17 March 2016 – Local Industry

Cryselco 1895

Brian, G8GHR started by outlining radio and electronic firms that were in Bedford and nearby towns. Possibly the largest was Bedford Igranic who produced switch gear, radio components, wireless kits and finished sets. Among their work force were two prominent
radio amateurs, Dud Charman, G6CT and Ham Clark, G6OT. Other Bedford companies outlined were Texas Instrument, the much smaller Radio Exchange, who sold war surplus equipment and The Bedford Electrical & Radio Co. Ltd. which closed in 1940. They were
known for their ‘Peerless’ brand.

Perhaps one of the oldest companies in Bedford was Cryselco making light bulbs in 1895.  During the First World War they made the famous r valve for wireless sets.

Ian, G3ORG told of his time at Cincinnati, one of Biggleswade’s largest employers for almost forty years, producing high precision machine tools for industry. The company had developed from the Cincinnati Milling Machine Co. which had started in the USA in 1884. By 1960 they were the largest machine tool builder in the world. However, the downward slide in business resulted in redundancies as other companies abroad came into the market and In 1987 the firm was sold and the site was cleared for redevelopment.

Bryan, M0BIK told  of Cyfas, Biggleswade which started in Crawley in 1968 making display boards for control rooms. Vehicles so equipped could send data bursts to show their location on a control room map. This reduced the need for voice communications.
The company went on to produce communications control systems and alarm monitoring equipment with touch screen technology. The company survived many takeovers and buy outs through the years and is now the only company of those described during the evening which is still operating.

 Flooding around the Igranic Electric Works, Bedford, from the south, 1947 Left: Railway line from Bedford to Bletchley. Right: Hardwick Road.
Flooding around the Igranic Electric Works, Bedford, from the south, 1947
Left: Railway line from Bedford to Bletchley. Right: Hardwick Road.