King’s Cross – March 1952

This post was written by James Nye

I am spending every waking minute at present researching and writing about Smiths, owner of the English Clock Systems marque (ECS). Just now I came across an article about ECS in the March 1952 in-house Smiths magazine, and thought it worth sharing some of the accompanying images.

Based on surviving clocks, ECS is perhaps now best known for: a range of master and slave clocks, similar in concept to the Synchronome; synchronous public clocks; and process timers (e.g. darkroom clocks), which often turn up on eBay.

I don’t think any pictures of the inside of the original ECS works on Wharfdale Road, King’s Cross, have been published in a long time, so here we go, with a small selection.

The first shows Reg Boskett, showing off a modern clock dial for exterior use. In the next shot, Dolly Etheridge is shown operating a capstan lathe – Dolly joined the firm in 1942, and was also a competition dancer!

Dolly Etheridge machining
Reg Boskett, Exterior Clock Dept

The firm’s original business focused on importing and installing Ericsson time recorders, but little is reported of the time recorders manufactured in fairly large numbers by ECS all the way through to the 1970s. Another shot shows Jimmy James, an old-timer from the firm’s beginnings, in the time recorder department, with an array of movements.

Jimmy James, Time Recorder Dept

The final shot shows the most sought-after object, the ECS master clock, in the main assembly shop, with Jack Horsfall, foreman, using his Avometer to set-up the series resistance.

At the time all these pictures were taken, the firm still had a successful future ahead of it, but in less than thirty years its market was eroded, and it was absorbed by Blick in 1980.

Jack Horsfall, Main Assembly

Martin Ridout, webmaster for the AHS, is also our resident expert on the English Clock Systems (ECS) marque. The current state-of-the-art knowledge appears on his web-site and is distilled in two technical papers published by the society’s Electrical Group, Nos. 68 and 82.

Click here for details of the group and a full index of its papers. With luck, my continuing research will throw up some more flesh for Martin to add to the tale.

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