Special Purpose Machines - Part VI, Men at Work

Shared resources

In the 1950s there were around 2,000 employees at CVA/Kearney & Trecker.  In 1954 the Company decided to split into 2 divisions, the Standard Machine division and the Special Purpose division.  Some resources were shared, but both divisions had their own sales, design, engineering and assembly departments; each division was able to focus on their different market sector. 

Friendly Rivalry

There was friendly rivalry and banter between the divisions. I worked in the Standard Machine division, hi-tech computer controlled NC and CNC machines had just been introduced; we looked down on the Special Purpose division as being low tech.  Having carried out my research, using documents and photos provided by Steve Hussey (Derry’s grandson), Gil Percy, Terry Buck and Dick Tugnutt, plus those from my own collection, I can now see how sophisticated and important those machines were.  

My negative comments

I take back those negative things I said all those years ago; “Oi mate, your hydraulic feed slide leaking again” (the NC division used electric servo motors from about 1972) “valves on your computer blown again mate”?  The photos show some of the employees of the Special Purpose division, if you look closely you might even spot one of them working!

Comments about this page

  • Peter. Your history of CVA is extensive.  Great work. My Dad, Percy Olive (known as Charley), worked there from 1946 until he died 1973. First in Portland Road and then Moulsecoomb.  He was a buyer and often played for the cricket team. I have several photos of the team and some of the debauchery at some of their departmental dinners.

    Hello Rodger – you are right – Peter’s work is terrific. I was interested to read about your photos. Care to share them? Mail me and I can help. jennifer@mybrightonandhove.org.uk

    By Rodger Olive (01/03/2017)
  • What a fantastic set of photos and information from parts 1 to 5 Peter. As you know I worked on the Special Purpose Division for about 4 years before moving into the Toolroom, it was great to see some of my workmates from the mid 1970s in the photos.

    By Michael Brittain (01/03/2017)
  • Looks to be Colin Packham working on this machine.

    By Michael Brittain (01/03/2017)
  • Geoff Vernon is seen scraping a platten which is probably for the feed slide front right. David Edwards is far right.

    By Michael Brittain (01/03/2017)
  • George Mabbutt is checking the drawings, Stan Osbourne to the left, I’m unsure who the guy at the top is….

    By Michael Brittain (01/03/2017)
  • I think it’s Peter Fawsett (not sure of spelling)!

    By Peter Groves (01/03/2017)
  • Tony Paine is seen working on this machine.

    By Michael Brittain (01/03/2017)
  • Thank you for this Peter. It’s good to know that those who worked so hard in Brighton will not be forgotten. My Granddad Derry London always credited those at the factory. He said that if he made a promise to a customer, he knew it would be delivered.

    By Steve Hussey (09/03/2017)
  • Yes Peter, you’re right, it is Pete Fawcett. I remember his long hair now.

    By Michael Brittain (13/03/2017)

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