Wednesday, May 21, 2008


When a thread begins, who knows where it will end? Dave the photo pirate sent these shots of the interior of the Vincent factory at Stevenage, ca. 1947/8 as the forks awaiting attention are Bramptons, and there are no black engine cases to be seen, so this is pre-Shadow.

It's clear that these are 'staged' photos, taken by a professional photographer, perhaps for catalog or promotional use. The factory has been scrupulously cleaned, and the engines, cylinder heads, chassis parts, etc, are nicely lined up and ready to assemble. As can be seen in my prior post on the Vincent factory, the real picture was much messier, with parts strewn about and surplus boxes serving as engine building stands.
I note that the motorcycle building benches have wheels so they can be moved - at the Velocette factory they used old flywheel halves for bench, dolly and cart wheels! But then, Veloce had been making bikes for a long time, and probably had a lot of old iron laying around.

The bottom pic is interesting; it's an Archdale drilling machine, which is set up to make the screw holes around the perimeter of the primary cover. Fresh castings on the left, drilled covers on the right. The work area isn't as tidy as the other photos, so this must have been a different photo session. Still, no workers in any of these images!

The photos remind me of those propaganda films from the 50's; everything squeaky clean and moving toward the Future; 'the Golden Land of Opportunity and Adventure', as Futurama at Disneyland used to say.

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