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A Man and his Lathe?

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  • A Man and his Lathe?

    He was apprenticed to the Locomotive Works of the North Staffordshire Railway. There, he was concerned with narrow gauge railways and when he was not in the drawing office was at night schools studying engineering, maths and mechanics or at home with his lathe mastering practical engineering skills. At 22, he had moved further south and became Chief Engineer.

    His work became world famous but on my 7th Birthday, he died. A clue is the 11th June 1937. A further clue is that he never really saw the most important part of his work but many films were to record his skills. To confuse you further, two British spies were to feature in the films. One bore his surname.

    To assist you further, his work is associated with the name of a wizard and later a mystical creature.

    Who was the man with the lathe?

    Norman

  • #2
    was he RUMPLEFORSKIN ??Alistair
    Please excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

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    • #3
      It has to be RJ Mitchell designer of the Supermarine Spitfire. The wizard of course being the Merlin and the mythical creature the Gryphon. Both supreme RR designed aero engines. Also the clues gave it away as there is no link to a picture of him in the post
      Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.

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      • #4
        A Man and His Lathe

        And I thought that I was being clever.My congratulations go to Spin Doctor.

        I boo boo-ed on the second spy who was actually Leslie Howerd and not Mitchell. Leslie Mitchell was a film commentator. The other spy was Sir Lawrence Olivier who took the part of Dowding in the Battle of Britain.

        Leslie Howerd was shot down in an unarmed Flying Boat coming from Lisbon and the story is that it was believed that Winston Churchill was aboard.

        R J Mitchell, the legendary designer actually had a pilots licence.

        Can I deduct 10% for the spelling of Griffon and give you a mere 110%?

        Norman
        Last edited by Norman Atkinson; 09-08-2007, 01:42 PM.

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        • #5
          Actually deducted another 10% as I should of said "two of the supremely great aero engines". IMHO the best piston engine aero engine of all time is the Pratt & Whitney R2800. Sure it might of burned more gas but it was perfect right out of the box and disproves the rule that you can not improve on perfection. Closely followed by the RR designs and the DB600 with the P&W R4360 a not distant fourth.

          The above is my opinion and not meant to start any arguements

          PS where's the picture?????????
          Forty plus years and I still have ten toes, ten fingers and both eyes. I must be doing something right.

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          • #6


            The great man, sculpted in slate.

            He was apprenticed at Kerr Stuart's locomotive works in Staffordshire (as was the excellent writer on engineering history, L T C Rolt).
            Last edited by Asquith; 09-08-2007, 05:44 PM.

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            • #7
              A man and his lathe

              I am indebted- as usual- to John!

              I was going to use the name of Tom Coleman for his splendid Stanier 'Pacific' locos which my great uncle drove as one of the team drivers.
              I thought that the riddle(?) was too complicated and all sorts of things like Boothman who was my 'boss' but of earlier Schneider Trophy fame along with R.J.

              Sadly, Mitchell gets very little praise but John's picture came with my Masonic Quarterly and I thought better of adding such things.Thank you, John A. You are much appreciated.

              Whilst the mention of the equally illustrious Pratt and Witneys, I have to mention that lovely old lady called- well, we RAF boys mentioned- the Dak or Dakota. In its class, no aircraft can compare in any nation. Bootiful!

              Natrurally, I am a Spitfire man because we had 3- which we looked after at RAF Hendon. There is only one thing better than a Spitfire Squadron in full Merlin song and that is two. We had two, 601 and 604 the counties of London and Middlesex before they became Vampires at North Weald.

              But but I am a ' Devon' man. The beautiful twin was our replacement to our Ansons 12 and 19's. Two of my 'girls' are still at RAF Cosford and that famous VP-981 was the hack to the RAF Memorial Flight and was sold on to be replaced by-- a Dakota.

              I look with pride when my Squadron's Tornados line up with the Memorial Flight over 'Queenie' at Buckingham Palace and think that old 981 also flew over but on her own. No pomp, no circumstance but a need- men were dying and we were trying to help.

              Nope, it ain't in the book.Just a memory!

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              • #8
                It's not common here, but I know a fellow who flew Spitfires. Orrin Simmonds, a Canadian who settled in Flint after the war to work for General Motors. A quiet, mild man, I enjoyed his company. it was only in later years that he mentioned his service. His wife played the piano at our wedding.

                My great uncle George Bye piloted B-17s. Brought one back with a hole in the side of the fuselage big enough that they lined up the whole air crew in the hole and took a picture. He flew air charter, air mail, prisoner transfers after the war. He was one of the calmest people I ever met.

                I only mention the names on the chance that someone here might have crossed paths with them.
                Weston Bye - Author, The Mechatronist column, Digital Machinist magazine
                ~Practitioner of the Electromechanical Arts~

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                • #9
                  A Man and his Lathe

                  I read Wes1's account and wondered whether I could get away with a story which i wrote for my Squadron. We are not B-17 guys but this story was of a crew who didn't quite make it. Looking back over the years, the courage of many, not only the actual crew but those who became deeply affected.
                  Unfortunately, it required a link man or boy- like a Shakespeare play-who had to turn the pages.

                  Well?

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                  • #10
                    More Pratt & Whitney perfection....

                    Let's not forget the R-1830's....you mentioned Dakota's / DC-3's. They have two. Or it's little sister, the single row R-860 (?) radial found on the DeHavilland Beaver. Lots still flying around here and overhauled engines available from "Aero-Recip" in Winnipeg if anyone needs one. (Don't faint at the prices though.)

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