John Mabbett & Les George

In this audio file, John Davis remembers John Mabbett who was a “very skilled” Fitter. In one of the photographs, John is examining a valve block. The role of the fitter, John explains, was not just confined to building machinery, but was crucial to the maintenance of the machines that Fielding and Platt produced. In the second photo, John is pictured with Les George who was a Pipe Fitter.

If you remember the people, places, or machines in these photographs – or if the audio clip brings back memories – please share your memories by clicking on the words Add a comment about this page below.


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  • I was John Mabbett’s apprentice several times during my training. We built several Stone Plants together, but the one that sticks in my mind was the Dynapak.

     This comprised a vertical casting, about 10 or 12 feet tall which was machined all over. There was a vertical ram with one half of a die attached to it and the other half of the die attached to the main casting below this. The whole machine was supported on air bags. The ram was fired down in a fraction of a second (you could not see it move) and the whole thing bounced on its air bags! I think the motive force, was created by injecting oil into a cylinder already full of compressed air. It did go off with a loud bang!

     From memory we were stamping out clutch plates for Minis in that fraction of a second. There was a major snag with this operation. After every firing, the main casting distorted and we had to realign the ram guides every time. A long job!

     I cannot remember what happened to the machine after this, although I think we built one large one and a small one. Perhaps someone has a better memory than mine and can comment and/or correct me. It was 50 years ago, after all!

    By Alistair Adams (03/10/2013)

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