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  1. #11
    Senior Member
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    May 2012
    Thanked 302 Times in 166 Posts
    Quote Originally Posted by Bonnex View Post
    Midgley was a tremendous British engineer but lacks full recognition for his work. As you say his inventions include a car dynamo, car lighting systems, fuzes, a single (or was it 5?) valve radio, electronic organ, switches and timers for domestic appliances. Albert Midgely's son Bertie lived quite near to me and we became good friends. Bertie had worked with his father from about 1926 and had probably not thrown anything away from the day he joined the firm. Bertie had a pair of adjoining semi-detached houses just absolutely full of documents and artefacts (e.g. five 'W' bombs and prototypes). His family home was in Moor Park, a rather expensive area to live in. I can expand on this if required but in answer to your question:
    'How did he get into the fuze business?' - Midgley was tied up with CA Vandervell Ltd working as their Chief Engineer during WW1. After the war he was awarded a sizeable sum for his invention of the 'allways' fuze (No 146) so he had a track-record for munitions design. Although by 1939 he had lost touch with the government departments dealing with munitions design by chance he met an acquaintance who was involved with the development of the 'W' Bomb. The result of this meeting was that Midgley worked with MD1 ('Winston Churchill's Toyshop') and effectively redesigned the 'W' Bomb for them. Midgley also designed a delay device for sabotage purposes. The relationship between Macrae at MD1 and Midgley was not a harmonious one and at some stage Midgley started to deal directly with the RAF's Director of Armament Development, particularly on fuze matters.

    Midgley the person, and Midgley Harmer Ltd were different legal entities and Midgley goes to some length in his papers to say that his designs, which were drawn in his home-office in Moor Park, belonged to him. This would be a point of discussion after the war when the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors considered his claims. M-H Ltd was still his company and it made many prototypes and did some production. I don't know how may staff there were.

    The algorithm for decoding the patent number from the 'Application Number' involves Find printed copy of patent abridgements; mark pages involving Midgley; turn to page; look for N digit application number and date; repeat; be lucky!

    Gelatine-H2O delay? Sounds an interesting idea but I don't know why he chose to mention it over an A-C system. McAlpines AC delay arrangement had been around since 1917. If I find anything I will let you know.

    Answers are somewhat 'simplified'.
    Hallo @Bonnex,
    thank you for quenching my thirst for knowledge. I found some patents where Midgley is only mentioned last, the first two being Millis Roland Jeffris and Robert Stuart Macrae, whom you mentioned. One of these seems to be the famous L-delay. It's really incredible that one man could amass such a large amount of different patents in his lifetime. It's those original ideas of men, that I find so interesting. I asked about the size of Midgeley-Harmer Ltd. to get an idea of the help he may have had. Like for instance the Rheinmetall electric fuzes. The electrical engineer Herbert Ruehlemann, who knew nothing about fuzes when he started to work there in 1926. Also in hundreds of patents he is named as inventor, he did have the original idea, but also he had the help of many highly qualified people in such a large company. Thank you also for writing down the "formula" to deduce a patent No. But, I must say, I don't dare to even try it.
    Hoping that you had a good weekend, I remain kindly yours,

  2. The Following User Says Thank You to Bellifortis For This Useful Post:

    Bonnex (6th October 2019)

  3. #12
    Premium/Ordnance Approved
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Thanked 2,383 Times in 724 Posts
    Thanks Tom. I have put a pamphlet in the download area which was written by Bertie Midgley to support an exhibition of Midgley senior's work that we put on at Brunel University.

    It has been some time since I studied Midgley's work but from recollection (which is prone to high error rates nowadays) the No 37 Mark I Pistol was designed by the Design Department at Woolwich and Midgley designed the modified (Mark II) version and others. I would be happy to be proved wrong on this.

    In April 1940 Commander Langley approached Midgley-Harmer for a long delay pistol (just one). I have assumed that a likely need for the pistol, or its parts, was in the development of the SOE AC Delay Fuze.

    Last edited by spotter; 6th October 2019 at 04:20 PM.

  4. The Following User Says Thank You to Bonnex For This Useful Post:

    Snufkin (6th October 2019)


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