial Airship Scheme
The British Imperial Airship Scheme was a project to improve communication with the far corners of the British Empire by establishing air routes using airships...

. Their buildings were at Howden
RNAS Howden
RNAS Howden was an airship station near the town of Howden south-west of York, UK. Opened on 26 June 1916 during the First World War, to cover the East Coast ports shipping from attacks by German U-boats. From 1916 to 1918 Howden was a Royal Naval Air Service establishment...

 in Yorkshire. Barnes Wallis
Barnes Wallis
Sir Barnes Neville Wallis, CBE FRS, RDI, FRAeS , was an English scientist, engineer and inventor. He is best known for inventing the bouncing bomb used by the RAF in Operation Chastise to attack the dams of the Ruhr Valley during World War II...

 and Nevil Shute Norway were on the design team. The R100 flew initially on 16 December 1929 and achieved some trans-Atlantic flights before the airship scheme was stopped following the disastrous crash of the R101 in France. The R100 was scrapped in November 1931 by Elton, Levy and Company.
  • No. 9r
    No. 9r
    |-See also:-References:* J.E. Morpurgo, Barnes Wallis — A Biography, Longman ,1972 ISBN 0-582-10360-6.* Ces Mowthorpe, Battlebags: British Airships of the First World War, 1995 ISBN 0-905778-13-8....

  • 23 class airship
    • No. 23r
      No. 23r
      |-See also:-References:* Airships Heritage Trust, 2006, *Morpurgo, J.E. Barnes Wallis - A Biography, Longman , 1972 ISBN 0-582-10360-6*Mowthorpe, Ces. Battlebags: British Airships of the First World War, 1995 ISBN 0-905778-13-8...

    • R26
  • SS class blimp
    SS class blimp
    SS class blimps were simple, cheap and easily assembled small non-rigid airships that were developed as a matter of some urgency to counter the German U-boat threat to British shipping during World War I...

  • R80
    R80
    -References:* Manfred Griehl and Joachim Dressel, Zeppelin! The German Airship Story, 1990 ISBN 1-85409-045-3*J.E. Morpurgo, Barnes Wallis - A Biography, Longman, 1972 ISBN 0-582-10360-6...

  • R100
    R100
    HM Airship R100 was a privately designed and built rigid airship made as part of a two-ship competition to develop new techniques for a projected larger commercial airship for use on British empire routes...


Aircraft

Vickers formed Vickers Ltd (Aviation Department) 1911 and produced one of the first aircraft designed to carry a machine gun, the FB5 (fighting biplane) Gun Bus. During World War I it produced the Vimy
Vickers Vimy
The Vickers Vimy was a British heavy bomber aircraft of the First World War and post-First World War era. It achieved success as both a military and civil aircraft, setting several notable records in long-distance flights in the interwar period, the most celebrated of which was the first non-stop...

 heavy bomber. An example of the latter became the first aircraft to cross the Atlantic Ocean non-stop, a converted Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 bomber (See 1919 in aviation
1919 in aviation
This is a list of aviation-related events from 1919:- Events :* Raymond Orteig offers the Orteig Prize for the first non-stop transatlantic flight between New York and Paris....

.) The Vimy was later developed into the Virginia
Vickers Virginia
|-See also:-References:NotesBibliography* Andrews, C.F. and E.B. Morgan. Vickers Aircraft since 1908. London: Putnam, 1989. ISBN 0-85177-851-1....

, a mainstay in the RAF during the interwar years. Vickers was a pioneer in producing airliner
Airliner
An airliner is a large fixed-wing aircraft for transporting passengers and cargo. Such aircraft are operated by airlines. Although the definition of an airliner can vary from country to country, an airliner is typically defined as an aircraft intended for carrying multiple passengers in commercial...

s, early examples being converted from Vimy bombers.

Like many other British manufacturers, an enterprise in Canada was set up; Canadian Vickers Limited
Canadian Vickers Limited
Canadian Vickers Limited was an aircraft and shipbuilding company that operated in Canada during the early part of the 20th century until 1944. A subsidiary of the UK parent, it built its own aircraft designs as well as others under licence. Canadair absorbed the Canadian Vickers Ltd...

. This company ceased operations in 1944. Canadair
Canadair
Canadair Ltd. was a civil and military aircraft manufacturer in Canada. It was a subsidiary of other aircraft manufacturers, then a nationalized corporation until privatized in 1986, and became the core of Bombardier Aerospace....

 was founded shortly after by former Canadian Vickers employees and now absorbed into Bombardier Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace
Bombardier Aerospace is a division of Bombardier Inc. and is the third-largest airplane manufacturer in the world. It is headquartered in Dorval, Quebec, Canada.- History :...

.

Shipbuilding

Vickers entered naval shipbuilding with the purchase of Barrow Shipbuilding Company in 1897, forming the Naval Construction Yard at Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow-in-Furness
Barrow-in-Furness is an industrial town and seaport which forms about half the territory of the wider Borough of Barrow-in-Furness in the county of Cumbria, England. It lies north of Liverpool, northwest of Manchester and southwest from the county town of Carlisle...

 in Cumbria. This yard later passed into the hands of the nationalised British Shipbuilders
British Shipbuilders
British Shipbuilders Corporation was a public corporation that owned and managed the shipbuilding industry in England and Scotland from 1977 and through the 1980s...

 in 1977, was privatised as Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd
Vickers Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd
In 1994 VSEL was subject to two takeover proposals, one from GEC and another from British Aerospace . VSEL was willing to participate in a merger with a larger company to reduce its exposure to cycles in warship production, particularly following the "Options for Change" defence review after the...

 in 1986 and remains in operation to this day as BAE Systems Submarine Solutions.

See also

  • Basil Zaharoff
    Basil Zaharoff
    Basil Zaharoff, GCB, GBE , born Zacharias Basileios Zacharoff, was an arms dealer and financier...

    , former director and chairman
  • Vickerstown
    Vickerstown
    Vickerstown is an area located on the Isle of Walney, near to the mainland town of Barrow-in-Furness, England. Albeit not part of mainland Cumbria, Vickerstown is still regarded as part of the town of Barrow-in-Furness. It is an example of a planned estate built for workers by a company needing to...

    , a planned estate built for workers of the Barrow shipyard

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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