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The Walker & Loach Archives

All that remains of a once thriving metal pressing and tinplate factory in Birmingham is in four large black metal deed boxes of their own manufacture. Three contain examples of their wares, and the fourth a few scanty documents and traders samples. Founded in 1840, flourished throughout 2 world wars but finally closed in the late 1950s.

In 1840 Mr Thomas Walker set up the firm and in 1880, with his son Albert,
was joined by my great grandfather Thomas Loach, who already had an established experience in the weighing scales industry with Messrs W & T Avery, as well as considerable experience in the lamp manufacturing industry with Tongue & Co.

Having been started in the Old Priory, the firm operated from Great Charles Street for a time before building a new works in Erskine Street during the 1880s.

Contracts for supplying 60,000 wireless cabinets per annum were obtained (possibly for Cossor) while motor parts for various uses were manufactured with heavy presses. There was a steady trade in deed and cash boxes and all types of oil cans, lamps and lanterns.

In 1934 Mr Anthony Loach, son of Mr Percy Loach, following in the footsteps of my grandfather John F Loach, came into the business and he represented the fourth generation to turn his efforts to running the firm.

In 1937 the firm received full approval from the Air Ministry for the production of aeroplane parts, and was duly registered under the reference No. 614542/37 Part 1, Catagory D. The wartime ARP called for a huge demand in every type of lantern and for storage boxes and surgical necessities.

The firm moved to modern premises in Belmont Row during 1954 but the end of the fifties saw closure.

You will not find the factory name on any of their products (to my knowledge) as they seemed to make items comissioned by, or only for sale to wholesalers who would sell under their own brand name.

The factory is known to have stamped some of those wholesale names on products, for example, the Mac-Stan oil cans have the distinctive mark as below
mac stan

Also lamps were made stamped with the Veritas brand name. I have some examples of tiny black tin money boxes stamped underneath "St Helens Corporation Gas Works" which I guess were supplied to them on contract to give to their customers to help them save to pay their gas bills. But in general the only other identifying mark likely is the Made in England Logo thus

made in england

I cannot be sure this was unique to Walker and Loach, of their own design, or if it was used by any other manufacturer. That is something to which I may never know a definitive answer. But if you see a black tin deed box with this mark underneath, I would lay bets that it is likely to be made by my ancestors firm.

Finally, for now,  I have discovered that Albert Walker & Thomas Loach won a patent No 16804 in 1910 for "Improvements in huricane lanterns". I am not yet clear as to what the advantages were, but the lantern appeared to be a combination of the ideas embodied in both a cold blast and a hot blast type of lantern. The main difference appears to be in the way air is drawn down the side tubes from the top cylinder and recycled into the bottom of the burner combining both hot and cold air flows. So far I have no idea if any of these lanterns were ever made, and it is not obvious how one might tell the difference from looking at it less than very carefully. I guess it should have the patent number stamped on it. Did Veritas make any? Perhaps you know?

hurricane lamp

This is a drawing from the patent specification. At first glance it probably looks like a cold blast lantern, but the detail is in the rings marked f and b.

m and n are also critical in detail being a sandwich through which air can pass in a baffled way.

For full details of the patent see

Link to European Patent Office Document

my grandfather at work
  This is my grandfather and his brother at work

  a workshop .

This is a corner of the workshop, note the large oil/gas engine nearly hidden at the back of this shot

small press

This is a small press made by Mr Loach in 1887 still in use during 1940.

small press

 This is one of the largest presses in use during 1940, considered a masterpiece by My Loach

small press

 An example of a modern press  bought in during later years.

Easysharp sign

This is a period advertising sign for one of their products

Easysharp sign

  And another advert from "Yachting World", 1930 for an unusual product.

array of products

tree tie

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