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A very small number of men, mostly skilled workers, could be transferred to the general engineering shops, as Ruston & Hornsby resumed their pre-war production of agricultural machinery, excavators and steam traction engines, etc.To retain the many carpenters and joiners who had been engaged in aeroplane manufacture; the Company commenced to make furniture, to use up the stocks of wood they held and meet the needs of returning servicemen setting up homes.
38: The Ruston-Hornsby The roots of Ruston & Hornsby Ltd. They were a well-established engineering firm in Lincoln when the First World War broke out. The Air Ministry had undertaken to give six months' notice of termination of contracts when the new aeroplane factory had been built but after the Armistice it closed the place down within a few days, ordering that aeroplanes already built or in course of production were to be scrapped.
Contracting to make aeroplanes, they erected a special factory at Bou Itham. Ruston & Hornsby were faced with paying off thousands of workers, which would have utterly disrupted the economy of a small town like Lincoln.
Zenith supplied carburetters, Ransome & Marles the steering-box, and Michelin the disc wheels. It was planned to sell a tourer at £525 and an "all season's" version for £575.
Lubrication was force-fed to the main bearings but by troughs to the big-ends, there was pump cooling, with a honeycomb radiator, a cone clutch, long ¾-elliptic back springs which were underslung, and C. It would seem that someone in the firm appreciated the value of competition appearances at a time when so many new makes were struggling to obtain a footing in the post-war market, because it was announced that the new car would make its first public appearance at the Pateley Bridge speed hill-climb ia September, 1919.
As, however, funds were not readily available, the task of restoration was taken on by a small group of apprentices who were prepared to do the work and in their own time. Supervision was carried out by Bill Howard of Training Department and Jack Banks of Research Centre.
Pete Francis, Barrie Addison, Ray Mitchell, Colin Whisker, Bob Hobson and Dave Salmons undertook the work. The apprentices spent 18 months doing this job, giving up their Saturday mornings and one evening per week regularly.Before he relinquished his seat (representing Lincoln) in Parliament and became British High Commissioner in Ghana, he had discovered an old Ruston-Hornsby car in Australia. but, at his own expense, he had it transported to Lincoln.He left behind an unfulfilled ambition to restore this car and drive it around the streets of Lincoln.But this was but a partial solution to the problem and the next step to be taken was car manufacture.The Manager of the Aircraft Department and many of his colleagues had previous experience of the Motor Industry and the shops and the workers were well suited to this class of work. Being engineers, good design and first-class quality were the aim.Nevertheless, car building as a means of maintaining full employment was a costly business. Wardman & Co., of 166, Great Portland Street, as their agents but sales were very small, although three cars were delivered to J. Indeed, early in 1921 the agents offered an illustrated spares list: and A. Wardman remained the sole concessionaire but a Scottish agent, the British Motor Trading Co., was appointed late in 1921 and improved bodies (with Neverleak hoods), ball thrust race at the front of the crankshaft and, on the clutch shaft, a duplex fan belt for the 16/20 and separate belts instead of a triangulated drive, a more accessible oil pump and a dipper gauge on the 20/25-h.p. Names like "Brocklesby" for the landaulette model and "Revesby" for the 4-door saloon on both chassis were adopted and prices slashed again during 1923.