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Accles and Pollock, Tube Manufacturers, Oldbury
- Ref No: BS-AP
- Repository: Sandwell Community History and Archives Service
- Date: 1898 - 2000
- Creator: Accles and Pollock
- Description: Much of the material appears to have originated from the marketing department and as such the collection is particularly strong in promotional and sales material, including catalogues, sales literature/advertisements, photographs and artwork. Brand names appear throughout as a result, including DAPTA, Apollo, KROMO, PAK, Tri-flo, TRU-WEL, and Metior. Other departments are however represented including management, accounts, legal, and personnel, but not to the same extent. Tube Investment Limited as the parent body of Accles & Pollock, is well represented, and some of its other subsidiaries. There is a small amount of material relating to British Steel Golf Shafts Ltd. too.
- Admin History: Accles and Pollock can be traced back to Accles Ltd at Holford Mill, Perry Barr in Birmingham, a company set up in 1896, by James George Accles (an engineer and perfector of the Gatling gun), to exploit the relatively new process of cold drawing with its considerable potential in the booming bicycle industry. When the venture went into liquidation in 1898, Accles' secretary, Charles Barlow, took over, forming Accles Tube Syndicate, with which George Accles was not connected. The name was changed to Accles and Pollock in 1901, after financial backing was provided by Mr. Tom Pollock. The Company was forced to leave Holford Mill though, and moved to Oldbury in February 1902. Here they produced the first tubular box spanners (in 1905), and the first tubular sections for aircraft and the first tubular furniture (in 1907). In 1909 two acres of land were acquired in Rounds Green, Oldbury which became Paddock Works.
In 1910, the Company merged with Merriman and Oldbury Steel Conduit Co. to form Accles & Pollock Ltd. The directors were Tom Pollock (Chairman), C.T.Barlow and W.W. Hackett (Joint Managing Directors) and J. Baker. In the same year Accles & Pollock built the world's first all-metal aircraft, The Mayfly. The Company moved into tubular steel golf shaft manufacturing after securing the first patent of seamless tapered steel golf shafts in 1913, though a ban by 'Royal and Ancient' on the use of steel golf shafts meant A&P couldn't trade in the U.K. (though they could in America). This branch later traded as Apollo.
During the First World War, A & P concentrated on aircraft components but returned to peacetime products on its conclusion. Shortly afterwards, in 1919, Tube Investments Limited was formed, embracing Accles & Pollock, Tubes Ltd., Simplex Conduits Co. Ltd. and Credenda Ltd. After a slump in the early 1920s, A&P branched out, making the first tubular steel fishing rod in 1925, cold drawing the world's first stainless steel tube in 1927, and manufacturing tubular chairs and bus seats from 1928. When 'Royal and Ancient' lifted the steel golf shaft ban in the UK in 1929, A&P were able to sell their golf shaft product to British consumers. In the same year, the first stainless steel needle tubing was made.
A&P continued to expand, with the formation of precision tubemaking industry in Australia, in 1939, in conjunction with TI. Tubular furniture was so successful that Practical Equipment Ltd. (PEL) was established as a subsidiary company in 1931, solely to deal with the furniture element. By 1946, PEL had become a separate TI company. Another succesful subsidiary was Metal Sections. Metal Sections was absorbed by A&P in 1932 but in 1945 was reformed under its original name as a subsidiary company. Metal Sections moved to its own premises in 1948.
The Second World War, saw A&P producing and developing sten gun barrels, acclaimed as a major contribution to the war effort. From the 1940s, A&P expanded its range of sports and leisure equipment, including tubular steel javelins (1946), archery equipment (1947), and tubular billiard cues (1953). In the same era significant developments were made in the manufacturing of tubes. 1947 saw the first coil drawing of small diameter mild steel tube by A&P; and 1955, their development of integral finned tube and helically convoluted stainless steel tube. In the 1950s, A&P also entered the nuclear fuel element can business.
In 1963, A&P made the world's smallest recorded tube. The same year some of the stainless steel tube interests of Accles and Pollock incorporated with those of the Talbot Stead Tube Co. Ltd to form TI Stainless Tubes Ltd, and in 1966 the Finned tube shop was started. Further shifts occurred in the 70s when the hydraulic component interests were transferred to Tubes Ltd (1971) and the Dudley factory of TI Stainless Tubes was transferred to A&P as the Stainless Fittings Division (1973). A&P furthermore moved into the production of an energy-absorbing steering column in 1970 and in 1972 formed a Dutch subsidiary in Aalten, specialising in automotive components.
The 1980s and 90s saw many transfers and sales. In 1980 TI Alma National business and in 1983 TI Tubes Limited business, were transferred to Accles & Pollock. Accles & Pollock Carbon Steel Tube business, was renamed Cold Drawn Tube in 1984, initially TI and British Steel jointly owned but from 1988 completely owned by British Steel. Accles & Pollock General Manipulation and Bus Seat Departments were transferred to TI Tube Products in 1985, later becoming part of Tyco International, and in 1986, Stainless Fittings was sold to Victualic, later part of Glynwed. In 1987 Golf Shaft and Sporting Goods business was set up independently as TI Apollo, later trading as Apollo Sports Technologies. Acquistions of Asdor in 1991, and Carbon Aircraft Tube Plant from Cold Drawn Tube in 1993, saw the re-formation of Accles & Pollock's Aerospace Manipulation Department and Aircraft and Specialist Carbon Mill, respecctively. From 1996, Accles & Pollock was sold and resold, first by TI Group to Hay Hall Group, then in 1998 by Hay Hall Group to Senior Tube Limited, part of Senior Engineering Group plc, and finally, in 1999, by Senior Engineering Group to Tyco International (along with Senior Tube Limited). The same year, Accles & Pollock's stainless mill closed but T45 and Alloys was retained, along with the Manipulation Department, which joined Tyco Tube Components (UK) Ltd. Accles & Pollock ceased tube manufacture in 2001, to concentrate its resources in manipulation projects for the aerospace and nuclear markets.
- Extent: 29 boxes + oversize items
- Level: Fonds
- Related Material: BS-BAR - Personal Papers of C. T. Barlow, O. B. E. (1935-1948)
Hackett, W. W., 'Little Big Uns and Big Little Uns', (1964) , [Held in Sandwell Local Studies Collection, reference 827.91]
- For more information contact: Sandwell Archives