The Probus Club Weston-Super-Mare

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Programme Reports

The History of the Cross Manufacturing Company - Rodney Cross

Posted on September 19, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Rodney Cross was welcomed today who gave a great insight into the 'family' business.

In the Early Days of 1900s, a young Roland Cross, whilst still at school, was appointed Secretary and Treasurer of the Bath Model Aeroplane Club. On leaving school Roland secured an apprenticeship with the Arrol Johnson Motor Works in Dundee.

In the 1910s, Roland joined the British and Colonial Aeroplane Company in Bristol where he designed parts for the Bristol Fighter biplane. After the war he moved to Vickers Aeron to increase his engineering experience.

In the 1920s, the Cross Rotary Valve Engine was invented. Roland designed his innovative rotary valve engine which proved to be superior in power output and torque to the conventional poppet valve equivalent. The first Cross company was set up to develop the concept.

Immensely powerful and widely used Centaurus and Hercules sleeve valve engines suffered from excessive oil consumption. The Cross Sleeve Contracting Ring solved this problem and over 300,000 were eventually manufactured.

In the 1950s, the well-known Cross Wire Thread Insert range was produced in large quantities. Other new products included Spring Washers, Retaining Rings and Circlips.

Eventually, a second factory was opened in Devizes to separate Aerospace and Automotive industry products, as annual turbo ring production climbed to 60 million

Automotive industry activity became more important, beginning with the manufacture of piston rings for Formula One racing cars, followed by high temperature sealing rings for the new breed of turbocharged cars.

In the 1960s, sealing ring manufacturing included four-foot diameter aluminium rings designed for Concorde and seals that were critically important for the performance of the ground-breaking Harrier jump-jet.

Cross is a world leading manufacturer of precision engineered high temperature metallic seals and retaining rings for aircraft engines, gas and steam turbines, vehicle turbochargers, control valves and many other challenging environments.

An extremely interesting insight into this 'local' Company.


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