Sunday, May 11, 2008
These photographs were rescued from the archive of Dean, Smith And Grace of Keighley. "Deans" was founded in 1865 and made the "Rolls Royce Of Lathes" . My dad worked there as a patternmaker from 1964 until the company closed in 1992, and my brother served his engineering apprenticeship here in the late 80s. At one time, Dean's was such a large employer that Keighley's town holidays were based around those of the factory. The lathes were exported to all points of the world - there are factories in Adelaide and Marseille, workshops in Montevideo, Delhi, and Rabat, blokes in sheds in Kuala Lumpur and ships at sea all still using DSG machine tools. There are some in the bowels of HMS Belfast and at the National Railway Museum in York. Restored vintage examples are being polished by chaps with beards and oily fingernails at shows and steam fairs up and down the country. Best of all, the company's undergoing a revival. In 1992 a consortium bought the rights to refurbish and repair DSG lathes - and is now making new machines in a unit opposite the old Deans HQ, where a uniformed commissionaire once used to salute visitors.