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Report - N C Joseph Ltd, "SonA", Stratford, 2006.

Discussion in 'Industrial Sites' started by dweeb, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. dweeb

    dweeb Super Moderator
    Staff Member Moderator

    Oct 20, 2005
    Likes Received:
    I'm putting this report up again for the sheer lack of information anywhere on the net about this firm...

    N C Joseph were a pressworks. They manufactured "Swan" and "SonA" brand kitchenalia from their Stratford on Avon works. (SonA stood for Stratford ON Avon)

    The firm made Jelly moulds, percolators, kettles, saucepans, irons etc. In the 1990's something happened and the firm switched to the manufacture of motor car body in white components.

    As an apprentice I used to have to go to N.C.J with the blokes I was shadowing to discuss changes to parts they were making for the firm I work for. I was captivated as I walked into the retrotastic enterance, greeted by a glass case filled with the firm's old wares. Inside the factory had not changed in decades. The suspended conveyers which took the appliance pressings from the press hall to plating shop were all still in place. The presses themselves, many over 50 years old and still banging away were a sight to be seen!

    The company came close to making appliances again towards the end of its life, in the form of components for a new design of washing machine, which had a removable drum. You used the drum as a washing basket, simply slipping it in the washer on wash day. The problem was it 'walked' on spin cycle, several yards according the the bloke that was telling me, and the company that patented it ran out of money for development.

    N.C.J was bought by a larger company, along with CovPress Ltd. The Stratford works was by now largley unused. It was closed and the two firms were merged.

    The works was flattened almost instantly, most of the presses scrapped. Not even the road name bore the name "Joseph" and today all traces of the works have gone.

    I really owe N.C.J for my interest in photographing industry today. Even then I thought that the inside of the factory was amazing, almost a thing of beauty in a certain way. I fully think my photos could be the only internal shots of the works from its closure.

    In the glass display case I mentioned above, there was a book on the firm, I assume published for an annaversary of its founding. I have searched and searched for a copy, or even the title, in vein. Even the Stratford Library have never heard of it,but then its nothing to do with Shakespear, so why would they care:rolleyes:

    If anyone reading this has that book, or knows what its called please please E-mail me lightthedark@hotmail.co.uk

    Lame photos,I was a n00b and only had a 3mp canon ixus (I know, CANON!!:freak)






    Dispatch, where the finished appliances were stored ready to go to the shops. Note the barbed wire, to stop any would be thieves getting at the completed goods!


    The chain conveyer, which carried the pressings to their next stage of manufacture

    The demolition of a later extention revealed this old wall painting

    Wilkins and Mitchell, one of the biggest makes of press in the country. This was an 800 tonner. The dial shows if the ram is up or down, TDC "Top Dead Centre"

    The offices, sadly the door was locked...

    The walking washing machine!








    #1 dweeb, Oct 15, 2009
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2009

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  2. caiman

    caiman 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Dec 21, 2008
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    A bit. The company that made them - Monotub Industries - was set up by the inventor, Martin Meyerscough and was very popular with investors for a brief while - they thought they were buying into another Dyson. But it was not to be - the machines had serious design faults and were unreliable - most got returned. "Which" magazine tested several - all of which broke. Production stopped in February 2002 and Monotub went bust in January 2003.

    The inventor bought back the rights to the design for £1 and in 2003 set up a new company - Titan Washing Machine Ltd. In 2006 or thereabouts the new company started manufacturing the machines in Zhongshan, China. They claimed to have fixed the problems but apparently they are still very unreliable.

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