Electric Lighting

At the beginning 1911[1], the firm began installing electric lighting, beginning with the offices and foundry; taking several years to convert the whole site.

They used Gent and Hurley[2], electrical engineers, factors and contractors of No. 19A, Church Gate and No. 16, High Street Loughborough for all the electrical work. Their first estimated dated 17th January of £139 18s. 3d., covered the offices (£25 9s. 9d.), foundry and yard (£114 8s. 6d.) included seven of the recently introduced Brush Electrical Company 220 volt “Quartzlite” mercury vapour lamps[3]. An alternative estimate, costing an additional £20 was put forward replacing six of the Brush lamps with six equivalent Westinghouse “Silica” 220 volt D.C. lamps. This latter estimate was reduced slightly to £153 0s. 8d, following the intervention of Mr. W.H. Allen, the Borough Electrical Engineer and Manager, who could obtain the Westinghouse lamps at a slightly reduced price. The decision was made to go ahead with electric lighting to both the offices and foundry, using 6 Westinghouse mercury vapour lamps in the foundry and Brush lamps elsewhere.

The firm must have been pleased with the result because they contacted Gent and Hurley in July, expressing an interest in extending electric lights into the testing and fettling shop. The subsequent quote of £8, included: –

supplying, wiring, fixing and connecting up complete 6 wall sockets with detachable plugs to be governed with a separate switch, also 3 l-light tube pendants fitted with Well Glass Fittings, Reflectors and 50 c.p. Osram Lamps each separately controlled. The whole of the wiring throughout to be enclosed in “Simplex” Heavy Gauge Solid Drawn Conduit, together with the requisite bands, tee pieces &c &c, and no wire less than 3/22 will be used.

The quote was duly accepted, excluding 3 of the Osram lamps, even though they were receiving them a trade price at 3s. 9d, less 20 per cent each.

In October, presumably as a precaution against outages, they enquired of both the Borough’s Electrical Department and Gent and Hurley, seeking to purchase a generator. The Borough quoted £12 for a second hand 3 BHP[4] generator with starter, whilst Gent and Hurley quoted £16 19s. 0d, and £22 9s. 0d, for a new 2½ BHP motor of 1,360rpm[5] and 1,100rpm respectively.

Two years later, in May 1913, the firm decided to install electric lights across other areas of the factory, including the showroom, time office, despatch room, boiler house, mess-room and yard. Again, they invited Gent and Hurley to quote for the installation. Their accepted quote of £20 4s. 7d., included supplying, fixing and connecting the wiring but excluded any lamps. Here they offered to supply Osram, Mazda or any “associated wire drawn lamps” on trade terms.



  1. The following information has been obtained from privately held records.
  2. Their head office and showrooms were in Belvoir Street, Leicester.
  3. The Brush Electrical Company have introduced a new mercury lamp called the “Quartzlite”. The tube was made of quartz, and owing to quartz being able to withstand a much higher temperature than glass, a greater current density and consequently a higher temperature could be used, and this gave a much whiter light besides increasing the radiant efficiency. However, the pressure inside the lamp considerable, broadening the lines and giving a continuous background to the mercury spectrum. Red rays were obtained using a platinum or tantalum stud as one of the electrodes. The makers claim to obtain over two candles per watt with a lamp rated at 3 to 3-5 amperes at 250 volts.
  4. Brake horsepower (BHP) is the amount of power generated by a motor under zero load. 1 break horsepower is equivalent to 746 watts.
  5. Revolutions per minute.