Garton and King

New Pages

a history

Wheels, cogs and pulleys

Garton & King were justifiably proud of some of their more unusual and interesting products - luckily to the extent that they took certain examples to trade and agricultural shows and photographed them. Some were captured on film when the Machine Shop had finished preparing them for the customer.

Harold Williams

Although called to serve in H.M. Forces in 1945, Harold Williams joined Messrs Taylor & Bodley as an apprentice at the age of 14. After the War Taylor & Bodley moved to Tan Lane and on being demobbed he joined Garton & King as a Fitter and Turner.

Show programmeGear wheel display
Royal Show Catalogue and The display of gears at the G & K Stand.

He describes the works as consisting of the following: the Main Foundry Area where Iron, Aluminium, Brass & Phosphor Bronze were cast, the Pattern Shop (carpentry), a Core Shop (used in castings) and a Fettling Shop where, amongst other things, castings were cleaned,a Blacksmith's Shop for forgeing and welding and a Pipe Fitting and Plumbing Shop.  There were also the Offices (upstairs) and the Stores.

The Queen visits the show
A very young Queen Elizabeth at the Newton Abbot Royal Show -
Garton & Kings stand is to the far right and the large gear can just be seen.

In July 1952, the Royal Agricultural Society of England held, over the period 1st - 4th, the Royal Show at a site to the north west of Newton Abbot and Kingsteignton and to the south of the A38 at Stover Park. One section of the show was designated "Devon Reports Progress" which highlighted Devon made Engineering Products. Garton & King Exhibited a Display of Castings and an Historical Display of the Foundry Industry.

Machine shop
A view of the Machine Shop at the Tan Lane Foundry.

Other firms with engineering exhibits included Glanville & Sons of Bovey Tracey, agricultural engineers, G.M. Engineering of Otter Mill, Ottery St Mary, electrical control equipment, Hobart Manufacturing Co. Ltd (Frandor Engineering) of Barnstaple, food mxing machines and food preparing machinery and the Harper Aircraft Company of Exeter Airport who exhibited their Type CH3, Series 4 "Skyjeep" single engined high winged Monoplane. The picture at the beginning of this article, next to the copy of the catalogue, shows some of the Garton & King exhibits, the large gear wheel shown was moulded by Dick Lomas and was machined by Harold Williams. A further picture shows Harold at a lathe in the machine shop at the Tan Lane premises.

Harold Williams
Harold Williams (who machined the large Gear) at a lathe in the Machine Shop.

Modbury Engineering

Modbury Engineering, Printers' Engineer commenced trading in the late 1960s at 23 Modbury Street in North West London. The business was created by Christopher Holladay, (the second eldest of the three brothers, Peter being the eldest, I the youngest) and is well known within the Art Printing fraternity. Garton & King produced to order Spur Gears and Spur Pinions and an example of one of Gears G & K produced for Modbury Engineering was for an Etching Press similar to the one pictured below located at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College of London, manufactured by Hughes & Kimber, London.

Modbury Engineering
A Hughes & Kimber etching press at the Slade School of Fine Art, London.

Etching press
The gear cast by G & K for Chris Holladay, Modbury Engineering
prior to fitting and fitted in position on a similar Etching Press.

A ring for Mexico

Products from the foundry were often destined for far away places, here we see a 10 foot diameter ring casting for a Mexican Cement Works.The sidings off the Teign Valley branch line where it left the main line served the Exeter Basin, the Gas Works, Exeter Power Station and Kings Asphalt (whose premises can be seen on the right of the picture). The Mexphalte Tanker would have its contents heated up before it was fluid enough to offload. The line passes extremely close to the Northern fence of Garton & King's premises, so one presumes it was hoisted over the fence, and then loaded onto a railway truck.

Cement ring for Mexico
The 10' Diameter Ring for a Mexican Cement Works
being loaded on a Railway Wagon by Hand Crane
on the railway line adjacent to the Tan Lane Foundry site.

Chapter 9 of the Golden Hammer shows a picture of Gear Wheels destined for Canada.

The cable pulleys

Our final subject is of this Aluminium Pulley. It was cast at the foundry and machined by the Company. It was destined for HMTS Monarch.

Cable laying pulley
Side view of the finished casting.

The proper name for it is a Cable Engine Sheave and the colour photograph, below, shows a series of them that make up the machinery that feeds the undersea Telephone Cable from the on board Cable storage tanks out and over either the bow or stern sheaves. HMTS Monarch was launched on the 8th August 1945 and was, at the time, the largest cable ship afloat. It was handed over to the GPO (as was then) in February 1946. She had the capacity to carry 1500 nautical miles of deep sea telegraph cable. In 1969 the GPO ceased to be a Government Department and the HMTS prefix was dropped;  the ship was sold to Cable & Wireless Ltd and became CS Sentinel. In October 1977 she was sold for scrap.

I am indebted to Bill of the Atlantic Cable Website and for the permission to use the photograph of the Ship and the Cable Laying machinery.

Harold Williams
Man beside the pulley gives some idea of size of the casting.


Cable laying pulleys
End view of the Pulley suspended from the
gantry outside the Machine Shop

Cable laying pulleys
The Cable laying engine installed in a sister ship
to the HMTS Monarch
showing the bank of Cable Sheaves
similar to the one cast by Garton & King.

Cable laying ship
HMTS Monarch

Top of Page