Ploughshares into swords etc

#1
Following on from the Beautiful aircraft thread...

Cigarette manufacturers could easily switch to ammo production due to the size of cigarettes and bullets being roughly the same size etc
Triang Toys made the sten gun (and improved on the original design)
Carpenters made the Mosquito
Fag-makers made feed mechanisms
Packard made Merlins, and many other vehicle manafacturers switched facilities to make tanks, etc
Ford made B-24s
Rover built Mercury, Pegasus and Hercules engines in many plants including an enormous custom-built underground factory at Drakelow:
Drakelow Tunnels
Ford in Manchester made a smidge under half of all British-built Merlins.

Any other examples of businesses re-aligning their core business to war work?
 
#6
Didn't Max Factor make our cam cream?
 
#7
Singer (of sewing machines) made a spike bayonet for the Lee enfield and the colt 45 under licence.
 
#8
I sharpened the edge of a shovel just to wind up a SNCO who'd been reading too many Sven Hassel books. I suppose I could have modified more, does that count?
 
#9
My sword was made by a well-known London tailor, but I suspect that was nothing more than badge engineering, as was the case with 455 cal pistols in Round 1, where officers typically bought them from their tailor, along with sword (qv), watch and leathers.
 
#10
re: Ford Merlins
Trafford Park Factory:

Britain From Above

Ultimately, Ford built more than 32,000 Merlins, not one of which failed the exacting acceptance tests of the RAF.

After Ford it passed to Massey-Ferguson who used it as the European parts distribution centre.

However the parent company in the USA didn't think much of the Merlin's design and went off on its own tangent, designing a 12-cylinder beast that was subsequently chopped to a V8 become the US Army's favourite tank engine:
www.fordgaaengine.com
 
#11
Even without re-engineering, re-aligning or making drastic changes many factories contributed with business as usual. By which I mean that instead of changing from, say, making cars to making tanks they just carried on making standard parts for military use.

My geography A Level dissertation was on the industry and transport of the Golden Mile in Brentford (which was the factories built on the A4 in the twenties and thirties).

Some of them were very important to the war effort:
  • Firestone Tyres (got bombed and mostly burned out)
  • Trico - automotive products
  • Sperry Gyroscopes- guidance systems
  • Pyrene - fire extinguishers
  • Gillette - razor blades. It was rumoured that they made bayonets but I doubt it.
I imagine the big biscuit factory was churning out Biscuits AB.

My grandfather was an ARP and watched the Firestone building burn. It had an effect on him as there were people trapped inside and the emergency services could do nothing for them. In a strange link I saw the factory being demolished decades later. I was in Vogue Interiors opposite and saw the Trafalgar House bulldozers start the demolition on a Bank Holiday Sunday knowing full well that it was due to be listed Grade 2 on the Tuesday. I always wondered who got big drinks out of that.

Not surprisingly the Boxheads had a few pops at the place. Ironically the biggest building there now is AUDI.
 
#13
Hilti went from a small Liechtenstein toolmakers to a world leader largely off the back of its contracts with Germany during the war.

Waddingtons produced miniature maps and other concealables that were sent to PoW camps to aid escape attempts.
 
#15
Kawasaki and Mitsubishi made aircraft for the Japanese military...

I believe they also built warships.
 
#16
This thread has been authorised by God Almighty.

Joel 3:10

Beat your plowshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears; let the weak say, “I am a warrior.”
 
#19
too lazy to google things at this hour, but I believe there was a typewriter company making M-1 carbines, United Switch and Signal (Railway Signals) also made .45s as did Remington-Rand.
 
#20
Hilti went from a small Liechtenstein toolmakers to a world leader largely off the back of its contracts with Germany during the war.
On the flip side you woulds have to argue that the war's biggest loser was Bantam cars of America
At the start of WW2 the U.S. Government asked car manufacturers to supply a prototype 4 x 4 reconnaissance car for the Army.
Given the short lead time two car companies responded Willy's Overland and Bantam Cars.
Only Bantam cars model actually passed the tests.

However the U.S. Government felt that Bantam was too small to produce the car in the numbers required (they were virtually bankrupt also) so handed the blueprints to Willys overland.
Willys made a few changes and started production of the car which was nicknamed the Jeep by soldiers.

The Gobrnment then knocked it onto Ford to produce it in greater numbers while Bantam made 2000 trailers and sank into obscurity

Ford and Willys had a post war dust up about who actually owned what regarding the Jeep and who was entitled to the name

Ford and GM also sued the US & UK Governments for damages after we wrecked their German factories
 

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