One development of the "wave transmission" era was the introduction in 1921, of "Flexstel"; this was a device to render metal piping extremely flexible by the provision, at frequent intervals, of ball and socket joints, thus combining all the tensile and leakproof advantages of steel tubing and being at the same time extremely light (a normal man could carry sixty feet of half inch Flexstel looped over one shoulder) and inexpensive.
   At first it was intended simply that "Flexstel" should act as the joints for the pipes containing the "liquid column" through which the waves of power would travel; later the general utility of 'Flexstel' came to be appreciated, and its sales began their rise to the point at the present day where some 5,000 flexible joints a

year representing a turnover in this field of Dorman activity of £20,000 per year.
  In the meantime Dorman had not let their interest in printing and machine tool production flag; from 1918 to 1933 Dorman's had the licence for British Victoria Platen Press which had been originally secured by another of Mr. Haddon's companies, after a conflict with the patentees of the German Platen during the war. This powerful machine, of which the company built literally hundreds, was capable of producing artwork and colour print work of considerable sensitivity.
   Also manufactured under licence were the Haddon Paraffin Vaporiser which made it possible to obtain greater power from low grade fuels, and was itself standard equipment on all Dorman paraffin engines,

Victoria Platen Press

and the Hele-Shaw Hydraulic Clutch; in their own right, the company became producers not only of engines but of four-speed gearbox to match, and in addition presented an Infinitely Variable Gear which came to be used for speed reduction and step-up on a number of industrial applications.

  At more or less the same time Dorman were producers of a wide range of small machine tools such as reamers, broachers, and screwing equipment and also of such equipment as gas or oil fired die casting machinery and tinning baths. Much of the latter was used within the factory itself to produce parts for the ever increasing Dorman engine range. Machinery of this kind was still being supplied by the company up to the end of the thirties.

However, the central theme of the Dorman story between the wars is that of an intensive manufacture and development of internal combustion engines for all purposes primarily for installation in cars and lorries also for an increasing variety of applications in the automotive field including fire engines, 'buses and tramcars and elsewhere ranged over all kinds of original equipment for many leading British manufacturers. The continuing and productive association of the company with Motor Rail of Bedford has already been noted and in the immediate post 1918 era, similar fruitful links were to spring up with leading British manufacturers including famous names such as Holman, Mather & Platt, and Priestman which thrive to the present day.

Variable Gear

Die Casting Machine

Dorman Infinitely Variable Gear.

Sixty feet of 1/2in Flextel piping carried by one man.



Booklet home page                    Page index                    Pages 10 & 11                  Pages 14 & 15

Dorman Centenary CB 10-11 CB 14-15

Dorman Die-casting Machine.

British Victoria Platen Press.

CB Index