A Royal Visit to Wolf! - 10 Years On
Wolf is 110 years old this year, and we're taking a look back 10 years to when His Royal Highness Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, visited us as part of our 100 year celebrations. To mark the occasion, we are reproducing below an account of the visit as re-counted in a book we puslished at the time, "100 Years of Wolf Safety Lamps":
It was a rare privilege to be visited by HRH Prince Edward, the Earl of Wessex, as part of the Wolf Safety Lamp Company Ltd. centenary celebrations on Wednesday 25th January this year [i.e. 2012].
The visit schedule was both precise and limited in time, and involved a half hour buffet lunch and a half hour tour of the company, culminating in the unveiling of a commemorative plaque. At the point of receiving notice of the visit only five weeks before, the plaque had been barely conceived let alone produced, and so a considerable amount of work and effort from all the team was required to have it ready on time.
The lunch menu had to be considered, a tour route to take in most people and interest had to be planned and tested, and security had to be thoroughly assessed. Everyone wanted to be involved, and indeed everyone was involved in showing off the most interesting and impressive processes and activities in the production of all the Safety Lamps and equipment manufactured by the company.
Due to the time constraints, lunch was a simple finger buffet, the Royal party together with the Lord Lieutenant of South Yorkshire, David Moody, were four, Wolf members also four and two special guests that Wolf had known and liaised with over many years: Dr. Margaret Faull, the Managing Director of the National Coal Mining Museum for England at Caphouse Colliery Wakefield and Prof. Keith Ridgway, head of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at the University of Sheffield.
Sales and Marketing was the first stop, with Miles explaining the functions of his team, the scope of products, applications and territorial market areas as shown by the many dots on the wall map of the world.
The allocated five minutes were quickly up and we moved on the the Research and Development department, where Alex took up the dialogue. His Royal Highness was obviously very absorbed with new product development because what should have been a five minute tour turned into twelve minutes, but the other Royal party officials were certainly quite relaxed about the overrun.
Machine-shop and Airlamp assembly combined department followed with Mark totally unphased in talking to our Royal guest. Compressed air powered turbo generator lamps are basically very simple machines but never fail to impress because of ingenuity of design in converting compressed air power to mechanical power then to electrical energy and finally to light energy, all in a single pressurised and purged unit.
The development of the Wolflite Handlamp over 30 years provided an interesting example of continual improvement, showing the route from British Standards Approval through to ATEX and IECEx global compliance. Assembly of batteries and Lamp Chargers were on display as shown by Christine No.2, and Ann explained how the portable Worklites were put together.